African Arise Magazine made waves in the fashion world before it even hit the newstands in Africa and beyond with its soft launch in October last year and its sponsorship of an African Fashion Collective Show during the prestigious New York Fashion Week in February this year.
On its website, its editor-in-chief writes that “Africa has much to celebrate, contrary to what much of the international media would have you believe. Arise communicates the landmark successes that Africans and people of African descent have achieved in fields as varied as music, fashion, business and politics.”
In that spirit, in its fourth issue published this June, the magazine covered the Fashion for Peace event that was organised by Festival for African Fashion and Arts (FAFA). The event held back in March sought to provide a platform for East African fashion designers to showcase their work to the world.
According to Helen Jennings, the managing editor, “Key to the Arise ethos is our promotion and support of the African fashion industry, as our recent sponsorship of the Arise Africa Fashion Week (held in Johannesburg, South Africa in June) proves.”
The Arise Africa Fashion Week was eight days of catwalk shows featuring over 50 top designers from 20 countries including Kenyan’s own Liz Ogumbo of Imani House of Fashion who got to display her new collection and had some photos of her pieces carried in the magazine.
Ms Jennings described the event as an awesome experience that paves the way for the first ever Arise Africa Fashion Awards which are expected to take place at the Arise Africa Fashion Collective show during the New York Fashion Week in September.
“No other glossy magazine gives this level of support to fashion from the continent,” she says.
There is another magazine, however, that is attempting the same feat via the Internet. BHF— hosted at bhfmagazine.com— is about two and a half years old.
It is an exciting website with cutting edge fashion photography that reflects a deep love for, and pride in, Africa and currently boasts a readership of about a quarter million readers. It too carried the photos from Fashion for Peace 2009.
BHF is a publication of Geoffrey Olisa, a graphic designer based in Washington DC who wanted to tell the African story because he felt that Western magazines were wanting in their treatment of the African fashion genre especially as they did not have a desire to revolutionise the Africa fashion industry to enable it attain the standards of the international fashion industry.
Via email correspondence, contributing editor Singto Saro-Wiwa, writes:
“We are creating awareness about Africans and how we live; we are bringing some form of structure or organisation that budding enterprises may one day emulate, and we are filling a void, most especially for Africans in the diaspora.”