Black Fashion Week in Paris, 2013

Designs by Martial Tapolo at BFW 2013 (Source: Pierre Rene-Worms - RFI)
Designs by Martial Tapolo at BFW 2013 (Source: Pierre Rene-Worms – RFI)
Designs by Sidy Counda at BFW 2013 (Source: Pierre Rene-Worms - RFI)
Designs by Sidy Counda at BFW 2013 (Source: Pierre Rene-Worms – RFI)

Last week was the second edition of ‘Black Fashion week in Paris’, a fashion show where African stylists and designers, and those of the African diaspora expose their work.  The Fashion show was held a few meters from the Chanel and Ritz houses, and was organized by the Senegalese stylist Adama Paris who perpetuated the work done by Alphadi with the FIMA (Festival International de la Mode Africaine).  16 stylists of African descent presented their work, ranging from the maestro himself, Alphadi, to Adama Paris, to the Cameroonian Martial Tapolo, to the Haitian Zacometi (who specializes in men’s fashion only), to the Malian Mariah Bocoum, or to the Malagasy Eric Raisina, etc.  This was a golden opportunity to discover new talents, and introduce their styles to the global scene, from Dakar to Antananarivo, and hopefully to shops in Los Angeles, and Paris.  It was pure beauty, and I wanted you to check out the RFI diaporama on Black Fashion Week 2013.   Don’t forget to check out the website of Black Fashion Week Paris.  Enjoy the new era of African stylists who are introducing styles just as hip as Chanel and Dior.  Below is a video of the first edition: Black Fashion Week 2012.

Alphadi, the magician of African fashion from the desert


Alphadi is an African stylist from Niger, with Touareg origin who, just like Pathe’O and Chris Seydou, has revolutionized African fashion.  Alphadi was born in Timbuktu Mali from parents who were traders.  Alphadi’s gift was born from applying makeup on his sisters and mother as a young child.  Very young he was fascinated by anything that could enhance feminine beauty.  He hails from Niger, a muslim country where fashion and men don’t quite go together, and are not viewed well.  However, this has not stopped Alphadi.  After studies in tourism, and actually serving as director in the ministry of tourism in Niger, Alphadi finally decided to start his own line.  In 1987, he was awarded the price for Best African Designer by the French federation of Couture and Pret-a-porter.  In 1998, he won the Prince Claus Award, while in 1999, he won the Kora award for fashion, and in 2001 Chevalier de l’Ordre de Merite de la France.  Alphadi’s work is recognized everywhere: Niamey, Abidjan, Paris, Brussels, New York, Tokyo, etc…

Alphadi's creation
Alphadi’s creation at a fashion show 2009

To encourage fashion on the African continent, he has also created the International Festival of African Fashion (FIMA) organized in his native country of Niger.  Even though this event is viewed by radical muslims in his country as being wrong, and his life was even threatened, Alphadi has decided to continue bringing light to his country’s culture and beauty through his art, inviting stylists (such as Yves Saint Laurent, Ralph Lauren, etc…) and models from all over the world to Niger.

Alphadi's creation
Alphadi’s creation

Alphadi’s originality is founded in the rich traditions of the Songhai, Zarma, Mbororo or WodaabeHaoussa and Touareg people.  His insolent style allies itself with audacious lines and forms, creating a balance between the desert and western influences where he gathered his first experiences. In 1999, Alphadi widened his label by creating along side of his haute couture line a new, more sportswear line called “Alphadi Bis”.  He also created with Wrangler “Alphadi Jeans” for a younger crowd.  And in 2000, he launched l’Air d’Alphadi, the very first perfume by an African couturier.

Please take the time to celebrate this pure African genius of fashion. To learn more about Alphadi, visit his website:,, Interview with Alphadi.