Dakar: Fashion Week Shows Vibrancy of Style and City

Dakar fashion week in the capital’s Niari Tali neighborhood
(Photo: O’Reilly)

Reporting for The Guardian, photojournalist Finbarr O’Reilly takes readers on a dazzling journey to Dakar’s fashion scene with a beautiful photo essay. O’Reilly, who has been covering Dakar’s fashion week for over a decade, captures the vibrant colors, designs and energy happening during fashion week. He also gives insight into how black folk roll in Senegal. He writes:

Models Amy Faye and Sachakara Dieng wear creations by Adama Ndiaye in Dakar, July 2012.

“Senegal has a well-educated middle class and an Instagram generation that embraces African and American fashions, creating an elegant and athletic style of bling and beauty. Dakar now rivals Johannesburg, Lagos, Nairobi and Casablanca at the forefront of African fashion, with much of its energy driven by the designer Adama Ndiaye, the 40-year-old organizer of Dakar fashion week and a number of other international African fashion week events. ‘When I started it was a young girl’s dream to build something in my country,’ Ndiaye says. Launched 17 years ago, Dakar fashion week initially had only a handful of aspiring local designers and models gathering in often rundown hotels. Now dozens of designers from around the world present their creations to thumping DJ mixes as drone cameras hover above runway shows broadcast live on national television.”

A presenter gets ready during Dakar Fashion Week in 2017. (Photo: O’Reilly)

O’Reilly interviews a bevy of fashion influencers including Jenke Ahmed Tailly, an Ivorian and Senegalese stylist who works as Beyoncé’s creative director and also advises Kanye West and Kim Kardashian. At the Global Citizen Festival: Mandela 100 charity concert in South Africa last month, Beyoncé wore one of Ndiaye’s creations, a Boyette bag, based on the nomadic Tuareg style of embossed leather boxes.”

Read more about Dakar Fashion Week and check out the fabulous photo essay which spans many years at The Guardian.

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