The African Fashion Hub Punching Above Its Weight
, 2022-11-25 05:30:00,
Companies that have the potential to shape the business ecosystem around them usually decide to cluster around others in the biggest regional fashion capital but, occasionally, the most exciting ones emerge in unexpected locations.
“The reason why I’ve decided to anchor Birimian in Côte d’Ivoire is because I really see the potential of Abidjan being the capital of African creative [expression], the same way as Paris is the international city for fashion and culture,” said Laureen Kouassi-Olsson, founder and chief executive of Birimian Ventures, an investment firm she founded in 2020 dedicated to developing African luxury brands.
Over the past two decades, mega-cities in South Africa, Nigeria, Egypt and Kenya have emerged as the most prominent fashion capitals of Africa, serving as industry hubs dominating the wider economies of their respective sub-regions. Until recently, Côte d’Ivoire’s commercial capital Abidjan didn’t even register as being among the next tier of cities in emerging fashion markets like Senegal, Morocco, Angola, Tanzania or Ghana.
But thanks to fashion entrepreneurs with a pan-African vision focused on international trade like Birimian’s Laureen Kouassi-Olsson and Moulaye Tabouré, founder of e-commerce platform Afrikrea, that is starting to change.
“The reality is, when you look at Côte d’Ivoire, it’s a good example of how African fashion is diverse and unique,” Kouassi-Olsson added, referring to the country also known as Ivory…
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