IFFAC launches long-term capital vehicle to support African fashion designers at Paris Fashion Week
The African continent has long had burgeoning talent in the fashion design arena, but there has been a lack of investment to fuel designers for the long term. But that has changed in recent years with women like Roberta Annan working tirelessly to support this talent. During Paris Fashion Week, the first long-term capital support for African designers was launched and it’s just the start. At the end of the spring-summer season in the City of Light, the Impact Fund for African Creatives (IFFAC) gathered in central Paris to organize a press conference on the theme of untapped talent and commercial power. African creative industries.
Founded by Roberta Annan, daughter of the late Kofi Annan, IFFAC’s investment portfolio includes companies and brands from Kenneth Ize, Ethos Members Club, Chef Coco, GM & Ahrens, MANSA by Ebony Skincare and Ambassador’s Collective. She is based in Accra, Ghana, and is the founder of the African Fashion Trust, which she founded in 2011 to empower designers in Africa, and where she had the idea to launch IFFAC. She has advised some of the largest funds and corporate investors in the world for over ten years. And she sits on the advisory board of the Condé Nast College of Fashion & Design, and keeps abreast of UN sustainability issues.
“It took me three years to make this happen and today we are delighted to reveal the activities of IFFAC. Kenneth Ize opened Fashion Week and we’re actually closing it with these African designers. I am a scientist by training and have worked with the United Nations in the field of development. Africa is fortunate to have a lot of young people and we have a population of sixty-five percent under the age of twenty-five. It’s a huge investment potential with innovative and creative minds who have access to the technology of people who can do amazing things. It is this sector that will drive and grow the continent. We invest in fashion, film and music.
Fashion designer Kenneth Ize attended the event and shared his thoughts on being an African designer from the event notes. His show opened the SS22 season last Monday, “and this support has allowed me to elevate my work to a global audience,” he continues.
For those who have been following Africa for quite some time, it’s no secret that opportunities are booming in many countries, as the cultural capital of the continent has never been higher in fashion, la literature, entertainment and the culinary arts. But investment and intellectual property rights have hampered the establishment of a good foundation for these sectors to thrive in heritage. In 2019 alone, 1.1% of investments in African startups went to the creative industries, and a lack of formal education and business know-how kept business talent from taking off.
Riva Levinson, who has spent more than thirty years dealing with post-conflict issues in West Africa, attended the event, serving on the expert panel. “Fashion and design can be as transformative as a good leader, as a healthy policy, empowering women and young people to emerge,” she noted.
Chinelo Anohu, Senior Director of the African Investment Forum, also spoke. “We are designed to create trade deals and open up opportunities for African fashion talent, and close trade deals,” she said. “When we bring in creative talent, we look for funding to scale the nuts and bolts, because creativity knows no boundaries or barriers. We want to turn creativity into a real impact on the continent.
“Africa is experiencing a kind of renaissance in the creative space,” said Cheryl Ankrah-Newton, a woman behind established luxury brands in Africa and Ethos project director. “All eyes or on us now as a source of inspiration or major projects and for brands. If you think of Dior, Louis Vuitton, Apple and Twitter, the collaborations they have made with African creatives have been magnificent. As Africans we have always known our power and influence and now is our time. “