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Indian, black African join elite fashion club for 1st time

Feb '20
Pic: Shutterstock
Pic: Shutterstock
Rahul Mishra and Cameroon-born Imane Ayissi recently became the first Indian and black African designers to showcase their clothes at the Paris haute couture catwalk. Mishra advocates ethical ‘slow fashion’ and blames mechanisation for much of the world's ills. Ayissi refuses to use wax prints popular in West Africa that he dismisses as ‘colonial’.

Both champion traditional fabrics and techniques from their homelands and are famous for their classy lines, according to global newswires. Mishra penetrated the Paris ready-to-wear scene after winning the International Woolmark Prize in 2014. Vogue's critic Suzy Menkes calls him an Indian ‘national treasure’.

Mishra said he is reducing the quantity of clothes he was producing while raising their quality, with humming birds, koalas and other animals hidden in the hundreds of hand worked embroidered leaves and flowers of his ‘jungle dresses’. The designer has won ethical and sustainability awards for his work supporting local crafts people in rural India.

Ayissi, a former dancer, uses local materials, like the strip fabric kente woven by the Akan people of Ghana and the Ivory Coast, which was originally worn only by nobles.

Haute couture shows only take place in Paris and the criteria to enter and remain in fashion's elite club are strictly enforced by French law.

Fibre2Fashion News Desk (DS)

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