This is not your usual hall for a runway show.
Here at the 19th edition of the Darkar fashion week, patrons are gathered under a baobab tree to catch a glimpse of designs by some 18 fashion designers from across the continent.
Designs from Ivory Coast, Mozambique, and Ethiopia were featured on the runway.
Organizer of the event, Senegalese stylist Adama Ndiaye better known as Adama Paris said this year’s edition was easier to organise due to the ease in Covid 19 protocols, which placed almost all public gatherings on a halt last year.
"It's a meeting of our African fashion family, and besides, right now, with the pandemic, we don't have everyone. We create our ecosystem and we live it, we live it freely, we live it passionately and we live it without restraint." Said Adama Paris
Organisers chose to return to the baobab forest to remind participants of the fashion world's responsibility to operate in a sustainable way.
Textile production generates 1.2 billion tonnes of carbon emissions annually, and if current rates continue, the industry could account for more than a quarter of global emissions by 2050, according to a 2015 study from the Ellen MacArthur Foundation.
"My collection is called Hope. We tried to use materials that are usually thrown away in nature. Here in Africa we see a lot of plastic everywhere. For this dress, we used golden plastic. It's just to show that we can use the things we throw away and make dresses out of them." Moussa Versailles, Senegalese stylist explained
The Dakar Fashion Week, which opened on Friday, and ends on Sunday is one of the continent's longest-running fashion exhibitions.
Some patrons were impressed at the designs and level of creativity exhibited by African creators.
"African materials are highlighted, Africa is highlighted, I think it's a beautiful thing and the show was extraordinary. I was impressed by several artists." Matou Camara said.
Inclusiveness was chosen as one of themes for this year’s event to contrast the often rigid beauty standards of Western fashion.