The conversation about Africa and its influence on fashion moves on a wide spectrum. Everything from a Vogue Africa being created to African Fashion Week to a need for sustainable manufacturing all fall under this umbrella. But the truth is, for the most part, the Western world has a polarized concept of the continent.
The truth is, there have been leaps and bounds in the past decade that have afforded the ability for metropolis living. “Seven of the world’s 10 fastest-growing economies are currently in Africa, with 70 percent of the continent’s population living in countries which have enjoyed average economic growth rates in excess of four percent over the past decade,” said Millie Monyo the executive producer of “An African City”.
Monyo along with Nicole Amarteifio are the talented ladies behind the show that NPR (among many others) has compared to an African “Sex and the City.” In addition to featuring five metropolitan women with distinct personalities, the show delves into their love lives, careers and, of course, fashion.
We chatted with Monyo about fashion’s role in the show– she had a lot of interesting points.
On the role fashion plays into character development: “Fashion plays a huge role in the series. At its core, we want the series to celebrate personal style. Each character’s outfits are immediate personality indicators. Nana Yaa’s look can be described as urban cool with a hint of vintage. Sade is the most adventurous of the bunch and her style can be described as sexy and on-trend. Zainab and no nonsense Makena are the high fashion girls with Zainab being the more laid back of the two. Lastly, the stylized minimalist, Ngozi tends to be the most prim and proper of the bunch. Each character’s look was crafted for her personality and for the storyline. In season one, you will notice Nana Yaa’s fashion evolution from when she first returns and slowly see how her fashion choices change with the more comfortable she becomes with being back home. It is our hope that over time the fashion of the series will be the most accessible way for fans to parrot their favorite character.”
On the constant comparison to “Sex and the City” and if the show will ignite the careers of the designers featured like SATC did: “We hope so! Fashion plays a MAJOR role in the series as well as in the lives of the girls. I’d even go as far as calling Fashion the 6th main character. We wanted to showcase the best that Africa, namely Ghana has to offer. The response of our audiences has been great and we are delighted that they seem to be hungry for more. Our styling team which includes: JoJo Abot of Vintage GH, Esosa E and myself worked hard to create looks that would do justice to the vibrancy and uniqueness that is Ghana fashion right now. We can only hope to forever change the fashion landscape of Africa as ‘Sex and the City’ did so many years ago in the states and continue to deliver top quality fashion and accessories over the many seasons to come.”
On how involved the cast is in what they’re wearing: “For season one, we asked the cast to select a few staple items from their own wardrobes and bring them to set. We then merged those items with our wardrobe and created some of the looks that you see on the show. We were also lucky to have had clothing donated to us by quite a few tremendously talented local African designers.”
Read more on the next pages.