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10 Reasons Why African Fashion Is Taking The World By Storm

10 Reasons Why African Fashion Is Taking The World By Storm

Since 2011, the number of online searches for the term ‘African Fashion’ has literally been on a non-stop upward growth curve signalling to anyone who’s been paying attention, that there is something going on here. In your day to day life, you may have noticed the recent resurgence of interest with regards to African Clothing and Fashion. Maybe you or a friend choose to wear a Dashiki every once in a while.

Whatever the case may be, the likelihood is you’ve noticed something; African Fashion is growing. But why may have eluded you up till now.

Below I will describe the 10 key reasons why I think that African Fashion has experienced this recent boom. And why, in my opinion, this is only the beginning.

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1. More and more of the African Diaspora are returning home, starting fashion-focused businesses

Many in the diaspora have decided that now is the time to return home and start up on their own. Fashion is a very popular sector for many starting a new business, as this is one of the lowest cost, most well-known businesses that can be started on the continent.

Social media makes it easier than ever to spread enthusiasm and create new interest in African Fashion as a by-product. An example of this can be found with Roz’Umy Couture in Senegal, whose Senegalese founder previously worked in the corporate world, but now produces some of the best traditional clothing in West Africa today. One of the company’s clients is the current President of Nigeria!

2. Social media has enabled greater exposure of African clothing

The ease and reach to which things can be shared and people can be reached has lead to a much broader range of tastes being served. This can be referred to as the ‘Long Tail’ of African Fashion so to speak. So that even those who previously did not really have interest, due to not seeing anything they liked, now have abundant choices.

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3. The African Diaspora (especially millennials) are re-learning and re-engaging with their culture

The increased interest over the last few years (due in large part to the increased availability of information from sources such as YouTube and Wikipedia), have lead to many in the African diaspora re-engaging and re-learning their culture. And that includes Fashion.

4. Western fashion has started to incorporate African-inspired ideas

You could hardly watch a model walking down a cat-walk in 2015 without seeing at least some African influence. It is no longer rare to see a Dashiki or Kente colored cloth in major fashion shows and parties around Europe nowadays.

5. Celebrities have begun to embrace African fashion

Celebrities such as Chris Brown and Beyonce have been spotted wearing traditional Dashikis and other African clothing. And as we all know, no-one is a better publicist for fashion than celebrities.

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6. Afro-beats has led to increased interest in all aspects of contemporary African culture

And as you might imagine, African culture also includes African fashion. The magnifying glass has been put on African culture in a big way. Interest in contemporary Fashion on the continent is an obvious by-product.

7. The rise of African Art has lead to an increased interest in these things too

African art on its own has seen a huge resurgence in recent years. With many paying millions for the most sought after items in the space. As with the example of Afro-beat, this increased appreciation has a parallel effect on other related areas, such as the Fashion sector.

8. African Fashion is worn more often by people in the Diaspora, leading to more recognition and appreciation

It is now seen as fashionable to wear African-inspired clothing in everyday life. More and more people are being drawn into the niche due to the simple fact that they see others that they know (or in some cases don’t), wearing these clothes.

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9. Increased political consciousness has lead ultimately to an interest in culture

With an increased consciousness of issues that affect black people around the world, such as police brutality, many have in sought answers to the question of how we got here and found a new appreciation for the culture and traditions of the past. Fashion and style of dress being a big part of that.

10. The rise of African cinema (Nollywood in particular)

African cinema’s growth, through channels such as YouTube, and VOD platforms such as iRoko TV has massively encouraged the growth of the African cashion sector. With many of the stars in the space regularly showcasing the best the continent has to offer.

Featured photo credit: Elvert Barnes via flickr.com

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Last Updated on September 28, 2020

The Pros and Cons of Working from Home

The Pros and Cons of Working from Home

At the start of the year, if you had asked anyone if they could do their work from home, many would have said no. They would have cited the need for team meetings, a place to be able to sit down and get on with their work, the camaraderie of the office, and being able to meet customers and clients face to face.

Almost ten months later, most of us have learned that we can do our work from home and in many ways, we have discovered working from home is a lot better than doing our work in a busy, bustling office environment where we are inundated with distractions and noise.

One of the things the 2020 pandemic has reminded us is we humans are incredibly adaptable. It is one of the strengths of our kind. Yet we have been unknowingly practicing this for years. When we move house we go through enormous upheaval.

When we change jobs, we not only change our work environment but we also change the surrounding people. Humans are adaptable and this adaptability gives us strength.

So, what are the pros and cons of working from home? Below I will share some things I have discovered since I made the change to being predominantly a person who works from home.

Pro #1: A More Relaxed Start to the Day

This one I love. When I had to be at a place of work in the past, I would always set my alarm to give me just enough time to make coffee, take a shower, and change. Mornings always felt like a rush.

Now, I can wake up a little later, make coffee and instead of rushing to get out of the door at a specific time, I can spend ten minutes writing in my journal, reviewing my plan for the day, and start the day in a more relaxed frame of mind.

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When you start the day in a relaxed state, you begin more positively. You find you have more clarity and more focus and you are not wasting energy worrying about whether you will be late.

Pro #2: More Quiet, Focused Time = Increased Productivity

One of the biggest difficulties of working in an office is the noise and distractions. If a colleague or boss can see you sat at your desk, you are more approachable. It is easier for them to ask you questions or engage you in meaningless conversations.

Working from home allows you to shut the door and get on with an hour or two of quiet focused work. If you close down your Slack and Email, you avoid the risk of being disturbed and it is amazing how much work you can get done.

An experiment conducted in 2012 found that working from home increased a person’s productivity by 13%, and more recent studies also find significant increases in productivity.[1]

When our productivity increases, the amount of time we need to perform our work decreases, and this means we can spend more time on activities that can bring us closer to our family and friends as well as improve our mental health.

Pro #3: More Control Over Your Day

Without bosses and colleagues watching over us all day, we have a lot more control over what we do. While some work will inevitably be more urgent than others, we still get a lot more choice about what we work on.

We also get more control over where we work. I remember when working in an office, we were given a fixed workstation. Some of these workstations were pleasant with a lot of natural sunlight, but other areas were less pleasant. It was often the luck of the draw whether we find ourselves in a good place to work or not.

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By working from home we can choose what work to work on and whether we want to face a window or not. We can get up and move to another place, and we can move from room to room. And if you have a garden, on nice days you could spend a few hours working outside.

Pro #4: You Get to Choose Your Office Environment

While many companies will provide you with a laptop or other equipment to do your work, others will give you an allowance to purchase your equipment. But with furniture such as your chair and desk, you have a lot of freedom.

I have seen a lot of amazing home working spaces with wonderful sets up—better chairs, laptop stands that make working from a laptop much more ergonomic and therefore, better for your neck.

You can also choose your wall art and the little nick-nacks on your desk or table. With all this freedom, you can create a very personal and excellent working environment that is a pleasure to work in. When you are happy doing your work, you will inevitably do better work.

Con #1: We Move a Lot Less

When we commute to a place of work, there is movement involved. Many people commute using public transport, which means walking to the bus stop or train station. Then, there is the movement at lunchtime when we go out to buy our lunch. Working in a place of work requires us to move more.

Unfortunately, working from home naturally causes us to move less and this means we are not burning as many calories as we need to.

Moving is essential to our health and if you are working from home you need to become much more aware of your movement. To ensure you are moving enough, make sure you take your lunch breaks. Get up from your desk and move. Go outside, if you can, and take a walk. And, of course, refrain from regular trips to the refrigerator.

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Con #2: Less Human Interaction

One of the nicest things about bringing a group of people together to work is the camaraderie and relationships that are built over time. Working from home takes us away from that human interaction and for many, this can cause a feeling of loss.

Humans are a social species—we need to be with other people. Without that connection, we start to feel lonely and that can lead to mental health issues.

Zoom and Microsoft Teams meeting cannot replace that interaction. Often, the interactions we get at our workplaces are spontaneous. But with video calls, there is nothing spontaneous—most of these calls are prearranged and that’s not spontaneous.

This lack of spontaneous interaction can also reduce a team’s ability to develop creative solutions—there’s just something about a group of incredibly creative people coming together in a room to thrash out ideas together that lends itself to creativity.

While video calls can be useful, they don’t match the connection between a group of people working on a solution together.

Con #3: The Cost of Buying Home Office Equipment

Not all companies are going to provide you with a nice allowance to buy expensive home office equipment. 100% remote companies such as Doist (the creators of Todoist and Twist) provide a $2,000 allowance to all their staff every two years to buy office equipment. Others are not so generous.

This can prove to be expensive for many people to create their ideal work-from-home workspace. Many people must make do with what they already have, and that could mean unsuitable chairs that damage backs and necks.

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For a future that will likely involve more flexible working arrangements, companies will need to support their staff in ways that will add additional costs to an already reduced bottom line.

Con #4: Unique Distractions

Not all people have the benefit of being able to afford childcare for young children, and this means they need to balance working and taking care of their kids.

For many parents, being able to go to a workplace gives them time away from the noise and demands of a young family, so they could get on with their work. Working from home removes this and can make doing video calls almost impossible.

To overcome this, where possible, you need to set some boundaries. I know this is not always possible, but it is something you need to try. You should do whatever you can to make sure you have some boundaries between your work life and home life.

Final Thoughts

Working from home can be hugely beneficial for many people, but it can also bring serious challenges to others.

We are moving towards a new way of working. Therefore, companies need to look at both the pros and cons of working from home and be prepared to support their staff in making this transition. It will not be impossible, but a lot of thought will need to go into it.

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Featured photo credit: Standsome Worklifestyle via unsplash.com

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