Engaging young people will no longer be business as usual. We will engage and listen to young people in different spaces, sectors and spheres and tap into new constituencies to grow awareness and action for the African Union Silencing The Guns campaign and theme of this year.

Following the momentum from 2019 AU Summit, where the African Union placed African Fashion Value Chain on top of Policy Agenda. On February 9, 2019 – The Pan-African Fashion Initiative (PAFI) within the context of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) was officially launched on the sidelines of the African Union’s Heads of State Summit, under the aegis of the African Union, and with the collaboration of the AfroChampions Initiative (more about The Africa Fashion Reception event here). African Heads of State, First ladies, national experts, cotton producers, textile, cosmetics and accessories manufacturers, designers and creators responded to the call of the African Union, whose trade experts now want to define with all the actors involved a long-term roadmap to support of African fashion.

What is the Outfit Design  Challenge? 

We call on young African designers to collaborate on creating an exceptional outfit for this year’s African Union Summit in February drawing inspiration from the theme of the year, Silencing The Guns

The Deadline for this Challenge is January 24, 2020

Why this Challenge? 

The purpose of the Challenge is to; 

 

APPLICATIONS FOR OUTFIT DESIGN

  1. Engage the youth in the creatives, fashion and textile industries in understanding and contributing to the AU theme of the year “Silencing the Guns.” We want to ensure that they are informed and active players in discussions about their futures. In addition, we want to harness their creativity and skillsets by providing a platform to showcase through their art, the impact of this year’s theme on their lives and those of other African youth. 

Some of the submissions so far say; 


“Red represents all the blood lost from genocides and war between African countries with artistic symbols of scar patterns informing of ripped areas on the red part of the outfit. The white side will be the positive side and that’s what we need a clean africa with no blood shed, no corruption, no poverty. Addition of glitters or shimmers can be added in the white side of the outfit to represent a bright future once all the killings among us stop”

“Am a young girl, passionate about design, it’s an honor and privilege to share what I have in mind for this special occasion. Due to the theme “Silencing the Guns” I came with a culture type of wearing that is common but it carries the message to the theme. it is a sign of peacemaking, agreement, respecting people’s cultures, coping up with people’s way of living in an environment and mostly come together in one a code to Silencing Guns in Africa”

“The idea for the outfit is to make a difference as I go far beyond my expectations. I don’t want to be the same, but to be better and be inspired by the world at large with my creativity in fashion designing as I tell a particular story/message for people to learn, educate just to change people’s lives for brighter future of today and tomorrow as together we play great role to achieve a conflict-free Africa, prevent genocide, make peace a reality for all and rid the continent of wars, violent conflicts, human rights violations, and humanitarian disasters through our fashion designing in creating an outfit”

I am a designer who always gets inspired by ideas and thoughts other than physical forms. For me fashion is another form of art where people can express ideas and pass information. The fabrics I use are locally produced, environmentally friendly fabrics. So I work in the sustainable fashion industry. My designs show strength, power and meanings. I might be using colors from the military outfits in a different way. People would recognize its pieces from the military traces but in a very peaceful and powerful way at the same time.


2. Ensure inclusive participation and provide young designers across the continent, whether they are based in Kampala, Mogadishu, Accra, Marrakech, Joburg or Kinshasa, an opportunity to show off their creative genius at the AU Summit in Ethiopia 

3. Showcase the diversity of African youth and the sectors within which they engage while highlighting their power as economic drivers.

4. Link the role of the fashion, textiles, and creatives industries as accelerators for African development. 

5. Encourage the use of sustainable materials in design to promote positive climate action. Highlight the importance of artisanal/indigenous techniques in preserving the continent’s history while welcoming technological innovations within these industries. 

More facts on the Fashion industry in Africa 

  1. Agenda 2063 states that “the contribution of culture to Africa’s development is still well below its potential, although there are areas of progress. The creative industry is starting to be recognized in Africa today: e.g. Nigeria’s Nollywood is estimated to earn between US$200-300 million per year, is the second largest employer after agriculture and the second largest film industry in the world.African fashion designers are drawing on the continent’s rich cultural heritage and blending it with modern trends to acquire success at home and abroad.Because of this the fashion and apparel industry is proving to be a dynamic sector, particularly in small-scale enterprises. Similar trends are also evident in the leather, shoes, beads and other trendy African fashion. The rapid growth in music, TV and Film, fashion and lifestyle reflects a rising confidence in the African identity, especially among Africa’s young people”
  2. During the first Global Gender Summit held in November 25th in Kigali, Rwanda, which marked the launch of Fashionomics Africa Digital Marketplace and mobile app – the first ever digital B2B and B2C pan-African networking platform, dedicated to micro, small and medium-sized enterprises operating in the African textile, apparel and accessories industries. 
  3. According to Euromonitor International estimates, the African Fashion Industry is worth $ 31 Bn and continues to grow as well as have huge potential to engage and create jobs for young people, especially women.
  4. According to AfDB small and medium-sized businesses (MSMEs) operating in the textile, apparel and accessories industry in Africa have the great potential of fuelling growth and spur job creation. Today, these small and growing businesses create around 80% of Africa’s employment, establishing a new middle class and fuelling demand for new goods and services.
  5. The processing of raw materials required for textiles and the vast amounts of water used (2,700 litres per single t-shirt) contributes to the emission of greenhouse gasses which are causing climate change. The arrival of fast fashion and the massive increase in the number of clothes that we are buying (and quickly discarding) means that this impact is only getting greater. We must look towards the fashion industry to take a greater role in tackling climate change. Find out more about African Union advocacy for Eco-Fashion

Clarification; 

  • Please note that this Challenge is not related to any speech to be delivered to the Heads of States and Government at the AU summit 
  • The chosen designer will be fairly remunerated for their creation by the Youth Envoy’s personal resources.This challenge has no official budget nor has an official sponsor. The chosen designer will also be featured and promoted on our platform(s) to continue to bring attention to African youth working in fashion, textiles, creative industries and to help achieve the objectives outlined above. 
  • All advocacy for youth issues at the AU summit will reflect the recommendations and ideas that have been shared with the OYE through different channels including online, national and regional consultations, country missions and diverse engagements, networks and platforms. We continue to welcome more input from stakeholders through this feedback form open since December 2018. More info on the youth engagement during the AU Summit will be updated on the website. 
  • We thank all the designers who submitted so far from 19 countries across the continent. We will continue to receive entries until the deadline: January 24, 2020

How to participate?

Applcations now closed.