A caveat: I am not a fashionista, and have no background in fashion and it slightly scares me – at Danaqa, I have the key experience of working with small businesses in developing countries, the fashion and design is down to more creative people.
This week has been fashion week in New York, and the fun of the fashion circus comes to London this weekend.
There are some ethical fashion shows – The Good Fashion Show, for example – that we will visit, and we will try to generally keep up with the trends, movers and shakers for Autumn/Winter 2012. We are definitely not anti-fashion, and make sure to communicate what is on-trend to our designers.
In the future we would love to be fully involved in these festivities. It is very much a dream of ours at Danaqa to be able to show off Acushula Scarves, Mela Bags and T&H Jewellery at the different fashion week events. When we are more involved in fashion weeks, I am not sure how I would explain to the wonderful designers in Sri Lanka and Ethiopia about sending me samples for Autumn and Winter 2012, in time for February 2012.
All of our suppliers are based in the countries we source from – not in London, Milan or New York. Ethiopia has three seasons – short rain, long rain and dry. The temperature changes by a few degrees during these seasons. Sri Lanka has two seasons, monsoon and non-monsoon, the temperature only changes by a few degrees during these times. Translating to designers in Ethiopia and Sri Lanka about the need for alterations and changes to colour, design and material use for Spring/Summer and Autumn/Winter is quite challenging, but our designers are receptive to this – one of the advantages of Hollywood films being everywhere is that even in a country that is never cold, there is a basic understanding of the cold.
The issue I can see arising for us is that for Fashion week we will have to be skipping seasons
The conversation will have to go something like –
- “Salem, can you send me through samples for the thickest scarves, in wintery tone – think of Christmas time, please”
- “Oh ok, when will you want them delivered to you and how many? David, you do know it is December right? We won’t be able to have them ready before Christmas”
- “Yes Salem I know, send the samples soon please, make them creative and lovely, they are for fashion week!”
- “Oh great! And when would you want the rest of the order?”
- “Umm, in eight or nine months please”
- “Right… David, you English people are very strange”