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African voices in India

 John Uche Jesus |  2015-03-22 21:31:15.0  |  New Delhi

African voices in India

India is a country with an ancient traditional designs, yet an emerging fashion industry. Though a handful of designers existed prior to the 1980 and late 80s but there was rapid  growth in the industry in 1990s. This was the result of increasing exposure to global fashion and the economic boom after the economic liberalisation of the Indian economy in 1990. The following decades firmly established India as a big player in global fashion.

Embroidery is the famous trademark of Indian fashion, a art of sewing distinct thread patterns. A way to include the traditional look and create a new fashion statement includes embroidery applied to different dresses, skirts, shirts, and pants to reflect the western culture influence as well as include the Indian tradition. The history of India fashion industry cannot be completed without giving credit to Bollywood industry because it is Indian gateway. Lots of people in Africa knew about Indian traditional designs through Bollywood films which were most  popular in Africa in 1980s and 90s. Though Bollywood is no longer too popular in Africa today, the birth of Nigerian Nollywood inspired and gave birth to Ghollywood of Ghana and so many other film industries across Africa, yet Bollywood still have lots of ardent fans in Nigeria.   


 Fashion industry in India is big enough to accommodate as many designers as possible. I have never regretted being part of it, it is made up of civilised minds which has helped  foreign nationals to adapt so easily. Good number of Africans are wearing  Indian traditional saree and sherwani for African traditional marriage and that speaks the acceptance of typical Indian fashion in Nigeria. 
Diamond Ark brand is planning to set up ethnic wear workshop in Nigeria in few months time, some Indian tailors will be employed to give our clients the real superb quality saree and sherwani.

Apart from the traditional garments like saree, dhoti, anarkali and so on, India has also diversified to other designs like western suits, shirts, gowns, casual jeans and so on. There are few designers or brands that are pushing the boundaries of what is accepted as norms or the status quo, these avant-garde designers are few.  The avant-garde is considered by some to be a hallmark of modernism, as distinct from postmodernism.  Diamond Ark fashion brand has aligned with these avant-garde designers. Through Diamond Ark “Bespoke” tailoring   we have developed unique styles of our own, reflecting our creativity in western garments and ancient traditions of Indian and African craftsmanship in a contemporary manner. Our understanding of ancient designs and the innovative use of traditional crafts has created a new classicism.

Bespoke is an adjective for anything commissioned to a particular specification. It may be altered or tailored to the customs, tastes or usage of an individual purchaser. Synonyms are “Custom-made”, “made to order”, and “made to measure”. Antonyms are “Off-the-shelf” and “ready-to-wear”.
“Bespoke” is a term derived in the 18th century when a cloth was considered to “be spoken for”, when it was selected by a customer at a Savile Row tailoring establishment. At that time any suit which was made after the customer selected the cloth was called a “bespoke” suit. However, today more than one process of tailoring is offered. What was “truly bespoke” in essence is one of the offerings, besides made-to-measure and ready to wear, and some adaptations of all these types of tailoring.

Diamond Ark bespoke tailoring is the high end suit making technique. It involves the maximum human touch and provides the highest level of individual customisation. Most tailors are offering a short cut version of this process and calling it “bespoke”. They have ready patterns of sizes 38, 40, 42, 44 and so on and make minor changes to somewhat fit you. The first fitting itself is almost a fully finished suit, with only the collar in a raw state, more for show, and no major changes are done at this stage. Naturally, a suit that is made this way can never be the same fit as a “True Bespoke” suit.

This version is called made-to-measure and is different from “bespoke”. Many bespoke tailors today have started calling their service “Bespoke”, but this is far from true. India and Nigeria has good long standing bilateral relationship, there are so many Indian companies, business men and women in all markets in Nigeria. I have come in contact with many  of them and many of them are good ambassadors of India, same applies to Nigerian business men and women in India. India is a good business destination because of its stable economy, basic infrastructures and good security of lives and properties.

Though getting a business visa and extension of the visa here in India discourages lots of Nigerians, a situation whereby it takes 2 months to secure a business visa to India and most times impossible to extend the visa here. We are believing God that the new government in Delhi  will look into it, I am looking forward to see more business friendly India. I have introduced quiet number of Indian fashion schools to some states governments in Nigeria and we are looking forward that in no distance time some fashion institutes will be opened in different states in Nigeria.

Fashion market in Nigeria is second to none in Africa because Nigeria is the most populous country and the largest economy In Africa. Nigerians are fashion conscious, they have good sense of fashion, average Nigerian prefers to look good and outstanding. One cannot differentiate the rich and average class in Nigeria through dressing because everyone saves to have good and rich wardrobe.

John Uche Jesus

John Uche Jesus

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