“Can we use original materials, and at the same time take of the environment?” asks emerging Tanzanian designer Evelyne Babin during Africa Fashion Week 2018. “Because, that’s where the fashion industry is leading. We need to take care of the environment.”
Babin, a graduate from the University for the Creative Arts, Epsom, won the Hilary Alexander Trailblazing Award by Swarovski at Graduate Fashion Week earlier this year and is shining a light on Tanzanian issues with her artisanal use of local, natural materials including hessian, kanga and banana leaves.
As Diana Opoti, a Kenyan fashion PR, points out in The State of Fashion 2018 Report from the Business of Fashion and McKinsey & Co., Africa is growing on its own terms, and Tanzania’s part of this rich, cultural tapestry is ripe for Babin, as an African creative, to leaven.
“My inspiration comes from where I come from, in Tanzania and Kilimanjaro, where the majority of farmers there farm bananas, so I use the leaves in my collections,” she explains to ORDRE. “They use banana for everything — from making beds and houses to clothes — so I’m going back to the tradition.”
With analysts and entrepreneurs, including Jack Ma, predicting that over the next 30 to 50 years, Africa will drive the global economy, it should come as no surprise that entrepreneurial, visionary talents such as Babin will soon be populating not only global runways but wardrobes too.