Adama Ndiaye, aka Adama Paris, a famous name for fashionistas in Africa and the Diaspora. Sixteen years ago, this young woman from Senegal created the first Fashion Week in Dakar. A unique event on the continent to highlight the greatest African designers but also to integrate ethnic fashion into the international market.
Finally, her studies in economics have not been useless. The day after the sixteenth edition of the Dakar Fashion Week, that took place 20 to 24 June 2018 in Dakar, Adama Paris confirms its appetite for success. With that event, she revolutionized the world of fashion. « During my studies, my father kept telling me: You are black, you have to work twice as much as the others. He was an ambassador and I traveled a lot. The trips shaped her personality and her influences. « I was born in Kinshasa. I keep a tormented memory of my childhood because of successive changes of residences. But today, I appreciate the contribution, especially in terms of languages. Arriving at the age of six in Paris, the world capital of fashion, Adama discovered his passion. « In addition to my studies, I began creating my firm before creating collections». The brand Adama Paris was born and had a boutique in Dakar.
« My strength: the people around me »
At the heart of her success, an event that will become a reference, the Dakar Fashion Week, whose first edition would be held in 2001, and its international version, the first Black Fashion Week in Paris in 2012. The popular ethnic style enabled her to take her chance. Hyperactive, she hard upon that founded a television channel, Fashion TV. Adama Paris became more than a brand, a springboard for creators from all over the continent. « My strength: the people around me. The human side must take precedence for success. But also obstinacy, perseverance. At Adama Paris, everyone helps out for the next collection. »
A collection that as always will reflect Adama’s multiple influences of Adama. « My inspirations are contemporary, a mix of Africa and Europe. A city girl. I like concrete and laterite. I can also wear Louboutin shoes with a bogolan jacket Adama Paris. Some time ago, I launched a new collection of African fabric swimsuits, handmade. I was invited to New York Fashion Week where I introduced this product. I was happy that other organizers hail this know-how. »
« Our success lies in our global spirit »
A style and know-how recognized today. « I am proud to see creators and models from across Africa and other continents. That is what I dreamed about sixteen years ago. I did not want any event between us, Senegalese. For the sixteenth edition, models from The Gambia, Ukraine made the trip … Since the beginning of the Dakar Fashion Week, we have received six hundred creators from the continent. Our success lies in our global spirit.» And to a desire to connect Francophone and Anglophone Africa. « For several years, we have been interested in Anglophones. This year, with Nigeria, South Africa … I have been crisscrossing the continent long enough to identify countries that are experiencing strong growth, attractive enough, for creators to sell their products. »
A federation pooling initiatives
Because Adama Paris is above all a business women. And beyond her own success, she wants to boost the fashion sector. For this, she brought together in last June main actors within a federation. « We met in Morocco thanks to funding obtained with OCP (Office Cherifien des Phosphates). It is not a federation of creators but more of producers and organizers of fashion-related events. The idea is to create our own ecosystem. By working on regional hubs and project finance funds, a fashion show in West Africa for example. The idea is to manage together our own network, our business to give visibility to our creators. »
« These women who sell these fruits and vegetables on their stalls are entrepreneurs. »
« I am for entrepreneurship in Africa and Senegal. It is my passion forever. We must not be afraid to try things. Entrepreneurship does not necessarily go through the great schools. Every day, going to work, I meet thousands of entrepreneurs on the market. These women who sell these fruits and vegetables on their stalls are entrepreneurs. We must value entrepreneurship. The tragedy of Africa lies in the fact that we are interested in women in offices and not in markets. Before creating the Dakar Fashion Week, and TV Fashion TV, I started with small collections, small parades, I started little by little …». And to conclude: « We must celebrate all women. We will change the game by changing our own perspective on women. Otherwise, men will not do it,» she concludes.