Over the last few months the fashion industry have been looking at Africa. Far from it being all about charity, the current interest in the continent has been a good one at Vogue Italia editor Franca Sozzani is largely to thank. Last month she confirmed that the magazine would sponsor Ghanian fashion week and anyone that has followed her blog will know that she's spent a lot of time in West Africa recently.
Many criticised her 'All Black Issue' back in 2008 for being a gimmick but Sozzani has committed to her aim of promoting diversity and supporting black creativity and the latest issue of L'Uomo Vogue is a case in point. The magazine's May issue stars unlikely cover star 67 year-old Ban Ki-Moon the Secretary General of the UN as a part of Sozzani's efforts to help in the 'rebranding of Africa.' According to the press release the aim of the issue is to 'present a new portrait of an Africa that is positive, creative and confidence of its own strengths.'
'The whole issue is packed with portraits of local personalities: not just presidents, first ladies and queens, but also artists, singers, musicians, actors, stylists, writers, models – every one of whom has been portrayed in a positive light,' the editor said. 'They all agreed to take part in the issue precisely because presenting a positive image of the continent means focusing world attention on an area that has been hitherto excluded, with the exception of a number of countries where development has been possible thanks to tourism. But each of the African nations is endowed with enormous potential.'
Ki-Moon feels the same way. 'Africa does not need charity' he said. 'Africa needs investment and partnership. Joining forces with civil society and private sector, including non-traditional players, like the fashion industry, has become indispensable. Sustainable development is my top priority.'