Romaine noted that a very large portion of clothing worn in Africa was not made or designed in Africa. While some audience members enthusiastically noted their use of African made clothing, the audience was more reticent about their choice of undergarments. It was a very effective manner to demonstrate that consumption of fashion in Africa is primarily a story of importation rather than domestic creation and exportation. Romaine also noted, in her experience as a former judge, the striking lack of awareness on the part of infringers and creators in the industry.
|South Africa Fashion Week|
Simon Deiner / SDR Photo
The report's recommendations include the following: support for the strengthening of national IP offices, cross-bordering licensing schemes and further IP training. It recommends that countries should engage in mapping exercises to better identify cultural heritage. Innovation policy should create, "preferential credit schemes to women fashion designers can enable gender empowerment in the fashion trade by incentivizing the use of IP as a form of collateral." Further use and creation of collective and certification marks are highlighted. Overall, the recommendation is that the short term focus should be on increasing awareness and demonstrating the possibilities of IP. In the long term, governments and industry should develop a strategy to build up the African fashion design industry.
All and all, a lively discussion on a topic that has been relatively neglected. I look forward to seeing how the African Fashion Design industry and, the associated policy, develop.