100% creation

Imane Ayissi, a great African fashion designer in Paris

Audio 06:34

Imane Ayissi, fashion designer of the eponymous brand © Maria Afonso

By: Maria Afonso

3 mins

An atypical career, a burning passion for fashion and as models: the great couturiers whose collections are part of the history of the fashion world.

The path for Imane Ayissi was long and demanding before entering the very exclusive club of haute couture in 2020.

For the 100th of the 100% creation column, Imane Ayissi is our guest.

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 Fashion is not just clothing, it's everything that accompanies us in our lives. 

Imane Ayissi, fashion designer of the eponymous brand.

I didn't want to take another name.

Imane Ayissi, that suits me better, it's like looking for a style.

Styling doesn't happen in two days, it's a long road.

 »

Imane Ayissi was born in Cameroon.

Very young, he started dancing and modeling.

First in his country, then internationally.

Dancer in the national ballets, in Cameroon, Senegal and Guinea.

As a model, he paraded for big houses like Yves Saint Laurent, Dior or Lanvin.

Always attracted by haute couture, he presented his first fashion show in Paris in 1993.

Workshop of Imane Ayissi © Maria Afonso

Imane Ayssi, makes tailor-made pieces, by hand, and has kept intact her unfailing desire to make the textile heritage of African countries better known. 

“ 

It's important.

Africa needs this to promote African fabrics that we know little about such as Faso Dan Fani from Burkina Faso, Kentes from Ghana and also from Côte d'Ivoire, raffias from Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea or Madagascar, Adires from Nigeria, the My Husband is Able from Cameroon.

There are a lot of them.

The world knows them badly because when we talk about African fashion, we only see the printed fabrics that come from Holland.

I'm not suing them.

It's a matter of rehabilitation.

Even in my family there are people who wear these fabrics, but I told my mother: 

"I'm never going to sew you a dress in this fabric, I'll sew you something else"

.

 »

Imane Ayissi workshop © Maria Afonso

Access to the very closed club of haute couture, a dream come true, in 2020, for Imane Ayissi, with the added bonus of an avant-garde role.

“ 

I don't want to look like others or copy.

When I was retained in the official calendar, I did not believe it!

I said to myself

"they were wrong".

It took me a week to respond.

The day of the parade, it was very moving.

All of Paris was there to welcome me.

There had never been a Black in the official haute couture calendar.

I was the first, then.

It is a page of history that is being written.

I entered the big leagues with my little name.

 »

Imane Ayissi workshop © Maria Afonso

“ 

My clients are not necessarily Africans, even if there is money in Africa.

Why don't Africans invest in fashion?

When they buy, they tend to go to Dior, Lanvin or Chanel.

Buy them, but also buy local to allow African creators to evolve.

»

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