Yaws Fashion Corner: Fashion Education

I am so thrilled with what is happening now in the fashion grounds in terms of Education and training that is being provided for people interested in taking their business to the next level. 2021 is starting off strong, coming with massive changes for the Gambian fashion industry, yes, it is overwhelming in REAL fact.

Currently, a number of us are doing a training on Coaching Opportunities for Export Program for Fashion and Textile Entrepreneurs and there is also training on Technical Fashion going on as well.

This is amazing. All gearing towards a 5-year plan. MAGIC DREAM where we are using a MAGIC WAND to turn our current situation into a much more colorful industry where we can have a better playfield. Let’s say by 2026, we have many Gambian brands doing amazingly well internationally like the Senegalese or Ghanaian or South African or any other African country that is achieving this dream. This shouldn’t be rocket science. It takes strategic organization where the players can have a conversation with the government, which can have a better understanding about the economic development through fashion this way.

What Do We Have As A Country When It Comes to Textile?

An identity that we own like they have the bogolan and kinteh? Nothing really, but there is a huge potential… The cotton trail will have to be revived if you ask me and I feel this can lead to a successful outcome in regards to having a National textile industry. So, of course, we are visualizing beyond importing materials/textile, we are visualizing about producing textile! With cotton as a cash crop again in The Gambia, (remember this was our main cash crop) farmers would benefit. And also all consumers of cotton, especially us. Think about manufacturing at a large scale where cotton will boost the agricultural industry too, this can CREATE BUSINESS OPPORTUNITIES AND JOBS … WHAT KIND OF ECONOMY WE REALLY WANT, DEPENDS ON US REALLY!!

Yes, this can become a reality for us too, IF we take this right and look into sustainable measurements that can help to give a long everlasting setup for this new plan where the benefits for both the entrepreneurs and the country can be maximized to its best and where we can see our tourism sector attracting better tourist.

I know there is a production center coming up which is going a be open for all designers to have a standardized production hub in order to produce high standard clothes. Having a fashion hub is definitely a plus in the growth of our GDP. Imagine the Gambia becoming a fashion production hub where we can produce for other African designers and where a lot of job creation can come through. Thanks to the newly launched AfCFTA, I think this calls for more competitiveness.

I think fashion needs to be taken a bit more seriously out here, we need to have the right policies in place for us and realize that the business of fashion could add so much value neatly to the economic growth (this can’t be overemphasized any longer).

Can you visualize no more influx of 2nd hand clothing and the rise of quality production Gambian made clothes?

It is very clear that there is a need for more EDUCATION in fashion starting from an early stage as a young girl or boy through creative curriculum and activities that leads to building a good fashion program in the Gambian College and University. Or better still do more technical work training in skill centers and to have well-certified teachers that can teach quality wisdom to the people.

About Author

YAwa Conateh

Fashion Designer and founder of Yawscreations
Born out of frustration to go and do her B.A. and Masters In fashion as she has a Diploma in Fashion and decor from Leeds College of Art and Design. So after she realized she wasn’t going back to England again, she started sketching and wearing her designs then family and friends and even strangers would compliment her and so that’s how it all started back in 2007.
Yes, 13 years ago!
Yawscreations is a now multifaceted business doing Fashion for men and women. Events promoting the Gambian art and culture and also coordinating private events for clients. They also do interior decorations and stage setups. Check social media using @Yawscreations

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