As a tribute to the African Women’s Decade 2010 – 2020, I launched the MsAfropolitan boutique last summer to celebrate the creative labour of independent African Diaspora women entrepreneurs.
The boutique is currently showcasing must-have fashion, jewellery, art and interior design all made by African women. Each of the designers featured was chosen because they offer a unique product that draws inspiration from the Afropolitan experience and that supports ethical causes and/or production methods. The shop has received a lot of buzz since its launch and this is great because I am really passionate about showing other sides to African women than the abject one which dominates popular culture.
In light of this, the MsAfropolitan shopping experience includes not only distinct products but also a historic journey of the African Diaspora woman through the interview series here on the blog with each woman entrepreneur sharing part of her story and her inspirations. I know you’ve all seen the TED speech by Chimamanda Adichie where she says:
Of course, Africa is a continent full of catastrophes. There are immense ones, such as the horrific rapes in Congo. And depressing ones, such as the fact that 5,000 people apply for one job vacancy in Nigeria. But there are other stories that are not about catastrophe. And it is very important, it is just as important, to talk about them.
So apart from the fact that it’s great to discover new beautiful things, sharing these stories is what’s great about having an online boutique. The fact that the boutique is very much about Afropolitan journeys and inspirations… for example Shiri Achu’s beguiling art captures diasporic journeys intersecting with Africa and evokes to me a sense of afropolitanism, Mariama’s ankara lavender sachets have a European flower scent but are visually African. The Eki Orleans Scarves are made of Indian silks embroidered with Ghanaian symbolic patterns and Project Sierra Leone’s sensual tunics are handmade by Sierra Leonean women…
The handpicked items are all sold with a 10% discount off the retail price and because they have such vast meaning behind them, they make perfect gifts to people you care about, even to yourself if you like
The African Women’s Decade is still young, and the more people get involved the better. If you would like to be part of the MsAfropolitan Boutique journey or have other ideas we can collaborate on you can contact me.
There are many initiatives out there which centre on showing multifaceted sides to African women, do you have any you would like to share?