UNESCO says demand for African fashion is skyrocketing

In Lagos, Nigeria, the runway is busier than ever.

According to a UNESCO report released during Lagos Fashion Week, Africa’s fashion industry is rapidly growing to meet local and international demand.

But it’s also lacking the adequate investment to achieve its full potential.

Currently valued at $15.5 billion worth of exports annually, the earnings from the continent’s fashion industry could triple over a decade with the right investment and infrastructure, according to the United Nations cultural body.

“It’s people now coming to realize that there is a lot of treasure in the Nigerian culture and particularly in the fashion industry,” says fashion designer Ejiro Amos-Tafiri.

Across the continent, fashion continues to grow on various fronts – including in movies and films – in the form of textiles, garments as well as accessories and fine crafts, all with a long history of prestige and symbolic of the African culture.

“We are very social people. We have such a joie de vivre nature and such a bold personality. So, with all of this, the fashion has to be right there to support and to be part of that growth,” says Amos-Tafiri .

The demand for African fashion brands is also spurred by

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2000s Fashion Trends That Revived Popular Y2K Styles

Fashion trends inspired by the early Aughts have repeatedly returned in recent years, proving that the 2000s just can’t be shaken. As Millennials and Gen Z satisfy their craving for nostalgia, styles not seen for decades have bubbled up on social media and, in many cases, the catwalk.

Google’s latest data further proves that the 2000s craze hasn’t cratered — in fact, searches for Y2K-related trends reached record highs in 2023. Here, 10 2000s trends that dominated the search engine.

Ballet flats

y2k fashion trends, ballet flats 2000s style trends, LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - SEPTEMBER 21: Alexa Chung sighting on September 21, 2009 in London, England.  (Photo by Fred Duval/FilmMagic)

Alexa Chung in 2009.

FilmMagic

The emergence of balletcore naturally revived one of the Millennium’s favorite footwear trends. Brands like Sandy Liang and Miu Miu have released ballet flats in recent seasons, with mary jane styles spurring a dancer-off-duty craze. Google searches for “Are ballet flats back in style?” peaked in 2023, according to the tech company.

Puka shell necklaces

y2k fashion trends, 2000s style trends, LONDON - JUNE 21: Actress Keira Knightley arrives at the new West End production of "As You Like It" at Wyndham's Theater on June 21, 2005 in London, England.  (Photo by David Westing/Getty Images)

Keira Knightley in 2005.

Getty Images

Puka shell necklaces have made a triumphant return thanks to the popularity of the “island girl” aesthetic, which took off on TikTok and Instagram. This year, these beachy chokers were one of the top trending Y2K accessories via Google searches.

Low-rise

y2k fashion trends, 2000s style trends, Destiny's Child during "MTV Icon: Janet Jackson" at Sony Studios in Culver City, California, United States.  (Photo by SGranitz/WireImage)

Destiny’s Child in 2001.

WireImage

Low-rise pants and skirts had a

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