Wednesday, January 26, 2022

TRAVELLING IN STYLE

By Eva Fydrych

Fashion | Music | Travel & Everything In Between.

Photo created by wirestock - www.freepik.com




What started as a random thought a couple of years ago is finally getting shape…


In December 2014, I developed a new project called #stylishAFRICA. The inspiration came from many different sources, one of them being my first solo trip to South Africa, Mozambique, and Swaziland in the end of 2007; the most amazing and memorable experience ever. The trip was a great example of how important it is to follow your own path instead of listening to people's negative stereotypes, prejudice, and misconceptions. And always take the road less travelled.

#stylishAFRICA project took me for an adventure of a lifetime. 2,5 months working and travelling in Africa exceeded my expectations. People, culture, new experiences. Every day was a brand new adventure. I visited two amazing countries: Zambia (Lusaka, Chipata, Mfuwe, South Luangwa National Park) and South Africa (Johannesburg, Pretoria, Sun City, Cape Town) where I was able to truly immerse myself in the local culture and learn so many new things. Developing successful collaborations with international PR agencies, luxury safari lodges, and established brands such as Sun International was a stepping stone for the project.



Fashion Diary - Zambia & SA (Photos by Eva Fydrych / Fashion Studio Magazine)



2022

This year, Fashion Studio Magazine will be taking you for another magical journey to the African continent. We want to show you the side of Africa that you have’t seen before and you will never forget; a place full of beauty, talent, and creativity that goes far beyond its borders. A mesmerising combination of fashion (in collaboration with African Fashion Television), music, and travel. 

The response so far has been tremendous and it’s super rewarding to see my vision come to light. #stylishAFRICA project is growing in some directions that I could never expect when I first created it. I strongly believe that together we can not only make a strong impact, leave a mark, and educate the world about Africa, but also improve a lot of lives while doing it. One step at a time.


Africa is the Future!



Nils Rothbarth (C), General Manager of Radisson Blu Lusaka and Eva Fydrych (R), December 2014

The Palace of The Lost City (Photo by Eva Fydrych / Fashion Studio Magazine)


Robin Pope Safaris (Photo by Eva Fydrych / Fashion Studio Magazine)

Chinzombo Camp, Zambia (Photo by Eva Fydrych / Fashion Studio Magazine)



Why Africa?

African fashion weeks are now taking place in major cities across the world and the Afrobeats industry is booming. Outdoor festivals such as Afrofest held annually in Toronto/Canada, have been successfully blending music & fashion for several years now. A new generation of designers in cities such as Kigali/Rwanda, or Maputo/Mozambique, have been working hard to put those destinations on the fashion map.

However despite all the creativity and positive changes, this huge and fascinating continent still gets a lot of negative press coverage; many international media outlets tend to focus only on ongoing problems (such as crime, wars, scams, corruption, poverty, and other social issues) completely missing the bigger picture and neglecting to showcase the true potential of African people.

It's high time to change this narrative and give Africa its well-deserved place on the international scene.


New Direction

As I continue to develop the project and search for suitable people to get on board, I have decided to expand it this year. #stylishAFRICA will be now focusing on the rapidly growing world of African music industry and its inseparable connection with fashion.

What can you expect?

I will be interviewing some of the top Afrobeats artists, explaining music styles such as kwaito or amapiano, showing you behind the scenes work at the studios, and taking you to music video sets where you will be able to see the work of local fashion stylists and get to know your favourite artists a little bit better.

There is no doubt that music is an integral part of African culture; I strongly believe that you cannot have a conversation about Africa without mentioning its music industry.



Nigeria + South Africa

Focalistic & Davido - Ke Star [Remix] [Feat. Vigro Deep] (Official Music Video) Courtesy of YouTube



Zambia

Maharzad _Ayo (official audio) Video courtesy of YouTube




The music part of the project will be supporting both established and emerging artists (check out the new song "AYO" by Maharzad from Lusaka/Zambia above!) and is planned as a documentary-style series of videos, so watch this space!


The Future if African

“In most African countries, 70 percent or more of the population is under the age of thirty, a youth bulge that is projected to accelerate for decades to come. Some experts feel that if properly harnessed, the youth boom could propel the continent to new levels of economic and geopolitical power. Others suggest that without innovation, rapid development, and massive job creation, it could instead lead to worse levels of poverty, unemployment, and conflict. In the meantime, countries such as China are moving quickly to invest in Africa’s future, while the United States and other Western nations have taken more passive roles.” - Source: Council on Foreign Relations


"By 2030, a fifth of the world's population will be from Africa." - Source: UNICEF UK



The Journey

“For so many outside visitors, travel to and around Africa means safari. It’s a lucrative sector, pulling in around $12.9 billion each year, according to aggregate agency Safari Bookings.” - Source: Condé Nast Traveler


“Safari is the Swahili word for journey. A journey or safari in Southern Africa is quite possibly the most wonderful experience that one can have in a lifetime. There is something very surreal about riding through the Bush in an open vehicle or walking and suddenly coming upon a herd of elephants or a pride of lions or a dazzle of zebra or any other animals in their natural habitat. It is at once a thrill and a delight. At the end of two or three hours in the Bush, you come away exhilarated with new insights about our natural environment.” - Virginia Haynes Montgomery, President of Montgomery Communications, NYC.


As much as safari is associated with Africa and is the backbone of its tourism industry, the real journey of the African continent lies in innovation, technology development, and investing in its people. There is so much more that Africa has to offer to both domestic and international tourists in the future: from wellness and adventure travel to culinary destinations and cultural experiences.

Sustainability is at the core of Africa. "That is what will set the continent apart for years to come and what will attract travellers who are looking for a 'regenerative travel experience' in the coming months." - Source: Travel Weekly


And how about trying something new and promoting tourist destinations via music & fashion? This concept has been successfully incorporated by many destination marketing organisations in the USA and one of the best examples in Africa, would be Ghana’s Afrochella — the popular African music and culture carnival hosted in Accra.

"Among destinations that have benefitted from reputations as established and highly respected "music towns" -- places like Nashville, Memphis, New Orleans and Austin, Texas -- music has helped fuel a booming tourism economy.
What these successful music tourism destinations have shown is that fostering a thriving music scene ultimately feeds into improved tourism experiences in other areas, as well, such as dining and the arts, and vice versa. (...)
For emerging destinations that see the potential of music tourism to stimulate demand, there are ways to foster viable music tourism assets a city might not have been known for in the past." - Source: Travel Weekly


(To be continued...)


Summary

One of the goals of #stylishAFRICA project, except from empowering African people and helping them find their spotlight on the international scene, is simply to educate people on all things African (have you heard about Addis Ababa-Djibouti railway project? how about the world's most successful mobile payments service in Kenya or the development of smart cities?), showcase both traditional and contemporary culture (how many Nigerian painters can you name?), and highlight the importance of Africa in shaping the future of the world.

By focusing on fashion, music, and travel, I want to start an important conversation and change the way we see and portray the African continent.

I invite you take part in this conversation and help us make this project successful. The time is now.



Stefania Morland, Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Joburg, March 2015 (Photo by Simon Deiner / SDR Photo)

Lukhanyo Mdingi, SA Menswear Week AW 2015 (Photos by SDR Photo)




First series of interviews, featuring Zambian musician T Bwoy and Nigerian entrepreneur/tour operator Jimi M. Odetunde, will be starting soon!


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