As a result, a number of industries have thrived, one of them being the fashion sector; in particular the luxury end. Not so long ago, the words Africa and luxury would have been thought to be mutually exclusive however, thanks to a new generation of creatives who refuse to be limited, Africa is the new frontier for luxury fashion, on our own terms.
According to a KPMG report on the luxury sector in a local and global context, ‘’The global luxury goods segment has reached a more mature phase in recent years, with slower but more readily sustainable growth potential. The continent [Africa] continues to hold strong medium-term economic growth potential.’’
Luxury goods have been defined as products and services which are not essential to basic needs, for which demand rises more than proportionally than a rise in income. In other words, they are not within the reach of the average consumer and positions brands at a higher level. Of course, the cost of production and the quality of goods rises in direct proportion.
As consumers become more wealthy, there is an increased demand for luxury goods. Africans have also had a significant impact on the luxury good sector abroad, using their spending power to boost the economy but it’s finally time for us to come home to roost. As the African luxury sector grows, we need to use our spending power to grow our own economy and empower luxury designers.
Globally, the luxury goods market is worth in excess of $1.5tr, as stated in research by global business consulting firm, Bain & Company. They expect this to even grow by up to 5% per year over the next three years. So, where does Africa fit into this picture?
This deluge of wealthy consumers could spell the beginning of great things from Africa as African brands will have the opportunity to compete with the most famous brands in the world. Whilst United States and Europe markets currently dominate, we can clearly see the rise of luxury African brands and they are certainly catching the eye of international consumers.
From brands like Kenneth Ize whose recent Parisian presentation was a huge hit to Maxhosa by Laduma who is making waves with his luxury knitwear. Has the time come for African brands to take their rightful place beside the luxury giants?
Well, founder of Luxury Connect Africa and purveyor of luxury goods Uche Pezard may have the answer. Uche, a globally recognised business pioneer and a powerful thought-leader in the luxury sector has noticed a growing demand for luxury products from Africa.
She recently held a Luxury Connect Africa conference which pulled together some of the biggest names in the African fashion industry and luxury sector. According to Luxury Society, ‘’the event featured panel discussions, a meticulously curated 3-day B2B trade exhibition and a tasteful mixer of industry stakeholders. Eight of Africa’s most prestigious brands exhibited their products and shared their extraordinary journeys, across the range of African luxury.’’
Speaking at the event, Uche said, "We're currently in the age of content and consumers consume content before they consume products. People use social media, digital media and the ease of sharing information.
Consumers are generally aware of brands' back stories, heritage stories, authentic stories and people buy into that first before they buy into the products."
She continues, ‘’African creators, designers, entrepreneurs and innovators are beginning to take advantage of the new access to international markets whether through e-commerce or social shopping or international travel. They're beginning to gain a real footprint in the international market space."
Uche herself is putting her money where her mouth is an investing in securing the future of these African brands. She represents various luxury labels including South Africa's Maxhosa By Laduma and Tiffany Amber from Nigeria. She has plans for expansion and to guide the African labels towards the same profound status as their international counterparts.
African luxury is certainly on the move however, we are lacking the fundamental business acumen and the necessary mentorship and leadership to position ourselves properly. Thanks to women like Uche Pezard, that is slowly changing and in the next few years, the words Africa and luxury will be mentioned in the very same breath.