In The News | 16 March 2023

Nigeria launches i-DICE, global fashion tech makes serious strides and Spotify's fashion forward playlist gets its first African designer.

Good morning all,

Coming soon: I'll be participating in 2 talks at the end of this month, one on fashion careers (Lagos; virtual) and another on fashion media's role in the sustainability conversation (Joburg; might be streamed). Neither's been officially announced yet but comment or reply if you'd like details! Get comfy; this is a bumper edition. [If there's any missing media that doesn't render in your inbox, let me know! And try reading it online.]

With thanks,
Modupe Oloruntoba


Spotify's Fashion Forward playlist gets the Thebe Magugu treatment, hot on the heels of his BoF interview. Magugu became the first African designer to curate the playlist last week, joining the ranks of stylists and designers like Brandon Blackwood, Zerina Akers and Misa Hylton with a selection inspired by his career and his new collection, FOLKLORICS.

"At Spotify, being right at the heart of where culture takes shape alongside the creators who mould it is important to us," says Phiona Okumu, Head of Music for Spotify Sub-Saharan Africa. "Collaborating with creators like Thebe Magugu, whose growing global impact in fashion is so inspiring, is one more innovative way that we highlight African creativity on the platform, and it's exciting!”

Thebe Magugu joins the ranks of Brandon Blackwood, Zerina Akers and Misa Hylton with a curated Spotify Fashion Forward playlist of what he had on repeat while designing his new collection, FOLKLORICS.

Thebe describes the playlist as two acts: the first being the ongoing dance between familiar African sounds and a modern attitude, and the second focusing on vocal and acoustic folklore explorations. The 55 song strong list features a thoroughly South African selection of legends and contemporary heroes across genres, from Sipho “Hotstix” Mabuse and Brenda Fassie to Kwesta, Cassper Nyovest and friends like Desire Marea.

“The collection [FOLKLORICS] looks at the past through a modern sense - much like the artists selected, who beautifully combine the past, the present and slight suggestions for the future through their intelligent, genre-bending and afro-centric stories,” Thebe says.

i-DICE, or the Investment in Digital and Creative Enterprises Program, launched in Abuja this week, marking the rollout of a flagship initiative that will drive vital funding for upscaling entrepreneurship and innovation in Nigeria’s digital and creative industries, which include film, fashion, and music.

The program is part of the federal government of Nigeria’s efforts to create better, more inclusive, sustainable jobs for its surging youth population and consolidate the country’s position as Africa’s leading start-up investment destination and youth entrepreneurship hub. The DICE Fund, a venture capital outfit to be created under the program, will bring additional funding from other investors into the program's fold.

The Folklore connect offers a guide to global wholesale retail seasons, the Financial Times covers African designers doubling down on upcycling in the wake of western waste overwhelm and wardrobe supply store Waiting For Sun launched in South Africa this week to offer high quality wardrobe kit items to stylists and buyers.

The Design Futures Lab has extended the 2023 lab entry period to 26th of March. South African and Zimbabwean fashion practitioners (including accessories and footwear) are invited to apply to the creative economy project that allows for the worlds of fashion and immersive technology to merge in a radical exploration of storytelling, world-building, and reimagining futures. - Twyg

Jumia's growth and regulation struggles continue:

Play-to-wear metaverse ASTRA hosts a Mystery Box challenge in collaboration with AAMIL Clothing, as well as a twitter space breaking down the project.

Woolworths celebrates a strong balance sheet, even with R90 million rand in loadshedding losses; TFG joins them in loadshedding losses to the tune of almost R1 billion. [See also: Sage accounting shares continuity plan for small businesses struggling with loadshedding]


Elsewhere, Vogue Singapore drives its digital fashion agenda forward by co-sponsoring a digital fashion design competition ahead of Metaverse Fashion Week.

SA's very own Janine Jellars is quoted in this Dazed article unpacking the death of teen-girl specific culture and spaces for it.

Vogue Business reports on Paris' independent talent rise (fuelled by a shortage of entry level design roles at established brands) and questions whether the commercial success of Daniel Roseberry's ready-to-wear for Schiaparelli will measure up to the creative success of his couture.

The industry and fashion fans react to Law Roach's shock drop retirement announcement.

In labour & environment ethics, garment workers blow the whistle on Nike, BoF hosts a discussion on solutions for the end of a product's life cycle, and a Reuters investigation uncovers how shoes that left Singapore to be recycled ended for sale in Indonesia — illegally.

In fashion tech, The Interline reports on the possibilities emerging in twin digital fabric profiles, the infrastructure needed to succeed at making digital products, and other developing stories across fashion technology.

Shopify shares plans to use ChatGPT to build a personalised assistant for shopping recommendations, possibly as part of the Shopify Magic AI toolset that already allows merchants to automatically generate product descriptions.

A DAO funds the production of a 3D printed fashion collection that debuted at premiere Web3 event NFT Paris.

In social media, Alex Kantrowitz documents how platforms are shifting focus from users to creators and brands who will pay to do business on them, and regulations are set to redesign the influence industry in France in an effort to protect both influencers and consumers.

Also, some excellent thoughts on the emergence of the 'taste economy' and brand building,  Nordstrom's partnership with the Folklore Group to increase the number of black-owned brands on its shop floors, Diane Von Furstenberg gives WWD a business update following the commercial turnaround, and Vital Voices takes to the streets to empower women in business (many in fashion) with mentoring walks.


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