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First Ever Creative Industry Retreat in West Africa Held with Conversations on Fostering Collaboration and Championing Change

The first ever creative industry retreat was held at multiple locations in Ghana’s Capital, Accra from 19th – 22nd May 2021. It was actually focused on the theme, “Building a Sustainable Value Chain in Africa’s Creative Industry”. This amazing event was curated by Ghanaian Enterprenuer and Award-winning Businesswoman who’s also the United Nation Environment Program (UNEP) Goodwill Ambassador for the Creative Economy and the Founder of African Fashion Foundation, Roberta Annan. The main aim of the retreat was to get many creative African stalwarts together to discuss how they can align and work together to protect and create a sustainable future for the industry.

The Industry Retreat 2021 began with a perfect arrival dinner held at OLMA Colonial Suites in Osu, Accra. Addressing the audience, the founder of African Fashion Foundation, Roberta Annan said clearly, “it’s been quite challenging because when I started African Fashion Foundation (AFF), I was funded by myself with no support. I’m happy to see the tightens of the industry here tonight, because I feel like the next ten (10) years is going to be more amazing”. She realised that a lot of creatives have got visibility in magazines and so on but even with the visibility, they still lack access to capital, production and manufacturing. They just don’t have the support, opportunities or even the platforms they need to produce on large scale.

In a nutshell, the entire idea was to build what she calls, intangible infrastructure for the creative economy through her foundation. The three (3) day anticipated event came up with some amazing conversations by industry players fostering collaboration and championing change. Their conversation focused on the need to forge real links in Africa’s creative industry, accessing funding opportunities and the need to drive the sustainability agenda. The talks started on Thursday, 20th May 2021 and continued on Saturday, 22nd May 2021 with guests and participants sharing on prevailing realities in Africa’s creative industry and how they can change the narrative.

The touch-points in the various discussions revolved around scaling the industry through effective collaboration and inter-African-trade. Amongst other invited guests who graced the occasion with their presence were Nuel Bans, Arieta Mugay Barg, Emmanuel Okoro of Emmy Kasbit brand, Kenneth Ize, Jennifer Ronne of Victoria Grace Fashion, Adama Paris, Rozan Aheed, Federica Brooksworth, Nisha Kanabar, Voila Labi, Ekow Barnes, Ameyaw Debra, Adeline A.A Kuffour, Claudia Lumor and Kofi OKyere Darko.

Specific activities held within this period of time include launching of “Recycle, Rework, Reuse – a fashion sustainability project to address the issue of fashion waste and how to create sustainable product life cycles. There was also the Industry Retreat Pope Up, an exclusive trunk show which was presented in collaboration with the Lotte Accra ( curated concept store), it was actually hosted by renowned Senegalese fashion designer, Adama Paris with a couple of other participating designers as well.

The event was finally climaxed with the exhibition of Kenneth Ize Loom Project, which was held at Mohseenu, a house of creatives based in Accra. The exhibition showcased a design collaboration between Nigerian fashion designer, Kenneth Ize and industrial designer, Nifemi Marcus-Bello of Nmbello Studios. This was made possible by the Impact Fund for African Creatives (IFFAC) in association with the African Fashion Foundation. See the images below!

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