“Looking good from all angles.” – by Andrew Mahiga

One industry thing that is clearly and evidently booming in Tanzania is its fashion industry. It feels like new designers are popping up onto the scene literally every 6 months. Fashion generally tends to boom in a country with a rapidly growing middle class that has disposable income – people begin to wear what they want/like and if they can’t find it they make it themselves. We see a huge influx of Chinese, Turkish and other Asian and Middle Eastern business interests happening all over Africa and this means fabrics and machinery are becoming easily accessible and affordable. One can literally being their own fashion line from their bedroom.

 Personally I feel that there are other important factors that are influencing the growth of the fashion industry in Tanzania that usually go unmentioned if not recognized. One of these factors is the growth of the photography industry in Tanzania. A decade ago photography in Tanzania was mostly limited to events such as weddings and conferences. These days we see a rise in the creative side of photography. People are coming up with creative concepts and themes for photography and using it as a form of expression and not just a form of documenting events. Fashion makes for a great union with these new forms of expression. It is not just about looking good but looking different. Another related factor is the nature of events that are taking place in Tanzania – especially in the economic hub cities such as Dar-es-Salaam, Arusha, Mwanza and the tourist destination of Zanzibar. Events such as Groove Theory, Hollywood Fresh, The Nyama Choma Festival, Kilimanjaro Music Awards, Serengeti Fiesta, Zanzibar International Film Festival and Swahili Fashion Week are highly publicized events on Tanzanian’s social calendar and people tend to want to look good at these events which is an added bonus for fashion designers and vendors of fabrics and accessories. Being a guy that loves looking good and customizing my look, I have to commend the growth of men’s fashion in Tanzania. It is growing at a faster rate than women’s fashion. Not only are Tanzanian men generally dressing better, designers are appearing in the scene that only focus on menswear because they see the niche in the market. Designers such as Sheria Ngowi, Pediah Swank John (PSJ Couture), Martin Kadinda and new kid on the block Mtani Bespoke are making their mark on men’s fashion in Tanzania in their own unique way. The future looks promising. Just make sure you’re looking good for the cameras!