How African designers can attract international buyers

In preparation of the annual Hub of Africa coming up. We ask ourselves what the African designers can do to up their game and rise to an international standard? 

Many African designers hope to be exposed to international buyers at African Fashion events and are often disappointed when only national buyers visit the shows. 

International Fashion Weeks work in an entirely different way. Every brand hosts their own events, pays for the models to walk their show, and have to come up for all of their own expenses. Unfortunately, the African Fashion Industry has yet to grow and flourish for this to be possible. 

Buyers are overwhelmed by the number of brands and labels in their own country, where they are looking for designers they have never bought from before, or they stay loyal to brands they’ve frequently been buying from. So, if you want to attract International buyers you have to be super creative and come up with something entirely different, new and innovative, that will be profitable for both of you. 

Also, a big problem for African designers is that most of them do not create their collections by season. This is a major red flag for buyers because logically they can not buy collections that will be out of season, by the time their requested quantity gets produced and delivered. So African designers have to make sure to create their collections ahead of time and set a release date ahead of time so that their creations won’t be exposed to the public. This will give them a massive advantage in the African Fashion Industry and also is an absolute must to get buyers. 

Buyers buy brands NOT designs. African designers often think buyers will help them sell their clothes. This is probably the most misleading expectation to have. buyers will buy brands, so you, being the designer is responsible for promoting your designs and making a name for yourself, only then you will actually make buyers want to buy from you. You have to give them some sort of guarantee your creations will sell. 

Buyers are businessmen and women. They will buy collections that integrate world trends, because what better guarantee for sales is there if the trend has already proven to be successful. 

If you are an African designer and are looking to attract International buyers, there is no way around putting lots of sweat, tears, and blood into your work. You have to create your designs at least a season ahead, and you have to push your designs through PR and Social Media channels to get as much exposure as you can. You have to be creative and innovative, but stay oriented to worldwide trends. 

More and More celebrities, especially Afro Americans, are wanting to promote African designers. By wearing their creations to red carpet events, or simply when they are followed around by the paparazzi. Stars like Beyonce, Michelle Obama, and Lupita Nyong’o have helped African designers become internationally known. 

Check out more about the upcoming HUB of Africa here. If you are interested on learning more ways on how to connect your brand with an international market contact us at, we will provide you with a full strategy and coaching.