Our 3-day Design Hub – APPEARANCE exhibition – took place from 23.09. – 25.09.2022 at the Design Zentrum Hamburg. In the beautiful location in the Hafencity, creatives from 8 different African countries (Senegal, Nigeria, Ghana, Ethiopia, Cameroon, Morocco, Kongo and Togo) explored how colonialism, racism and capitalism interact in fashion through a discursive, performative and artistic programme. 

The APPEARANCE exhibition was A DESIGN HUB AND POP UP event with artist talks, performances and fashion installations, organised by our digital platform Fashion Africa Now, led by Beatrace Angut Lorika Oola. Designers, visual artists and multi media artists from African countries and the diaspora participated in the project, making their positions visible in the context through artistic installations. The event was attended by a diverse audience, the target group was between 18 and 60 years old, mainly from the cultural and creative sector. Our cooperation partners were the Goethe Institut and the Behörde für Kultur und Medien Hamburg and the venue.

For our panel Colonial continuities in Fashion? Reflection on fashion styles and social perception, powered by Wildling, we welcomed the fabulous Aditi Mayer. Other guests included Dr. Cornelia Lund, Bubu Ogisi and Oumar Mbengue Atakosso. Among other things, we discussed the following questions: How does the decolonisation of fashion succeed? Why is it important not only to talk about decolonisation of fashion but also to take action? What does it mean for the fashion industry to decolonise fashion? What are the implications of decolonising fashion for the Global North and Global South? 

During the three days of our APPEARANCE exhibition we attracted different visitors, whether students, creatives from the media and fashion sector or people with an academic background. We had a good mix of cultural practitioners, fashion enthusiasts and media professionals from different backgrounds. On the first day, over 150 live viewers participated and we achieved an online reach of over 6000 during the three days. 

The audience was enthusiastic about the easy access to the actors and the content elaboration of our themes of colonial reappraisal, BIPoC knowledge production and deconstruction of fashion, as well as the curation. We had guests who travelled from Paris, Sweden, London and Vienna especially for the event. The participants were grateful for the exchange and networking, as well as the high-quality presentation opportunities. Our Bi_PoC* empowerment workshop on fashion, diasporic identity and clothing as an everyday practice of resistance was fully booked, it was a pleasure to work with Mariama Sow. 

The APPEARANCE exhibition was reported on fashion platforms such as Fashionchangers or the Design Channel Futuress. Furthermore, we were published in a specialised online newsletter named Gossee. On site we were interviewed by an editor of LONAM Magazine from Berlin. 

We were very satisfied with the result, the installations were all appreciated with enthusiasm and praise. The feedback from the guests who travelled to the event was remarkable, the enthusiasm was for the quality of the event. We thank you for supporting and attending our events! Watch this space! 

Last but not least, we would like to thank our sponsors, because without you the event would not have been possible to this extent.