MY INTERVIEW WITH DIANA OPOTI-HOST OF DESIGNING AFRICA.

17:29




Diana Opoti has become a great influence in the fashion industry across Africa and the World with her great show called Designing Africa with Diana Opoti. She has given designers the voice to be able to express themselves in terms of the challenges they are facing but also helping them be able to showcase there collections which gives them a broader recognition. I was able to have an interview with her and this is what she was able to say.

1:To introduce yourself what are your full names

DIANA OPOTI – short and sweet.


2: Where is your ethnicity – KENYAN


3: Where are you situated at now – I LIVE IN NAIROBI 



4: When did you enter into the world of Fashion and Media



ENTERED MEDIA IN 2008 – First as host for Africa Rising on Africa Magic Plus, later as co-host on ZindukaSasa on Citizien TV and then went behind the screen as a senior content producer for MNET’s Patricia Show and more recently as series producer for Mashariki Mix on Africa Magic Entertainment.



As I have always worked in lifestyle tv content development, I have covered fashion stories since 2009 but only started to specialize in this genre exclusively in 2012 when I conceptualized Designing Africa with Diana Opoti




5: What's your favorite thing about being the host of Designing Africa? I have made so many friends on the continent. I get to have soulful conversations with some amazing people in the fashion industry on the continent, that as well as the opportunity to travel across the continent and attend amazing fashion events. I also have access to great African fashion apparel that isn’t available in Kenya.




6: What do you regard as the most important asset in your work

I was gifted with networking, that, coupled with Research, a genuine interest in what other people have to say have made producing this show so much more fulfilling, respecting other professionals



 7: What is your bitter sweet moment  - none that I remember but I regretted not being more aggressive about getting an interview once and didn’t sleep for days thinking about how much more I could have pushed


8: What can't you live without and why?  Enthusiasm, keeps me going event after event.




9: What Inspired you to start your show Designing Africa with Diana Opoti?

The conversation about African Fashion has been going on for a while, but the industry wasn’t growing as a business in most parts of Africa. I felt that designers were challenged financially as they didn’t have the marketing advantage most international brands had – the show profiles these designers with the aim to promote them outside their countries. I imagine that if we grow fashion brand names on the continent, Africans will proudly seek these brands and wear them.



 10: In regards to your work what do you specify on to give it 100%

Research and keeping relationships.  By the time I sit down with a designer I must have been in communication with them for at least three months and have followed their brands growth.




11: Who do you work with to make your work a success. Aside from my production team, the success of designing Africa is largely because of some amazing professionals in the fashion industry across the continent.  Event owners such as  Omoyemi Akerele (GT Bank Lagos Fashion And Design Week), Dr. Precious Moloi- Motsepe (AFI)  Ann McCreath (FAFA) Beatrace Oola (Africa FashionDay Berlin) Mustafa Hssanali (Swahili Fashion Week) Shamim of Tribal Chic among others and their PR teams have opened access to designers. Other fashion professionals have played a big part; photographers like Simon Deiner (SA) Fashion PR friends such as Robyn Cooke and Kyle Boshoff, Vista Kalipa, Hannelize Robinson, stylists like Dimeji Alara (Lagos) show producers like Jan Malan and so many other people have been with me through this journey – allowing access and making introductions and I will forever be grateful to all of them.


12: Whats your take on Kenyan fashion and Retailing?



What Kenya has in creativity, it lacks in business acumen/ fashion business. This sounds really harsh and perhaps the environment doesn’t always favour new and emerging designers.   New online retailers like Ichyulu and Chico Leco are a step in the direction of distribution but they are not enough to support the numbers of designers in the country.  The Tribe Pop-Up shop has been a great driver for more consistent retail spaces and admittedly fairs and events such as Biz Buzz and Nairobi Fashion Market, Kitenge Festival have played a big role in connecting designers and consumers. This as well as magazines with a fashion focus like Couture Magazine.
 I would love to see designers teaming up to create concession stores as well as boutiques selling more local designers at far more affordable prices.

 
 13: Is Africa on the right track on building up the Fashion industry to be as big as the ones in other European countries?


In as far as fashion goes – countries should be looked at in isolation. Nigeria, Kenya and South Africa’s fashion industries are so different so I will give my views on Kenya and how it can borrow a leaf from the other countries mentioned.



First we must make clothes then compete to be fashionable. What happened to manufacturing apparel? Fashion designers should strive to create a business and catwalks in my opinion to show ready-to –wear avant garde/couture, as we know it only serves stylists in this country.



I’d say Fashion weeks in Kenya have been our biggest downfall.  We have run ahead of ourselves to compete at an international level yet our designers barely have a presence beyond celebrity status. Where are the clothes?



There are too many platforms and few serious players. The fashion industry is more than models, fashion events and designers. Perhaps we can start to properly formalize different sectors and grow them to their succession.  One fashion week per country  with many local events  and a bigger one or two for the continent. 



 14: What should we expect from Diana Opoti in the future?
I will be addressing the issues of the fashion business. There are plans in the making but for now  expect more amazing content from designers across the African continent.


15: How can people reach you through the social media or email



@dianaopoti on twitter and Diana Opoti on facebook







16 Apart from being a great influence in the fashion industry in Africa what other creative stuff are you into



I am working on a novel… that’s a passion I put aside to pursue a professional career but I now feel it’s something I must continue to do. 



 17: If you had one super power what would it be and why

That’s easy – teleportation.  Imagine no long flights and hours wasted sitting in airports. #Sigh


18: If you could change one thing in the world what would it be and why



Isn’t it obvious? New colonialism and how our African governments are serving up pieces of land and business spaces  in exchange for money in the name of “development” projects. 

 THANKS FOR VISITING :)

You Might Also Like

3 comments

  1. Great interview - we love Diana and the great work she's doing. Thank you for promoting this. And love your blog too!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Tshquella design factory26 November 2013 at 00:21

    Good stuff

    ReplyDelete

FOLLOW ME ON INSTAGRAM @OLAVARTHURMBURU