Senegalese-born French designer Adama Ndiaye held the first Black Fashion Week show in Paris earlier this month, aimed at showcasing the best African design talent to the global industry. "We wanted to simply promote beyond African borders designers who are well-known in Africa or in their country but who don't have access to the global market," Ndiaye said. " 'Why not a White Fashion Week?' some have asked. But Paris Fashion Week is already white!"

Ndiaye has been organizing Senegal's Dakar Fashion Week for a decade now, and has held Black Fashion Week in Prague, Montreal and Salvador de Bahia in the past. This year, at the Pavillon Cambon Capucines in Paris, 15 black designers from Africa (some of whom live in France, Haiti or the U.S.) presented their unique collections, featuring universally-appealing feminine styles with original cuts, backless details and the occasional puff sleeve for volume. "These designs are not made by blacks for blacks," said Ndiaye, whose own label Adama Paris also showed.

The event is also an opportunity for black models to make a name for themselves in the white-dominated industry. "For the models, the majority of them black, it's also an occasion to get on the catwalk since most of the shows look for more expensive white models — some of whom dropped out of 'Black Fashion Week' to do better-paying gigs," Ndiaye said. “I adore Adama. She’s so ambitious,” Cherif, a model who has worked with the designer before, told the Atlanta Black Star. “This is so different than European events,” said fellow model Tene Gaye. “There’s actually warmth and the audience participates. I love it.”

Check out designs from this year's Black Fashion Week, as well as last year's Prague edition, here:

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