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"Fashion Journey from Africa to Canada: Exploring the Canadian Fashion Industry with Dustee Creations"

Updated: Dec 30, 2023




Canada fashion industry

By: Dikeledi Alocia Ngakane

upcoming Black Canadian fashion blogger and designer
Dikeledi Alocia Ngakane

Image by: Dikeledi Alocia Ngakane


I noticed significant cultural differences while transitioning from the dusty streets of Soweto, South Africa, to North America, specifically Canada. These differences ranged from fashion, culinary arts, music, and lifestyle to climate. As the founder of Dustee Creations, my fashion brand, I was particularly interested in exploring the fashion industry in North America. I also started a fashion blog sharing my experiences and insights on the latest fashion trends. My experience allowed me to explore the complexities of these various domains and gain a deeper understanding of the technical details that contribute to their overall functionality and appeal.


Being a first-time mother, wife, and fashion student in a foreign land can be arduous. However, I view change as an optimistic force that propels me forward. I enrolled in a program for garment construction at Stadio.ac.za (previously known as LISOF) in South Africa. I completed a Train the Trainer-Facilitator course at learnfast.co.za.


Despite relocating to Canada, I appreciate and incorporate African fashion into my wardrobe and Dustee Creations. African prints are renowned for their vivid and striking designs reflecting the continent's rich cultural heritage. The fashion industry in Africa is known for its intricate and aesthetically pleasing designs. The vibrant hues and bold patterns evoke a sense of celebration, while the style exudes sophistication and refinement.


Sepedi African Traditional Attire
Sepedi Traditional Attire

Tsonga African Attire
Tsonga Traditional Dress

As an aspiring fashion marketer and merchandiser in the fashion industry, I focus on understanding the Canadian fashion industry comprehensively. To achieve this, I am pursuing my studies in Marketing and Merchandising in Fashion, specializing in Marketing at vcad.ca (Visual College of Art & Designs). I prioritize conducting extensive research and analysis to gain in-depth knowledge of the industry's technical aspects and nuances.


I have gained valuable expertise in various technical areas throughout my journey of exploring the fashion industry and continuously learning about its intricacies. These include fashion styling, fashion forecasting, visual display and merchandising, acrylic painting techniques, effective business communication, garment construction, apparel production, Canadian retailing, global marketing strategies, fashion marketing, public relations in the fashion industry, fashion writing/style blog, sustainability practices, brand development and management, fashion promotion, digital business, fashion illustration, and product development. All this gives Dustee Creations room for growth and improvement as a brand.


During my research and studies, I stumbled upon reviewmoos.ca, a website offering a wealth of Canadian fashion industry data. The statistics presented on the platform provide valuable insights for industry experts and enthusiasts.

For instance, the data shows that the average Canadian household spends approximately $25 on clothes per month.

Moreover, Gen Zers in Canada exhibit a penchant for second-hand fashion, with a purchase rate that is 2.5 times faster than any other generation cohort. Additionally, about 27% of Canadians are classified as Style Seekers, indicating a growing interest in fashion and style among the country's populace.reviewmoos.ca


According to Canadian fashion industry statistics, a vast majority of fashion enthusiasts, around 95%, follow fashion trends, 90% have access to the latest fashion, and 76% provide fashion advice to others. This can make one wonder if Canada is a favorable country for pursuing fashion design as a career.


The fact is, Canada has emerged as a top fashion hub, and it even hosts a globally recognized fashion week each year in cities such as Toronto, Vancouver, and more. Moreover, several Canadian fashion brands such as ALDO, Lululemon, Frank and Oak, Canada Goose, Club Monaco, and Aritzia have made a name for themselves.


Canada has produced globally acclaimed designers such as Mikhael Kale, Great Constantine, and many more regarding fashion design. Therefore, there is a tremendous opportunity for those who wish to study and work as a fashion designer in Canada.

study-destination, https://www.vcad.ca/



African fashion, African fashion week Toronto, Afwcalgary, AFWCALGARY@GMAIL.COM, https://www.afwcalgary.com



The proliferation of Black Female Designers in Canada has been a notable development, particularly in fashion labels that have achieved significant visibility, media recognition, and industry acclaim.


Among the most prominent Canadian fashion brands that Black Canadians spearhead, notable names include Creta Constantine, Bustle, Brother Vellies, and Ovo. This trend bears testament to the rising prominence of Black Canadians in the fashion industry and the increasing focus on equity, diversity, and inclusion initiatives aimed at promoting the representation of historically marginalized groups in various domains of professional endeavor.


These are some names they love and cherish; however, more characters are rolling off everyone's tongue.


Black Canadian Fashion Designers


1. Kwesiya

Left: Fanny Ngantcheu, Owner & Creative Director @ Kwesiya. (Credit: Cyril Cromwell & Ralph Astorga) Follow on Instagram, Shop: Kwesiya.com



2. Selfish

Left: Naomi Caron, Designer @ Selfish (Credit: Bruno Balmokoun), (Credit: Bruno Balmokoun)Shop: selfishswimwear.com



3. Papaya & Co

Left: Lynn M. Sainte, Creative Director & Owner of (Credit: Jodianne Beckford & Lynn Sainte), Shop: papayaandco.ca



4. Caffery Van Horne

Left: Designer Caffrey Van Horne (Credit: Sergio Mantilla), Shop; cafferyvanhorne.com


5. Sasha Ruddock

Black Canadian fashion designer












image: black Canadian fashion designer - Sasha Ruddock - Influencer and Designer, Instagram: @flawsofcouture, creator & owner @shop.foc @deddyskitchen







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