Building African Fashion(BAF) is pleased to share the results of our African Fashion Industry Inclusion Survey.
We started the survey in the 1st quarter of 2022 and closed it in February 2023.
Surveys were placed online and shared with other groups and associations in the African fashion sector
We offered incentives for completion of surveys to the general audience and did some in person outreach for the survey in Kenya alone.The survey yielded 102 respondents. In our presentation of the results, we will split out separately results from East Africa and Kenya as we received ahigh number of responses from the region.
The survey showed significant perception of bias in the fashion sector on the continent. The perceived level of bias varied across several points queried- religion, gender, education, socio-economic status, ethnic group, skin color and country of origin.
Overall, respondents were optimistic aboutthe success of their careers and the ability of the continent to overcome bias. However, the majority shared that bias in the industry had negatively impacted their careers.
Our survey started out by asking participants to gauge their level of perception of bias in the industry based on a number of areas:
Religion, Skin Color, Sexual Orientation, Socio-Economic Status, Network, Level of Education, Gender, Ethnic Group, Country of Origin
Questions were asked in two way:
Whether they had experienced biased or preferential treatment based on any of the parameters above?
Whether they knew of anyone that had experienced bias based on any of the parameters above?
The results are shown in the attached media - ranked in order of highest to lowest reported bias.
For both forms of questions, SOCIO-ECONOMIC STATUS and NETWORK consistently ranked at the top as the area of greatest bias.
78% of respondents had experienced bias based on their socio-economic status
73% of respondents had experienced bias based on their network
62% of respondents had experienced bias based on their sexual orientation
Perception of Bias - By Region
65% of respondents felt that there was moderate bias in the fashion sector in their country vs 27% that felt that there was a high level of bias in the fashion industry in their country
62% of respondents felt that there was moderate bias in the fashion sector in Africa vs 34% that felt that there was a high level of bias in the fashion industry on the continent
48% of respondents felt that there was HIGH bias in the global fashion sector and 47% that felt that there was a moderate level of bias in the global fashion industry
Building African Fashion is committed to the development and growth of the fashion sector in Africa. We are a group of African fashion professionals who are driving for greater collaboration and inclusion in the fashion industry on the continent.
This survey help shed light on experiences and perception of bias in our fashion sector. It revealed the strengths of our industry as well as the areas in which work is still needed.
One of the positive findings from this study was that 86% of respondents felt optimistic that they could achieve success in their careers. This positive outlook bodes well for the fashion industry on the continent.
However, the survey also uncovered areas in which attention needs to be given. That socio-economic background and network were the top two areas with regards to bias on the continent shows that efforts needs to be made to address concerns by those in the industry in this regard. What this result regarding socio-economic background and network are revealing could also be simply a reflection of the state of affairs in the larger African society - and may not be specific or unique to our fashion sector.In any case, whichever it may be, it has highlighted these areas as ones to pay attention to.
The survey also showed that respondents felt that bias was progressively worse going from within their countries to the continent at large and then to the global fashion industry. Efforts need to be taken to address this.
Lastly, the survey showed that while a majority shared that they had the network needed to achieve success, a substantial (30%) did not believe it was easy to network in the industry. To this extent, it is important that steps be taken to create openness and inclusiveness across the continent.
BAF through its programming will continue to take steps to address these issues and the findings from this survey -such that we can begin to remove the barriers to inclusion in the African fashion sector. Likewise we encourage all organizations and stakeholders in the fashion industry on the African continent -and beyond - to review their practices based on the insights drawn from this study so as to ensure ALL feel they are invited to the table in our growing fashion sector.