Tuesday, 1 April 2014

West African Inspiration: Anne de la V by Anne-Marie Diatta

Today we're continuing our series profiling Senegalese creatives with Anne-Marie Diatta - the creative director and designer behind the label Anne de la V. Not only does Anne-Marie make beautiful contemporary garments, she also has a lot of exciting ideas about the direction of the textile industry in Senegal.

I met Anne-Marie Diatta by chance when I was in Dakar last year – and what a lucky meeting it turned out to be! Having spent a good part of the last few years working in garment sourcing in France, Anne-Marie has a wealth of knowledge about garment construction, including an incredible technical knowledge of fabrics, stitching, patternmaking and design. After studying fashion in France, Anne-Marie began working for some large fashion retailers and acted as the intermediary between these retailers and the manufacturers of their garments in Asia, namely in India and China. Talking to her about this work was fascinating – the amount of detail and care that went into each garment she oversaw is incredible. She also had a lot of in-sight into production in these workshops, and explained that this is, in part, why she returned to Senegal to begin her own label.

What I like most about Anne-Marie’s work is her attention to detail – she only works with the best tailors, and often sews many of the garments herself, and has a very broad knowledge of the local textile industry and goes to great length to source the best quality fabric, including beautiful silk, delicate chiffon and bright wax print from Cote d’Ivoire and Ghana.

 Anne-Marie also has some really exciting plans to begin her own garment production factory in the South of Senegal, where she is from. She recognises the capacity and capability of Senegal to become a big player in the global fashion market – not only does the country have a wealth of natural textile resources, but is also close to the European market and Anne-Marie passionately believes Senegal could compete with the likes of garment producing giants Bangladesh and China to make quality, affordable garments in ethical conditions.

Anne-Marie hard at work altering a stunning wax print gown.

If you are in Dakar you can find the Anne de la V boutique in Ouakam, Cité Asecna, near Brioche Dorée. You can call Anne-Marie on +221 77 606 6162, the store is open Monday to Saturday, 10am to 7pm.

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