The inaugural cohort of the Fashion Illustration Africa mentoring scheme is made up of some of the most promising female artists and illustrators on the African continent. The artists are: Ololade Junaid, Melissa Aba Wallace, Precious Adenugba, Oifioda Gideon ,Ayesha Hadid , Ayomide May, Nasara Adamu, Ann Udeh, Suzanne Avarobe and Orinope Omoyajowo. Beginning in January 2024, the mentoring scheme will take place over 6 months till June 2024. The main focus is equipping them with skills to build sustainable businesses and contribute to the creative economy which is forecast to be a major contributor to the continent's GDP over the next decade. Our founder Yéga is proud to be delivering the sessions which are in line with the founding ethos of Fashion Illustration Africa. She believes that the core value in mentoring artists should be sharing the skills and insider tips that will empower the mentees to build a business around their talent. The fashion industry relies on creative talent to thrive and some of the best can be found in Africa. With a youthful population, 50% of which is under the age of 30, equipping them with self sustaining and global skills will be essential over the next decade.

Fashion Illustration mentoring with female african artists and artwork colourful

‘The creative economy industries generate annual revenues of over $2 trillion and account for nearly 50 million jobs worldwide according to UN estimates. It could represent 10% of global GDP before 2030. These industries are not traditionally seen as being spaces worthy of investment, and in Africa there has been a lack of investment in the arts, little public sector involvement, fragmented markets, distribution challenges and lack of IP protection. Not only does this stifle economic growth but it also affects democratic growth as culture and creativity have historically been monumental in times of political reckoning and social upheaval. Culture and creativity speaks directly to identity and belonging and these are the tools that sustain our social fabrics and drive community regeneration.’ (Qali Id, 2022).

Quote on the need for mentoring in creative careers and fashion

Fashion Illustration Africa is committed to not only mentoring and skill acquisition but also funnelling much needed investment and financial support for the freelance industry where a great proportion of the continent’s creative actors are located. More importantly, it is an urgent progression as the  data and forecasts for unemployment vis a vis population boom is worrying. By 2030, young Africans are expected to make up 42 percent of the world’s youth. With such a large population of young people, supportive policies and programs on inclusive youth development are critical now more than ever. Creating an enabling environment full of opportunities for growth will allow the creative industries in Africa to rival any other globally.