The founder of Liberia Fashion Marketing, Junda Morris-Kennedy, is calling on Liberians from all walks of life to make their voices count by voting in their numbers for Liberian fashion practitioners that were nominated for the 2016 West African Fashion Award (WAFA).
Out of the 21 categories, Liberian fashion practitioners received 14 nominations; some in major categories like Fashion Events of The Year, Designers of the Year (women) and Fashion Entrepreneur of the Year.
In the three special awards categories, President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf will receive a special recognition (support of fashion ). Also receiving similar appreciation will include Abraham Pelham, Junda Morris Kennedy and Sundial Creation, a Liberian-owned multimillion dollar company.
Hosted in different cities in West Africa each year, WAFA is an annual fashion award whose aim is to recognize, inspire and promote the wealth of fashion talents from within West Africa.
Voting is restricted, and an individual is required to vote once for a particular category from a computer. Voting ends October 11.
Junda, who heads the WAFA Nomination for Liberia said: “I’m honored to have been chosen by WAFA. I feel this is an amazing opportunity to showcase the emerging Liberian Fashion Industry to Africa and the world.
“Liberia has so many amazing talents that have gone unnoticed, but this platform has opened up some amazing opportunities for Liberian creativity.
It is now time to be patriotic; I’m appealing to Liberians to come out in their numbers to vote for amazing Liberian talents that are nominated,” Junda said. “This is the first time in history that Liberians have been recognized in the booming African fashion industry.”
She said further: “We want the world and Africa to know that Liberian fashion industry is alive and our creative people are ready to give the world a taste of Liberian fashion and fabric. In picking nominees, I took into consideration brands that were actually branding and marketing themselves as Liberian creative brands.
“I have been working over the past 6 years to build the Liberian Creative industry. Throughout the process I have had the opportunity to identify some of Liberia’s hidden gems,” Junda explained.
“Now it’s about time Liberian fashion practitioners get full support from the Liberian people. Without their vote it will be difficult for the nominees to win,” said Marjean Sherman, founder of Monrovia Fashion Week. Her fashion event also received a nomination in the fashion Events of the Year category.
“This is the time for patriotism among Liberians,” Marjean asserted. “I feel honored gaining this recognition; it is hard work from my team that brought us this far.”
Marjean is hoping that after the awards Liberia’s fashion industry can become a real contender within the global market.
How the nomination process and announcement of winners is done
“Ten nominees are selected in the various categories through the call for nominations and after the voting process the five with the highest votes will be revealed,” said WAFA president Adewole Olanrewaju in a recent Facebook chat.
He added that the top five nominees will go through a profile screening by selecting the Top Fashion Industry Icon in the West African region, worth 50 points, as well as a final SMS voting process for the nominees in February, and is 50 points.
“The top five nominees will have the opportunity to attend the main event and nominees party in Lagos, Nigeria,” Olanrewaju said.
“Before the awards events we will have a media tour in the West African countries,” he said. “We intend to give fashion practitioners the chance to meet with the team direct so we can give them some expert advice.
“I believe that the Liberian fashion industry will soon hit the global market, they have some talented fashion entrepreneurs that can make that happen,” Mr Olanrewaju noted.
He said in a bid to appreciate the West African women for supporting fashion and promoting modeling in the region, the team would be launching the Face Of West Africa.
However, the main date for the audition has not been disclosed, though he said it will take place sometime in October and the venue will be communicated at the appropriate time.