Sarah and her African fashion ‘paradise’

Posted on September 16, 2011


On the AFG team we have a Research Contributor who also is a designer too. We love her work and wanted to show you all how beautiful her work is.

Sarah Moa Gilbert tells us her story and you can hear just why we are happy to have her on the team – she lives Africa and simply loves Africa.

In the beginning, there was the Word. Then paradise, later work and clothing.

The yearning for paradise remains. I wanted to go to Africa. In connection with work and clothing.

Fortunately, I had the opportunity to complete the Work Experience Semester for my Fashion Design studies at AMPO workshops in the Land of the Upright Burkina Faso, thanks not in the least to my dressmakers training. Developing export items with weavers and tailors and organizing a fashion show – Inspiration: Tuareg.

It was a real adventure, but as soon as I returned, I wanted to go right back again. It is, simply, fascinating, to be able to do a great deal of meaningful work and to immerse oneself into a foreign culture.


tailored_jacket_handwoven__cotton_ leather_Sarah_Moa_Gilbert_DIGNITY_Africa


When a Bukinabe student friend of mine finds it normal, to suffer through having three cases of malaria in her family, then this is less paradisical. The manner in which they reassure each other by laughing, is.

I have to confess, I love Africa. One can also love, that which one has not yet gotten to know and fully see through. In any case I have dedicated my Bachelors Thesis to the topic, which has preoccupied me ever since that time:

How can all those beautiful and original handcrafts be transformed and transported into the Realms of International High Fashion – while continuing to be produced in Africa?

The clothing items that I have created thus far are made of hand woven cotton, the trench, the tailored jacket and the trousers – this ones fabric even is of handspun cotton, dyed with mud, known as Bogolan. Linings: hand printed in Nigeria, the fabric itself typical European importware, the cotton usually grown in african cotton fields. The Tuareg and their leather-crafts are the reason for the leather shift dress – the leather bracelets are made by them. Actually it is possible, for the entire collection to be produced by skilled hands using common sewing machines and weaving looms, without even necessarily electricity – even leather buttons and metal buckles are handcraft.

Labour brings prosperity and literacy and democracy, in the best case. As long as not giving up rocking with laughter – Welcome To Paradise.




Photos: Sebastian Noack
Models: Buki Akomolafe, Milli Nobis
Makeup/Hair: Leela Klein
Accessoires: necklace Mies Nobis, bracelets Tuareg
Design & Styling: Sarah Moa Gilbert
Location: Berliner Dom

Sarah sends special thanks to Sahel e.V. AMPO for sponsoring the collection with Bogolan.

This piece is our absolute favourite!


Posted in: Fashion