The TRUE Africa 100 is our list of innovators, opinion-formers, game-changers, pioneers, dreamers and mavericks who we feel are shaping the Africa of today and tomorrow. We’re featuring them over 100 days and we’ve asked them all three questions.

Adama Amanda Ndiaye is a Senegalese fashion designer. She started her label Adama Paris after leaving her career in banking. Tired of the lack of representation for African designers like herself, she founded Dakar Fashion Week in 2001. Adama then created Black Fashion Week that has taken place across Europe. The next one is happening this November in Paris.

How important are fashion weeks in getting exposure?

As a new designer, it’s really important to showcase and share your work and creativity. Fashion shows are an opportunity to meet buyers and press as well as encounter and embrace work from other talented designers. I think this can stimulate the mind and make you want to be better than you already are. The fashion industry is all about exposure and putting your brand out there and that is exactly the purpose of fashion weeks and shows.

A model walks the runway at Black Fashion Week Montreal. Photography by Jean Terry

You started Black Fashion Week in 2010 in frustration at the lack of black models in European fashion weeks. Do you think you’ve seen changes since then?

There is still a lack of black models in the industry. It’s changing at a slow pace but since people are now willing to talk about it and face it perhaps it will get better. Some people are opposed to African fashion weeks saying they’re not well-organised like the renowned New York, Paris, London or Milan fashion weeks. The growth and increase of African shows are great because it integrates black models into the industry by giving them some exposure and a platform.

Adama casting models for Black Fashion Week

Who’s your African of the year?

African women. From the business entrepreneurs and farmers to the street vendors; African women contribute largely to the rise of our continent.

Black Fashion Week Paris is taking place from November 19 to 21.

Check out

You can follow Adama on Twitter @adamaparis1

Come back tomorrow for the next TRUE Africa 100 and keep up to date using the hashtag #TRUEAfrica