Fashion To Educate 11 International Black Women Leaders Who Use Fashion To Influence

Nowadays there seems to be a common trend among global leaders and entrepreneurs. An exodus from doing business in formal settings such as board rooms or summits to more creative environments, such as our favorite: fashion-oriented events. Check out these examples!


Folorunsho Alakija, Entrepreneur and Managing Director The Rose of Sharon Group

Mrs. Folorunsho Alakija, the richest black woman in the world, started her professional career in the ’70s as a secretary at the International Merchant Bank of Nigeria. In the early 80s, she quit her job to study fashion design in England.

She returned to Nigeria shortly thereafter to start Supreme Stitches, a premium Nigerian fashion label catering to upscale clientele like Maryam Babangida. Leveraging this proximity to power, she acquired an oil prospecting license that formed the bedrock of her enormous fortune today.

Through her story, which she shares inspirationally through platforms like WIE, and international business forums, she is able to trigger business women desires internationally.

Mo Abudu, Media Mogul, CEO EbonyLife TV 

Mo Abudu, known as the Oprah of Africa, is the CEO and founder of EbonyLife Television. One of its programs, ‘Moments with Mo,’ is the first-ever syndicated daily talk show on African regional television. Anchored by Mo, who quickly brought herself up to speed on how to be a talk-show hostess, the show is gradually transforming the flavor, face–and fashion!–of African TV.

Precious Motsepe, Philanthropist and Director of Africa Fashion International

A qualified medical doctor, she once worked as a general practitioner and opened up one of Johannesburg’s first women’s health clinics. She currently heads the Motsepe Family Foundation and sits on the board of numerous organizations.

Crowned the ‘Queen of South African Fashion,’ Precious is known for her impeccable personal style and is often in the front row of fashion shows across the continent as director of African Fashion International (AFI). Moloi-Motsepe oversees AFI’s mission to promote and develop South African and African fashion, which it does via its annual Fashion Weeks in South Africa.

Deola Sagoe, Fashion Designer 

Sagoe began designing in 1989 and has gained international acclaim for her designs. She was appointed to represent Nigeria in a new international campaign organized by the United Nations World Food Program. Its goal is to raise money towards halving the number of hungry people in the world, particularly children, by 2015.

Adiat Disu, Media & Tech Executive,  Director of Africa Fashion Week

 Adiat Disu is media and tech executive, known for her company Adiree, multimedia​, and e-commerce​ platform, empowering and connecting global audiences to lifestyle brands from Africa. Since 2009, their most viral marketing platform,  Africa Fashion Week​ has triggered and influenced a proliferation of many others across the globe.

Her client list includes a collage of multinational companies and social enterprises or government agencies;  the likes of Hearst, Time Inc, USAID, Kimora Lee Simmons, Akon, WIE, and many others.

Recently Disu joined forces with the United Nations Foundation to present 7 global leaders to 50+ creative students and entrepreneurs – helping budding entrepreneurs in the creative and fashion industry to access a network of partners to further push their vision.


Iman Mohamed Abdulmajid, Supermodel

A fashion icon, supermodel, actress, and entrepreneur from Somalia–and a pioneer in the field of ethnic cosmetics–Iman is also noted for her charitable work. She is currently a spokesperson for the Keep a Child Alive program, and works closely with, among others, the Children’s Defense Fund She also serves as an Ambassador for Save the Children, and has been active in raising awareness of their relief services in the greater East Africa region.



Liya Kebede, Model and Philanthropist

Lia Kebede is an Ethiopian born model, maternal health advocate, clothing designer, and actress. Kebede was appointed WHO Goodwill Ambassador for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health in 2005 after which she founded the Liya Kebede Foundation, whose mission is to reduce maternal, newborn and child mortality not just in Ethiopia but globally.

Kebede has worked with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation as part of their Living Proof Project and served as a High-Level adviser for the Center for Global Development’s 2009 report ‘Start with a Girl: A New Agenda for Global Health.’

Tracy Reese, Fashion Designer

 Big-hearted fashion designer Tracy Reese worked with Fashion Fights Cancer to not only host fashion workshops for cancer patients and survivors but to also create a limited-edition tote. The colorful totes sold for $40 and ALL proceeds went towards therapeutic programs for cancer patients. Through therapeutic programs, health seminars, online and retail partnerships, fundraisers, and events, FFC has impacted the lives of thousands of patients and survivors and has raised millions for cancer research.

Toyin Saraki, Philanthropist and Founder of The WellBeing Foundation

A style icon who is heavily involved in philanthropy, Mrs. Saraki is the founder of The Wellbeing Foundation. It’s an international campaign for maternal, newborn and child health, rights and empowerment aimed at reversing the vicious cycle of poverty in the society by easing its less privileged members into a state of wellbeing.


Alek Wek, Model and Philanthropist

South Sudanese-born supermodel and United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees Goodwill Ambassador’s NGO is called Alek Wek’s Journey Home. Through the foundation, Alek supports the UNHCR to expand and launch life-changing projects in the areas of education, agriculture and health in her home country of South Sudan where it is helping 700,000 South Sudanese rebuild their lives.

Wek in her role as advisor to the U.S. Committee for Refugees Advisory Council helps to create awareness about Sudan and refugees all over the world. She also serves as a missionary for World Vision, an organization that combats AIDS, and is an ambassador for Doctors Without Borders in Sudan.

Folake Folarin-Coker, Fashion Designer and Creative Director Tiffany Amber 

Coker, the founder of fashion label Tiffany Amber, partnered with Diamond Woman and revealed their campaign ’15 Nigerian Women of Vision,’ celebrating the International Day of the Girl. The chosen women were inspirational and empowering leaders in their fields.

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