Designation ceremony of Alphadi as a UNESCO Artist for Peace
The Director-General of UNESCO, Ms Irina Bokova will designate the famous Nigerien fashion designer, Alphadi (born Sidahmed Alphadi Seidnaly) as a UNESCO Artist for Peace (2016-2018). This title will be bestowed upon Alphadi in recognition his commitment towards culture and development in the service of peace, respect and human dignity, his contribution to the promotion of tolerance, as well as his dedication to the ideals of the Organization.
Seidnaly Sidhamed, alias Alphadi, was born on June 1, 1957 in Timbuktu (Mali) to parents who worked as traders. In Niger, he grew up surrounded by his eight brothers and sisters. Very soon, he began amusing himself by putting makeup onto the faces of his mother and sisters. He would spend hours looking at Hindu films studying the makeup of actresses. Already he was intrigued by everything that could enhance and better showcase feminine beauty. However in his country, fashion was taboo to boys.
His fathered envisioned for him a career in medicine or in the family business. Having graduated from high school, Alphadi decided to pursue tourism studies in Paris. This provided him the chance to get closer to the world of fashion by attending fashion shows and by taking night classes at the Chardon Savard atelier. At the end of his studies, he returned to Niger to accept a director’s position at the ministry of tourism. His passion for fashion did not stop there. While performing his duties at the ministry, he continued to perfect his skills in fashion by receiving in Niger professors from Chardon Savard.
In 1983, he decided to dedicate himself entirely to fashion. In 1985, he created his haute couture line that he presented in his first fashion show organized in Paris during the International Tourism Tradeshow. EUREKA!!! From that moment on, Alphadi has racked up success after success. There is no corner in the world unfamiliar to his fashion shows: Niamey, Abidjan, Paris, Bruxelles, Nez York, Washington, Quebec, Tokyo, etc.
Twenty years of career in fashion later along with fashion shows organized all over the world, with boutiques in Africa, the United States, Europe and most importantly, an internationally respected brand, Alphadi is without a doubt one of the most well known African designers from the continent.
At 47, well seasoned, warm and very affable, this desert child is a ready talker when it comes to his domain. Speak to him of fashion, and he comes to life. This artist firmly believes that fashion and culture are the industries that can lift Africa to the ranks of prosperous nations. All one has to do is to believe and to want it.
In 1998, he created the first FIMA, the International Festival of African Fashion which was located in Niger. This event allowed African designers to come together with other international designers such as Yves Saint Laurent, Kenzo, Jean Paul Gaultier and Paco Rabanne. Since then, the event has been going on every 2 years. In 2007, he launched a new contest during the FIMA and Hip Hop FIMA Contest.