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For nearly two decades Cameroonian designer Imane Ayissi has been turning traditional African fabrics into made-to-order womenswear worn by the likes of Zendaya, Angela Bassett and Aissa Maïga. But it was only in January, when he was invited to present his Spring-Summer 2020 collection as a guest member of the Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture, that the international press truly took notice of his work. For his couture week debut, Ayissi presented a collection titled “Akuma” (“richness” in the Beti language) to express the idea that true wealth depends on what you do with what you have, be it a little or a lot. On the runway, red raffia from Madagascar covered a strappy dress, strips of Ghanaian kente were assembled on a loose coat, and obom tree bark from Cameroon was shaped into petals and appliquéd onto floor-length evening dresses.