Nelson Mandela wore his shirts: a small self-taught neighborhood tailor in his early days, the Ivoiro-Burkinabè Pathé'O has become the couturier of African heads of state and is celebrating the fiftieth anniversary of his brand, leading the "fight" to gain recognition fashion on the continent.
“50 years ago, I never imagined it would come to this. It's extraordinary ! », Declared Pathé Ouedraogo (Pathé'O) a few days ago during a press conference in a large hotel in Abidjan.
According to AFP and the Afriquinfos newspaper, a tall, slender figure, the face of a wise old man, always dressed in the famous shirts with rich colored shades that have made his reputation. The 70-year-old remained humble despite international recognition that led him to collaborate with renowned French fashion house Dior in 2019.
Born in 1950, at the time of French colonization, in Upper Volta, which would become Burkina Faso, Pathé'O emigrated at the age of 19 to Côte d'Ivoire. An economic "miracle", with for all baggage "the blessing of his parents", as told in his biography "From thread to needle", to be published in June.
The publicity brought by the anti-apartheid icon is extraordinary. In the following days, his shops were robbed by flocking customers. The king of Morocco Mohamed VI, the president of Rwanda Paul Kagame, the Nigerian billionaire Aliko Dangote, among many other personalities and stars of the show biz, are today among his clients.
Success story of the african fashion, Maison Pathé'O has stores in around ten African countries and employs around sixty people. An accomplished entrepreneur, Pathé'O continues to visit his workshops in Treichville every day, where a team of journalists met him.
The Pathé'O house
The know-how of the house is unique: there is "speckled" dyeing, "printed speckled", "salad", "cloud" dyeing, weaving in "Faso Danfani" (a fabric from Burkina Faso) .
“In the minds of a lot of people here, tailoring is a job for those who haven't gone to school, a job for failure,” he says with a smile. “African fashion and African fabrics are of interest to the whole world! And there is an abundance of creators, of talent. We must move from craftsmanship to industry, to produce more, to move Africa forward ”.
The Pathé'O house has just inaugurated its new head office, a modern and large building in the upscale Cocody district. This building will also house the eponymous foundation, whose objective is "to bring out a new generation of African designers".