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  • Writer's pictureNicole Dreon

Women's Fashion Tour Gives Voice to Black Millennials In Paris

Paris is famous for couture, but did you know it’s also a capital of African fashion? Please meet Adama and Chayet who are giving a voice to the untold stories of black millennials through a fashion tour in Paris.

The women, who are creators at the media company, Nothing But the Wax, offer an Airbnb Experience that explores the shops of Château Rouge and La Goutte d’Or, the centers of African life in Paris.

Adama outside a coffee shop in Chateau Rouge. The Château Rouge area is situated near the Sacré-Cœur at the foot of Montmartre, in the 18th arrondissement (city district) of Paris.

To book a tour with Adama and Chayet Click Here

To learn more about Adama and Chayet and the Chateau Rouge neighborhood, please keep reading.

I recognize Adama the moment she walks up to me at the small café where we are meeting in Paris. She is chic, beautiful and distinct, just like I had pictured her after reading that her role at the French media company, Nothing But the Wax, is to define the visual identity and DNA of the company.

Adama was born in Gabon, a former French colony in Central Africa, but moved to Paris when she was eight. She has a degree in fine arts and has also lived in the United Kingdom. As the creative director at Nothing But the Wax—which was created to explore the untold stories of black millennials—Adama uses the angle of fashion, beauty and art to give a voice to these stories.

Adama and I spend an hour sitting across from each other in a bright red booth talking. We talked about the historical importance of Chateau Rouge, French and African fashion, and what it means to recreate the narrative of being black in Paris. She also explained that Nothing But the Wax, which started as a blog and has a strong focus on fashion, is a reference to the common materials used for clothing in Africa.

Below are some of the excerpts from my conversation with Adama. I hope that by sharing Adama's voice we can all learn more about each other, especially during these pivotal times.

For me, meeting Adama (and then on a subsequent trip to Paris taking a tour of Chateau Rouge with Chayet) have helped me grow as both a traveler and as a person. I was so inspired by these young women who were so sure of themselves and the mark they wanted to leave on the world. It made me want to do the same.

To learn more about Adama and Chayet and the Chateau Rouge neighborhood, please keep reading.

Pictured above is Chayet who showed me around Chateau Rouge during one of my trips to Paris. She explained the fashion movement happening here, while we toured everything from fabric shops to the boutique stores of up and coming designers.


Pictures are from my fashion tour in the Chateau Rouge area of Paris

*Quotes Below Are from Adama

“When Airbnb first contacted us, we were very surprised they wanted us to offer tours, so we thought, how could we actually show Paris? After a while it became clear, we wanted it to parallel our media and the goal of our media is to give voice to people who don’t have one."

"We decided to focus on the neighborhood of Chateau Rouge. Paris is a very touristy city. You go to the Eiffel Tower and the Louvre. It has so much more to tell and give, though, so we dug into our childhood memories. I think every black French person, even if they are not from Paris, knows and has memories about the neighborhood Chateau Rouge.”

“I remember growing up, when our parents visited Paris, they had to come to Chateau Rouge Back in the day, it was rare to find a store with African products anywhere else. When you went to Paris, your friends would be like, ‘Can you get this and this’. For us, as young French women, we want to show you this neighborhood through our eyes.”

"The neighborhood has historic importance in terms of immigration. The first African immigrants to come here were mostly North African but then after the 1960s you had more West and Central Africans, when you walk through the neighborhood you can see that history.”

“Traditionally in Africa there are a lot of social things that are very subtle. We tell them about that and how to recognize these kind of secret codes. We tell them how the neighborhood is evolving and how the new generation of French black people are trying to recreate the space."

“In Paris, you will find a certain type of mindset. I think Parisians think they are the center of the world. I think it’s a city I’ve learned to love, though, and there are a lot of people who are doing things. In Paris, you can find people from so many places around the world, which makes it very interesting.”

“Growing up there was only one way to be French, if you had a diverse background, you had to choose between French and African, but you can’t do that. It’s like telling children to choose between their mother and father and you can’t do that."

“I think African fashion is more colorful and less cliché than people think it is, we use a lot of different fabrics and we use a lot of wax prints. I think African fashion is something that’s quite bold, something that can be quite chic.”

"I like meeting new people, and the people come from so many different places. There are a lot of African Americans. When they pick the “Experience” it is a way for them to connect to other black people, to have a sneak peek into what it’s like to be black in Paris."

“The challenge for us is to embrace the diversity of what it means to be a black millennial in France and give it a voice. We are represented very little in the media, in movies, in journalism.”

“I think people have to create their own resources. I think young black women in France want to create their own resources that are linked to our French contexts."



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