Wednesday, June 7, 2023


Fashions holding fingers, Lagos, Nigeria, 2019 by Stephen Tayo. Courtesy Lagos Trend Week Africa. (Picture Credit score: Forbes)

African trend, together with the continent’s music and artwork, is having an enormous impression on the world stage — and at UoF, we’re right here to help it.

Do you know that Nigeria ranks within the prime 5 nations of UoF subscribers! 

Worldwide superstars like Naomi Campbell, Zendaya, Tracee Ellis Ross, Angela Bassett, and Beyoncé have helped catapult a few of Africa’s proficient trend designers into the limelight. In truth, Queen B wore a lot of African designers within the 2020 American musical movie and visible album, Black Is King, directed, written, and government produced by the recording artist. However the African trend business has needed to leap plenty of hurdles to get right here.

The Suppression of Africa’s Trend Trade

In keeping with the Historic Dictionary of the Trend Trade, Africa, like many different growing nations, has been plagued with the importation of used garments and footwear from exterior the area. This apply created an unfair benefit in native communities and thus stifled industrial progress, particularly in Africa’s design and manufacturing sector. Regardless of imposing excessive importation customs responsibility charges in some African nations, used merchandise continued to flood native markets. The textile business in South Africa all however collapsed because of imported second-hand clothes gross sales and ultimately efforts obtained underway in different African states to forestall the identical factor from taking place. In 2015, the Zimbabwe authorities banned the importation of second-hand garments and footwear and eliminated the overall import license in order that future importations had been topic to seizure and destruction. In 2016, The East African Council (EAC) Council of Ministers, composed of six nations within the African Nice Lakes area, Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, South Sudan, Tanzania, and Uganda, voted to ban second-hand garments, purses and footwear, to promote the area’s textile and leather-based industries. These measures paved the best way for Africa’s trend business to succeed.

Beyoncé sporting a glance from Loza Maléombho within the singer’s Black Is King movie. (Picture Credit score: Disney Plus)

Traditionally, the connection between the worldwide trend business and Africa has been indisputably problematic, crammed with disrespect, cultural exploitation, and appropriation. From the exploitation of Ankara textiles — West Africa’s most recognizable cloth — to western trend homes taking advantage of the creations of native African artisans and designers, the road between inspiration and plagiarism has turn out to be blurred.

In keeping with Dr. Shameem Black, from the Division of Gender, Media and Cultural research on the Australian Nationwide College, “borrowing from different cultures turns into problematic when historic context and cultural sensitivities are ignored.” By calling out designers who exploit one other tradition’s traditions has enabled African designers to make use of their wealthy historical past, tradition and textiles to realize world-wide consideration.

Ankara Materials. (Picture Credit score: Waa Trend)

Africa’s Trend Capital

In simply the previous few years Lagos, Nigeria has turn out to be Africa’s trend capital. Acknowledged by a few of the world’s most famed trend editors and business insiders, Lagos Trend Week, and Come up Trend Week particularly, has earned supermodel Naomi Campbell’s seal of approval. The supermodel made her debut strolling the Come up Trend Week runway in 2018 and returned in 2019, taking up a curatorial position. Rising designers throughout the continent have additionally made their approach onto the worldwide stage. Nigerian designers Adebayo Oke-Lawal and Kenneth Ize, had been each finalists for the LVMH Prize in 2014 and 2019 respectively, in addition to South African designer Thebe Magugu, who truly gained the Prize in 2019. For these unfamiliar with the LVMH Prize, it’s a prestigious award given to younger trend designers by respected designers within the business.

Naomi Campbell walks Kenneth Ize’s trend present at Come up Trend Week in 2019. (Picture Credit score: Kenneth Ize)

African trend not wants the ‘approval’ of the worldwide business, as a result of they’re now  a drive to be reckoned with on their very own. Sparking this evolution are trailblazing younger African designers who’ve taken the initiative to create progressive work that inform tales and break stereotypes, whereas on the similar time preserving age-old methods, as they concurrently construct viable international trend companies.

These creatives not solely deserve props for his or her spectacular work, however they’re  changemakers in their very own proper, serving to to uplift Africa’s growing economic system, standing up for equality, local weather motion, and setting a brand new normal for all African designers, thus guaranteeing their place within the international trend world.

The best way to describe African design? African design is audacious and revolutionary. Nigeria’s Adebayo Oke-Lawal and Fola Francis are designers who’re pushing boundaries and difficult gender stereotypes. In the meantime, Congolese designer Anifa Mvuemba is credited as being the primary designer to curate a 3D digital trend present for her model, Hanifa, which went viral in 2021.

In keeping with Statista (a German firm specializing in market and client information), the style business is the fourth largest business on the planet with international income in 2021 price $1.5 trillion. Subsequently, the success of the African trend business might have a huge effect on that continent’s economic system, particularly since they’ve the best price of poverty on the planet. A sturdy African trend business might exponentially alter their lives.

As the style business thrives in Africa, there will probably be extra employment alternatives, investments in growth and elevated international recognition, not just for trend designers, but in addition for the native tailors, artisans and entrepreneurs. Many trend manufacturers in Africa at the moment are creating packages to offer sources, help neighborhood progress, and empower residents who wish to work within the trend business.

UoF is enjoying an element of their success 

Listed here are just some globally acknowledged African trend manufacturers which might be making a distinction:


Seems to be from Ahluwalia’s Spring 2022 Assortment. (Picture Credit score: Vogue Runway)

Priye Ahluwalia, founding father of the model Ahluwalia, was born in London to a Nigerian father and an Indian mom. Drawing inspiration from each her Nigerian and Indian heritage, she designs award-winning ready-to-wear menswear.

Ahluwalia was one of many recipients of the distinguished LMVH prize in 2020 and the next yr gained the Queen Elizabeth II Award for British Design. Ahluwalia’s label additionally focuses on being environmentally pleasant utilizing classic and dead-stock (discontinued and classic gadgets which might be not in inventory) clothes for a lot of her creations.


Seems to be from Thebe Magugu’s Spring 2022 Assortment. (Picture Credit score: Vogue Runway)

Thebe Magugu based his luxurious namesake assortment in 2016. By means of trend, the South African dressmaker tells the tales of his heritage and tradition whereas bringing vital points into the limelight. In his previous collections, he has made commentary on sexism in South Africa, South Africa’s apartheid previous, and femicide — with South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa describing gender-based violence as “the second pandemic we’re confronting” in November 2020.

Magugu primarily designs beautiful ready-to-wear clothes for girls.

In 2018, Magugu gained the LVMH prize and has since been featured in quite a lot of magazines together with Vogue.


A glance from Orange Tradition’s Spring 2022 Present. (Picture Credit score: Orange Tradition)

Orange Tradition was based in 2011 by Adebayo Oke-Lawal, a Nigerian dressmaker. His beginnings are these of a real millennial, as Oke-Lawal has been designing garments since he was solely eleven years previous and is self taught. At this time, Oke-Lawal is among the most prestigious designers in Africa.

The model Orange Tradition is greatest identified for his or her progressive menswear, which has been worn by African celebrities like World Citizen advocate Davido, Rita Dominic, and Ice Prince. It was additionally the primary Nigerian model to promote their clothes on the iconic UK division retailer, Selfridges.

By means of the model’s Orange Mentorship program, they supply mentorship and sources to younger trend designers all through Africa to assist them construct their trend empire.


Seems to be from Hanifa’s Spring 2022 Digital Present. (Picture Credit score: Hanifa)

Anifa Mvuemba is a Congolese designer greatest identified for her viral 3D trend present that mixed two passions, trend and expertise, in an epic presentation of her model, Hanifa, in the course of the top of COVID-19 in 2021.

Mvuemba based Hanifa 10 years in the past and the model has since turn out to be identified for its mesmerizing dimension inclusive ready-to-wear. Her debut present was held on the Nationwide Portrait Gallery on Nov. 16, 2021 Washington, D.C. with over 20,000 individuals streaming the present on YouTube.

This proficient designer can be the founding father of The Hanifa Dream, a program that empowers women-owned organizations that “elevate trend by ardour, goal, and social impression.


Seems to be from Christie Brown’s Spring 2022 Assortment. (Picture Credit score: Christie Brown)

Aisha Ayensu is a Ghanaian dressmaker and the inventive director for the label Christie Brown, which was based in March 2008.

The posh model, named after Ayensu’s grandmother, creates progressive and distinctive ladies’s ready-to-wear attire and equipment. Ayensu reimagines conventional clothes and provides them a contemporary twist.


Seems to be from Tongoro’s Spring 2022 Assortment. (Picture Credit score: Tongoro)

Tongoro is a ready-to-wear womenswear model that produces playful and distinctive attire. The label was based in 2016 by Sarah Diof, a girl of Senegalese, Central African, and Congolese heritage. The style firm’s headquarters are in Dakar, Senegal. Tongoro sources their supplies from artisans throughout Africa, and Diof primarily works with native tailors as a approach of fostering the financial growth of artisans all through Africa.


A glance from Imane Ayissi’s Couture Spring 2022 Assortment. (Picture Credit score: Present Studio)

Imane Ayissi shouldn’t be solely a dressmaker however can be a mannequin and a dancer. Pryor to beginning his trend label, Ayissi was a sought-after mannequin who walked for luxurious trend homes like Dior, Givenchy, Valentino, YSL and Lanvin.

The Cameroonian designer attracts inspiration from cultures all around the African continent. Ayissi not solely creates luxurious ready-to-wear items, however he’s additionally an advocate for environmentally pleasant trend and sometimes makes use of pure and natural supplies that make the least quantity of impression to the atmosphere.


Africa Trend exhibition on the Victoria and Albert Museum, London. (Picture Credit score: V&A Museum)

In the event you occur to be ion London between now and April 16, 2023, then make sure to catch the Africa Exhibit on the V & A Museum which spans iconic mid-Twentieth century to up to date creatives by images, textiles, music and the visible arts.


Talking of textiles, we just lately launched two classes in our 5-part collection on West African textiles by Mina Dia-Stevens. Broaden your data of Africa and study concerning the Faso Dan Fani Fabric of Burkina Faso and the Bògòlanfini textiles of Mali. 

So, inform us, are you aware of  different African designers you’d wish to share with us?



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