African fashion is an excellent way to promote African creativity- separating the wheat from the chaff. It’s a means of art and communication to bring culture and traditions together which has changed, revived and reviewed other continents’ beliefs about the image of Africa-as not only been reduced to poverty and animals etc but on how Africa has been able to function in all diversity of life (by Auma Obama in Berlin). African fashion has become one of the fastest growing industries on the Global scale, showcasing fashion designers from virtually every continent and each with its style. This success is likely to have a positive impact on the perception of the continent and its economy.
A dynamic fashion scene has emerged in many African countries recently with the Sub-Saharan African countries staking their claims on the international stage and catwalks. Lagos (Nigeria), Cape-town, Nairobi and Dakar are recently the continental new fashion hubs, each showcasing her designer. These African cosmopolites understood the cultural limits, they are people grounded in tradition but exposed to international trends and tastes to meet up with the global needs. Talking about a few below is;
A Nigerian, trained lawyer turned fashion designer, based in London, known for his love for offbeat patterns, highly finished cut, rich textures, eclectic colours and vintage prints on his designs –his cut has attracted one of the most powerful women Michelle Obama. He got the ‘Designer of the year award’ from Britain fashion Awards.
An haute couture, Nigerian-born designer caught the attention of global bodies such as UN. She loves the dynamism of creating modernity out of something steeped in history to give her collection a cultural mix. She has participated in fashion shows with Calvin Klein, Ralph Lauren and also known to design Naomi Campbell’s cloth. She has won numerous awards worldwide. With all these, she has been putting Africa ahead in fashion.
A Ghanaian-born designer, founder of the Federation of African designers who was based in London. He designed several costumes like the ones used by Ghana for her 50th celebration, those used for African Cup of Nations in 2008. He’s style was known for the use of quilting, embroidery and applique. He died at 62 years in 2014
A Nigerian- born fashion designer. She was the first African designer to be invited to the New York Fashion week for two seasons. Her dream is to revolutionise the African fashion Industry. Tiffany launched her brand in 1998 and since then had won award after award.
Her design involves the blending of Ankara skirts with jewels (her styled accessories- using the Swarovski crystals and Ankara fabrics). This has created a hit with vibrant people, celebrities and global icons. She’s also earned several awards
A Liberian-born fashion designer and stylist who moved to Canada due to the civil war in the nineties, enrolled in a fashion school and then moved to USA, she appeared on the Project Runway show 5th season and was the 1st Runner-up. This gave her more reason to pursue designing. She is an icon for many upcoming African designers, known to celebrate the essence of her rich heritage via the use of traditional, luxury fabrics, mixed prints, skins etc
A South African fashion designer, known best for his unique and bold designs, described by most as one of the most creative designers because his designs are unpredictable and are easily wearable, not only for runways. Also his work has been showcased at Cape Town, New York and Paris Fashion Week
Lanre Da Silva Ajayi
A Nigerian designer known for her sophisticated designs by using African fabrics and adding patterns on them to make them stand out n loved by the modern women, celebrities and media houses. She is known all over Africa and outside.
MATAANO- (IDYL & AYAAN)
The Somalia twin (Mataano) own and run this fashion house. Uniqueness about their designs is that they are multicultural, they were featured by Oprah on Skype (served as their door opener), continuing in this unique designs of theirs, they had gained a spot on the African fashion designers list.
ANNA NGANN YONN- KREYANN
KREYANN is one of the designers who have been able to live up to the statement that fashion isn’t best kept to ladies only (as believed by most men), she has managed to become one of the Africa’s best. Her world of fashion started when she signed up with ESMOD-PARIS and after graduation returned to Cameroun where she opened her showroom over 10 years ago. KREYANN symbolizes glamour and audacity and has made designing clothes wearable by everyone.
AISHA OBUOBI- CHRISTIE BROWN
A Ghanaian designer whose designs are best known for fusion of Ankara prints with Kente and bright fashion pieces. As a final year student in the University of Ghana, she had her brand first launched in 2008. She’s regarded as a luxury designer and has won several awards. She’s the Creative Director of Christie Brown which is aimed to satisfy the stylish urge of “that modern women who seeks a true taste of Africa”
This black woman was the first to win the Elle New Talent show with her talent “Lions Cloth and Ashes”. Her sense of style has presented African culture through her fashion. Others include; Lisa Folawiyo, Ituen Basi, , Eku Edewor and many more.
ABOUT THE CONTRIBUTOR.
ADESANYA OLUWATOBILOBA, A 400 Level Medical student, College of medicine, University of Ibadan, Oyo state. She is a member of Primebella Initiatives (A non governmental organisation where young females are trained and equipped to build their future). Oluwatobiloba likes art, fashion, music and focuses on improving love-driven relationships. Her hobbies are; travelling, cooking, and meeting new people. She’s also into food and event planning and currently resides at Ibadan, Nigeria.