All Articles Tagged "african designers"
ACCRA, GHANA – This October 5 through 7, Vogue Italia is co-sponsoring the first ever Ghana Fashion and Design Week. Timed right after the Paris shows, fashion’s most important season will close in West Africa, daring fashion editors to pack their Prada for the extended month of international fashion show fun. Expected to be a major coup in terms of exposure for Continent-based labels, the Vogue-anointed event will also open the African market to international fashion labels eager to find new takers even as the recession and general saturation of the American and European markets have resulted in eroding bottom lines.
“There are growing numbers of moneyed, stylish, well-travelled consumers living on the Continent,” noted Helen Jennings, editor-in-chief of lush African style glossy Arise Magazine and author of coffee table tome New African Fashion. “Thanks to improved infrastructure and political stability, retail environments are expanding fast with international and African brands alike taking advantage… all fashion eyes are on Africa as the next creative and lucrative frontier.”
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The vibrant, colorful fabrics of African traditional clothes are gaining new life and growing popularity on the global fashion scene. Times Live reports that at a recent fashion show in Lagos, Nigeria, African fashion designers from across the continent showcased their innovative, bold designs and declared their ability to transcend the traditional and raise the bar for unique and cutting edge fashion.
More than 70 designers participated in the Arise Magazine Fashion Week show, including a few from outside Africa. Styles showed a break from the long wrap around skirts with matching tops and head wraps; instead models wore form fitting jumpsuits and pencil skirts all created from the traditional Ankara or Dutch Wax cloth.
“African designers have definitely come of age,” Penny McDonald, one of the organizers of the recent event said to Times Live.
“Our chosen designers all created contemporary, wearable, creative African designs that are commercial enough to transport internationally.”
Designer Tsemaye Binitie, a Britain-based Nigerian designer acknowledged African fashion’s move to a global direction. He launched his own label by the same name two years ago, and says his business is one of those doing more contemporary styles. Nigerian designer Maureen Ikem Okogwu-Ikokwu, based in Thailand, notes that it seems to be Africa’s time
“In Bangkok, people love it because it’s something different. It’s something new. It’s something vibrant,” said Okogwu-Ikokwu said.
Not all of the fashion designers focused simply on westernizing African styles. Designer Loza Maleombho from Ivory Coast stood out from most with her collection completely made from traditional African textiles, including fabric from her own country as well as Ghana’s bright cotton kente cloth. Her models proudly wore brown turbans traditionally worn by Tuareg nomads. Nigerian designer Maki Oh’s styles showcased baggy trousers reminiscent of the men’s agbada suit, made from the traditional aso-oke loom woven fabric.
“Africa is quite a new emerging fashion centre,” South African designer Malcolm Kluk said to Times Live. “Europe and America are quite saturated in terms of fashion. If you think of Prada and Gucci – there’s almost one in every street corner now. If one is looking for new fashion frontiers, maybe Africa will be that.”
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Franca Sozzani, editor of Vogue Italia recently told the Huffington Post that her proudest professional moment was publishing the magazine’s “Black Issue.” Not only did the issue receive international acclaim, it also opened the doors to designers of various backgrounds.
After the issue was published, Sozzani made a trip to Ghana where she worked with some up and coming designers from the WEB- Young Designers Hub.
She encouraged the group by saying:
You have lots of potential in this country. During my stay in Africa, I visited Togo and Nigeria but it was only here in Ghana I noted an authentic sense of fashion.
Although I’m sure there’s an authentic sense of fashion in these other countries, this is encouraging for the Ghanians.
See what pieces of advice she had for the budding designers and look at pictures and video of her visit at Black Voices.com.
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In the world of fashion African designers don’t often get the shine they deserve. But now, thanks to a look book, New African Fashion, by Helen Jennings. You’ll be able to explore collections and learn about relevant designers from the continent.
Check out the designers you need to know over at Black Voices.
(The Grio) — Fashion is classically considered a European pursuit, although American designers surely have given European designers a run for their money in recent years as witnessed by the more than 100 designers who showcased their creativity during Mercedes Benz Fashion Week, which ended on Thursday. A refreshing surprise was a group of seven designers hailing from Africa who were presented via a spectacular show at Avery Fisher Hall in Lincoln Center courtesy of the popular large-format African style magazine, Arise. This presentation marked the fourth time that group chairman and editor-in-chief Nduka Obaigbena has brought African designers to America to introduce talent to this international marketplace.
(The Root) — Somalian-American twin designers Ayaan and Idyl Mohallim, of the line Mataano, presented their Spring 2012 collection Sunday night at the Time Warner Center, offering a mix of tropical prints, vintage silhouettes and vibrant colors. Inspired by the 1960s and ’70s, the call was for pleated, silk-chiffon multilayered skirts, washed silk, crepe de chine floral, dotted bandeau tops and print stretched-cotton rompers.
(theLoop21) — You may recognize fashion designer Korto Momolu from being a finalist and the fan favorite on the hit fashion competition Project Runway. Since competing for the top spot, Momolu went back home to Arkansas and continued to create vibrant fashions with rich fabrics that made her a stand-out designer during Season Five. She was even tapped to create a collection of handbags and jewelry for Dillard’s. Now, Momolu is working on her most difficult collection ever for Amani Liberia’s “Sankofa Fashion Show,” later this month in her home country of Liberia. The only thing is, Momolu hasn’t been back to Liberia after her family was exiled in 1990 during the Civil War. Momolu chatted with theLoop21 about returning to her home that she hasn’t seen since August 1989 and what she hopes her collection will bring to Africa’s fashion industry.
(AOL Black Voices) — When the word “luxury” is mentioned, brands like Gucci and Yves Saint Laurentoften come to mind. These European labels have been the precedent for years. But African designer Alexander Amosu is setting a new standard with his collection of luxury goods that range from gold iPhones to his bespoke suits and shirts. BV on Style sat with the designer minutes after his runway show during ARISE Magazine Fashion Week to talk fashion, working with Alicia Keys and African style.
BLACK VOICES: Your long list of accomplishments is inspiring and intimidating all at the same time, especially for someone your age – congratulations!
ALEXANDER AMOSU: (Laughs)Thank you very much!
BV: As far as your array into fashion, what inspired that? Why did you decide to make it your next project after everything you’ve already done?
AA: Well, really, it was about trying to create something different, something that was going to challenge me a little bit more, something that will have longevity in the fashion industry – but not just the fashion industry. It was about creating a luxury brand that can compete on the same level as Louis Vuitton and Versace. That’s what my goal is, and I’m looking forward to taking on that challenge.
Like the beaming Sub-Saharan sun, African prints are hot this summer.
Solange, Alicia Keys, Beyonce and so many others have been inspired by the Motherland, rocking wax prints. Originating from West Africa, wax prints are a made through a unique dying process to create patterns on the cotton cloth.