African fashion is as diverse and dynamic as the continent and the people who live there. It offers abundant insights into cultures, both close to home and distant. While experts have long recognized the importance of clothing as a marker of ethnic identity, life stages, political affiliation, and social class, they have only begun to discover African fashion through garments and global networks of style.
Contemporary African fashion puts Africa at the intersection of world cultures and globalized identities, displaying the powerful creative force and impact of newly emerging styles. The beauty of African fashion dates back to ancestral bodies adorned in traditional attires. It does not simply lie in the natural fascination of the other, but rather in the complexities of hidden meanings and the ability to understand African blueprints embedded in
colour, textile, ornamentation and the embellishment of crafted customs.
African-inspired designer, Demestik, uses traditional Ankara and Holland wax cotton in a way that is less traditional, with more of a Western design. Colorful patterns splash their way across peplum tops and pencil skirts.
Nigerian-born Andrea Lyamah draws inspiration from her country's rich symbols and stories. "The brand's aesthetic is to always give a hint of edge while using cuts and patterns that embrace the feminine figure," she says. "Color is a strong part of our message for the brand so it's important to not only use colors that fit a style but also enhances the meaning."
I see the African fashion industry becoming a landmark for global media, major fashion buyers and other important fashion players. The fashion industry in Africa is proving itself to the world, and showing that it's voice is literally unstoppable. The world is finally taking notice.
By: Bridget Pace