blazing a trail in the world…

…of new african fashion!

while at lacma for the surrealist exhibit, i browsed through their bookstore for inspiration and came across this recently published resource, new african fashion by helen jennings. a fantastic find, it showcases the work of established and up and coming young designers of africa.  the introduction by artist iké udé provides a brief history of indigenous fashion and fabric art highlighting local heritage, tribal styles and adaptation of embroideries and techniques.

udé illuminates the influences of africa and their effect upon fashion in the western world beginning with internationally acclaimed designer, yves saint laurent, himself of african descent.  from there it permeates into the ateliers of christian dior, azzeline alaÏa, guy laroche, thierry mugler, max azria, dries van noten and diane von furstenberg to name but a few.  what’s great about the book is that it shows that the reins of african fashion are no longer left in the hands of the western world to be interpreted, sanitized and stripped of it’s context.

the amazing duro olowu who’s work can be found on net-a-porter!

it focuses on the rising players in africa who are bringing jobs to the continent through fabric design and manufacturing, garment construction, retail promotion, etc.  because the infrastructure is practically nonexistent, the creation of such beautiful collections are driven by pure passion and are a testament to the tenacity of their creators.

nigerian born ajayi’s lagos based label.

nigerian buki akib and her fela menswear collection.

the gothic tailoring of anisa mpungwe.

deola sagoe came from the business world with no formal training in fashion.

fashion, alas, would be nothing without those who walk down the runways or appear on the glossy pages and there is a section dedicated to those faces of african fashion.  most westerners are already familiar with alek wek but how many know about georgie baddiel or flaviana matata?

candice swanepoel

jaw dropping statement necklace by anita quansah!

please click on the links to see more of the designer’s works! if you fancy yourself in the know and you’d like a window into another world of fashion, i would highly recommend this book!