African fashion designers are making ways on the international fashion scene. They are choosing to put a modern spin on international African fabrics and accessories. They are passionate about displaying what Africa means to their global consumers.
Here Are 10 African Designers You Need To Know
- Sarah Diouf – Tongoro : Founded in 2016 by Sarah Diouf, Tongoro is a 100% Made in Africa label providing clothing that offer style conscious consumers quality, variety and convenience, at affordable prices dedicated to the development of Senegal. Diouf did not set out to become a designer: in 2009, she launched Ghubar, an online fashion and culture magazine highlighting mainstream media, marking her first step towards creating a larger platform to celebrate African women in fashion. Following Ghubar, Diouf founded Noir, an African fashion and lifestyle publication, which she still oversees today. Her work in media led her to launch her first fashion line, with the goal of being an affordable, ‘Made in Africa’ brand for women both on the continent and abroad. Beyonce, wore a Tongoro suit and dressed her dancers in its jewelry in her “Spirit” music video for “The Lion King” film. Beyonce in Tongoro
2. Rebecca Zoro – Yhebedesign
Rebecca Zoro, designer of Yhebe Design brand was born and raised in Ivory Coast. from his childhood, the clothes exerted a fascination. Celebrities such as Janelle Monae and other top media personalities in Africa have worn her designs flying her label outside of her home country and the continent. For her Afrocentric modern-meets-chic designs, Yhebedesign has featured on Elle and has worked with Vlisco on campaigns. Victoria has showcased her collections on several fashion week runways. Her works are unique for their blend of African and western fabric using asymmetry as an aesthetic.
3. Rich Mnisi is a South African based contemporary multi-disciplinary brand founded in 2015 by Africa Fashion International Young Designer of the Year 2014, Rich Mnisi. RICH MNISI has grabbed the attention of both local and international media, appearing in the editorial pages of Marie Claire, ELLE, Financial Times, Vogue China, Vogue Russia, Business Class, GQ,, Dazed and Confused, Mail and Guardian, House and Leisure, Dossier, i-D Vice, GQ Style, Hunger, Vogue Italia, BBC, WWD, Sunday Times and more. The brand explores the treasures engraved within Africa and the world of modern culture and heritage to tell the unique stories of then, now and soon.
4. Mayamiko: Mayamiko is an ethical and sustainable womanswear and lifestyle brand, producing clothes, accessories and homeware. Lovingly made in Malawi by a team of tailors, pattern cutters and seamstresses, the brand was founded in 2012 by Paola Masperi. All of their clothing and accessories are season-less, making you love them all year round. Mayamiko lifts up disadvantaged women out of poverty by nurturing their creative talent in their Fashion Lab in Malawi where they carefully craft each garment. The label also turns their scrap fabric into recyclable sanitary pads and donates them to young women in the community so they feel safe and hygienic during their periods. Actress and activist Emma Watson is an official Mayamiko supporter and was proudly wearing their beautiful
5. Moshions: Moshions is one of Rwanda’s leading fashion brands. Established in 2015, Moshions is an elegant culturally inspired brand sought after by discerning African and global customers looking for a distinctive African inspired world-class brand. The brand’s minimalistic aesthetic is accented with touches of Rwandan influence, and in founding Moshions, Turahirwa sought to “recreate something unique” reflecting his culture. Drawing inspiration from imigongo, a once-dying 18th-century traditional art form featuring geometric designs like zigzags and squares, the array of black and white patterns have become signature to the brand. Skillfully combining machinery and handwork to bring the pieces to life, Moshions’ collections are marked by traditional geometric patterns, motifs, and styles.
6. Zuri : The vibrant colors and patterns of the cotton fabrics Kitenge and Ankara are Zuri’s main inspiration. By sourcing their textiles from East Africa-based manufacturers, the fashion brand hopes to support the local industry in Kenya. Zuri helps create jobs through workshops, pays a fair living wage to their skilled tailors, empowers women and, at the same time, creates stunning dresses, shirts, and bags that will make you become an African-print lover (if you aren’t one already).
7. Loza Maléombho is an Ivorian American fashion designer. Founded in 2009 in New York City by Loza Maléombho, the designer’s eponymous brand relocated to Côte d’Ivoire in 2012, where all production takes place. Crafted out of the designer’s own experience of having been born in Brazil and raised between Côte d’Ivoire and the United States, Loza Maléombho is a fusion between traditional cultures and sub-cultures and contemporary design. The brand’s signature silhouettes celebrate the paradox of the old and new, and the synergies between Ivorian tribal aesthetics and New York’s urban fashion. Working with artisans who have been crafting for generations, Loza Maléombho finds ways to translate age-old practices into modern, trendsetting design.
8. Nigerian designer Amaka Osakwe’s label Maki Oh is comprised of intricately constructed pieces. She creates sexy clothing while combating what is conventionally deemed beautiful. Her garments so embrace the female physique that they have been worn by Michelle Obama, Lupita N’yongo, Solange Knowles, Leelee Sobieski, Alek Wek, Thandie Newton and Azaelia Banks. She fuses the aesthetics of her home and the West to create things that haven’t been seen in the realm of fashion. She is one of the continent’s most celebrated designers. Her upcoming Spring 2018 collection is sure to be nothing short of awe-inspiring.
9. Orange Culture: Self-taught designer Adebayo Oke-Lawal, launched his inaugural mens and womenswear label in 2011. With African influences throughout each collection, the label creates contemporary fashion pieces with an ethnic touch. Orange Culture’s aesthetic can be best described as Nigerian inspired urban streetwear, as Oke-Lawal draws inspiration from his heritage and incorporates traditional prints into modern everyday wear. Breaking traditional gender stereotypes to synonymously celebrating his Nigerian culture, at the age of only 28, Adebayo is a pioneer in the making.
10. Ami Doshi – I AM I -I AM is the fascinating costume jewelry brand for women. A jewellery designer with a rough, eclectic sensibility and a striking sense of design, Ami Doshi Shah is the first Kenyan to be nominated for London Fashion Week’s 2018 International Fashion Showcase. Using a broad range of locally sourced materials including crystal, copper, leather and rope . she creates powerful geometric pieces with a whimsical edge.