This story is not about a place in time or a title spelt the wrong way. It’s about fashion in Africa. An unknown idea to many, Africa pumps innovation through her veins and into every probable industry as she grows and harnesses the possibilities of technology and the world around her while leaning on her cultural roots, her stories, her land and her people.
Fashion becomes her freedom and expression. Many Africans wear their wealth, their story and sense of self. In South Africa,a self-made fashion design collective called the Smarteez are unwilling to be limited by the past apartheid stereotype or community dress expectancies. They use fashion as a tool of expression and a declaration of freedom. It is that consciousness that labels the Smarteez as a movement.
Nelson Mandela, or Madiba as he was affectionately known in South Africa built a fashion flair and legacy that started with his bold and coloured shirt prints. His casual approach to African fashion was a beautiful expression of his love for the country, his human touch to an otherwise heavy political drive and an inspiring view on his push against power dressing. This style enabled Madiba to embrace something unique to him. A style the world will long respect and remember.
Nigeria’s Nollywood scene is gaining popularity and eyes in the world with improved technology and alongside it, music video’s. Nigerian musician ‘Flavour’ is one example of how African prints are donned as art in his this music video. Fashion and music go hand in hand, but in Africa, it goes with vibrancy and impact.
Fresh young African fashion bloggers and designers are interpreting cultural garments in modern ways using the power of social media to spread the word.
The tradition of African prints are getting a facelift too. Expected African colours, designs and prints are being replaced with innovative aesthetics and traditional stories are being told in new ways through fashion, unpacking an exciting time in an all-African way.
So ‘wear in Africa; is she exactly? She is somewhere exciting and her journey is just beginning!