BOLD, bright and beautiful – that might be your perception of African fashion and fabrics that craft the clothing, but broaden your fashion vocabulary. When it comes to this trend, adjectives such as cool, chic and cross-functional also apply.
Welcome to 21st Century African couture. Significant developments have taken place in African fashion over the last few years, including its perception. These days, African fabrics and fashion aren’t regarded by western audiences and buyers as just “traditional” wear – that patronising euphemism for unsophisticated.
At the same time, the use of African textiles, craft and fashion work by western designers has been on the increase. Those grand-daddies of style have already embraced the trend for all-things African – Burberry, Christian Dior and Louis Vuitton, following the lead of Yves Saint Laurent, and Nigerian Deola Sagoe’s haute couture designs continue to stack up fans.
Where those grand-daddies and dames lead, the celebrity pack follows, anxious as always to display their rock-hard grip on the zeitgeist – Beyonce Knowles, Rihana, Fergie and Kim Kardashian have adopted the Ankara fabric, for example, as a glamourous wardrobe must-have.
Just as every significant industry has its big names, so too do African fashion and fabrics.
The Big Four (plus the eccentric newcomer) – Da Viva, Vlisco, Uniwax and WoodinFashion, along with fabric creator and fashion designer Nana Wax – lead the charge, an enticing finger that beckons those who love beautiful fabrics and fashion to follow them, explore their treasures and embrace the look of the moment.
Da Viva blends cutting-edge design with vibrant colours, its in-design team working to produce individual style for the fashion-conscious client, and offering accessories and bags for further fashion punch.
Vlisco includes innovative, original and true craft work among its fashion vocabulary and its website pages invite you to dive into material design that shakes up the senses. The company is soon to open a boutique in Lagos, Nigeria and we hope they are ready for the in-flux of demand.
|Something new for “I do” from Vlisco Patchwork|
Uniwax, born in 1968 from the settlement agreement between the Ivorian Government and partners, Gamma Holding and Unilever, produces real WAX, designed to meet local and international demand. Its imaginatively-titled collections range from shadows and light to jewelry, floral paradise and more.
WoodIn Fashion showcases fabulous fashion, and prides itself on fabrics that can be used to serve many purposes. On its website, stylist Esi Cleland-Yankson delivers styling advice, mixing and matching prints to expand your fashion horizons and make you receptive to just what can be achieved with these fabrics.
NANAWAX matches African fabrics (creating those fabrics too) with European styles to great effect. Starting life in 2012 with private sales in Paris, New York, Montreal, Barbados and London, it favours the terms unique and refined to describe what it supplies to an eager customer base. (And 5 percent of NANAWAX profits go to charitable organizations in Benin.)
Check out her Instagram account to appreciate her feel for fluidity in fashion.
About Kathleen Ndongmo aka Africa’s Tweet Queen
If you will like to be a guest blogger. Please email me @ irepcamer.gmail.
I love African Fabric any day. Stay Fashionable.