Fashion styles around the world are unique, individual and transforming. Africa’s fashion is just that…
Showcased at Brighton Museum, Fashion Cities Africa explores the depths of fashion and style across four different cities in Africa: Casablanca in Morocco, Lagos in Nigeria, Nairobi in Kenya and Johannesburg in South Africa.
What I found most interesting was how diverse the fashion trends across Africa in the four cities was. From bright colours to structured gowns to westernised pieces. Yet every designer in some aspects reapplies African tradition and culture through their work.
Starting in Johannesburg, with dark, neutral colours, contrasted against retro-styled patterns, the designers showcased resemble a new found African society.
Thula Sindi describes her work as having, “Global appeal, with an African touch”. I found this was expressed through her structured thick material pieces, offering a Westernised touch to her collection.
The designer who stood out for me was Marianne Fassler, with her tribal faces across her work. They represent African women. It ties in the ancient culture of African society, whilst representing what she calls, “Cross-cultural, hip aesthetic”.
The cutouts under the armpit area is definitely forward thinking to say the least!
Moving along to Casablanca in Morocco, representing African style as sophisticated and elegant, as well as strikingly Westernised. Allowing myself and the viewer to get a sense of the style in Northern Africa.
It appears strikingly glamorous and extravagant regarding the beautiful, long detailed dresses in Amina Aqueeznay’s collection. Seemingly representing a rich and driven side to Africa.Joseph Ouchen’s collection was quite the contrast. With Hoodies, baseball caps, t-shirts, Ouchen’s collection represents a new modern Westernised culture.
This western representation prevailed through into Nairobi.
Sauti Sol’s collection seems much like Kanye’s yeezy collection. Black, oversized, boy band inspired pieces.
It represents a lot of attitude which we see in everyday western society.
Finally, landing in Lagos in Nigeria, overwhelmingly depicted as glamorous and red-carpet inspired.The pieces coming from their Fashion and Design week, appearing as bright and full of attitude. I felt it resembled fashion week across the world but with an African twist.
The collection gives an outsider an incite to African fashion and style. Whilst it represents a changing society into a Westernised continent, it mirrors African authenticity and culture in today’s society.
Fashion Cities Africa is showcased in Brighton and Hove Museum until January. It is well worth the look.
Photography: Lerryn Martin