Vogue CS in English

Creativity in Africa

Creativity in Africa has thrived for centuries and is now beginning to benefit from the organization necessary to mould it into formal industry. Alongside music, film and contemporary art, the fashion industry in Africa is asserting itself as an autonomous authority comprised of talented designers across the continent who are audacious, regal and intellectually provocative in their designs, yet remain committed to celebrating heritage and tradition. 
In this feature, I interact with 10 designers of the African continent, not only by embodying their clothing but through investigating their thoughts on issues that inform their identity and influence how and why they create. 
Foto: Rhys Frampton
Jacket, pants, all Tolu Coker; boots, Chloé (sold at Pařížská 17); socks, Falke.
Considering her Salt of the Earth collection, jewelry designer Ami Doshi Shah (Kenya) discusses the symbolic characteristics of salt as a metaphor for Kenya’s neo-colonial legacy. Gloria Wavamunno (Uganda) of GWAVAH and Abrima Erwiah (Ghana, Côte d’Ivoire, US) of Studio 189 talk about their commitment to training, collaborating and institutional engagement in building a brand and giving artisans international visibility. 
On the subject of tribal motifs, Anyango Mpinga (Kenya) and Laduma Ngxokolo of MAXHOSA celebrate South African and East African cultures respectively, placing them in conversation with sustainability and luxury. As young female creatives in and out and Africa, Tolu Coker (Nigeria, Great Britain) explores perspectives of the Black diaspora through her multi-expressionist art while Shekudo’s Akudo Iheakanwa (Nigeria, Australia) brings precision, elegance, and versatility to footwear production in West Africa. 
Also in Nigeria, Lisa Folawiyo discusses building a 15-year-old brand within an infrastructurally compromised country, securing the trust of her loyal customers, and celebrating the evolving mindset of the Nigerian consumer, while Adebayo Oke-Lawal of Orange Culture boldly aligns the ethos of his brand with confronting gender stereotypes and celebrating individuality. Loza Malhéombo (Côte d’Ivoire), born in Brazil but raised between the US and Africa draws from multiple cultural aesthetics to create silhouettes that merge heritage with cutting-edge futurism. We are only just beginning to scratch the surface of what has patiently waited to be internationally celebrated.