Africa is such a colourful and vibrant continent and as such she is blessed with an abundance of creative people whether it be in the arts or any other field, but most especially in fashion. Africa's designers are exploding onto the world fashion scene with their designs appearing in the top fashion magazines like vogue and on the elite European and American fashion week seasons.
We also have highly regarded fashion week collections in Africa whereby top fashion designers show off their collections like the Arise fashion week 2012 held in Lagos, Nigeria and the Dakar Fashion week 2012 held in Senegal. The fashion industry is big business and employs a lot of people and the African fashion industry is no exception.
Let me introduce you to some of Africa's top fashion designers -
Folake Folarin-Coker - Tiffany Amber
Nigeria - Folake Folarin- Coker is the proprietor of Tiffany Amber. Despite holding a masters degree in Petroleum Law her love for fashion reigns supreme. Tiffany Amber is an international award winning label. Folake as founder and head designer was awarded Designer of the Year 2009/2010 at the Africa fashion week (AFI) in Johannesburg with Tiffany Amber named as Fashion Brand of the Year at the Arise Magazine Fashion Week. She is the first African based designer to showcase for two consecutive seasons at the New York Fashion Week. Some of her collection can be found at www.yoox.com
Tiffany Amber SS/12 Collection AW/12 Collection
Mozambique - Taibo Bacar is a top fashion designer from Mozambique with numerous awards under his belt. He draws inspiration from classic looks with a touch of glamour. He showcased his collection at the 2011 fashion week in Milan with his ready to wear collection and more recently at the Arise magazine Fashion Week in Lagos 2012.
Ready to wear - Milano At the Arise Fashion Week - Lagos
Twin sisters Ayaan and idyl Mohallim - Maatano
Somalia - The twin sisters were born in the U.S and raised in Somalia, but had to flee Somalia when they were nine to escape civil war and relocated to the U.S. They launched their brand Maatano (Meaning Twins in Somali) in 2008. Oprah Winfrey introduced them to the national stage as an emerging brand when they appeared on her show in October 2008. They have been receiving a lot of press attention including CNN, New York Times, Arise magazine and several others.
Spring/ Summer 2012 Fall/ Winter 2011
Aisha Obuobi - Christie Brown
Ghana - Christie Brown is a Ghanaian based luxury women's brand. It was founded in 2008 and has won several global awards including The Emerging Designer of the Year Award for the year 2009 at the inaugural Arise Africa Fashion Week in Johannesburg, South Africa. Christie Brown was also the only Ghanaian designer chosen to showcase in the Arise L'Afrique- a- Porter, in Paris as part of Paris Fashion Week in March 2010. Stockists www.temple-muse.com
Nigeria - Duro Olowu returned to his first love fashion, after training as a lawyer. He launched his London based label in 2004 and won the British Fashion Council's New Designer award a year later. His vibrant collections have made him a favourite with A-listers from Michelle Obama to Uma Thurman. Stockists online www.net-a-porter.com
Farai Simonyi - FARAI
Zimbabwe - London born Zimbabwean Farai Simonyi lived in Harare, where she got her first taste of fashion through her aunt's lingerie company. She moved to the U.S when she was 10 and studied Fashion and Design at West Virginia University. After paying her dues as a designer of a major denim company she started her own line 'FARAI'. She debuted her Spring/Summer collection 2011 at NYC Fashion Week 2010.
S/S Collection 2012
The growth of the fashion industry in Africa is partly due to the economic boom which has led to an expansion in the middle classes and creation of substantial new business opportunities. I will return to this topic at a later date to discuss ways of taking the industry to the next level.