African dresses are oftentimes sought after by women in the west and in other areas around the world. The colours and style and overall ethnic flair of the African dresses and fashion, in general, is making it highly sought after the world over and by a number of people from the everyday shop worker all the way up to members of governments and high ranking corporate executives. And why not? Africanstyle injects some fantastic fabric and colour into the everyday – giving you a fashionable edge over everyone else through the bold patterns and colours that other people might be unsure about trying for themselves. Below are some great suggestions for those who are looking to inject some great Africanstyle or fashion into their wardrobe. Along with tips on how and where to find great pieces, information on who has some great “first-timer” prices, so if you’re worried about spending a lot on designer stuff, you don’t have to be. This article will help lessen the risk of buying something a bit brighter or funkier than you’re used to, allowing you the opportunity to enjoy some of these great patterns for yourself! So check out these great designers and help make a difference in the life of Africans throughout the continent by buying local, traditional and beautiful designs.
Women and men from throughout Africa who have moved overseas have begun to return home to their countries of origin in the hopes of setting up fashion companies and fashion houses focusing on patterns, techniques and styles that represent their cultural values and kitsch. Some of these recent returns to Africa have been instrumental in developing the trends that highlight Africanfashion in all its glory. Africanfashion trends, while focusing primarily on shapes, styles and pieces for women do have a couple of niches for men, such as in accessories like wallets and ties/bow ties. The trends throughout the fashion world focusing on Africa are keenly tied to bold colours and patterns, mixing and matching the two, sometimes with sharp contrasts such as triangles and circles in greens and yellows and similar. The trends seem to follow this general idea throughout, allowing even just small pieces to make extremely bold statements.
With the help of prominent fashionbloggers that focus on African clothing and design, these brands and strong examples of Africanfashion are finding their way to the world stage easier these days – especially when multi-national, well known brands such as L’Oreal band together with bloggers such as the popular Fatou N’diaye of BlackBeautyBag. There are a number of other bloggers including Gaelle-Vanessa Prudencio, who as worked with fashion house Belya Vanoue, a Senegalese designer, on a project developing fantastic designs for women with a larger frame and curves. Folake Kuye Huntoon is another prominent blogger bringing Africanstyle and fashion to the eye of the international community through her blog Style Pantry, featuring a number of great pieces from Demestiks New York in bold and colourful patterns. Folasade Adeoso is another blogger who specialises in focusing on wax print head wraps and jewellery and has been successful with her pop up store in New York focusing on the same. Finally, a pair of bloggers, Vanessa and Luna of of Project Tribe have been working their blog and Instragram account with additionally kitschy and beautiful wax prints, particularly from brand Chichia London. Blogging is just one way that some of these fantastic pieces are getting international attention, but is easily not the only way. In fact, with many fashion houses receive invites to fashion weeks around the world – especially in other African countries where fashion weeks are becoming high profile and well known internationally. This is helping to set the stage for Africanfashion as a whole, and with a powerful start, the concept of African styles is only set up to further gain momentum and become an international powerhouse on the fashion front.
It seems that in recent years the bold and colourful statements that are made with Africanfashion are becoming a key component to many wardrobes the world over, and for good reason. With primarily symmetrical shapes or patterns alongside eye-catching shades of bright colours like yellows, greens, blues and reds, there is every reason to aspire to owning something African. Each pattern, colour and style has a background from specific communities as a whole which have special meaning and are typically used in traditional celebrations – but are these days making a foray into everyday dress. These colourful fabrics are made with the wax printing tradition, essentially creating a batik print on fabric as many African pictures and art is done. These fabrics are then sold in large bolts from which the clothing can be made.
The African diaspora, as mentioned has absolutely exploded in recent years with new fashion houses popping up all the time and experimenting with not just colours but style and fit as well. Additionally, it’s not just clothing that is available in Africanstyle now – but there is a huge push around jewellery, purses, handbags, head wraps and other accessories. Likewise, many of the fashion houses which operate out of Africa – particularly the smaller, younger ones are well known for their employment of local people in their shops and studios, helping to create employment and boosting the economy in their towns and villages. For those who are curious about the names of some of the hottest brands in Africanfashion, here is a quick run down of some of their names and a bit about them.
Liberia born designer Charlene Dunbar works out of NYC designing everything from jumpsuits to dresses and lots of things in between. Her line of colourful and chic clothing is ideal for those who want to get a bit of Africanfashion into their wardrobe as her styles are all very affordable. Check them out here.
Originally started on Instagram, this brand has only been in operation for one year and acts as both an in house designer but also a marketplace for other designers to showcase their own fashions. Owned by Nigerian Wale Alesh, this is a brand that has the staying power to grow. Check out their website here.
This line specialises in super-feminine cuts and designs and has a lot of great selection of skirts and dresses amongst other things including pieces for kids. With their fabulous pricing as well, everyone can afford a piece of the House of Sarah. Check their shop out here. And those designers are quite honestly just the tip of the Africanfashion iceberg. With more fashionistas coming out of the diaspora almost every month, there is no limit to the designs and splashes of colour that bring reminiscence of tribal dancing and safari sunsets to mind. Other names include A Leap Of Style, Mizizi Shop, Kahindo Mateene (whose line will be available soon, so keep an eye out), and Totally Ethnik, not to mention D’Piper Twins, Prodigal Daughter and Kanga Kulture, on Kisua. Kisua itself is a great resource for anyone looking to find some fantastic African fashions and accessories and plays host to numerous other designers on top of those mentioned above, so it’s a great one-stop-shop for your fashion hunt.
Many of the African fashions mentioned can be bought online directly from the fashion houses themselves, as listed above, but many also provide their pieces on online marketplaces that cater to specifically African themed products. Additionally there has been an influx in African-styled clothing making its way into the mainstream in high street shops such as H&M and the like. While harder to pin down on the high street, it’s not impossible. For the best selection though, online boutique shops as mentioned are your best bet, and many allow you to put in your custom measurements for made-to-order pieces.