African styles and patterns have been becoming an increasingly sought after product in recent years and with the advent of some huge brand names coming out of the African continent, there has never been a better time to set your hands on some absolutely unique, fabulous pieces of African couture. Styles vary dramatically as do colours and patterns, with many featuring bold, bright and sharp shapes and shades in the form of skirts, dresses, shirts, trousers, jewellery and African shoes. So where can you get some of these fantastic pieces of African-inspired fashion? Depending on what you’re after you can sometimes luck out with a shop in your local area that has a couple of pieces on offer, but if not the only place you can really score a great find is online. With many of the designers actually being based in Africa, it makes it hard to enjoy these beautiful styles and colours if you live somewhere like the United States, Europe or anywhere else and so these designers are taking advantage of the world of e-commerce with a huge array of online shops to choose from, accessible from anywhere in the world.
This website was founded by Fred Deegbe, inspired to bring handmade shoes to his home country of Ghana with top of the line, world-class materials, hand-crafted by Ghanian people. HTWShoes.com is the onlinehome of Heel The World, and is a great website to check out for a range of shoes from casual to dress to work.
One of the fastest growing brands in terms of reach, Sole Rebels was launched in 2004 by Bethelehem Alemu who took note that while stunning footwear was made in her village, the people who made it were still poor and not employed. She managed to raise some modest capital from friends and family and launched her business idea – footwear handmade locally with recycled products. Today Sole Rebels employs over a hundred people and has achieved the label of being certified by the World Fair Trade Organisation. With several outlets in various areas of the world, Sole Rebels can be bought offline as well as online. Solerebels.com is home to not just shoes made from recycled materials such as old tyres, but it’s also home to a wide Vegan friendly line, making Sole Rebels a perfect place to purchase truly unique items for everyone from every walk of life.
Della focuses on sourcing all of their materials in the Volta region of Ghana and likewise employs women in the region to help make all of their products by hand through a cooperative. Their eye-catching, colourful Batik patterns have caught the attention of a number of consumers and bigger labels worldwide, including the ever popular Vans label, who teamed up with Della in 2014 to create the Della X Vans which featured shoe designs for both men and women with matching accessories as well. Della focuses on ethically sourced products, so you know you are buying quality shoes and accessories that are helping women in Ghana build better lives for themselves through working for themselves.
This label was created by four long time friends when they realised that Ethiopia has a great source of quality leather as well as a growing and emerging footwear industry. They teamed up to create ENZI, which is primarily a casual men’s footwear company focused on bringing Africa to the forefront of the fashion industry as well as removing any stigma associated with the continent of Africa. You can check out their fantastic line of dressy casual footwear on their website enzifootwear.com.
Thando’s Shoes is a new start up which specialises in foldable ballerina flats that feature beautiful and bold patterns that come from across the continent. Currently a massive hit in Nigeria, the shoes are popular amongst companies that do free giveaways at events due to their easy packaging and shipping. These flats are perfect for dressy or dressy casual events and can really help you boost the colour in your wardrobe.
Focusing on bringing African patterns from around the continent to the feet of powerful women everywhere, Buqisi Ruux has been turning heads due to their brightly coloured 4+ inch high heeled shoes and the speed at which their start up is taking off. With a presence in Kampala, Uganda as well as Nairobi and Cape Town, they have plans to expand to other cities across Africa soon as well as further afield through their online store and eventual boutiques in other cities internationally.
When the founder of this fashion brand started having local craftsmen make his own designed shoes for him, people went wild for the styles and the brand was born. Having gained popularity over the years since its inception, the brand has been featured on a number of runways as well as in some popular fashion magazines and continues to make waves in the industry. Considered to be one of the top “to watch” brands on the footwear stage, they sell primarily in online stores but have a few boutiques in the major Nigerian cities.