With African style becoming more and more sought after, there is a plethora of new, up-and-coming designers making waves in the African fashion scene. It seems these days there are new African fashion designers popping up all over the continent, with some really exciting, bold fashion statements coming out of places like Cameroon, Senegal, and Nigeria, to name but a few. With such a mix of designers and fashions coming out of Africa, all with their own individual take on old favourites, there is something for everyone throughout this budding fashion scene, regardless of budget or taste. Here we break it down into the top ten names that you should keep an eye on.
Courtesy of taibobacar.com
African Fashion Designer: Taibo Bacar
Perhaps one of the more prestigious and well-known of the African designers, this Mozambique design house has earned themselves a regular place at various fashion weeks throughout Africa, becoming somewhat of a regular face. Additionally, they have also won numerous international awards and prestige, especially after becoming the first African-based fashion house to show their designs in Milan. With specialized cutting techniques and the use of flattering, high-end materials to make their clothes and wares, Taibo Bacar is an absolute high ranking favourite, even amongst European designers.
Courtesy of ozwaldboateng.co.uk
African Fashion Designer: Ozwald Boateng
With several prestigious awards under his belt including an OBE and a Lifetime Award from Fashion week Lagos 2012, Ozwald Boateng is a well-known fashion guru through the fashion scene in London. With his own shop in Savile Row, he creates fantastic, high-end suit designs aimed at men who are looking for a suit with some African flair. His bespoke, tailored suits continue to be a favourite amongst men throughout both Europe and Africa.
Courtesy of millecollines.es
African Fashion Designer: Millecollines
This Rwandan fashion house, founded in 2007 by Spanish designers is helping bridge the gap between continents by combining western styles with traditional African fabrics and patterns, created using traditional methods. They focus on Nairobi as their base, but have their lines stocked in shops in Barcelona and also the United States, with plans for stocking a Cape Town design centre in the works as of 2015. Their belief is that Africa should come first with African based designers, and so intend to keep focusing distribution in major African cities before going worldwide on a larger scale.
African Fashion Designer: House of Tayo
This Rwandan fashion house created by Matthew Rugamba focuses on accessories for men built on a desire for longevity based on a quality product and aesthetics that have staying power. House of Tayo combines pop culture with history through the blend of fabrics and new, popular ideas, making fantastic accessories any man would love to wear to give his wardrobe a bit of pizzazz. The size of the House of Tayo accessories is small enough to be great ideas for gifts for the man who has everything. Their colour absolutely pops and would really work well on almost any suit of any colour.
Courtesy of nytimes.com
African Fashion Designer: Bantu Wax
Bantu Wax, founded by Yodit Eklund, has a strong, urban edge with a global mindset, focusing on sustainable, fair trade with local artisans based in Africa. Each piece is made on-site in Africa by someone employed directly by this African fashion designer to hand make each article with traditional methods that are employed in all her design processes. The label also works exclusively with local vendors in Africa to help keep the line exclusively made in Africa.
Courtesy of Farida Designs/Fasebook
African Fashion Designer: Farida’s Style
Farida’s Style is women’s clothing designed with the old Eritrean heart in mind. The colours, styles and fabrics used are all reminiscent of the Eritrean countryside, with the fabrics actually being sourced in Eritrea itself. The belief of this fashion house is that everyone should have a tailor made dress that they can afford each African inspired piece is hand-made to order, or exact specifications and measurements, so anyone of any size anywhere can enjoy one of Farida’s uniquely Eritrean designs.
Courtesy of lanredasilvaajayi.com/collections
African Fashion Designer: Lanre Da Silva Ajayi
This brand has been around for only seven years but is already a major player on the African fashion scene, making fantastic high class, sophisticated clothing for women looking to feel elegant in their garb. With a combination of bright colours and prints, a slightly different take on patterns, and some traditional fabric favourites, this African fashion designer is a favourite amongst celebrities, fashion lovers, and top media houses. Showcasing up to six collections every year means that Lanre Da Silva Ajayi is on point to continue growing at a speedy pace. They have also been showcased locally and internationally including in New York fashion weeks and several fashion magazines.
Courtesy of allyrehmtullah.co.tz
African Fashion Designer: Ally Rehmtullah
Ally Rehmtullah’s work is inspired by Tanzanian, Indian and American cultures, with regular showings at Zanzibari fashion weeks. He found success in 2006 when he exhibited work at Redd’s African Fashion Design Awards, for which one of the prizes was to intern with global names and well-respected fashion gurus. This led to the creation of his own brand which prides itself on sustainability. He is also regularly involved with Tanzanian community projects – most recently the Mkomani project, a fashion initiative which helps raise money for women’s empowerment projects.
Courtesy of solerebels.com
African Fashion Designer: Sole Rebels
This Ethiopian footwear company was started with a desire to inspire the community that creator Bethlehem Tilahun Alemu grew up in. On top of the inspiration, she hoped to create jobs and opportunities for the residents of the community and help give back to her neighbourhood and boost the local economy. This brand now uses ethically sourced, organic, recycled, bio-based materials and low-impact production to help create sustainable, eco-friendly footwear that combines style and flair from around the globe.
Courtesy of Mataano Primavera/vogue.it
African Fashion Designer: Mataano Sisters
Mataano meaning “twins” in Somali, gives this fashion brand a unique identity. Started by twin sisters who had escaped the Somali civil war and resettled in Washington, DC, Mataano Sisters gained worldwide fashion attention when fawned over by Oprah Winfrey – leading them to large success and garnering attention from some of the biggest names in fashion. Mataano is currently based in New York City, but focuses its design and fabric choices on the old Somali styles, patterns, and colours, blending new and old, and making their name primarily in dresses with an emphasis on comfort.