US, UK, France and Italy … we’re used to designers from Europe and the US dominating the fashion headlines. Talent from other countries doesn’t often get the limelight it deserves. However, sometimes that talent makes a ripple which can grow into a wave. It seems like some of those ripples are starting in Africa and growing into waves that the fashion world is taking notice. Here are some African designers to look out for:
1 Intisaar Mukadam
One of the leading African fashion designers, Intisaar Mukadam takes inspiration from the rich and historical tribal traditions and diversity when designing creation for her self-titled and innovative knitwear line. With a passion for eye catching and bold statement making sprints, Mukadam’s message is not one of subtlety, but instead one of great vibrancy and real eye catching designs.
2 Sindiso Khumalo
Utilizing the beauty of bright, vibrant colors, modern silhouettes and big, bold prints, Sindiso Khumalo’s creations are designed for women who love nothing more than to stand out. Taking inspiration from both her Zulu and Ndebele roots and a background in architecture, Khumalo brings a touch of constructed, cultural beauty to everything she produces.
3 Lisa Folawiyo
The sheer amount of work, love and dedication that Lisa Folawiyo puts in to each of her creations is truly something to behold. With intricate attention to detail and original custom prints, each of Folawiyo’s pieces takes an astonishing 240 hours of work, and many of her designs have been sported by celebrities around the world including Beyoncé singing sister Solange Knowles.
4 Lanre Da Silva Ajayi
Lanre Da Silva Ajayi is a designer of Nigerian descent who founded the successful LDA brand way back in 2005. The brand boasts an innovative throwback fusion of the modern and the mi-century, adding a traditional yet modern flavor to the colorful African prints that are used to create a wonderfully unique line of clothing that is equal parts feminine, fun and luxurious.
5 Taibo Bacar
Taibo Bacar is arguably one of Africa’s most well known and well-regarded fashion designers, having the impressive record of being the first ever African designer to show a collection at Milan Fashion Week. Hailing from Mozambique, Bacar is also a regular contributor at both African Fashion Week in Johannesburg and Africa International Fashion Week. His creations are a pleasing combination of ready to wear and high fashion, and he pays particular to the female form and how to create flattering and fashionable silhouettes. It is said that fashion great Valentino is a big fan of Bacar’s work.
6 Akosua Afriyie-Kumi
Having already graced the pages of some of the fashion industry’s highest profile publications such as Vogue Italia and Le Matin Dimanche, Ghana native Afriyie-Kumi’s incredible handbags are fast becoming some of the most sought after accessories on the market. Handcrafted and fashioned from leather than is organically sourced, the handbags are characterized by their bright, vivid colors and unique shapes. The designer’s label, AAKS, is one of the most on trend choices of late, and is inspired by the spirits of her ancestors.
7 Liya Kebede
A fashion model herself, Ethiopian born Liya Kebede founded LemLem as a means to both pay homage to the hand weaving techniques of her homeland and to honor the local artisans. All this is achieved while at the same time bringing a fantastic modern feel to the versatile line that produces dresses, bottoms, tops, accessories and scarves, all boasting vibrant colors and intricate embroidery.
I’d love to hear of other designers we should be keeping an eye on. Who have you been impressed by recently?