Buki Akib photographed by Milly Kelner. All images courtesy Prestel.
Helen Jennings, author of New African Fashion (Prestel), educates us on the beginnings and evolution of African fashion, beauty, and style, and highlights how it has transformed into a modern day infatuation that any risk-taking fashionista can emulate. Jennings introduces us to budding African designers, photographers, and models.
Christie Brown photographed by Justin Polkey.
In the book, you will find Duro Olowu, a designer known for harmoniously mixing fabrics, prints, colors, and textures to create elegant yet playful pieces of clothing. Designer Eric Raisina’s aesthetic is more tactile than visual; he is recognized for using feather-soft, handwoven textiles. In contrast to the vibrant and lively fashions of Olowu and Raisina, designer Suzaan Heyns focuses on structured silhouettes and neutral color palettes. Although this style mantra may seem counterintuitive to the whole notion of African fashion, Heyns draws inspiration from her African heritage, including the nature of the environment in which she grew up, such as the ocean, sand, and weathered rocks.
Eric Raisina photographed by Misha Taylor.
Africa has provided the world with some of the most sought after faces, including renowned supermodels Iman and Beverly Johnson. Today’s generation of models are becoming household names, including David Agbodji and Ataui Deng who have graced the pages of Flaunt.
Maki Oh photographed by Jan Lehman.
African fashion and influences have been around for quite some time, but the current resurgence of the “African movement” is rooted in fashion’s constant struggle to find that perfect balance between new and old. As Jennings puts it, “Talented designers and image-makers are riding the broader wave of interest in Africa’s renaissance and attracting an international clientele by balancing contemporary fashion’s pursuit of the new with an appreciation of the ideals of beauty and adornment that are deeply rooted in Africa’s cultural and social consciousness.”
New African Fashion is available at Prestel now.
Written by Terra Chan.