Gain new perspective on the vibrant and innovative world of contemporary African fashion design, bursting with fresh creativity and free from reductive stereotypes.
From the runway in Lagos and music festivals in Casablanca or Nairobi, to the “image makers” of Marrakech and the influencers of Dakar or Accra, a new generation of African fashion designers, photographers, bloggers, and hair and makeup artists are redefining the aesthetic contours of the continent. Audacious, humorous, disruptive, and innovative are the bywords of these young creatives who, while drawing upon and revalorizing their heritage, offer an ultra-contemporary perspective on fashion today. A creative revolution is spreading in an extension of continental revindication through cultural reappropriation and the invention of a visual language.
Appliqué figures straight from Ghanaian Asafo flags seem to chant modern slogans as they march across silk dresses, traditional textile prints give power back to women, and Xhosa beaded embroidery serves as an inspiration for modern knitwear. Body-artists transform themselves into platforms for activism, and photographers—using clothing and finery—question identity, gender, and environment. Urban neighborhoods are reframed in a new light through the lens of ubiquitous smartphones.
This volume celebrates a creative, effervescent generation, which—by breaking the rules and rewriting the narrative of the African continent—is inventing a new and resolutely African chapter in the history of fashion that is now resonating across the globe.
About the Author
Emmanuelle Courrèges is an independent journalist; she has contributed to Elle, Marie-Claire, l’Express Styles, and Vogue Italia. She was born and raised in western Africa (Cameroon, Senegal, and the Ivory Coast), where she lived for twenty years. She founded LAGO54, a platform to support and promote contemporary African fashion designers in France.
"Her thoughtful, beautiful new book, Africa: The Fashion Continent (Flammarion), invites readers to explore the complex landscape of contemporary African fashion—each chapter spotlights boundary-pushing designers and artisans, savvy boutique owners, photographers, stylists, and young creatives who are each coming up with their own versions of what “African fashion” means, and spearheading a movement that Courrèges compares to the Swinging ’60s in London. . . The book is a timely project, given the fact that designers from various African countries are beginning to gain global recognition: South African designers Thebe Magugu and Sindiso Khumalo have both been awarded the LVMH prize, Cameroonian designer Imane Ayissi is on the official Haute Couture calendar, and Nigerians Kenneth Izé and Maki Oh show at Paris and New York fashion weeks, respectively. But as Courrèges writes in the book, even with increased visibility, African fashion 'remains incomprehensible for many.'" —W MAGAZIE