These are the pan-African designers you can look forward to seeing at Lagos Fashion Week
Take a look at the talents from across Africa are coming to dazzle us with their designs over the next few days for LFW.
Lagos Fashion Week, as the name suggests, could be forgiven for sticking to supporting and uplifting the Nigerian design industry. However, the beauty of the platform is that it searches throughout Africa for talent that represents the continent as a whole. From the corners of West Africa right across to SA, designers will descend on Lagos to show their collections over the next few days.
Here are profiles of the pan-African designers you can look forward to seeing at LFW this year.
1. Anyango Mpinga
A brand birthed in Kenya, Anyango Mpinga is described as luxury Kenyan brand synonymous with elegance, authenticity and style. The eponymous label was created by Anyango Mpinga, an award-winning fashion designer who was born and raised in Nairobi.
She founded her clothing line Anyango Mpinga in 2011 and showcased her first collection at Hub of Africa Fashion Week in Addis Ababa in 2012. She was also selected to represent Kenya and showcase her collection at the Africa Malaysia International Fashion Show in Kuala Lumpur in 2014.
Most recently, she was featured by ELLE magazine in their September Edition as one of the sustainable brands to look out for.
According to her website:
Anyango’s brand is part of a growing Slow Fashion movement, which emphasizes a more conscious consumption of fashion products, focusing on a clean, transparent supply chain that is sustainable and ethical. Her designs are not tied to a fashion season as she focuses on creating sustainable, trans-seasonal statement pieces. She is often inspired by her cultural heritage; weaving a tapestry of modern and traditional elements to create luxurious, ready to wear pieces that are authentic in design and timeless in appeal.
2. Black Coffee
Black Coffee a South African label created by Jacques van der Watt. According to South African Fashion Week, 'Black Coffee is distinctive for the way it blurs fabrication and fashion. The sharp structural designs are characterised by complex, layered shapes that yield a fastidious fashion sensibility that is at once restrained and bold.'
Black Coffee has had international acclaim having been invited to show at South African, Cape Town, San Francisco, Berlin and New York Fashion Week. The label has also been nominated five times for the SA Fashion Awards and has won twice. In 2009, the brand won the Mercedes Benz Art Award with an installation that was shown at the renowned Daimler contemporary gallery in Berlin.
In an interview, their creative director, Jacques van der Watt admitted, "I remain curious and I like innovation. My ranges are very construction based. We usually have a specific technique tying everything together. This exploration of new techniques keeps it fresh."
3. Rich Mnisi
These statement jumpers were the first time South African designer Rich Mnisi burst into the mainstream. The jumpers were spotted everywhere and were the ultimate style statement.
Rich Mnisi is unique because of his fluid attitude towards menswear. His designs subvert everything we have come to know about what men should wear and encourages men to embrace their body in a totally different way.
According to their website:
RICH MNISI is a South African based contemporary multi-disciplinary brand founded in 2015 by Africa Fashion International Young Designer of the Year 2014, Rich Mnisi. With a global view the brand is young at heart and explores the treasures engraved within Africa and the world of modern culture and heritage to tell the unique stories of then, now and soon. All this packaged in extremist yet minimalist structures which take design and craftsmanship as the first and foremost motivation.
The brand is carved to maintain a contemporary outlook and stand firm in an aesthetic that brings worlds of artistic imagination together. RICH MNISI breeds new layers and visions inspired by sources outside of the realm of fashion, including film, music, art and nature, being immersed but measured, picking up only the fitting notes to gather as foundation.
In an ongoing effort to highlight African women in the fashion space, Sarah Diouf launched her African-made brand Tongoro which promotes sustainability by using local artisans to create her pieces and in the same vein, empowering her local community.
According to the brands website:
We are a 100% Made In Africa label providing clothing that offer style conscious consumers quality, variety and convenience, at affordable prices.
Our brand focuses on understanding the fashion that our customers want offering playful and unique apparel. By sourcing our materials on the continent and working with local tailors, our long-term goal is to contribute to the development of the retail production in Western Africa, with our first atelier in Dakar, Senegal.
Speaking about her brand to Harper's Bazaar, Diouf said:
The Tongoro girl is one of a kind; she's an adventurer. She's feminine, playful, full of character, she's never afraid of trying new things. Prints being a key element to the brand, the aesthetic is and will always be very graphic and bold. Each piece makes their own statement without having to add much.
5. Elie Kuame
Elie Kuame, who was born in Belgium is of Ivorian and Lebanese descent. The designer, who grew up in Cote d'Ivoire, had a passion for fashion from a very early age.
After four years of Artisanal apprenticeships, he joined a famous bridal dresses house where he took his first steps as a design assistant. He was quickly noticed for his originality and his rigour, qualities that allowed him to work in various Parisian workshops.
His eponymous label is a celebration of women in all their beautiful forms. His designs are made to enhance the female body and make women feel empowered.
6. Maxhosa by Laduma
Laduma Ngxokolo, the creative director of Maxhosa by Laduma, is a South African textile and knitwear designer, best known for his men's knitwear range inspired by traditional Xhosa beadwork.
In an interview with Business Insider South Africa, Laduma explained that, 'The clothing line was born from a final year project at the Nelson Mandela University.'
He wanted to create a knitwear collection that reflected his isiXhosa heritage and he derived inspiration from the traditional male initiation ceremony. The ceremony is a part of the rite of passage from boyhood to manhood and involves the purchase of a new 'mature' wardrobe, which usually include a premium quality jersey. He created knitwear for the project that he believed resonated with young Xhosa initiates, and this sparked a business idea.
Now, Maxhosa by Laduma has had international acclaim and been worn by celebrities the world over. His colourful designs are instantly recognisable and the quality of the products are unmatched. He is a pioneer in the South African knitwear and textile industry ad continues to blaze a trail across the world.
JOIN OUR PULSE COMMUNITY!
Eyewitness? Submit your stories now via social or: