Fashionistas have long known that most fashion trends and styles start from Africa. The motherland is bursting with inspiration and this is reflected in the world-class fashion houses that abound throughout the continent. Too many to mention, this feature recognizes just some of the talented designers that are contributing to mainstream acceptance of Africa-inspired style in the fashion industry.

African fashion designers


 

Mai Atafo

Firmly entrenched in the Nigerian creative industry, Mai Atafo has been putting in the work to create his premium lifestyle brand. Today, eight years after starting his brand, he has a huge clientele, working with celebrities and even contributing on The Wedding Party movie. Atafo started his fashion line, Weddings by Mai, in 2011 with his designs being showcased at several prestigious fashion shows and events and is the recipient of a number of awards.

 

Deola Ade-Ojo

Born in Nigeria, Deola, also known by her business name, Deola Sagoe is famously known for her uniquely modern twist on African based fashion. A renowned and respected haute couture fashion designer, she draws her inspiration, style and boldness from traditional Nigerian touches and western aesthetics. Her reputation stretches far beyond the African continent and her vision and talent has seen her win various accolades and awards.

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Taibo Bacar

Taibo Bacar is a brand known for its brilliant combination of high fashion and ready to wear clothing. Originating from Mozambique, Taibo launched his fashion line in 2008 after he travelled to Spain to study fashion. Since then, his brand has evolved as one of the largest leading designers in Africa.

 

Sindiso Khumalo

Using her vast knowledge of architecture and fashion, Sindiso Khumalo designs vibrant and sustainable textiles with a modern twist for women. She draws inspiration from her Zulu and Ndebele heritage and ensures sustainability, craft and empowerment is at the heart of her label. She creates her collections by hand through watercolor and collage which embodies her uniquely colorful visual voice. In 2015 she won Vogue Italia “Who’s On Next Dubai” competition. She has spoken at the United Nations on sustainability in fashion and is currently working closely with the International Trade Centre Ethical Fashion Initiative.

 

Sylvia Owori

One of the pioneers of the fashion industry in Uganda, Sylvia Owori straddles both haute couture and ready to wear fashion, excelling in both areas. What does fashion mean to her?  “To me as an African woman, I look at fashion as the bright mouthpiece, which encourages us to allow our voices to be heard, to fight for what we believe in as individuals, motivate lovers to stand up for something, anything. My designs are mostly made with a busy, Afro-centric woman in mind, as a way of celebrating her newfound strength, optimism, passion and audacity to dream big!”

 

Aisha Ayensu

Popularly known for modernly crafted traditional aesthetic clothing, Aisha Ayenshu is the creative director of one of Ghana’s biggest Fashion Houses, Christie Brown. Each one of her designs is a sumptuous and visual feast. Her brand’s reputation spans across Africa and even internationally, where she has even designed stage costumes for Beyoncé and her back up dancers.

 

Nana and Afua Dabanka

Nana and Afua Dabanka, are the two Ghanaian sisters behind the luxury footwear brand called MONAA. For their luxury label, the sisters drew inspiration from their father’s handmade leather slippers. In homage to their Ashanti heritage, their slippers are made with beautiful Kente silk. The brand is aimed at bridging the gap between western fashion and traditional Ghanaian styles making it easier for people to wear in their everyday lives.

 

Adama Ndiaye

Adama is a Senegalese Fashion designer, also known as Adama Paris. After failed attempts to raise capital to expand the visibility of her African designs she decided to create the Dakar Fashion Week exhibition. Sixteen years later and the platform is still going strong, this year hosting 32 African designers from 30 countries. used to showcase designs on runways, created to hopefully influence and encourage people to invest in African designers. Her designs are inspired by cities and globalism, crediting the beautiful culture of Senegal. She has also spoken out, with other African designers, for increased funding and access to credit from governments in order to foster innovation and job creation in the fashion industry.

 

Sally Karago

Sally is a fashion designer at her label SK fashion and is also the founder of the Mcensal School of Fashion. From the age of 12, she knew she was destined to become a fashion designer. Her label, which was founded in 1992, is credited as being the first to combine the Maasai blanket and Kikoi fabric (traditional Kenyan fabrics) in a collection she dubbed ‘Made in Kenya by a Kenyan’. Her school helps young Kenyan designers gain exposure with the fashion industry.

 

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