Africa: The Fashion Continent, by Emmanuelle Courrèges, is a stunning new coffee table book that delves deep into the subject of Africa as a fashion goldmine.

p. 49: Awa Meité, cotton ensemble, modeled by Fadima Konate. Hair and makeup: Awa Meité Design. © Coralie Coco

The fashion look-book features styles, designs, designers, photographs and the entire artistic processes involved in creating fashion masterpieces. From textiles and patterns that graced Lagos runways to taste makers across Africa, all the way to a new generation of African designers, photographers, bloggers, makeup artists and so on, Courrèges new book has it all.

West-African born and raised journalist, Emmanuelle Courrèges spent the first eighteen years of her life living between Cameroon, Senegal and Ivory Coast. Her passion for African fashion has led to various contributions in international magazines such as Elle, Marie-Claire and Vogue Italia.

 

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Africa: The Fashion Continent cuts out various false notions and ideas that surround contemporary African fashion, and it clearly shows that African designs, as a whole, cannot be simply boiled down to the use of traditional fabrics, it also breaks away from the stereotype that claims there’s nothing African about contemporary African fashion.

p. 48: Sophie Nzinga Sy, sheath dress from the spring–summer 2016 collection, in pagne fabric woven by Johanna Bramble. © Delphine Diallo

With the world embracing African influences and culture, the book furthers the narrative that African designers are skillfully marking their territory on the world map of fashion.

The author breaks down the content into various segments; Textiles, techniques and innovation, Inventing a language, tales, history and rebellions, sustainable, ethical and environmentally responsible fashion.

The book also features the voices and stories of fashion designers and creatives who have played a part in the growth of African fashion as we know it. One designer mentioned in the book is Malian designer, Chris Seydou who revolutionized Bogolan fabric with his above-the-knee pencil skirt, this saw the rise of Bogolan as it transitioned to couture.

p. 41: I.AM.ISIGO (brand created by Bubu Ogisi), dress and coat from the “Chasing Evil” collection, fall–winter 2020, modeled by Gabriella Duduh. Styling: Sunny Dolat. Makeup: Jamie Kimani. © Maganga Mwagogo

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Other big names in the fashion industry who lent their voices to the book include: Abrima Erwiah, Rosario Dawson, Artsi Ifrach, Imane Ayissi, Reni Folawiyo, Erykah Ijeoma Achebe and so many others.

A visual feast, the book highlights more than 300 photographs in a satisfyingly sturdy hardback coffee table format.

Africa: The Fashion Continent Book Cover
Designer Lafalaise Dion wearing a cowrie headdress from her collection, September 2018. © Daron Bandeira

Speaking about the inspiration behind Africa: The Fashion Continent, Courrèges said: “At a time when many talented African designers are gradually making their mark on an international scale, and as the spotlight shines more intensely on this ‘fashion continent,’ I saw the need to provide some keys to understanding it, by allowing those who embody African fashion to have their say— or at least a few of them. This book is a tribute to them; it captures a moment in history, and presents a creative, engaged generation that is changing fashion as we know it.”


© Africa: The Fashion Continent by Emmanuelle Courrèges (Flammarion, 2022).

Buy the book here

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