Fashion design has come a long way in Africa. Here are fashion designers who have made a great impact over the years, shedding more light on the great talent that comes from Africa.
1. Maki oh (Nigeria)
Nigerian designer Amaka Osakwe launched her fashion brand earlier in 2010.With support from her parents , Amaka went on to a fashion school in Bournemouth, in England to learn her craft. Influenced by her Nigerian background ,the brand Maki Oh makes use of various traditional Nigerian textiles in her clothes, such as raffia and silk and prints such as Adire(tie-dye).Designs by Maki oh have made an impact on the world seen on famous people such as the former first lady Michelle Obama, Solange Knowles.
2. Suakoko Betty (Liberia)
Charlene Dunbar was born in Liberia but later moved to Atlanta when she was 11 during a civil war. After taking style lessons from her mom and Liberian church ladies, Dunbar started her clothing line Suakoko Betty in 2006 to connect with her home through Ankara fabric. Suakoko betty represents the modern day sophisticated woman through print mixing, surprise colors on modern and refined silhouettes like pencil skirts, blazers and dresses. The fashion line has been featured in Essence Magazine, she has participated in New York Fashion Week and has partnered with different brands.
3. Lisa Folawiyo (Nigeria)
Lisa Folawiyo started her fashion line in 2005 after she decided to quit her job as a lawyer and venture into fashion design which was her real passion. The fashion line fuses West African textiles and prints with modern tailoring. Lisa has been featured in several publications such as Vogue, Style.com, The New York Times, Harper’s Bazaar, Essence, Marie Claire and more. The brand has also been well received and worn by the likes of actresses, Lupita Nyong’o , Issa Rae and singer, Solange Knowles.
4. Deola by Deola Sagoe (Nigeria)
Deola is a Nigerian fashion designer who was widely influenced by entrepreneur parents. After returning to Nigeria after her studies Deola helped her mother manage her small tailoring business while also working for the family business. The brand features dresses with plunging necklines with exciting cuts and vibrantly colored fabric. What makes Deola Sagoe unique is her use of Aso Oke fabric, a traditional hand-woven cloth from the Yoruba part of Nigeria.
5. Omer Asim (Sudanese)
Omer Asim is a Sudanese designer who lives and works in London. Asim studied architecture and later trained as a psychoanalyst with the United Nations Development program where he became fascinated with clothing and appearance in relation to mind and body. This motivated him to launch his own label in 2011 after a number of internships with the likes of Maurice Sedwell and Vivienne Westwood.
6. Maxhosa By Laduma Ngxokolo (South Africa)
Inspired by his tradition, Laduma Ngxokolo wanted to create a knitwear collection that reflected his isiXhosa heritage. It focuses on the rite of passage from boyhood to manhood which involves the purchase of a new ‘mature’ wardrobe which usually includes a premium quality jersey. The brand was birthed to fill the gap for quality knitwear using South African mohair and wool, and has become a favorite across the globe, worn by celebrities including Swiss Beats, Alicia Keys, Beyoncé, and Rafael Saadiq and spotted on the Hollywood premiere of Black panther.
7.Christie Brown (Ghana)
Motivated by her grandmother Christie Brown who was a seamstress, Aisha Obuobi launched her label in 2008 in Accra out of love for fashion. The Christie Brown brand produces women pieces ranging from beautiful bespoke gowns, statement pieces to accessories all inspired by the culture and art of Africa. The designs infuse both modern and carefully curated traditional African styles and has been featured globally on magazines such as Harper’s Bazaar, Vogue Italia, Canoe 53 and Glamour Magazine.
8.Gert Johan Coetzee(South Africa)
At a young age of 6, Coetzee showed great interest in fashion. He started making dresses at the early age of 6 with support from his family members. After high school he went on to further his studies in fashion and today he one of the most successful designers in South Africa. His designs have been worn by A-list celebrities across the globe like Kelly Rowland, Kourtney Kardashian, Miss Universe Roelene Strauss, Bonang Matheba, Tiwa Savage, Pabi Moloi and many more.
9. Oranpeleng Modutle (South Africa)
As a child Modutle watched his mother and grandmother do hand-stitching and needlework as a hobby. He was also involved in arts and crafts which further made him fall in love with the process of making clothes. After his diploma in fashion design at Tshwane University of Technology he launched his brand Oranpeleng Modutle. From wedding dresses to Modutle’s style is daring drawing his inspiration from his surroundings and his frequent travel.
10. Yefikir (Ethopia)
With a background in Psychology, Fikirte Addis transformed her experiences from working with children and her love for design into a deeply rooted ethical fashion brand. The brand which focuses on keeping indigenous Ethiopian textile knowledge alive carefully sources Ethiopian hand woven fabrics, ensuring no child labour is used in the process.
11. Loza Maléombho (Ivory coast)
Loza is an Ivorian fashion designer whose love for fashion made her to move to New York after graduating from college in Philadelphia , to intern with local designers like Jill Stuart, Yigal Azrouël and Cynthia Rowley. She then proceeded to launch her own fashion brand in New York. The brand features ready-to-wear and accessories for women featured in Vogue, Elle Magazine, Marie Claire and many others.
12.De La Sébure (Burkina Faso)
After moving to Paris from Burkina faso at the age of 18 , Seb started his career by working in the finacnec industry, then later proceeding to work as a chef so as to explore his creative skill and then finally landing on fashion. Seb draws his inspiration from Africa and mixes it with his European experiences. The brand specializes in unisex clothing , from daring colors, bold textures and exquisite cuts on all his designs as a means of expressing his colorful culture.