I still wonder what the African fashion industry has lost most to Covid-19; is it the yearly creative scenery all around the continent, bringing fashion creatives and enthusiasts together or the scouting and blooming of amazing fashion talents? Either of them has a nostalgic presence we can’t afford to lose in 2021.
2020 was a terrible year and we all attest to that considering that every social event was forced to go virtual. However, the African fashion industry possesses a worthwhile vibrancy in the act of improvising such that the yearly Mercedes Benz fashion week Accra became a special photo series photographed by Carlos Idun Tawiah and spotlighting five of Accra’s best fashion designers.
Arise fashion week didn’t fail either to sum in Africa’s emerging and established fashion brands by introducing the Arise fashion week 30 under 30 competition; where each of the selected designers was eligible to compete for the $500,000 prize. The show held in December 2020 in the heart of Nigeria’s creative hub, Lagos, started out with the solemn walk of Supermodels Noami Campbell and Alton Mason to the acoustic beat of Wizkid and Burna boy’s ginger. In the end Fashion designer, Kenneth Ize took the grand prize of $100,000.
However, with the start of 2021, everything doesn’t seem of a relative balance but is assuring of such as the year draws close. Moreso, we hope to meet a lot of striving fashion talents this year, and here are some of the fashion brands we need to watch out for amazing fits in 2021.
You can’t speak about emerging talents without putting Emmy Kasbit in the lead role. The brand’s ability to apply traditional textile designs to create straightly-knitted wears makes it substantial. Founded by Emmanuel Okoro in 2014, the brand has appeared forth-willed to take the Nigerian fashion scenery by chance and it doesn’t seem to be giving up sooner. The brand was birthed with the idea of creating fierce imaginative fits from Akwete—an Igbo cultural textile predominately weaved in color patterns, all of which Emmanuel traces to his ancestry in order to make them alive by telling their stories through fashion and style.
If you ever happen to scroll through Sisiano’s Instagram and not move ahead to fill up your cart, then you must be courageous enough. The brand was founded by Paolo Sisiano— a self-taught designer who studied contemporary dance and had the honor of making his own dance costume himself. In Sisiano’s fashion collections, he plays with watercolor fabrics, shedding them into long thin strips and crisscross wears. By the sight of his hand-dyed fits, you will find out how fluffy they are, the quality that enables them to dance to the winding rhythm.
I don’t know if it’s the Zulu imprint that draws me closer to loving Mzukisi Mbane or the flamboyant style of the brand. Either ways, there is something adorable about the brand. Mzukisi Mbane has a pedigree of creative people. In his life, women have been the ones teaching him the value of art and it was that vision he followed. From using his mother’s sewing machine to learning about the art form from his grandmother to finally starting off his brand. His brands hold an Androgynous spirit such that it let him loose in his process of creating gender breaking wears.
TJWHO universe was founded in 2018 by Ibrahim Tabu, the fashion designer who believes in blending something familiar with something new. Ibrahim’s idea doesn’t deal in a traditional form; rather he finds shield in the tapping inspo from European bespoke tailoring, Japanese and west-african cultural background. In TJWHO, you will find the essentiality of colorful fashion and sketchy fits, a talent everyone needs to reckon with.
Muyishime is one of the androgynous brands in Africa’s fashion industry. The brand was founded by Muyishime Eddy Patrick, the designers who believe in the total fluidity of fashion and enjoy the experimentation of silhouette, drapes, and sculpted fabrics. The brand is one of Keyan’s leading fashion brands.
The first runner up fashion brand in the Arise fashion week 30 under 30, Re.Lagos is the epic fashion brand known for its tied satin and colorful chiffon wears. The brand holds a strong name because of the clients who have worn their fits, from the likes of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie to Eku Edewor.
Starting out in 2014 as a menswear brand based in Accra, the capital city of Ghana, Atto Tetteh just only started partnering with other brands to produce women’s wear. Their crafty fabric depicts a colorful Ghanaian trend, all full of elegance and sophistication. With a touch of boldness, the brand is one of the leading Accra fashion talents.
When conversations about Ghana’s electrifying prints are raised, Larry Jay seems to be the main focus. Founded by Larry Jafuru in 2017, the brand draws inspiration from a cultural ground as well as nature.
Founded by David Kusi Boye-doe in Ghana, the brand is a costume designing house producing ankara unisex fits. In Boyedoe, you will find shoulder-spiky blouses as well as cropped tops.
In Nigeria, there are a lot of creative personalities and Mowlola falls under this category. From being one of the Nigerian youth designers to bagging a job as Kanye West design director. While scrolling through Mowlola Instagram, you will discover the glorious combo of sexiness in all her designed outfits; from ripped silky gown nurturing the curviness of her client like deto black to sexy models on shiny leather trousers and skirts. Mowlola fits contain substance of fluidity and presents a non-conforming fashion class.
If you adore skating, then you must adore Motherlan— a crew of young Lagosians who came together for the love of skating and have a taste of fashion that is youthful and non-conforming. As one of the Lagos leading youth grows, they have contributed immensely to the growth of Alté culture; from designing their own streetwear for their skating videos to deciding to create a brand because of their amazing design. Now they are representing a class of casual fits consisting of art-inspiring shirts and trousers as well as sweatshirts and pants.
Having clients like Rema could be such a lovely thing for a brand starting up to be one of the centre of youth fashion in Nigeria. David Blackmore’s brand represents something refined and un-clichéd. As one of the ever-present brands styling up-and-coming Nigerian artists, it seems to bold a level of influence in the entertainment industry. As long as I love their fits, I still want to understand the inspiration behind them and you should too.