The last five years we’ve seen an incredible boom in the African fashion scene, in the early stages no one knew what it meant but clearly we know now it’s our fashion scene becoming more cohesive and structured with bursts of emerging styles, diversity in the way collections are curated and presented, the general overlay of the fashion environment has undergone a more defined narrative. Naomi Campbell who visited Africa recently requested Vogue to open a branch in Africa as soon as possible after experiencing the rich fashion culture steady brewing in Africa, from working(walking) on the runway at Arise fashion week and experiencing a part of our street culture during the BBK pop-up which stocked new age brands like WafflesNCreams, Modus Vivendi, Patta & of course multinational Nike she got firsthand experience of the beautiful future that awaits.
In Lagos alone we’ve had 6 fashion shows and it’s only the second quarter of the year, LFDW had a show before summer and it was free, something we’ve never experienced before.
The change in the fashion scene has fostered more interaction and innovation within the fashion community, different fashion companies are establishing all over Africa adding something to nurture the growth of the industry, aiding emerging & existing designers fill missing holes needed to distribute their brand, idea, and collections to the world. More fashion shows are springing up to keep up with the stampede of content, media houses are documenting the scene with better attention, online stores like Afromodernism is giving the clothes access to global buyers across the world, and now ‘Industrie Africa‘, the continent’s new digital showroom.
We aim to establish Industrie Africa as the go-to guide for industry insiders by exposing the diversity of the continent’s talent and repositioning the vernacular and behaviour of how people perceive, access and interact with the continent. The more seamlessly we can integrate Industrie Africa as an indispensable resource, the stronger the foundation we’ll lay to really evolve the platform into an essential tool. – Georgia Bobley shared with Nataal
Industrie Africa was founded by Nisha Kanabar, who is from Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, and Georgia Bobley, a native New Yorker, as a dream of creating a framework that helps steer through the fashion terrain spotlighting the dillies behind it. Industrie Africa is structured as a curation of brands with relevant information like biographies, listed stockists, all relevant social media handles concisely laid out and an added feature of instantly contacting designers. They feature an array of brands on the platform, not missing out on African favorites Lisa Folawiyo, Okhtein, Orange Culture, Selly Raby Kane, Christie Brown, Haute Baso, Thebe Magugu, Loza Maléombho, Tongoro Studio, Rich Mnisi, Emmy Kasbit and Taibo Bacar.
A collaboration between @liyakebede, supermodel and founder of homegrown Ethiopian label @lemlemnyc, and French luxury footwear designer, @pierrehardy, Pierre Hardy x Lemlem is an accessory capsule that connects two distinct identities—fusing clean European craftsmanship with artisanal Ethiopian weave fabrics. “I find him super original and super talented in what he does,” Kebede said, speaking about working with Hardy. “It was wonderful to connect the artisans of Ethiopia with the artisans in France, and to create a bridge between these two worlds.” Learn more about their process, and Kebede’s mission to protect and promote ‘Made in Africa’ crafts via @britishvogue. Link in bio.
Nigerian brand @emmykasbit’s SS’18 collection, “An Ode to My Father,” draws inspiration from photos of the designer’s father taken in the 70s in Nigeria. With his latest line, Emmanuel Okoro reimagines how his father would have dressed had those photos been taken today. Using Akwete fabric, which is indigenous to the Igbo tribe, “An Ode to My Father” is a tribute to Okoro’s family and heritage.
Both Kanabar and Bobley have extensive editorial backgrounds, Kanabar previously at VOGUE India and Style Arabia, and Bobley launching POPSUGAR’s Middle Eastern counterpart. Industrie Africa currently has over 80 designers from 24 different countries, they pride themselves on inclusivity, and supporting African designers globally. The site allows users to search for designers by country, by product (ready to wear, shoes, accessories), or by clothing category (menswear, women’s wear, unisex). The site also shows the production location of the brands and whether a brand is sustainable.
People often view African fashion as a trend that comes in waves and it’s so much more than that, we want to show that there’s a diversity of talent here that defies all expectations. The industry here is so fractured. People in Nigeria know little about what’s happening in Kenya or Mozambique, for example. Our question was: How do we connect the dots between the different countries?, Kanabar shares with Vogue.
Dubbed the ‘Wikipedia of African Fashion’ by Vogue Industrie Africa is a good addition to the fashion culture of Africa as we unlock more layers to what we can achieve, gaining more dominance in global fashion.