We’ve put together a list of some of the most talented African designers. Ranging from established to up-and-coming, what we love is that despite international exposure, all are primarily still based on the continent. Click any of the pictures below for a slideshow of the best of African fashion!
Whilst Lagos-born Folake Folarin-Coker spent most of her childhood in Europe, the Petroleum Law graduate returned to Nigeria in 1998 to launch the label Tiffany Amber. A decade later, she made her debut at Mercedez-Benz Fashion Week in New York. She returns this year as part of the Arise Magazine’s African Icons show to present her “Rhythm of Africa” collection.
This son of a dressmaker believes he was simply born with an eye for fashion. Since he began his formal career in 2005, Taibo Bacar has showed across the African continent including Tanzania, Angola, Botswana, and South Africa. In 2010, the Mozambican was the first African designer to present a collection at Milan Fashion Week.
Inspired by her seamstress grandmother, Christine Brown, Aisha Obuobi is the behind one of Africa’s premium women’s fashion brands. Obuobi won The Emerging Designer of the Year Award in 2009 at the inaugural Arise Africa Fashion Week in Johannesburg, and a year later was the only Ghanaian label chosen to showcase in the Arise L’Afrique-a-Porter as part of Paris Fashion Week in March 2010.
In two years, 28-year old Anisa Mpungwe has gone from working out of a little studio in her parents’ house to opening her flagship store in Johannesburg, South Africa. In 2008, she was the first black female to win the coveted Elle New Talent Competition and two years later was the first Tanzanian female to be invited to show Mercedes Benz New York Fashion Week as part of the Arise Magazine Collective show.
While many 18-year olds might be trying to figure out what to do with their lives, Ethiopian Mahlet Afework founded her fashion label, Mafi. With her latest collection described as streetwise and sassy, Afework caters to clients wanting to be modern and edgy. Earlier this year she participated in the Africa Fashion Week held in New York.
It all started at the age of three, when Tanzanian Doreen Noni would play assistant in her mother’s clothing boutique. From volunteering as a dresser at fashion shows to styling local celebrities, it was all in preparation for her to launch her own brand. Eskado Bird now has two distinct lines catering for both the high-end and more casual market.