Love Letter to African Designers

illustration by Céleste Wallaert @celeste.iii , Shop her illustration here: https://www.behance.net/celeste-wallaert

Reading this post’s title, one might think that I do possess many pieces coming from one of these African designers that I declare to love… Unfortunately, it’s not the case.

But, it’s not an obstacle to my declaration. I love African designers! I really do.

I’ve been following many of them for years now and I am truly inspired by how they manage to use colors, fabrics, patterns to dress any women no matter her height, size, and proportions.

Two years ago, I discovered via Instagram Diana Opoti, a well-known Kenyan PR. In 2014, she started the “100 days of African Fashion” promoting via Instagram African fashion by wearing local African designer every day.  She reiterated this operation in 2016. That’s when I “met” her. This is basically her work now, as “Voice of African Fashion” as she named herself on her Facebook. Look at her Instagram on @dianaopoti.

One can imagine my joy when I heard about my favorite authoress replicating the same operation for the same objective: showing the diversity and creativity of African fashion but also promoting African designers’ work. Yes, it was Chimie!

Chimamanda Ngozie Adichie is photographed by her nieces wearing African designers’ pieces. Seriously, How lovely?

My sister @saraounia is relaying Diana Opoti’s objectives by wearing local (Cote d’Ivoire) designers on her everyday life, introducing them to her circle and promoting them.

64689C43-8C43-41EF-B006-909BF69EAC01To the left: By Natacha Baco, To the right, from top to bottom: Lisa Folawiyo, Reuel Reuel, Mataano.

 

My point is: wearing African local designers is truly a political act. You don’t have to be Chimamanda or Diana, or Michelle Obama, Beyoncé, Solange etc.. you name them, the list of celebrities that wear occasionally African fashion.   Wearing African local designers is being fierce and proud of these works and showing it in the simplest way to the world. Here are the “plus”:

  • Showing your individuality, your origins
  • Showing your originality: you ain’t made to be discreet!
  • Expressing your differences
  • Adding colors to your life, and to others’ lives.
  • Embracing your body type ( because your clothes will be tailored to your body measure -> hello body positivity!)
  • Wearing a piece of art: the wax fabric is a piece of art for me and it’s unique. Historically it’s very interesting. (read it here)
  • Wearing unique pieces – mostly – This is not high end where every corner some girls wear the same dress or has the same scarf as you. This has been made for you!
  • you can fill this and add whatever you are feeling when you wear African fashion.

Here is the list of my favorite African Designers, who is yours?

 

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