Understanding African Fashion

For a very long time fashion has been perceived to be something foreign and not African. However, the scene is changing fast as with the election of President Obama the Afro American community has become more aware of their fashion sense. The African American community is indulging in the fashion of Africa especially to remind themselves of their rich and diverse heritage. The roots of African fashion can be traced back to centuries before now. Whether you consider the vibrant sisal skirts which are an important part of African dances to the Kanga which is now an iconic fashion garment, African fashion is being featured on the fashion ramps across the globe. Recently the fashion scene in Africa has become quite lively with runway shows occurring on a frequent basis with African designers competing with the level of international designers.

Fashion with a purpose is the main theme of most of these fashion shows which attract a number of fashion enthusiasts from all over the world. Fashion is also a big part of the African pop culture where some designers have strong following with celebrities and public personalities. These celebrities include well known names like Oprah Winfrey, Beyonce, Solange Knowles and Will Smith to name but a few. It is not just the celebrities but also the common masses who have embraced African fashion in an effort to look good. Men are also equally fashion conscious and many of them have been taken in by African fashion garments.

Apart from this the Miss World beauty pageant has also contributed to the growth of the African fashion industry. This is because the representatives from the African countries turn towards local designers in order to get their ensembles designed. This has caused the African designers to become popular all over the world. African fashion has essentially become the signature preference for men and women who wish to express themselves through their clothing. Most of the African designers also have understood how to successfully combine western styles with African ones and create authentic and original garments. This has resulted in a fashion scene that is vibrant and colorful and all the richer due to this combination.

The garments created by African fashion houses are also easily available globally, in fact they are available online in fashion stores dedicated to African fashion as well as via some own branded online stores. This has enabled the global community not belonging to the ‘African’ community to be able to express their liking for original and authentic designs and styles based on traditional African fashion.

This article was written by Anna Efah, a social media intern of Ohema Ohene. She is currently studying Fashion Journalism as a bachelors degree. Aroused by the beauty in Africa, Anna seeks to explore it further under through her work experience at Ohema Ohene.