To close out Black History Month, stylist and SHIFTER Style & Fashion contributor, Anita Hosanna, offers five African designer fashion brands you need to know.
February is a month to celebrate Black cultures in all their glory, far and wide. It also happens to be the month of fashion weeks across the globe. This season, emerging designers from the continent of Africa are moving the needle forward in honouring the legacy of Black fashion and reclaiming our power. In the spirit of Black History Month, check out these five African designer fashion brands and their designers of African descent who have more in common than just killer fashion.
Five African designer fashion brands you need to know
Adele Dejak is a Nigerian lawyer turned designer. For over 15 years, the entrepreneur has successfully created her eponymous hit accessories brand produced in the country of Kenya. Each piece, ranging from brass earrings to necklaces, rings, bracelets and more, pulls from inspirations rooted in traditional African jewelry from all around continental Africa. The brand is entirely sustainably sourced and ethically made by the hands of locals, creating economic growth opportunities for a better future.
Next up, Anima Iris is the Beyonce-approved luxury handbag line that has heads turning! While the bags are made with surreal craftsmanship by artisans in Dakar, Senegal, the founder is Cameroonian businesswoman Wilglory Tanjong. After studying African Development at Princeton University, Wilglory would go on to discover her roots firsthand by traveling her homeland. This is what inspired her to become a designer, creating for the adventurous, driven, out-of-the-box woman. She named the brand after her mother and childhood friend.
When creative director Moses Turahirwa graduated with a Masters in Collection Design from world-renowned Polimoda Fashion School, he couldn’t have guessed his post-graduate collection would lead to a spread in Vogue Italia only months later. Moshions is a conscious, slow fashion label that draws on historical Rwandese heritage whilst playing on notions of afro-futurism. The latest SS22 collection, entitled Imandwa which translates to ‘spirits of dead heroes’, is no exception to that rule.
Loved by many, Tongoro can be seen on some of your favourites in the game including Beyonce, Naomi Campbell, Alicia Keys, Iman and Burna Boy. The ready-to-wear fashion house was founded by Sarah Diouf from Senegal. No stranger to success, Tongoro has been critically acclaimed by Harper’s Bazaar, Nylon, Glamour and Porter to name just a handful. Diouf makes it a point to let her loyal supporters in on the brand and even produced a documentary following the journey from the creation process to the business activities and everything in between.
Avant garde fashion designer Rich Mnisi is from South Africa. A collaboration collection with Coca-Cola in 2018 landed him on the Forbes 30 Under 30 list in 2019. Today, Rich Mnisi unveils yet another collaboration, this time with Adidas. No matter the collection or collaboration, Mnisi always pays homage to his origins, specifically his Tsongan tribal ancestry through the use of vivid colours. His designs are gender neutral, and always bold.
In the words of the great late Andre Leon talley, you don’t get up and say, ‘look, I’m Black and I’m proud,’ you just do it and it impacts the culture”. With NY and London fashion behind us, Milan fashion week upon us and Paris coming up, we will be on the look out for some of these brands and many more promising designers from the African diaspora!