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Fashion Africa by Jacqueline Shaw
Publication: 27 February 2014
There is a fashion renaissance going on in Africa – from street clothes to luxury wear.
In recent years, the fashion world has seen a flurry of new collections inspired by Africa’s vibrant colours, patterns and textures from the likes of Louis Vuitton, Diane von Furstenberg and Junta Watanabe to name a few. Increasingly, designers and labels are choosing to move the entire production of their collections to Africa. Forerunners in this trend such as Vivienne Westwood, collaborators Diesel and Bono’s label Edun and ASOS have discovered inspiration, sourced sustainable materials, constructed their garments using high-quality, ethical workshops and to benefited from exposure in both local and international markets this vast continent provides. The fashion industry is clueing up on Africa’s potential.
The glitterati are also getting ahead of the Africa curve: A-listers Heidi Klum, Beyonce, Thandie Newton, Naomi Campbell, Lucy Lui and Kendall Jenner have all been seen in up-and-coming African designers. Bold African prints can also be seen gracing the White House corridors thanks to First Lady Michelle Obama.
In Fashion Africa, leading African fashion blogger Jacqueline Shaw showcases over 40 of Africa’s top designers from across the whole continent from Kayobi in Ghana to Brother Vellies in South Africa and Namibia, with over 300 specially commissioned photographs and revealing interviews.
The designers are honest about the challenges of producing in Africa: poor infrastructure, particularly in transportation, lack of specialized machinery and gaps in the supply chain which means, for instance, that Africa grows 12% of the world’s cotton but exports 95% of this due to the lack of mills and factories to process it.
But designers also enthuse about Africa’s potential; on a creative level, the variety of fabrics, colours, craft techniques, and artistic and cultural influences are astronomical. At a business level, the fashion industry can be an engine for economic growth as it is relatively cheap to set up a shop, and the brand values can centre on ethical standards that compare well to the world’s image of sweatshops in Asia.
At a time when Africa is enjoying unprecedented economic growth and a rapidly expanding middle class, fashion offers both a creative and a business opportunity.
Featured designers include
About the Author
Jacqueline Shaw has worked within the fashion industry in the UK, China, Turkey and now in Africa. She is a fashion designer, business woman, eco-entrepreneur, blogger, writer and visionary. Jacqueline has travelled extensively throughout Africa, chronicling the fashion and textile industry and social enterprises across the continent from Ghana to Nigeria and Southern Africa. Her blog, Africa Fashion Guide, has been highlighted by The Guardian as one of the top ten African fashion blogs. She will be in the UK for publication.
Fashion Africa by Jacqueline Shaw will be published by Jacaranda Books on 27 February 2014, price £45 hardback, ISBN 9781909762008.
Have a look at the Fashion Africa Sampler
For more information or to see preview pages please go to jacarandabooksartmusic.co.uk/book/fashion-africa/ or to arrange an interview with Jacqueline Shaw please contact Ruth Killick, firstname.lastname@example.org; 07880703741 or Rachel Kennedy, email@example.com, 07929 093 882
I’ve encountered a lot of ignorant people that assume ‘made in Africa’ means made for 10 cents an hour by a minor – which in our case couldn’t be further from the truth. People are yet to think of Africa as somewhere that produces luxury good as well, but with my brand I know a lot of people hold our craftsmen and the quality of our leather and finished product in a very high regard.
Aurora James, founder Brother Vellies
My choice of textile development Barkcloth, is sourced from Uganda. A 600-year old tradition and one of the oldest cloths made by man…
Josephine Kyomuhendo, founder José Hendo
The positive aspect of producing in Africa is mainly the abundance of inspiration for designs…
Kwabena Oppong Boeteng, founder Kayobi (Ghana)
We need to feed this demand so that Africa can trade its way out of the poverty hole we are stuck in.
Alice Heusser and Olivia Kennaway, Lalesso (Kenya)
There was a time when you could only wear African-inspired attire in Africa. One would feel silly wearing it in Oxford Street in Central London. It is rewarding to hear from our clients all over the world saying that they wore their Kiki Clothing garment to a wedding in Lebanon or the theatre in New York and … that they stood out from the crowd for all the right reasons.
Titi Ademola, Kiki Clothing (Ghana)