The African Designers We’re Keeping on Our Radar

From Nigeria to South Africa

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Since fashion’s earliest days, the industry has been dominated by its heritage European houses, but it’s officially time for a new era. African fashion still hasn’t gone mainstream. Yes, Mowalola might be gaining recognition on a global scale, but we’re still a long way from a truly inclusive fashion scene.

The good news is, independent African brands are multiplying and changing the narratives from their every corner of the continent. From Lagos becoming home to a prominent ARISE Fashion Week and digital showroom Industrie Africa offering African brands a major platform, we’re well on our way to embarking towards African dominance. 

If you’ve yet to familiarize yourself with the continent’s growing fashion scene, we rounded up our favourite African designers for you to keep on your radar.

Kenneth Ize

Nigeria

 

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Une publication partagée par Kenneth Ize (@kennethize)

Dynamic, bright and lively, you’d recognize Kenneth Ize’s signature strident checks and stripes anywhere. Made from traditional Nigerian asoke fabric and Viennese lace, Ize’s pieces are sported by the likes of Naomi Campbell and Timothée Chalamet. The brand is dedicated to preserving Nigerian craft and local artisanship by supporting a small community of weavers and working directly with a number of artisans across Nigeria.

Orange Culture Nigeria

Nigeria

Adebayo Oke-Lawal, the Nigerian designer behind Orange Culture, might just be the Dries Van Noten of Africa. His sensual prints flow beautifully on every type of body, and come in harmonious shirt sets and soft tailoring. The brand doesn’t shy away from boldness either, from perfectly-fitted men’s crop tops to ribbed bodysuits with cut-outs. Produced in Lagos, the collections are 90 percent made of African-sourced materials and a percentage of revenue is donated to the Orange mentorship program, aiming to develop local designers and help underprivileged communities.

Thebe Magugu

South Africa

 

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Une publication partagée par Thebe Magugu (@thebemagugu)

South Africa’s Thebe Magugu made history in 2019, becoming the first African designer to ever win the LVMH prize for Young Fashion Designers. Drawing inspiration from Africa’s storied past, his sharp tailoring is sleek with a subtle sexniess and his knitted sweaters and cinched silhouettes are a seasonal staple.

Loza Maléombho

Côte d’Ivoire

Loza Maléombho has already been seen on Queen Bey more than once, notably in her iconic visual album Black is King. First established in New York City then relocated to Côte d’Ivoire, the brand merges Ivorian tribal aesthetics and NYC’s urban fashion. Her signature gold plated bronze mini-masks are adorning every piece from striped sharp ensembles to sandals and belts. 

Lukhanyo Mdingi

South Africa

Comfort, ease and warmth: that’s how Lukhanyo Mdingi’s mohair and wool blend pieces will make you feel. The South African brand’s trench coats, buttoned up dresses and knits come in relaxing earthy tones and minimal silhouettes.

Duro Olowu

Nigeria

 

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Une publication partagée par Duro Olowu (@duroolowu)

Prints, prints and more prints. Duro Olowu does it all from mosaics and stripes to florals and checks. Both elegant and vibrant, his silk dresses and soft silhouettes will add a spark to your wardrobe.

 

Main image: Lew Caine by Kobe Boateng

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