Style

8 Emerging African Designers You Should Know

Through innovative strides and careful execution these womenswear and menswear designers are changing the way we see African design.


Fashion is a form of art and expression that bridges both aesthetics and social connections. With Mercedes-Benz fashion week presentations in full force, there’s a lot of talk about contemporary designers—both established and emerging. Although publications try to cover emerging talents, diversity still lacks—especially when covering on African designers. Rather than waiting for the validation from gatekeepers of the fashion industry, many designers are taking risks and doing it their own way.

African designers are transforming the fashion industry and creating a new dialogue for the world to see. These designers are bringing forth a new approach to design, tailoring and execution that take on influences from their environments and multicultural identities. Through innovative strides and careful execution, these womenswear and menswear designers are changing the way we see African design.

Click through the links below to check out the eight emerging African designers to know:

  1. Rich Mnisi
  2. Recho Omondi
  3. Tokyo James
  4. Lisa Folawiyo
  5. Lukhanyo Mdingi
  6. Loza Maléombho
  7. Allen Aderotoye
  8. Amaka Osakwe

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Photo by Don Paulsen/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Hugh Masekela's New York City Legacy

A look back at the South African legend's time in New York City and his enduring presence in the Big Apple.

In Questlove's magnificent documentary, Summer of Soul, he captures a forgotten part of Black American music history. But in telling the tale of the 1969 Harlem Cultural Festival, the longtime musician and first-time filmmaker also captures a part of lost South African music history too.

Among the line-up of blossoming all-stars who played the Harlem festival, from a 19-year-old Stevie Wonder to a transcendent Mavis Staples, was a young Hugh Masekela. 30 years old at the time, he was riding the wave of success that came from releasing Grazing in the Grass the year before. To watch Masekela in that moment on that stage is to see him at the height of his time in New York City — a firecracker musician who entertained his audiences as much as he educated them about the political situation in his home country of South Africa.

The legacy Masekela sowed in New York City during the 1960s remains in the walls of the venues where he played, and in the dust of those that are no longer standing. It's in the records he made in studios and jazz clubs, and on the Manhattan streets where he once posed with a giant stuffed zebra for an album cover. It's a legacy that still lives on in tangible form, too, in the Hugh Masekela Heritage Scholarship at the Manhattan School of Music.

The school is the place where Masekela received his education and met some of the people that would go on to be life-long bandmates and friends, from Larry Willis (who, as the story goes, Masekela convinced to give up opera for piano) to Morris Goldberg, Herbie Hancock and Stewart Levine, "his brother and musical compadre," as Mabusha Masekela, Bra Hugh's nephew says.

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