News

10 African Designers Inspired By Their Roots

Hamda Issa-Salwe looks at ten African designers inspired by their roots.


Junya Watanabe’s "African-themed" menswear show held last month in Paris featured a slew of models sent down the runway adorned in bones, Maasai beads and dreads. It was one big appropriative hot mess, and for something claiming to be inspired by Africa, one key ingredient was crucially absent – African models. Not surprisingly, the collection was met with criticism and even dubbed the "Rachel Dolezal of fashion shows." But instead of focusing on this fashion faux pas, let’s look at some incredible African designers inspired by their roots.

Hamda Issa-Salwe is a second generation Somali residing in London where she studies fashion and is currently interning for an international luxury brand. Her interests include fashion, pop culture and social justice issues.

Next Page
News Brief
Photo: Courtesy of The Outside Organisation

Ayra Starr Shines Bright in Debut Single 'Away'

Mavin Records' new teenage signee comes through with her debut EP.

West African native and the newest Mavin Records signee Ayra Starr is fresh out of the gate and already getting tongues wagging. The 19-year-old has released her self-titled debut EP, starting with head bopper "Away."

Born in Benin and raised between Cotonou and Lagos, Nigeria, Starr's sound comes with her own versatility and distinctive styles taking center stage. Though early on in her career, it's safe to say that the young woman is here to have her voice heard. Her new five-track EP exhibits strong examples of soulfulness and a diverse musical range that usually takes some years to master.

But, what can't African women do?

Keep reading... Show less

get okayafrica in your inbox

popular.

MTV Africa Music Awards Announces Top 20 'Listeners' Choice' Finalists

Focalistic, Tiwa Savage, DBN Gogo and more score a spot on the nominees list for the 'Listener's Choice' award at the 2021 MAMAs.