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Top 10 African Menswear Designers You Need To Know About

Here are 10 African menswear designers who we can't get enough of.

African inspired designs have been seen on runways, since the dawn of the western fashion industry. We possess an innate awareness of style rooted in culture and tradition.

The style aesthetics celebrate multiple ethnicities and nationalities. The garments are vibrant and electric.

Designers adhere strictly to standards of craftsmanship and design. They innovatively use textiles and prints to tell stories. They are passionate about displaying what home means to their global consumers.

We’ve compiled a list of 10 menswear designers and brands that stand out to us:

1. Ikiré Jones 

"Awake & At Home In America" 📸 @joshuakissi

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Philadelphia based attorney, musician, and designer Walé Oyéjidé partnered with musician and tailor Sam Hubler to start Ikiré Jones in 2012. The label marries classic art with an African aesthetic. The two men pride themselves on the fact that the items in their collections mean something. Their garments delve into how the West has impacted the African continent as well as migration. The pair’s work will soon be featured in the upcoming Black Panther film.

2. Daily Paper

In 2010, friends Hussein Suleiman form Somali, Jefferson Osei from Ghana, and Abderrahmane Trabsini from Morocco, founded the Dutch streetwear label, Daily Paper. With contemporary designs inspired by their African heritage, the men have made serious headway in the fashion industry. They’ve collaborated with Puma, notable Parisian retailer, colette, and Filling Pieces to name a few.

3. Simon and Mary

The Power of Collaboration. @trevor_stuurman x #Simonandmary featuring @dear_ribane113 & @kwenasays

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South African brand, Simon and Mary, has been worn by Will.i.am, Steve Tyler, as well as model and actor Masego “Maps” Maponyane. Dean Pozniak has transformed his family’s 70 year old millinery into a fashion-forward business known for its vibrant, unisex wool, felt, straw and leather hats. With fashion photographer and influencer, Trevor Stuurman, behind its visuals, it’s no wonder its imagery always excites.

4. Kente Gentlemen

Launched this year by its Ivoirien founder, Aristide Loua, Kente Gentlemen boasts a “poetic, colorful, and cultural universe.” With his premiere collection, he explores both color and the use of Baoulé wax material in making shorts, shirts, vests, and sweaters. His work is inspired by voyages and an exploration of heritage.

5. Dent de Man

In Britain in 2012, Ivorian designer Alexis Temomanin founded Dent de Man. The brand, named after a mountain in his homeland, is rooted in challenging men to dress “like themselves”. Much like the other designers on this list, Alexis’ early artistic direction came from a desire to display his roots and identify with a culture that wasn’t his own. His work is meticulously tailored and full of remarkable prints, surely due to close ties with VLISCO, Dutch print manufacturer.

When Alexis was a boy, he ventured to Abidjan with his mother and she abandoned him there. He holds his love of print comes from his quest to find the blue print his mother had on the last time he saw her. He also holds the prints we identify with most on the continent actually come from Indonesia and were brought to us by Dutch, French and English colonizers and the we accepted these prints because of their warmth and vibrance.

6. Rich Mnisi 

@francisbuseko wearing pieces from Xingelengele 🚀🚀 shoes by @clarksshoes #adayinclarks #clarksforlife

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South African Rich Mnisi’s 3 year old unisex brand blurs gender lines. It’s designs, though, minimal, are extremely vibrant. The aforementioned comes as no surprise when the brand’s inspiration comes from art, music, film and nature.

7. Lukhanyo Mdingi

25-year-old Lukhanyo Mdingi has created quite the resume. He is yet another creative that hails from South Africa and whose four collections are comprised of conventional silhouettes, an acute attention to detail, and sophistication beyond that of other designers like him.

8. Tokyo James

We have been twining since 1986 our SS16 Campaign

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British Nigerian designer Toyko James has a penchant for visuals that move his audiences. His collections are simple yet edgy. His passion can be seen in the cleanliness of his garments’ lines. He meticulously crafts each piece

9. MAISON CHÂTEAU ROUGE

@maisonchateaurouge x @betoncire x @ojoz

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In 2015, Senegalese brothers Youssouf and Mamadou Fofana founded Maison Château Rouge in Paris. The house specializes in streetwear pieces made with wax print.The first generation immigrants are hell bent on ensuring the african continent is at the center of their entrepreneurial projects.

Their minimalist concept store shines and speaks to Paris's undeniable grip on what it means to be stylish, while embracing Africa's influence on modern day fashion.

10. Teddy Ondo Ella

TEDDY ONDO ELLA SS18

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This summer Teddy Ondo Ella debuted his self-titled brand at New York Fashion Week. He did so with an Okuyi rite of passage and Gabonese dancers. It comes after Ella’s already established marketing agency, sneakers club and streetwear brand. With his new venture, he hopes to shed light on his country, Gabon, and others across the continent.

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Image courtesy of Studio 189

Studio 189 Brought 'Heritage' to the Runway During NYFW

Take a look at the sustainable brand's Spring 2020 collection.

Studio 189—the sustainable fashion brand created by Rosario Dawson and Abrima Erwiah, debuted their Spring 2020 collection during New York Fashion Week (NYFW).

OkayAfrica was in attendance at Spring Studio this past Tuesday for the brand's runway show, which brought out 600 guests from various industries. Amongst those in attendance included Fantasia, Naturi Naughton, Quincy Brown, Opal Tometti, Young Paris, Quincy Brown, Justine Skye, Shaun Ross and many more. The show also featured musical performances "inspired by the continent of Africa" from Jojo Abot and more.

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Photo still courtesy of Vlisco&co.

Nigerian Filmmaker Dafe Oboro Tells the Lagos Hustle Story in His Vivid Fashion Film for Vlisco&co

"A Beautiful Struggle" is Vlisco&co's latest collaboration where Dafe Oboro shows us the beauty of the grind in his home city.

Vlisco&co continues to lend African creatives a platform to tell their unique stories while incorporating designs using the vibrant wax prints we all love.

With their latest collaboration, the brand tapped Nigerian filmmaker Dafe Oboro—the mind behind the fashion film A Beautiful Struggle featuring designs by Papa Oyeyemi and Abiola Olusola.

The film is a portrait showing what the Lagos hustle looks like and the beauty in the midst of it all from Oboro's perspective. We follow Smart Song—an aspiring musician hailing from a small-town—who lands in a psychadelic Lagos to follow his passion of music and being a star by any means necessary.

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Courtesy of Universal Music Group.

In Conversation with Daniel Kaluuya and Melina Matsoukas: 'This isn't a Black Bonnie and Clyde film—our stories are singular, they're ours.'

'Queen and Slim' lands in South Africa.

Melina Matsoukas and Daniel Kaluuya are everything their surroundings at the opulent Saxon Hotel are not—down-to-earth and even comedic at times. Despite the harsh lights and cameras constantly in their faces, they joke around and make the space inviting. They're also eager to know and pronounce the names of everyone they meet correctly. "It's Rufaro with an 'R'? Is that how you say it?" Kaluuya asks me as he shakes my hand.

Matsoukas, a two-time Grammy award winning director and Kaluuya, an A-list actor who's starred in massive titles including Black Panther and Get Out, have every reason to be boastful about their achievements and yet instead, they're relatable.

The duo is in South Africa to promote their recent film Queen Slim which is hitting theaters today and follows the eventful lives of a Black couple on the run after killing a police officer. It's a film steeped in complexity and layered themes to do with racism, police brutality and of course Black love.

We caught up with both of them to talk about just what it took from each of them to bring the powerful story to the big screen.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

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Installation view of Sahel: Art and Empires on the Shores of the Sahara © The Metropolitan Museum of Art 2020, photography by Anna-Marie Kellen.

The Met's New Exhibition Celebrates the Rich Artistic History of the Sahel Region

'Sahel: Art and Empires on the Shores of the Sahara' is an enxtensive look into the artistic past of the West African region.

West Africa's Sahel region has a long and rich history of artistic expression. In fact, pieces from the area, which spans present-day Senegal, Mali, Mauritania, and Niger, date all the way back to the first millennium. Sahel: Art and Empires on the Shores of the Sahara, a new exhibition showing at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, dives into this history to share an expansive introduction to those who might be unfamiliar with the Sahel's artistic traditions.

"The Western Sahel has always been a part of the history of African art that has been especially rich, and one of the things that I wanted to do with this exhibition, that hasn't done before, is show one of the works of visual art...and present them within the framework of the great states that historians have written about that developed in this region," curator Alisa LaGamma tells Okayafrica. She worked with an extensive team of researchers and curators from across the globe, including Yaëlle Biro, to bring the collection of over 200 pieces to one of New York City's most prestigious art institutions.

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