News Brief

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

A post shared by Ikiré Jones (@ikirejones) on

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

A post shared by Simon and Mary (@simonandmary) on

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

A post shared by RICH MNISI (@rich_mnisi) on

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

A post shared by Tokyo James (@tokyojamess) on

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

A post shared by MAISON CHÂTEAU ROUGE (@maisonchateaurouge) on

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

A post shared by Teddy Ondo Ella (@teddyondoella_brand) on

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.

Audio
Photo by Zander Opperman

Playlist: Stream Mx Blouse’s Exclusive Playlist Celebrating South African Queer Musicians

Mx Blouse, a South African writer and musician, has compiled a playlist — for OkayAfrica — that showcases musical excellence on the part of South African artists who just happen to be queer.

That house music and techno were born in Chicago and Detroit's queer scenes a few decades ago is a well-established fact. Unfortunately, it's a fact many would prefer to turn the volume down on. It's important to remind those who doubt or prefer to ignore our excellence that some of their favourites, the biggest and most revered musical icons to come from these parts, like the late Brenda Fassie and Lebo Mathosa were queer. That legacy continues.

We're in the midst of a heartbreaking spate of homophobic violence that has seen many lives lost in recent months. Almost weekly, we hear reports of yet another queer South African found murdered. Compiling this list without thinking of homophobic violence and murders is impossible. I also couldn't help crying tears of joy as I went through this music, and felt a deep sense of pride.

Our music is of a very high standard, that is quite easily comparable to the best in the world. Much as we are faced with this crisis, our music reminds me that we are indeed resilient and we relentlessly bring joy to many in spite of our own struggles.

Keep reading... Show less

get okayafrica in your inbox

popular.

The 10 Most-Streamed South African Artists and Songs by Local Gen Z Audiences on Spotify

Mr JazziQ is the most-streamed South African artist on Spotify by local youth between the ages of 13 and 17.