Style

Here Are 5 Places Where You Can Buy African Fashion Online

You need to know these five African-owned e-commerce sites that are selling made-in-Africa fashion brands.

As e-commerce continues to take over the fashion industry, it is important we shed light on the websites where the latest fashions from African designers can be acquired.

Consumers can now access pieces more easily due to the technological advancements made by these trail blazers.

These sites hold global customer bases, vast product assortments and fill voids in the retail marketplace.

1. Zuvaa

Kelechi Anyadiegwu founded  Zuvaa in 2014 due to frustration that she couldn’t find African-inspired clothing and accessories online. Today, multiple merchants flock to her site to sell goods and she’s been featured on Forbes 30 under 30. 'Zuva,' translates to ‘sun’ in Zimbabwe’s Shona language—so Anyadiegwu’s platform certainly shines bright. It is the product of an entrepreneur with a passion for Africa, fashion and technology.

Her site’s mission is “to empower designers worldwide with the tools to enter a global market and to make women around the world feel bold and beautiful in vibrant and eccentric African inspired designs.”

The online store is also a community and a movement.

2. Kisua

A post shared by KISUA (@kisuaonline) on

Kisua is the Swahili noun for ‘garment’ or ‘suit,’ as well as an adjective for a ‘well-dressed person.’ When Ghanaian economist Samuel Mensah started Kisua, he sold everything he owned to raise seed money for the platform. Today, the brand creates exclusive capsule collections with contemporary african designers and has been worn by Queen Beyoncé. Fabrics are sourced from suppliers on the continent to create clothing that stands out. The colors, prints, and  shapes seen are engrained in our cultural traditions.

3. ONYCHEK

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Nigerian Chekwas Okafor established an e-commerce space for African luxury goods in the fall of 2016. The artisans on his site ONYCHEK are afforded an exposure they wouldn’t have any other way. He positions the brands globally and helps them tell their stories. The aim is to make people think of the African continent when they think luxury, much like they do Italy or France. We recently partnered with Okafor for a pop-up shop at Okay Space during New York Fashion Week, so we’re excited to see his extensive expansion in the future.

4. Moon Look

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Moon Look is yet another digital platform and concept store created to expose contemporary African designers. Cameroonian Nelly Wandji founded this boutique in Paris in 2014. Creatives whose products are “Made in Africa” that have a loyal clientele but may need strategic help and creatives who are just getting starting find solace here.

5. OXOSI

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Last fall, Vogue dubbed OXOSI as African fashion’s Moda Operandi. It’s a platform on which consumers can access luxury designers such as Maki Oh, Loza Maléombho, Bridget Awosika, MaXhosa by Laduma, and Dent de Man, to name a few. Ochosi is the Yoruba god of hunting. It is from here that the two Nigerian co-founders of this brand got the name for their e-commerce platform that provides products, content, and a community of contemporary brands.

Akin Adebowale and Kolade Adeyemo understand the importance of capitalizing on the African renaissance we are seeing in the realms of music, film, and fashion. Their retail channel connects consumers to products they may see from the aforementioned designers in magazines and on runways. It is also home to profiles and editorials.

These men hope to become a notable global-scale brand with a portfolio as diverse as the African continent.


ICYMI, read up on the 10 menswear bloggers and 11 womenswear designers you need to know.

Music

6 Samples From 'Éthiopiques' in Hip-Hop

A brief history of Ethio-jazz cultural exchange featuring songs by Nas & Damian Marley, K'naan, Madlib and more.

This article was originally published on OkayAfrica in March, 2017. We're republishing it here for our Crossroads series.

It's 2000 something. I'm holed up in my bedroom searching for samples to chop up on Fruity Loops. While deep into the free-market jungle of Amazon's suggested music section, I stumble across a compilation of Ethiopian music with faded pictures of nine guys jamming in white suit jackets. I press play on the 30 second sample.

My mind races with the opportunities these breakbeats offered a budding beat maker. Catchy organs, swinging horns, funky guitar riffs, soulful melodies and grainy and pained vocalists swoon over love lost and gained. Sung in my mother tongue—Amharic—this was a far cry from the corny synthesizer music of the 1990s that my parents played on Saturday mornings. I could actually sample this shit.

The next day, I burn a CD and pop it into my dad's car. His eyes light up when the first notes ooze out of the speakers. “Where did you get this?" He asks puzzlingly. “The internet," I respond smiling.

In the 1970s my dad was one of thousands of high school students in Addis Ababa protesting the monarchy. The protests eventually created instability which lead to a coup d'état. The monarchy was overthrown and a Marxist styled military junta composed of low ranking officers called the Derg came to power. The new regime subsequently banned music they deemed to be counter revolutionary. When the Derg came into power, Amha Eshete, a pioneering record producer and founder of Ahma Records, fled to the US and the master recordings of his label's tracks somehow ended up in a warehouse in Greece.

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