We’ve compiled a list of African womenswear designers and brands that stand out to us this year in celebration of African style.
African designers 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 use textiles and prints to tell stories in an innovative way. They are passionate about displaying what home means to their global consumers.
In celebration of that, we’ve compiled a list of 11 African womenswear designers and brands that stand out to us this year. Take a look below.
Jason Asiedu is a Ghanaian designer whose work celebrates women’s curves and elegance. His garments flow effortlessly. His latest "Evolution" collection is meant to accompany the modern women from the start to end of her day. It is versatile and full of grace and poise. He is certainly a newcomer to watch.
Nigerian designer Amaka Osakwe’s label Maki Oh is comprised of intricately constructed pieces. She creates sexy clothing while combating what is conventionally deemed beautiful. Her garments so embrace the female physique that they have been worn by Michelle Obama, Lupita N'yongo, Solange Knowles, Leelee Sobieski, Alek Wek, Thandie Newton and Azaelia Banks. She fuses the aesthetics of her home and the West to create things that haven’t been seen in the realm of fashion. She is one of the continent’s most celebrated designers. Her upcoming Spring 2018 collection is sure to be nothing short of awe-inspiring.
Nigeria's Wana Sambo produces timeless pieces for African woman like herself. The designer gives her consumers something they can feel sexy and confident in. She yearns for women to celebrate themselves at every stage in their life.
Bridget Awosika hails from Lagos by way of Manhattan. Her collections speak to professionals and socialites alike. Her designs make their wearers feel ‘chic.’ They exude modern femininity. They are full of texture, movement, and sophistication.
Olori Swim was founded in Los Angeles by Nigerian couple Ibrahim Hasan and Dunnie Onasanya- Hasan. The brand celebrates all shapes and sizes of “melanin rich” women by providing them with luxury swimwear. It’s design are rich in color and call to mind royalty.
Have you spotted those brightly colored sweatshirts on Issa Rae in Insecure episodes with the word “Niggas” hand stitched on them? Kenyan-American designer Recho Omondi is behind these masterpieces. Her eponymous brand thrives. It is well-constructed and makes it evident she is passionate about color, women and the black experience. Her garments sit upon models who look as unique as the pieces they wear.
Darlene and Lizzy Okpo started this brand named after their father in 2010. Their Nigerian parents’ style coupled with American culture serves as inspiration for their clothing. This juxtaposition gives way to an understanding of an immigrant’s sense of style.
Senegalese media maven Sarah Diouf’s ready-to-wear label is based in Dakar and part of her push to keep making major waves in the fashion industry. It combines the care-free way of dressing in Senegal with that of Europeans. The label is comprised of pieces that are both playful and authentic.
Zambian designer Rina Chunga founded the contemporary label Rich Factory with a love of printed fabrics. In her factory based in Johannesburg, she deconstructs traditional silhouettes in wax print and turns them into unique pieces.
Senegalese-Guinean designer Fatoumata Guirassy tailors and embroiders impeccably. In 2015, she launched her line full of elegance and femininity. Much like the other designers on this list, she draws inspiration from her ancestry.
Cameroonian designer Nyorh Agwe’s label is bold and eclectic. It celebrates individuality, while exploring the designer’s identity. The brand supports local artisans by being made in her homeland.