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Sunday 14th of August 2022

Nairobi, Kenya

African Fashion Show: The Focus Is Back On Fashion Presentations, The Upcoming Season Will Look Like This.

Two years ago, when everything came to a halt, it still seems like yesterday. We couldn’t even go out and get refreshments or go to activities since we were confined to our homes.

Although it was difficult, we had to do it for the sake of our own and others around us. We never anticipated this day would come so quickly, yet two years later, we are able to leave the house without a mask.

Due to spending so much time inside starting in March 2020, the majority of people were forced to pack away their fashionable attire in favor of something more comfortable.

It’s time to dust off those fashionable outfits and display your innovative sense of fashion now that events are open.

As a result, prepare ready for some of the country’s hottest fashion shows, which will take place between September and October.

Durban Fashion Fair 
The Inkosi Albert Luthuli International Convention Center will play host to the 10th annual Durban Fashion Fair from September 21–23 as part of eThekwini Metro. Along with the well-known designers, this year’s exhibition will feature student designers who are a part of its mentorship program showcasing their creations on the runway.

Before showcasing their collections to a larger audience of fashion buyers, the media, critics, and the general public at the fashion fair, the student designers are required to critique each other’s work as part of their weekly assignments under the guidance of Fezile Mdletshe, managing director and founder of the Fezile Fashion Skills Academy.

Mxolisi Kaunda, the mayor councilor of Ethekwini, is pleased with the program’s continued growth.

Our goal was to identify new talent and offer the required mentoring to promote self-employment by honing designers’ abilities so they might in turn produce jobs for others.

Free State Fashion Week
After an absence of two years, the Free State Fashion Week is returned. This year, the fashion spectacular will be held at the Naval Hill Planetarium in Bloemfontein thanks to a partnership with All Black Soiree, a high-end lifestyle event founded in 2021.

“As All Black Soiree, we are thrilled and honored that Candy Smith has given us the chance to collaborate with such an incredible company as Free State Fashion Week. one that breaks down historical entrance barriers in an effort to economically, creatively, and socially emancipate young people. According to Rapelang Khati, chief operating officer of All Black Soiree, “We look forward to a long-lasting cooperation that will give rise to various prospects.”

In order to prepare the public for the fashion show, which will take place from September 28 to October 1, the fashion week will organize a Women’s Day Breakfast on August 9.
In order to prepare the public for the fashion show, which will take place from September 28 to October 1, the fashion week will organize a Women’s Day Breakfast on August 9.
According to Candy Smith, CEO of the Free Condition Fashion Week, “The Women’s Day Breakfast will focus on the most important aspect of being a woman and how each and every woman in our midst has weathered the past two difficult years and how they have encountered humanity in its vulnerable state.”

Award-winning TV and radio personality Lerato Kganyago, “Ask A Man” host on Metro FM, “Young Famous & African” star Naked DJ, and world-famous medium and life coach Taz Singh are just a few of the people that are anticipated to attend the event.
Additionally, designers will present collections based on the “Be Human” concept at the fashion show, which was motivated by surviving a global pandemic and moving on after it.

“This year, I want to inspire our fashion business owners to “Be Human,” take a deep breath, and pause for a moment. That is the exact goal of the theme for 2022. Everyone in the world has experienced a great deal in both their personal and professional lives.

We must stop for a moment to breathe, then begin again with renewed vigor. It’s time to recover from the pandemic’s losses and reclaim our rightful positions while still managing to “Be Human.” This year’s designs from various designers will undoubtedly reflect this, according to Smith.

South African Fashion Week

The start of October is typically when South African Fashion Week holds its fashion shows, however, this has not yet been confirmed. The entries for the Scouting Menswear Competition are being processed right now.

The SA Fashion Week Scouting Menswear Competition seeks for the nation’s top up-and-coming menswear designers to showcase them to the media, buyers, and people who helped them break into the retail industry. On July 20, 2022, the competition’s semi-finalists will be revealed.

Content courtesy of IOL & NFH

8 South African Tribes Are Honored In Thebe Magugu’s New Dresses.

Designer Thebe Magugu was exposed to a number of African tribes and traditions as a child growing up in the South African cities of Kimberley and Johannesburg. His design work has always been influenced by the unique beauty of his homeland. Magugu adds, “I’m always focusing on topics that are relatively specific but run the risk of being forgotten.”

Magugu sought to keep this attitude alive in his latest effort by designing a clothing for each of South Africa’s eight major tribes: Zulu, Tswana, Swati, Vhavenda, Pedi, Xhosa, Tsonga, and Sotho. “I wanted to commemorate the primary eight cultures that we have here in South Africa because I value my own so much,” says Magugu, a Tswana tribe member.

“While we’re recognized for our storytelling and handiwork, all of the other countries have their own customs and peculiarities that I wanted to capture in a dress.”

Each tribe was designed in collaboration with South African cartoonist Phathu Nembilwi. “I urged her to paint her own abstract depiction of the eight tribes,” Magugu recalls. The illustrations by Nembilwi were then printed on crepe fabric and sewn into “bohemian-style garments with exposed necklines,” according to Magugu. “It’s a proportion that flatters everyone.” I wanted everyone who saw the outfit to recognize themselves in it.”

Despite the fact that each outfit in the collection is graphic and summery, Magugu wanted each one to have its own distinct personality. For example, the Tswana-inspired outfit displays two individuals drumming on a drum that they made themselves, a tribute to the tribe’s beadwork and craftsmanship history.

Magugu incorporated the Soto tribe’s traditional attire into the outfit. “They wear a really particular triangular hat, and they’re often clad with these incredibly enormous wool blankets surrounding them,” Magugu explains.

Magugu was able to transmit the collection’s message clearly and with care with the support of South African photographer Aart Verrips, writer Vuyolwethu Reoagile, and stylist Chloe Andrea Welgemoed. The models, all of whom are Magugu’s friends and South African creatives, were photographed wearing the gowns and coupled with unique South African things.
The conch shells, baskets, and other items would be found in a normal South African home, according to Magugu.
Reoagile also penned tribe descriptions that will be posted on Magugu’s website.
“I truly wanted it to be some form of education,” Magugu adds. “Vuyolwethu offered a quick review of the cultures, including where they’re found in South Africa and what they’re most known for.”

Magugu learned a lot while putting together the compilation. “I knew a lot about South African culture from friends and family, but seeing each culture in detail gave me an even greater appreciation.”
That, according to the designer, is why he enjoys fashion: he wants to continue to share the beauty of his homeland with others.

That, according to the designer, is why he enjoys fashion: he wants to continue to share the beauty of his homeland with others. “I might want to look at another field if I was only doing clothes for the sake of doing clothes,” he says. “I’m not a particularly outspoken person, but I feel heard when I make garments and engage with fashion’s cerebral side.”

Content courtesy of Vogue Magazine, Thebe Magugu & NFH

The Collections For South African Fashion Week Begin in April.

The 25th Spring/Summer collections of SA Fashion Week (SAFW) are set to debut this month.
Some of the collection’s dynamic developments include environmental sustainability, women’s empowerment, inter-brand collaboration, and proudly local production investment.

Ephraim Molingoana for Ephymol, Amanda Laird Cherry and Palesa Mokubung of Mantsho, and cult Kasi brand, Loxion Kulca, now designed by Olé Ledimo, will unveil their 2022 collections to the media, buyers, selected VIPs, and a limited edition of public tickets.

This is in addition to exciting new stars such as 2021 New Talent winner Artho Eksteen, Fikile Zamagcino Sokhulu, and Sipho Mbuto, who both took part in the Fashion Bridges collaboration with Milan Fashion Week last year.

The 24th New Talent Search, hosted by Maps Maponyane, will once again kick off the event with a lineup of six of the most promising young designers to watch. The following are this year’s contenders:

  • Thando Ntuli – Munkus
  • Nichole Smith – Ipikoko
  • Mikhile du Plessis – MeKay Designs
  • Calvin Lunga Cebekhulu – Czene.24
  • Sanelisiwe Gcabashe – Gjenelo Couture
  • Mimangaliso Ndiko – Sixx6

What to anticipate

The Cruz Collective with Sokhulu and Mbuto, as well as another new generation notable, Michael Ludwig Studio, were also highlights of the first day.

Day two begins with The Oppo Collections, which brings together Artho Eksteen, Ezokhetho, the gender-neutral signature, The Bam Collective, and the much-loved Amanda Laird Cherry.

The high-profile trio of Cape Town-based Helon Melon, who wowed audiences in 2021 with her all-white, sustainable collection, fashion-forward Judith Atelier, an ardent supporter of South African mohair and perennial fashion week darling, Palesa Mokubung of Mantsho, follows.

BeachCult’s Joanna Hedley and Belhauzen, both Cape Town-based designer brands committed to clean fashion, will be in attendance.

Similarly, Pretoria-based Isabel de Villiers is a body-positive activist who will unveil her current, size-inclusive collection, while Johannesburg-based Kayla Stamboul of Kayla Stam proudly supports women empowerment with a 100% female-owned supply chain.

On Saturday 30 April, the SAFW Collections Men will shine a light on the excitement that is contemporary menswear design in South Africa, with a power trio consisting of Ntando Ngwenya, who merges conservative and postmodern techniques to create a distinctively new clothing presentation, Thato Mafubedu’s Afrikanswiss denimwear, and the much-loved Loxion Kulca brand currently under Olé Ledimo.

According to SAFW director Lucilla Booyzen, an exciting new collaboration between designers Fabrice Moyo of Franc Elis, menswear brands Floyd Avenue and Ephymol, and KwaZulu-Natal-based and proudly South African shoe manufacturers Eddels, Evox, and Hopewell Footwear marks an exciting grand finale for the Spring/Summer 22 Collection.

The significance of fashion
According to Nerisha Jairaj, executive director of the South African Footwear and Leather Export Council (Saflec), the South African Footwear and Leather Export Council (Saflec) is proud to be making industry history with its inaugural association with SA Fashion Week this year.

“We are thrilled to be flying the ‘Made in South Africa’ banner with the debut of three of our most exciting footwear brands for men on this high profile & prestigious platform so that a wider audience can discover the remarkable capability of fashion South Africa.”

According to Maishe Mambolo, brand manager at Cruz Vodka, fashion reflects a country’s culture. “It’s more than just clothes.” Fashion becomes an expression of your attitude. Fashion professionals value art, design, and culture, as well as a sense of beauty.”

From the 28th to the 30th of April, the SAFW’22 Spring/Summer Collections will be on display at Mall of Africa’s Parkade G5, Entrance 24.

You Can Buy Tickets Here.
Each designer’s information, biographies, and contact information can be found here.

Content courtesy of Biz Community & NFH

Young Famous and African: Netflix’s First African Reality Show Set to Premier on 18th March 2022

The much-anticipated official trailer for the African reality show, “Young, Famous & African” has dropped- and it ticks all the right boxes.

The seven-episode Netflix show follows the OTT lives of star celebrities from across the continent, such as actress and singer Khanyi Mbau, rapper Nadia Nakai, musician Diamond Platnumz, along with Annie Macaulay-Idibia, 2Baba, Zari the Boss Lady, Naked DJ, Swanky Jerry, Andile Ncube and Kayleigh Schwark and promises viewers top-tier entertainment.

Mark your calendars and set those reminders for the 18th of March 2022 as Netflix will premiere its inaugural African reality show entitled Young, Famous & African. Unscripted and unapologetically African, the series promises to bring viewers top-tier, best-in-class variety entertainment through the lens of some of their favorite A-list personalities from all over the African continent.

It’s a glitzy reality series, aka a real-life soap opera, which looks at rivalries, new friendships, and romantic connections forming, to stories that made the headlines and the delicious tea being spilled, these African stars will give viewers an intimate insider look into their glamorous lives as they navigate the City of Gold, Joburg, South Africa.

Sharing their excitement about the seven-episode reality show produced by Urban Brew Studios and co-creators and Executive Producers are Martin Asare Amankwa and Peace Hyde, Martin Asare Amankwa said:

“It’s really exciting to be able to show the world an exclusive look into the lives of Africa’s top celebrities and socialites. Young, Famous & African is a depiction of a world that has never been seen before, highlighting authentic stories and unrivaled access to some of the most celebrated celebrities.” Peace Hyde said: “

This has been a labor of love that has finally become a reality. Growing up in the U.K. there were no glitzy and sexy images of Africa, all we saw were the stereotypical images that have been propelled in the media for years.

Young, Famous & African presents an Africa that is vibrant, beautiful, glossy and sexy to the world and we are super proud and excited for the world to see it.”, while Adelaide Joshua Hill, Executive Producer said,

“We are thrilled to have been a part of this amazing show, it is wonderful to be able to show a different side of Africa to the world and highlight the amazing people we have on our continent. We thank each and every one of the cast members who gave of their time and allowed us a sneak peek into their lives.  Young, Famous & African is a wild luxury ride, a trip that is worth the time.” From the cast, Zari the Boss Lady (Uganda) said,

“I’m so excited for people to see how much of ourselves we poured into this show, showcasing our true, authentic trials and tribulations. Young, Famous & African will give our fans an insider look into our very entertaining, very busy lives”.

Content Courtesy of IOL & NFH Digital Team

SAFW Returns To The Mall of Africa This Season

South African Fashion Week (SAFW) is back at Mall Of Africa this October for the Autumn/Winter 2022 collections.

This season, 29 designers will unveil their collections at the fashion week from October 28-30, followed by the SAFW Trade Show in the Crystal Court at the Mall of Africa
Some of the new designers who will be showcasing include the six finalists of the Scouting Menswear Competition. They are Marquin Sampson, Refuse Clothing Brand, Saint Vuyo, Umsweko, Vanklan, and Boyde.

The trade show will exhibit 40 designers of men’s and womenswear as well as accessories ranging from footwear and handbags to costume jewelry and millinery from October 31 – November 1.

And then, from December 3-5, designers will showcase their work at the SAFW Pop Up Shop, where fashionistas can purchase exclusive garments and directly interact with the designers.

Lucilla Booyzen, director of SAFW, says participating designers are increasingly adopting the circular fashion system required to transition towards a more sustainable and cleaner fashion order.

“This is evident throughout all the collections, be it the new seasonal ranges by established designers or the entries for our New Talent or Scouting Menswear competitions with feature principles such as waste reduction, low impact materials, longevity, and recyclability as well as a greater emphasis on higher quality and timeless design,” says Booyzen.
SAFW will also host a digital media conference on October 13, and on October 20, they will formally introduce the participating designers to the public.

Content courtesy of IOL 

What Went Down on Day 1 of SA Fashion Week SS21 Digital Collections

Sustainable fashion. Self-expression. Graceful and edgy artistry. Classic and playful elegance. Personal stories. And going back to basics.

This was Day 1 of SA Fashion Week SS21 digital collections which included fresh talent and legendary designers. Words: Kgomotso Moncho-Maripane

The SA Fashion Week tagline, “The business of ethical fashion” encapsulates its ethos precisely. Running with this, sustainable fashion became the underlying theme with which designers in the New Talent Search were tasked to follow when designing. Upcycled and deconstructed fabrics were a running thread all around.

With a collection inspired by “De-gendered geometry”, Michael Ludwig Studio showed how the fluidity of structures, proportions, and colors shape evolving identities.

MC Alpine played with interesting shapes and details, while Sipho Mbuto took an avant-garde approach to deconstruct denim.

Stand-out looks from the competition include Fikile Zamagcino Sokhulu’s soft and edgy collection boasting a red, white, and black color palette with images that boldly speak to the beginning and the resilience of life, relevant to what our world is going through.

Her collection was inspired by “how planet earth strives for an ecological balance within the forces of nature.”

The debut of Thulani Vuyo Mlambo’s Saint Vuyo shone with notable layering and tailoring. With a brand ethos taken from his lineage, the collection invoked the spirit of Africa’s women armies like the Dahomey Amazons – the all-female warriors of West Africa. Again, a testament to strength and survival.

However, it was Artho Eksteen’s winning combination of fine art and fashion design that saw him take the 2021 New Talent Search winner title.

His collection takes cues from the Surrealist method of Exquisite Corpse where a collection of images or words is collectively assembled to reveal a completed artwork.

Eksteen played with the juxtaposition of different fabrics and textures; different silhouettes and prints to bring together a body of work that is appealingly ugly-beautiful. The beauty is also in how functional the collection is even if it was to be deconstructed.

Read more on the New Talent Search Competition finalist designers here and watch out for our fashion shoot with New Talent Competition winner Artho Eksteen soon!

The Satiskin Rise & Shine Collections brimmed with playful and classic elegance showcasing designers who are retail ready. Romaria charmed with their signature monochromatic wool prints offering subtle pops of woven color. Even more charming were the wool accessories that ranged from bags to headbands.

The story behind the Ezokhetho collection is about the designer, Mpumelelo Dhlamini, having lost his dad. And so, the bold and joyful colors are in celebration of his father’s life. The designs are inspired by a character that the iconic Thembi Nyandeni played in the comedic drama series, Kwakhala Nyonini called uMfazi Wephepha.

The much-loved character was loud, opinionated, fashion-forward, and money-driven. Dhlamini interprets this with exaggerated shapes, playful proportions, and a sophisticated and desirable finish.

Previous New Talent Search winners, ERRE are consistent in the exquisite nuance they bring out in the fabrics they choose to work with. In the past, they have worked ingeniously with leather and moved past its limitations.

Here they highlight scuba fabric, velvet, and techno mesh with voluminous, dramatic, and powerful silhouettes.

Lara Klawikowski exuded elegant grace with her Inflorescence collection that boasts botanical hues and organic shapes resembling tarot tulips. Big on sustainability, her romantic looks were achieved from rewoven plastics and offcuts. See our recent story on Lara here.

Chiefs of Angels presented a rebellious edge with their punk rock-themed collection.

With Oscar Ncube’s fabric ripping and distressing, he showed a more punky expression than the technical design.

Jacques van der Watt closed off the night with a show that goes back to the very essence of what has made Black Coffee a formidable force in the design world.

The geometric prints and architectural structures were recognizable. It is the collection’s military and laid-back mood that brings it back to now as we fight for survival in this Covid19 pandemic. As poet Lebo Mashile says, “Style is in the survival of my people.”

Content courtesy of ASA Online Magazine & Nairobi fashion hub 

Explore African Culture Right in Metro Detroit

Metro Detroit is home to a growing community of Africans from countries all across the continent. Though not as visible as Polish culture in Hamtramck or Arab influences in Dearborn, African cultures abound in metro Detroit, making it easy to sample the richness of the continent right here at home.

Seydi Sarr, a Senegal native and executive director of the African Bureau of Immigration & Social Affairs (ABISA) in Detroit, says the city attracts a steady flow of African immigrants from larger metropolitan areas such as New York and Washington, D.C., who come here to settle down, raise families, and establish businesses. As of 2000, there were nearly 17,000 African-born people in Michigan. By 2016 that number had risen nearly 63 percent to a little over 27,000, according to the U.S. Census.

More than half of the state’s African-born population at that time lived in the Detroit-Warren-Dearborn area. They represent a diverse mixture of people who hail from Senegal, Guinea, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Uganda, Togo, Cameroon, the Ivory Coast, and elsewhere, says Zaini Itito, a Togo native who serves as shelter and client services manager at the nonprofit Freedom House Detroit, a temporary home for asylum seekers.

“It’s definitely diverse because you have Senegalese, you have Gambian, you have the Ivory Coast, you have Benin, you have Togo, you have Mali, you have Nigeria, you have Uganda … you have Burundi in here. It’s very, very diverse,” Sarr says of African influences in the region.

There are plenty of ways to experience the diversity of African culture right here in metro Detroit if you know where to look.

Don’t Miss 

A great place to start is with a trip to Dabls Mbad African Bead Museum. Museum owner, curator, and visual storyteller Olayami Dabls began collecting African beads in the ’80s. He opened his museum in 2002 on an entire city block in Detroit with the goal of connecting the local community to African history and material culture, free from the constructs of European museums. The walls of the bead gallery and shop are covered from ceiling to floor in hand-carved bone, glass, brass, and ceramic beads from all around the continent. The campus also includes 18 outdoor mosaic and mural installations, including the “N’kisi House” and the “African Language Wall,” which features 25 of the continent’s languages painted in multiple colors.

The African World Festival is a highly anticipated annual event in Detroit. During a three-day weekend each August, the festival brings live music and dance performances, art, clothing, more than 200 authentic African and Caribbean food vendors, and more to crowds that surpass 125,000 in non-pandemic years. The event has been held at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History for the past decade, but it’s scheduled to return to its original home base, Hart Plaza, from Aug. 22 to 24 this year.

At the Detroit Institute of Arts, local historian Jamon Jordan guides guests through the museum’s ancient Egyptian and African exhibits as part of the Royal African Tour. ABISA’s Sarr, meanwhile, teaches West African dance classes at the N’Namdi Center for Contemporary Art’s Movement Center.

The Real Deal

Several shops with authentic African apparel and accessories line the Livernois Avenue of Fashion in Detroit. Love Travels. Imports. offers handcrafted artisan goods created by makers in South Africa, Guatemala, Peru, and Haiti, including apparel, accessories, textiles, and body products. The shop is a culmination of owner Yvette Jenkins’ travels to those places. Nearby Akoma is an art gallery, shop, and co-op space for local women artists and makers, featuring African textiles including indigo-dyed cotton and hand-dyed mud cloth from Mali. Other notable shops on the avenue include African Fabrics & Fashion and Prisca’s African Fashion for Less.

Sarr recommends a visit to Detroit’s Djenne Beads and Art, owned by Mali native Mahamadou Sumareh, for African beads, perfumes, shea butter, and clothing. Also worth a visit is Sun’s Crystal and Bead Supply, which stocks a selection of brass, carnelian, coconut heishi beads, and more. Zarkpa’s, owned by Liberia native Tracy Garley, offers vibrant tops, dashikis, skirts, dresses, masks, and headwraps handmade with
fabrics from Ghana, Nigeria, and Liberia.

At African Fashions by Classic Expressions in Oak Park, Nigeria native and designer Yemisi Bamisaye designs ready-to-wear garments and custom pieces with fabrics from Nigeria, Angola, Ghana, and Cote d’Ivoire. Stereos International Boutique in Detroit is internationally known for its geles, a traditional Nigerian head wrap.

For more products with African roots, check out Diop, a “diaspora-inspired streetwear” brand founded by first-generation American Mapate Diop. The brand’s vibrant apparel and accessories are made of Ankara fabric, a material that Diop’s mother brought home after visiting her native Nigeria that inspired Diop to start his business. And Chinyone Akunne’s beauty brand Ilera Apothecary features collections of plant-based, ethically sourced cleansers, moisturizers, and body butter influenced by Akunne’s Nigerian roots.

Detroit’s west side is also home to many grocers Darou Salam African MarketAfrican Village MarketFamily African Market, and United African Market among them that sell African foods, herbs, organic products, oils, butter, cosmetics, and similar products.

Tastes

Authentic African fare is plentiful in metro Detroit. At Maty’s African Cuisine, chef Amady Guere whips up Senegalese dishes such as chicken yassa; deep-fried fataya pastries; and maafe, a West African stew. Located in Detroit’s Old Redford neighborhood, the restaurant is the first of its kind in the city. KG’s African American Grill in Garden City also serves traditional Senegalese fare, including various takes on the national dish, thiéboudienne, along with burgers, chicken sandwiches, and other American classics.

Afro-Caribbean eatery YumVillage, founded by chef Godwin Ihentuge, specializes in Hot Bowls filled with flavorful proteins, rice, and veggies including mango curry chicken, guava Tahini chicken, lemon pepper jerk chicken, jollof, coconut or turmeric rice, and spicy plantains. Not far from YumVillage in Detroit’s New Center neighborhood is Baobab Fare, a highly anticipated East African restaurant founded by the husband-wife duo and Burundi natives Nadia Nijimbere and Hamissi Mamba. This, the area’s newest African dining spot, opened in mid-February.

Kola Restaurant & Ultra Lounge in Farmington Hills offers Afro-Caribbean eats paired with live Afrobeat, reggae, and jazz music performances as well as comedy and dance shows. The Blue Nile in Ferndale and Ann Arbor and Taste of Ethiopia in Southfield offer Ethiopian meat and vegetarian dishes. Other spots to check out include Detroit’s Kalahari African Cuisine and the Fork in Nigeria food truck, which offers flavorful dishes rooted in chef-owner Prej Iroebgu’s native Nigeria.

Did You Know?

Afrobeat is a genre that combines elements of West African music such as Nigerian fuji music, traditional Yoruba music, and Ghanaian highlife with American jazz and funk. The Odu Afrobeat Orchestra, a Detroit-based, 15-piece ensemble, is one notable example of local Afrobeat talent.

A legendary Afrobeat performance was recorded live at the Fox Theatre in 1986. The late Fela Kuti a Nigerian multi-instrumentalist and activist regarded as the pioneer of Afrobeat performed there less than a year after he was released from his 20-month imprisonment in Nigeria. The four-song set lasted nearly two and a half hours and was released as the album Live in D. 

Content courtesy of Hour Detriot & Nairobi fashion hub 

Every Look From Thebe Magugu Fall/winter 2021

The South African Designer Looks Towards The Fantastically-occult For His Latest Short Film And Collection

At the intersection of Black History Month and Women’s History Month, fashion has found a way to honor the strong, female ancestors that came before them.

For South African designer Thebe Magugu, it was an easy choice. At the core of his Fall/Winter 2021 collection, African spirituality and female divination are celebrated at full volume. The collection titled “Alchemy” explores the occult, cultural heritage of the South African upbringing, and the modern women changing the landscape.

“This season, I wanted to have a conversation with traditional healers, who have divinely been given powers to answer our most burning questions, and who act as a conduit between various realms, often by using objects of divination,” The LVMH prize-winning young designer writes. “It’s a very particular kind of strength, one that doesn’t show-off and relies heavily on the natural.”

In lieu of a traditional runway for Paris Fashion Week, like many other labels, Thebe Magugu’s instead greenlit a short film to showcase the Fall/Winter 2021 garments. The film, titled BANYOLOYI A BOSIGO (Ultimate Midnite Angels), tells a Romeo and Juliette-esque story of neighboring tribes in the desert. Shot and written by Kristin-Lee Moolman, the film expresses the intersectionality behind modern South African women and how they are not a monolith.

“I want female characters to have their own agency and can be heroes or anti-heroes without having to conform to the cinematic trope of women having to go experience major trauma to be allowed to be the same level of ‘badass’ as their male character counterparts,” Moolman writes.

Magugu’s collections often have a sociopolitical meaning. The South Africa-based designer’s Spring/Summer 2020 collection was an ode to the revolutionaries who fought to end apartheid while his Spring/Summer 2021 collection honed in on Johannesburg’s spies in the latter half of the 20th century.

The collection’s draping, colors, and textures all allude to the magical elements found in his homeland. Sharp tailoring, high hats, and fluttering capes add a mystical perspective to Magugu’s models. On a plain background standing at the center of a rug, the models highlighted in the campaign give the camera an icy stare, as if they are hexing you with their divine powers.

Dressed as warriors, feminine healers, and modern working-women, Magugu incorporates both the spiritual and fun. A hat made of light blue dyed feathers sits atop a model’s head while fringed detailing adds a playful, ’70s touch to the bottom of skirts and dresses. The look isn’t complete without a pillbox hat, a sign of American royalty and elegance in the days of Jacqueline Kennedy-Onassis.

Every cut, print, and dye is integral to the label’s storytelling. The designer worked with Noentla Khumalo, a stylist, and healer who provided inspiration for Magugu’s occult-chic prints. Fabric makers Larisa Don, Adachi San, and BYBORRE used traditional materials and practices to inject spirituality into the DNA of Magugu’s work. The short garment list, clocking in at just under 20 looks, is another testament to Magugu’s continued efforts involving sustainability.

Check out the gallery above to see every look from Thebe Magugu’s Fall/Winter 2021 collection.

Content courtesy of  CR Fashion Book & Nairobi fashion hub 

Three African Rising Fashion stars offer Standout Spring Looks

Personal heritage defines the collections of Thebe Magugu, Supriya Lele and Chopova Lowena. The two latter designers have just been nominated for the BFC/Vogue Designer Fashion Fund 2021

When it comes to articulating ideas of identity, the fashion world has traditionally drawn from external and historical sources to create evocative visions. As well as that may be, a new wave of young, emerging designers are instead looking inwards and expressing their sense of self in ways rarely seen before.

In Johannesburg, designer Thebe Magugu has used his collections to preserve and share South African culture. In London, British designer Supriya Lele mines her Indian heritage to create universally flattering silhouettes, while the rising label Chopova Lowena seeks out Bulgarian deadstock fabrics to create its signature folkloric skirts. Drawing on their individual heritage to champion diversity, these designers widen the fashion lens in ways worth applauding.

Supriya Lele

As distinct as traditional Indian dressing and 1990s minimalism may seem, these opposing forces come together memorably in the hands of the British designer Supriya Lele. Known for her layered silhouettes that flatter all female forms, Lele began exploring her Indian heritage while studying fashion at London’s Royal College of Art (she graduated with a master’s degree in 2016), where she also realised the importance of experimentation in her creative process.

She realised that ‘the only way I can work is in 3D, on the stand, by draping’, she says. The process ‘really set the tone for what I wanted to do going forward’.

Lele was selected to show her graduate collection with the pioneering design incubator Fashion East. Her debut at London Fashion Week in 2017 was staged at Tate Modern, and she continued to show under Fashion East’s stewardship for the next three seasons. In 2019, Lele was sponsored by the British Fashion Council through its NewGen initiative and in 2020, she took home part of the LVMH Prize Fund, which was split equally among eight finalists (also including label Chopova Lowena, see opposite) for the first time.

Industry success aside, Lele’s brand of female-centric inclusivity could not feel more sincere. Her S/S21 collection exuded a panache inspired by how her all-female team dressed immediately after the first round of lockdown restrictions had eased.

Despite the logistical challenges of its creation, the collection encapsulates a youthful sexiness. Minimalist silhouettes are amplified by vibrant shades of azure blue and fuchsia; lingerie-inspired details such as delicate ties gingerly hold up draped tops and dresses; and embellishments such as sequins and lace add finesse. Several bright, Madras-check pieces were cut from fabric sourced from Lele’s grandmother’s favorite sari shop in Jabalpur, in the central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh.

‘What the pandemic has done is bring people together,’ Lele reflects. ‘Everyone has gone through this together and there’s an openness to the fashion system changing; to people showing in their own way and different methods. I think we all really needed that break in the cycle and rhythm.’

Chopova Lowena

Emma Chopova and Laura Lowena transform overstock and deadstock Bulgarian fabrics into oversized Victorian-style blouses and accordion-pleated skirts festooned with carabineers and large buckles. Their work is a triumphant celebration of heritage, cleverly transposed into a contemporary context.

Chopova, who was born in Bulgaria but grew up in the United States, and Lowena, who hails from Somerset in the UK, share a passion for craft and sustainability. ‘I became very interested in Bulgarian dress when I started my BA at Central Saint Martins in London and met Laura,’ says Chopova. ‘I was collecting and wearing traditional dress, but it wasn’t until we did our MA together that we started using Bulgarian references in our work.’

With an archive that spans wall hangings, needlepoints and aprons, the duo’s approach is highly individualised. ‘For us, it’s about having the right product in mind and the right usage for it,’ says Chopova.

The pair dissociate the fabrics from their origins by juxtaposing them with utilitarian silhouettes and sporty embellishments. For S/S21, they invited artists and craftspeople to contribute, a collaboration that resulted in jeans printed with painterly designs and T-shirts featuring abstract imagery made from cut-up Bulgarian postcards.

Thebe Magugu

Originally from the South African mining town of Kimberley, Thebe Magugu moved to Johannesburg to study fashion at LISOF. The 2019 winner of the LVMH Prize, he continues to fly the flag for African culture and provenance, using his eponymous label to highlight social issues, local standards of production, and the potential for growth.

‘I think African stories have often been told by people who aren’t African, and thus distort accounts for their own agenda,’ says Magugu. ‘The collections are inspired by real people and their stories; stories that are often missed in the history books.’

These include the human rights activists of Black Sash, who inspired Magugu’s S/S19 collection, and spies who worked for and against the apartheid regime, whom he interviewed for his S/S21 offering. The resulting collection brims over with hidden details, including patterns developed from the fingerprints of a former spy, and a print featuring official confessions provided by the South African government.

‘Instead of working abroad, I want to create something for us, by us. I think this sentiment, now more than ever, is shared by many designers working on the continent,’ says Magugu, who launched his online store.

Content courtesy of Wallpaper & Nairobi fashion hub

 

Something for the forever: Lukhanyo Mdingi on weaving friendship into his latest collection, Coutts

When his friend and fellow designer Nicholas Coutts passed away, South African fashion designer Lukhanyo Mdingi decided to commemorate Coutts in the most meaningful way he knew how through their shared language of fashion design.

“We’ve found that the spirit of time has yielded us to create collections that have a certain steadiness to [them]; a pitch of some sort that mirrors values that are rooted by consideration and sincerity, swaying ourselves away from anything that is fleeting, the resistance of some sort that’s against the aesthetics of trends.

“Our intention is to simply create a body of work that has a sense of soulfulness to it; work that is of substance, that is strong and that is solid something for the forever.” So reads the “intention” statement on the Lukhanyo Mdingi fashion label’s

If one thinks of the idea of steadiness in the way the Merriam-Webster dictionary defines it as direct sure movement, being firm in position, showing little variation or fluctuation, and not easily disturbed or upset then the “steadiness” the 27-year-old eponymous designer behind the label speaks of, does indeed inform much of what he does, both personally and in his creative output.

From his 2015 Macrame menswear collection, a series of monochromatic looks presented in whites and shades of grey without so much as a suggestion of any other colors, to spring summer 2016’s genderless Taintless collection, a strictly navy blue affair of sheer fabrics and billowing silhouettes through to his more recent Perennial collection which debuted at New York Fashion Week in February 2019, made of oatmeal shades and copper hues, spread across mohair textures and metallic fabrics.

It is also that steadiness of mind that led him to choose a fashion collection as the appropriate tribute to his dear friend and fellow young designer, Nicholas Coutts, who passed away in May 2019.

“All of us who were really close to him were deeply affected by his passing, and we had our own ways of dealing with his death. A lot of people commemorated him through social media, posting things about him and posting their memories, and hanging out. But I knew that I wanted to do it in the language of what he and I shared: fashion design.

“Having had the opportunity to collaborate with him and really get the essence of Nicholas Coutts, I felt confident enough to approach his parents and his family and ask them if the LM label could commemorate his legacy through a body of work that represents the spirit of Nicholas Coutts,” says Mdingi.

On 9 February 2021, the Coutts collection by Lukhanyo Mdingi debuted at Pitti Uomo, the highly influential menswear trade show that has been held annually in Florence, Italy, for almost four decades.

This year, however, much of it has moved online due to the pandemic.

Unlike Mdingi’s usual monochromatic looks and neutral tones, here we see reds, greens, burnt oranges, and blues living side by side. At times, Mdingi’s typically loose silhouettes give way to Coutts’ more fitted sexy looks. At its most uncannily Coutts, the collection features the late designer’s signature handwoven scarves.

Alongside his fitted silhouettes and an eye for textural combinations, it was the scarves that first caught the attention of the judging panel at the 2013 ELLE Rising Star design competition, which Coutts would go on to win, launching him into the spotlight. Full disclosure: this writer was part of the judging panel that year.

Both Mdingi and Coutts were finalists. Having met a couple of years earlier in 2011 and hung out socially, Mdingi notes the competition as a significant moment in their friendship.

“The friendship really got solidified that year. Both he and I were now in the same boat, not just in terms of being fashion students, but we were also finalists in this national prestigious competition that had been happening since 2000.

Debuting the Coutts collection at Pitti Uomo this year is particularly significant for another reason for Mdingi. In 2016, the pair debuted their collaborative collection at Pitti Uomo, the first time both designers had collaborated, and the first time they’d shown at Pitti Uomo.

Says Mdingi: “It didn’t feel transactional. We were just two friends trying to put a body of work together. And it was like… business aside, let’s just collaborate and work with one another. We were 22 or 23 at the time. We hadn’t even made the marriage of business and design work; we were just designing and thinking about the shows and the craftsmanship and the direction of where we wanted it to go.

“We weren’t thinking about the business of fashion at all. We didn’t know any better. All we said was that we’ll just split everything in half in terms of costs, and that’s what we did. We weren’t even thinking of selling the collection… we were just making clothes.

“I think it was only later in our careers, as we got older, that we realized that we both have so much potential and so much to offer; that people want to feel part of the story. And the only way we can make this work is if we also bring in the business side of things, and make that marriage of business and design work.”

As with the ELLE Rising Star competition nearly three years earlier, which brought both designers into the public eye and led to a strengthening of their bond, the Pitti Uomo show would push them further into the spotlight.

This slowly led to divergent ideas between the pair, and the years that followed brought about tension and competition.

“We became more competitive with one another.

There were certain times when it was difficult to put that aside and just be friends, knowing that every single time we would have a hangout at my place or his place we would always be like… so what work are you doing? What competitions are you in?

“I don’t quite know why we became like that, instead of being the same peers that we were when we were both 22, 23 years old,” says Mdingi.

At the end of 2018, just a few months before Coutts’ passing, an opportunity came up to be part of a trade show in Paris, France.

“I was like, hey man, are you keen on doing this? And that’s when things started to get better between him and me and it felt really good. After the trade show, we decided to extend our stay in Paris and have a little bit of a holiday and just hang out.

“Sometimes there was tension, sometimes there was just a lot of love. It was an interesting dynamic because I knew I loved and respected this guy so much, and I knew that he loved me too,” Mdingi recalls.

“He was my friend, but he was also was my peer… and just having another individual that was exactly in the same boat as you, and going through the same industry struggles as a young designer, was really nice… to have someone to talk to and confide in and lean on and share what you’re feeling.

“I felt like he was my only peer that was also my friend; there was that level of trust and respect.”

Coutts’ passion for craftsmanship and the role he believed it could play in society had also led him to work with Philani, a multi-faceted organization based in Khayelitsha, Cape Town, that works to empower women and children.

Says Mdingi: “I looked at him with so much respect… there was so much potential to be reached. Nicholas was making his own textiles by his own hands, and no other designer was doing that, to be frank. And then it reached a point where he was able to pass that spirit, using his time and talent through working with the women at Philani, teaching his technique, and collaborating with them.

“He used talent as a means of service. A lot of people don’t know the intentions that he had, the visions that he had, you know, and I feel honored to have had a little bit of a taste of that.

“His passing made me realize there is an impermanence to everything. And it really made me reflect on my friendship and work relationship with Nick, and the importance of actually being friends, having your peers’ back, supporting them, and understanding that one is on their own trajectory, their own journey, and respecting that person’s journey instead of looking at them as competition.”

As Mdingi prepared for their second collaborative showcase at Pitti Uomo, this time without Coutts’s hands and his craftsmanship to get on the loom and weave his signature scarves, Mdingi would have to go to the source – the very same person who taught Coutts.

“It was in January last year 2020 … maybe February… when I visited his mom Lindsay again and she was, like, ‘Okay, well, when you visit again, I have to teach you how to set up a loom and how to weave, because if you’re going to be doing this yourself, you need to do it properly. I need to teach you the same way I taught my son’. And so she taught me,” says Mdingi, recounting an afternoon spent with Nicholas’ mother, Lindsay Coutts.

He would visit the family several times, showing them the progress of the collection.

“It was a constant and steady in and out because I knew each moment that I would text or call or even enter their home, one way or another, it was a reminder of their son, of course among other things that were in the home.

“Besides coming in based on the premise that Nicholas and I were friends, I’d also be coming to discuss the body of work and showing them progress and getting permission to go into his studio. So I had to be steady, and do this sporadically overtime to make sure I didn’t bombard them.

“Because as much as the spirit of this is to celebrate Nicholas, it would still bring up a longing and missing, and it could be triggering; it would be a reminder that the physical being of Nick is no longer with us, even though his spirit is still here.”

While putting together the collection, in particular, while weaving the scarves in the style Nick would weave them, and now as they had both been taught the technique by Coutts’ mother, Mdingi would momentarily be faced with moments of doubt about his decision to embark on this commemorative collection.

“There was this imposter syndrome when I’d ask myself, ‘What are you doing? Who do you think you are?’ I would literally have conversations with myself like, ‘Why are you doing this? Nobody asked you. You’re just taking over somebody else’s like signature’.

“But there were also moments when I felt his presence. And I felt him saying, ‘Go for it.’ Without sounding weird and spiritual… but I felt his presence. I remember moments while weaving and thinking to myself, ‘Lukhanyo would never put these colors together, but it wasn’t about me, it was Nick saying, ‘Go for it, put together that green with the purple, bring in the gold, bring in the yellow’.

“Even in those moments of doubt, I just had to remember the intention… the root of what I was doing love. I just had to remind myself that you’re doing this because you love Nick’.

“My friendship with him was too strong to just say ‘goodbye, my friend, I love you, I miss you. No way. I had to use the language of design to honor him and his legacy; through what he did, in the most honorable way.” DM/ML

Content courtesy of Daily Maverick & Nairobi fashion hub 

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