The African fashion scene is lit, and all the designers currently hailing from the continent are proof of that. They are bringing traditional and Afropolitan looks to a broad audience of connoisseurs eager to learn more about the style and heritage of the diaspora. If you happen to be a fashionista who is particularly taken by African fashion aesthetics, there are three designers you should be keeping on your radar.
Born and raised in Nairobi, Kenya, Katungulu Mwendwa grew up in a creative and nurturing environment. Spending a lot of time with her grandmother who owned a curio shop in Nairobi, Katungulu developed an interest in artisanal fashion and community work at an early age. Upon completing her degree in fashion in the UK, she decided to launch her own contemporary fashion line which would focus on empowering community groups as much as her grandmother’s curio shop did back in the day.
Her current collection, “ADRGYN OMO”, celebrates gender fluidity through androgynous cuts inspired by Japanese Kimonos and the Omo from the Omo River Valley Basin in Ethiopia. Sourcing her textiles from a women’s group specializing in hand-loomed woven fabric in Burkina Faso, the cultural combinations in this collection are extremely unique and focused on structured silhouettes and playful movement.
Some people find their calling early in life, and Loza Maleombho is one of them. She started designing her own clothes when she was just 13 years old and living between Côte d’Ivoire and the United States, gave her plenty in terms of inspiration. Upon graduating from the University of the Arts of Philadelphia with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Animation in 2006, she went on to work for some of New York City’s biggest fashion design houses, before establishing her own brand in 2009.
Her work is an exciting fusion of NYC’s urban fashion and the tribal aesthetics of Côte d’Ivoire, where she resides and produces all her garments. She loves the play on the old and the new, heritage pieces and futuristic visions, traditional and contemporary.
Ami Doshi Shah
Winner of the renowned Goldsmiths Award for Best Apprentice Designer UK and The African Designer for Tomorrow Award, Ami Doshi Shah, is changing our perception of jewellery with her exquisite designs. Based in Nairobi, Kenya, Ami is inspired by the talismanic and symbolic role of adornment. Her materials are locally sourced and often off-cuts remnants from the Kenyan mining industry. She uses these materials to create sculptural pieces and wearable art that inform her Kenyan roots whilst embracing a global aesthetic.
Her “Salt of the Earth” collection, explores “the complex historical, political and chemical properties of salt,” and features strong, tribal-esque statement pieces.