The 5 Best African Bridal Fashion Designers
Strange times have crept upon us. Currently, it’s not all that easy to remain positive and stay focused on that light at the end of the tunnel. But that’s exactly what we must do – we need to find little highlights in our day to day lives and find things to look forward to once we have settled into a new normal. One thing many women look forward to from the minute they are old enough to understand the concept of marriage – or, and let’s be honest here, the big party with the big poofy dress – is their own wedding celebration. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime event that is fun to plan and dream about whether you’re currently planning a wedding or are simply digging the fantasy.
We’re all familiar with bridal fashion designers such as Vera Wang, Oscar de la Renta and Dior, but if you’re looking to represent your heritage for your real or imaginary wedding, you should be looking into the wealth of talented African bridal fashion designers. Whether you’re looking for a classical look in white or cream or something more modern and culturally inspired, these designers will turn your dream gown into a reality. Here is our selection of the five best African bridal fashion designers!
Merging her native, cultural background of Eritrea with the textiles and fashion of her second home, Abu Dhabi, Farida Degel, the designer behind Farida Designs, is creating unique looks for the modern-day woman. She first arrived in Abu Dhabi in 1992 and gradually watched the world and the attitudes around her changing. Having started out with her Secret Beauty salon, where she offers hair and beauty treatments, she used it as a base from which to grow her own fashion line. Her garments range from simple, elegant simplicity highlighted by eye-catching textures and fabrics, to elaborate gowns with handstitched embroidery and bead work.
Kenyan bridal fashion designer, Wambui Mukenyi’s work is based on passion – passion for the craft of clothes and design, and a passion to excel. Mukenyi first started in the industry as an accountant for JF Fashions, which ended up sparking a new interest in the world of design for her. It didn’t take long for her to leave her accounting job behind and put all her savings into setting up her own fashion house focused on bridal garments. As her business grew, so did the demand – even from celebrity clientele such as the cast of “Shuga”, which featured Lupita Nyong’o. Mukenyi’s designs are extremely versatile, ranging from brightly coloured subtlety to attention demanding gowns with full ruffle skirts and Kente details.
Fashionable agriculturist and designer, Loise Mwaniki, first turned her passion for clothing into a lucrative business when her children flew the nest. Her first venture into the fashion business was with Juster Miriti, which whom she teamed up to launch their first store, JayElle Styles. As the store kept on growing and it became evident that people were excited by Loise and Ellen’s designs, they decided to incorporate bridal wear on a small-scale. The response was so overwhelming, Loise went on to branch out and solely focus on bridal wear, through her new brand, Ellen’s Bridal. Highly committed to delivering customized designs for your entire bridal and groom party, Ellen’s Bridal has become the go-to for weddings of all sizes and styles.
April by Kunbi
Considered one of Nigeria’s leading bridal fashion brands, April by Kunbi focuses on feminine aesthetics with flowing gowns and exquisite materials. Upon graduating from the New York Fashion Institute of Technology, Olakunbi Oyelese, the designer behind the fabulous April by Kunbi brand, launched her own fashion line in 2010, and has been specializing in custom made and ready to wear apparel, jewelry and accessories ever since. It’s the wedding gowns and bridesmaids’ dresses that really inspire her however, and it’s not difficult to see why. Her visions translate perfectly through her chosen fabrics, cuts and embellishments, making any bride feel a million dollars’ worth on the most important day of her life.
Another one of Nigeria’s top bridal fashion enterprises belongs to Tubo, led by designer, Sandrah Tuboreni. Known for her incredible use of colour and her combination of traditional African bridal attire and modern cuts, Tuboreni’s designs have graced some of the most important bodies and magazine covers in Nigeria. Tubo Bridals likes to play with unique embellishments and figure-hugging cuts that accentuate the female form. She is responsible for the bride’s dress in the renowned Naija wedding episode on Game of Thrones.
African fashion is finally getting its time in the spotlight and as such, more and more designers are turning to wedding attire to offer their clients the traditional or non-traditional garments of their dreams - dresses that align with cultural backgrounds and colour codes, cuts and embellishments. Allow yourself to dream about your big day and start putting together a portfolio of all the wonderful styles the above-mentioned designers have to offer, so you’re prepared when the day finally arrives!