Our 5 Favourite African Brands from Beyonce's The Black Parade Route
There’s a reason why Beyonce’s beehive stands by their queen no matter what – she is the star that keeps on giving, even though she might not always be vocal about it, as recent news have shown. The singer who was criticised by the media and other celebrities for her failure to publicly speak up against the SARS protests in Nigeria these past few weeks, when she has, in fact, shown her support otherwise: by “working on partnerships with youth organizations to support those protesting for change.” In an Instagram post, Beyonce assured her fanbase and those in the frontlines of the SARS protests that, “we are collaborating with coalitions to provide emergency healthcare, food and shelter. To our Nigerian sisters and brothers, we stand with you.”
Those of you who have been following Beyonce’s work since she first went solo after her success with Destiny’s Child, never doubted her dedication for one second. One must only look at the history of her philanthropic work to know that she has always backed her community and will always continue to do so in a myriad of ways – be it through her music raising awareness about racism and the issues faced by the black community or the BeyGOOD Black Business Impact Fund supporting black-owned, small businesses in need. As part of this initiative, Beyonce has launched The Black Parade Route, a platform showcasing a directory of black-owned and African-owned businesses. Naturally, the Fashionomics Africa team was extremely excited to see this initiative launch, so we decided to get you curious too, by introducing you to our five favourite African brands featured on The Black Parade Route.
Tongoro is a 100% made in Africa, affordable label spear-headed by Sarah Diouf. “I've always considered myself a child of Africa. The mix of cultures is so prominent that I just take all of my cultural baggage, what I've been taught by my family, and I put everything into my work. So I think as far as influences, I just try to translate as many stories that I can out of all these different cultures inside of me,” she told Okay Africa in a 2017 interview.
“Our brand focuses on understanding the fashion that our customers want offering playful and unique apparel. By sourcing our materials on the continent and working with local tailors, our long-term goal is to create a new dynamic for Africa-based manufacturing, and foster the economic and social development of artisanal workers in western Africa,” Tongoro’s mission statement reads.
Beyonce isn’t the only celebrity to have developed a love for Tongoro’s beautifully classy and playful garments. The brand was listed in Fast Company’s 50 Most Innovative Companies this year, and has been worn by prominent figures such as Alicia Keys and Naomi Campbell. For more insight into the brand and the designer behind it, watch the documentary, Made in Africa – The Building of an African Dream, narrated by Sarah Diouf herself.
Adinkra Jewelers (Ghana)
Adinkra symbols, which are believed to date back to Gyaman, a former kingdom in today’s Ivory Coast, “express various themes that relate to the history, beliefs and philosophy of the Ashanti culture. They mostly have rich proverbial meaning, since proverbs play a very important role in the Ashanti culture. The use of proverbs is considered a mark of wisdom. Other Adinkra symbols depict historical events, human behaviour and attitudes, animal behaviour, plant life forms and shapes of many objects. These symbols continue to increase as new influences play a major impact on the Ghanaian culture.”
As such, Adinkra Jewelers’ pieces are not just fashion statements – they are cultural artifacts that pay tribute to, and erect, a rich and royal African history. “Here at Adinkra Jewelers, our primary mission is to connect the Afro-diaspora abroad to their rich rooted culture through intrinsic jewellery and educational empowerment. Our belief is that as we connect the Diaspora, we will also be able to empower our local African economy and increase the perception of items that come out of Ghana and most importantly Africa.”
To learn more about their uniquely amazing jewellery pieces – ranging from rings, necklaces, pendants to earrings and even home goods – and learn more about African history, follow the Adinkra Jewelers Instagram account.
House of Tayo (Rwanda)
After having completed his second year of college in the United States in 2011 – and another year of answering “questions about the food, music, style, culture and the history my home continent of Africa” – Matthew “Tayo” Rugamba, realized he had developed an eagerness to share the history of his culture through pictures, dance, cuisine and anecdotes. The only area he had yet to explore, was the distinctive flair and flavour of Rwandan fashion. And so, the idea of creating his own fashion brand, House of Tayo, was born.
“One only needs to attend Sunday Mass to get a dose of brilliantly crafted headpieces balanced gracefully atop a woman’s head, or to witness a gentleman waltz through a gravel road as if to test whether a speck of dust has the audacity to rest upon his shoe.
House of Tayo aims to showcase this African Sophistication, Style and Flavor through contemporary, locally made clothing and accessories. With style influences ranging from the Motown era to traditional British tailoring we seek to combine elegance and class with a strong sense of African Heritage and iconography.”
Selina Beb (Ghana)
Named one of the 100 Most Outstanding Women Entrepreneurs in Ghana and having her brand – Selina Beb – listed in the 100 Globally Competitive Start-Ups in Ghana, Selina Bebaako-Mensah’s business also scored the fourth place as Most Influential Fashion Brand on Social Media in the 2016 Ghana Social Media Rankings. No wonder then, that her brand is so proudly featured on The Black Parade Route. “This recognition comes as an honour for the brand which has been listed among few selected designers in Ghana,” AB-TC News reported.
The Selina Beb brand launched its own store in Osu in 2019, the year which also saw the release of her Colors of Africa collection. “The collection “Colors of Africa” encapsulates the diversity of Africans which is captured in the variety of fabrics such as wax print, lace, Kente, silk and denim used and the intricate designs and detailing in each piece. It features a rich range of outfits to include evening wear, casual wear, maternity wear, formal wear and many more,” Peace FM Online said of the range.
If you’re not local to Osu, not to worry –Selina Beb is very active on Instagram and enquiries and orders can be made via the contact details on the profile page.
Yhebe Design (Côte d'Ivoire)
Yhebe Design is the realization of Rebecca Zoro’s childhood dream: to create her own clothing line. Upon completing her studies at the La Salle Morocco school, she returned to her home in Abidjan and set about developing the Yhebe Design brand, which is inspired by her flair for romanticism. The name speaks for itself: “Yhebe represents an odyssey of love and sensitivity. Its delicacy recalls that of the rose, which Rebecca has adopted as a muse and emblem.”
The brand's clothes are inspired by the 1920's - the charm of this period can be found in Yhebe's defined, feminine and straight cuts and geometric lines softened by the fluidity of delicate fabrics. These clean lines and the simplicity of the elegant, modern silhouette have become the brand's signature style.
This year, the brand launched the Lou collection. “The Lou collection from Yhebe Design is a pure tribute to the Gouro women. The pieces in this collection are the materialization of the courageous and enterprising woman. Yhebe Design has combined the comfort of the outfits worn by women to the fields with the modernity of the city girl always on the go,” Rebecca Zoro told Bella Naija Style.