10 african inspiring designers ( entrepreneurs )

by - 12:11 AM

For many, wearing “African fashion" means  wax print  however Africa hosts a large diversity of ethnicities, cultures and languages therefore there are plenty influences in each region in Africa, from wax to other weaved fabrics, patterns embroideries... and also from a designer to an other depending of his own vision of being African ... Here are 10 of the many African fashion designers entrepreneurs to know, based in Africa and abroad :

1.LAURENCEAIRLINE  (by designer Laurence Chauvin Buthaud ) Ivory coast /paris
photo bymetalmagazine
Laurenceairline is a ready-to wear mens brand also presenting a unisex capsule.
the designer is born in Cote d’Ivoire with a double culture: European and African.  she is always travelling back and forth between her  headquarters in Abidjan and Paris. that's why she named her brand laurence airline a brand that carry a spirit of travel!
The essence of each piece comes to life with it traditional and innovative fabrics, energized by a rich panel of  novel prints, vibrating details, textures and graphic compositions.

2.Pathé O   (Burkina faso /ivory coast)
photo by : (btendance webzine)
Ivory Coast-based designer,he dresses many celebrities, politicians, artists, businessmen:He  has dressed  former South African President Nelson Mandela and the Moroccan king Mohammed 6, designed part of the wardrobe of Rwandan President Paul Kagame, Desmond Tutu, Kofi Annan, Naomi Campbell, Laurent Gbagbo et Alassane Ouattara...he runs the largest sewing workshop in Abidjan.

3.Aswad by Sonia Ahmimou  morocco / paris

Hajar el aswad: Literary Arabic for ‘the black stone.’
Aswad is a fine leather workshop founded in 2015. The founder, saddler and leather artisan Sonia Ahmimou, applies a knowledge and craft acquired in Paris’ most prestigious houses. After 8 years spent in the ateliers of Hermès, Moynat and Louis Vuitton, the Moroccan-French artisan fuses her own history, her urban lifestyle and this ancient craft .It is marked by a graphic sense of elegance, inspired in equal parts by Brutalist and Islamic architecture.
aswad is a line of unisex and minimalist products, which are both functional and timeless.

4.Oswald Boateng - Ghana/london

his shop is located on the London's Savile Row, which dresses crowned heads and billionaires. In Hollywood, Brad Pitt, Leonardo DiCaprio and Spike Lee swear by "the Cut Killer". A nickname that it carries since the day when, artistic director of Givenchy, he rejuvenated the collections man of the Parisian house ..

5. Amaka Osakwe founder Maki Oh - Nigéria

Maki Oh  is a womenswear brand that fuses traditional African techniques with detailed contemporary construction. Founded by Maki Osakwe in 2010, the Maki Oh design ethos challenges prevailing notions of beauty and analyses cultural norms through a womanist lens. The brand is centred in a strong sense of identity and culture, creating narrative pieces that function as direct channels of communication. The Maki Oh vision extends beyond physical beauty to a textured, layered, and three-dimensional aesthetic, embodying the philosophies of sustainability, preservation, strength and complex simplicity.
Maki Oh has been worn by Mrs. Michelle Obama, Lupita N'yongo, Solange Knowles, Leelee Sobieski, Alek Wek, Thandie Newton, Azaelia Banks and more. The brand has shown it's collections during NYFW and has been featured in Vogue Magazine, WWD, New York Times , The Wall Street Journal, Business of Fashion, W Magazine, New York Magazine, The Financial Times, Forbes, Elle Magazine, Interview Magazine, The Fader, Glamour, Paper Magazine, Nylon, and many others.

Mahrouf was the artistic director of the Festimode-Casablanca Fashion Week (2008-2012)  and the artistic director of the 15th edition of Morocco’s main traditional fashion event, Caftan.
Mahrouf’s works have been shown in various places, including the New Museum of Contemporary Art and the Cooper Hewitt National Design Museum in New York, the Utrecht Central Museum, the Amsterdam Municipal Museum, Carriage works Gallery in Sydney and Casablanca’s Loft Gallery.

7.Imane Ayissi  Cameroun

was born in Cameroun, from a family of artists and sportsmen,Ayissi is a Multi-faceted artist (model, actor, novelist,Choreographers, and designer), Imane Ayissi draws  inspiration from the continent to create a fashionWorld that goes beyond the ethnic label. He was a member of the Ballet National du Cameroun and subsequently toured with singers and choreographers, such as Patrick Dupont, which involved travelling to the four corners of the world. At the same time, he worked as a model, presenting the men’s collections of famous luxury and pret-a-porter brands such as Cardin, Dior, Lanvin, Givenchy, Yves Saint-Laurent and Valentino. He was also the subject of fashion features, advertising campaigns and artistic projects in fashion shoots by famous photographers. But, above all, it is to his work as a couturier and designer that he dedicates himself. He became interested in fashion as a child in the Cameroun. He collaborates on a regular basis with other luxury brands (he created a line of dresses for the presentation of the Swarovski collection of jewellery and accessories at the Carousel de Louvre in Paris in 2004), but also with more accessible brand labels such as Multiples (a French pret-à-porter label that sells at affordable prices) or La Redoute. The garments of Imane Ayissi’s « Couture » and prêt-à-porter lines, meld African traditions and realities with western fashion. His collections, often featuring exotic evocative names (Voodoo Mood, Idoutt…) combine craftsmanship, materials and traditional African art inspirations together with his use of innovative fabrics. There is also often an infusion of typically African-style bricolage or recycling work with references to Parisian Haute Couture and contemporary creativity (Madeleine Vionnet, Cristobal Balenciaga,Yves Saint Laurent or Azzedine Alaïa are some Imane Ayissi references) to create a fashion targeted at an international public. Imane Ayissi is also involved in fashion training projects and the creation of a textile industry designed to help foster economic growth in Africa and, in particular, in the Cameroun.

8. LemLem  founded by Liya Kebede, Ethiopia
lemlem is an artisan-driven collection of women’s, men’s, children’s and home goods made entirely in Africa. founded by the Supermodel Liya Kebede Liya Kebede ,a model and actress. She is the founder of lemlem and lemlem Foundation and actively serves as the brand’s Creative Director.   She has been featured on multiple American and international Vogue covers and in major campaigns for top designers and cosmetics brands. In recognition of her efforts on behalf of women in Africa, Kebede was named one of TIME magazine’s 100 Most Influential People and one of Glamour Magazine's Women of the Year.was inspired to launch the brand following a trip to her native Ethiopia where she met a group of traditional weavers who no longer had a market for their craft. Meaning to bloom and flourish in the Ethiopian language of Amharic, lemlem is committed to elevating artisanship and expanding production and jobs across Africa.  The core collection is handwoven from natural cotton in Ethiopia and lemlem is steadily expanding partnerships with additional artisan groups across Africa.  Women are at the heart of lemlem and the brand is committed to helping them thrive both within its workshops and beyond through its support for lemlem Foundation.

9.Fadila el gadi morocco

     as a child, Fadila El Gadi watched the embroiderers of Salé using golden thread, she learned this art and later enrolled in Rabat's School of Fashion before opening her first shop. She met Yves Saint Laurent, working with him in Marrakech, and then created her own label.In addition to being a talented designer Fadila El Gadi is a woman who advocates for the preservation and promotion of  the Moroccan ancestral embroidery heritage, as well she opened  an embroidery school in Salé, her hometown, and at her own expenses for children who have dropped out of school.

10.LUKHANYO  Mdingi  south africa
photo by ellemag
 The Lukhanyo Mdingi label aims to show a sense of cross cultural influences of traditional designs; Reflecting on a contemporary outlook of African aesthetics and heritage.
making a powerful + positive contribution to the  African landscape by producing finely cut and refined pieces that are distinct and powerful, with a flair of timeless elegance and sophistication.

You May Also Like