The fashion industry in Africa has come along in leaps and bounds with designers from the continent leading the charge when it comes to exciting designs with innovative use of fabrics and prints. Here’s a list of 3 independent fashion brand you need to know about.
One of these designers has been around for nearly a decade, the other has just begun her journey and the third is debuting her second collection. These three women, though at various stages in their respective careers, have had a significant impact on the face of fashion.
Get acquainted with these three lust-worthy labels!
1. Abiola A. Olusola
Abiola O. Olusola is a contemporary womenswear brand founded in 2017. Her debut collection ‘Emi’ was debuted at Temple Muse and was an exceptional debut for a new designer. The collection was inspired by contemporary African women and explores Yoruba heritage through the use of printed fabrics that include adire and aso-oke.
Abiola’s ethos is that clothes should be both easy and chic. Her relaxed aesthetic is a breath of fresh air, reminiscent of a mixture between Maki Oh and Tome NYC.
As she prepares to drop her SS18 lookbook which features jewellery brand ‘Ocha’, we look forward to a new era in fashion that focuses on a new silhouette and brings us back to the very essence of design.
Speaking about her foray into fashion, Abiola said:
I knew I wanted to be a fashion designer since I was 13 so after graduating from University of Lagos, I worked for an online retail company here in Lagos, while there I went for a Summer fashion design and draping course in Dubai by London College of Fashion.
Afterwards, I decided to go to Paris to study fashion design at Istituto Marangoni for 3 years. While at Istituto Marangoni, I interned at Givenchy, Lanvin and a few other notable brands.
My graduate collection was selected to be shown at Pitti Uomo in Florence, at Istituto Marangoni’s graduate show in Paris, at the Dominican Republic fashion week and at Who is Next Paris. It was also featured on Vogue Italia.
The latest brand to catch our eye is new womenswear brand, Nyosi. Created by the vibrant Vanessa Iloenyosi, the debut ready to wear collection is inspired by her different experiences of living in Lagos and abroad.
Nyosi was inspired by the vitality of Lagos and tempered by the modern simplicity of European fashion. The combination means Nyosi is a delicate balance of the calm and the crazy; a simple pencil skirt is transformed into something wholly more spectacular with a dramatic paper bag waist and paired with a flamboyant blouse. The collection is a mixture of matching co-ords, vibrantly coloured blouses, skirts (both mini and midi) and some pretty cool retro wide-leg jeans with over-sized buttons.
The Nyosi girl is painfully cool in the most effortless way. Each piece in the collection is a statement so when paired together, the outfit is a declaration of one’s innate sense of style.
Nyosi has made waves with it’s debut collection and we wait eagerly to see what this label will offer up next.
3. Loza Maléombho
Loza Maléombho is an Ivorian American fashion designer. She was raised both in Cote D’Ivoire and the United States. In 2006 she graduated with a BFA in animation at the University of the Arts of Philadelphia. In order to gain further experience in fashion, she then moved to New York City, where she interned for designers Jill Stuart, Yigal Azrouel and Cynthia Rowley. In 2009 she launched her eponymous label which has had great success including being featured in Beyonce‘s biggest music project to date ‘Formation’.
One of Queen B’s dancers wore a look by Ivorian designer. The piece was from her brilliant Spring/Summer 2016 Zaouli collection inspired by traditional masks from the northern region of Côte d’Ivoire.
Talking about the look that was featured in the Formation video, Loza said, ‘The sample that made it onto the screen is a look from my latest Spring Summer 2016 collection. That collection was inspired by Djela Lou Zaouli, a Guro Princess from the Northern region of Côte d’Ivoire, who is nowadays celebrated through a traditional mask dance.’
Loza has also amassed a huge following on Instagram due to her zany ‘alien edits’, a series of creative photographs and motion pictures with various objects ranging from African masks to plants.