From the runway in Lagos and music festivals in Casablanca or Nairobi, to the “image makers” of Marrakech and the influencers of Dakar or Accra, a new generation of African fashion designers, photographers, bloggers, and hair and makeup artists are redefining the aesthetic contours of the continent. Audacious, humorous, disruptive, and innovative are the bywords of these young creatives who, while drawing upon and revalorizing their heritage, offer an ultra-contemporary perspective on fashion today. A creative revolution is spreading in an extension of continental revindication through cultural reappropriation and the invention of a visual language.
Appliqué figures straight from Ghanaian Asafo flags seem to chant modern slogans as they march across silk dresses, traditional textile prints give power back to women, and Xhosa beaded embroidery serves as an inspiration for modern knitwear. Body-artists transform themselves into platforms for activism, and photographers—using clothing and finery—question identity, gender, and environment. Urban neighborhoods are reframed in a new light through the lens of ubiquitous smartphones.
This volume celebrates a creative, effervescent generation, which—by breaking the rules and rewriting the narrative of the African continent—is inventing a new and resolutely African chapter in the history of fashion that is now resonating across the globe.
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