Africa.Now – Exploring Africa’s Creative Community With Design Indaba

 

Having spent the last seven years bringing you some of the names, designs, and services that have shaped the emergence and development of the creative industries across Africa one cannot help but be inspired by the energy surrounding what is happening; that feeling that anything is possible. Something that can at times be hard to articulate in a post when experiencing it in person can be so much more impactful. And this is the premise of Design Indaba’s Africa.Now initiative and video series, which brings you closer to the action through on-screen interviews with those who are an active part of shaping the story, and at the same time giving you a window into what is happening on the ground through the video’s electric montage of music events, fashion shows, street festivals workshops and more.

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Sanlam Handmade Contemporary Fair Presents The 2017 Well Made In Africa Exhibitors

 

Earlier this year, I was honoured to have been appointed the guest curator for the prestigious Sanlam Handmade Contemporary Fair’s Well Made in Africa showcase. 2017 introduces a new, exquisite selection of Well Made in Africa exhibitors from the continent under the curatorship of Tapiwa Matsinde, author of Contemporary Design Africa. Tapiwa presents a selection that is anchored in heritage & modernity. This year Sanlam HmC will host the work of a dynamic group of designers who have been chosen for their innovative use of Africa’s diverse craft heritages to create modern sophisticated products for contemporary living. And with the October opening fast approaching I am delighted to share with you the details and introduce the amazing designers and artisanal talent I selected, as follows

 

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Fashion Cities Africa Marking Africa’s Influence On Global Fashion

 

Fashion Cities Africa is a major UK based exhibition that explores and celebrates the African continent’s influence and contribution to global fashion. The exhibition which opened earlier this year on 30th April at the Brighton Museum and Art Gallery explores the diverse fashion and style of four leading African cities, Casablanca in Morocco; Nairobi in Kenya; Lagos in Nigeria and Johannesburg in South Africa. Cities that are at the compass points of the African continent. Fashion Cities Africa tackles the misconceptions and stereotypes surrounding African fashion and its diverse expressions of creativity.
[Main image credit: Fashion Cities Africa, Brighton Museum and Art Gallery – Judith Ricketts]
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Fashion Illustration Africa Art Book Introducing A New Generation

 

Fashion Illustration is a creative discipline that in recent years has captured the imagination of fashion lovers everywhere, and is by no means a recent phenomenon. The discipline has a rich history of documenting fashion, style and cultural trends long before the advent of cameras and photography led to its decline. Rising and falling in popularity over the decades but never quite reaching the dizzy heights of the past, in recent years Fashion Illustration has witnessed a renaissance on the back of the growing share culture that has been fostered by social media. This has allowed for an abundance of creative expression and discovering of exciting talent from around the globe, from countries where Fashion Illustration is a recognised discipline to others where illustrators have only become aware of the discipline through often accidental discovery online. The latter is the experience of many African Fashion Illustrators on a continent where Fashion Illustration is relatively new when it comes to career choices. In recognition of the continent’s emerging new generation of fashion illustrators who are laying the foundations for this industry to grow and develop is my new book, Fashion Illustration Africa published by African art book publishers, Shoko Press.

 

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African Catwalk Captures Africa’s Fast Growing Fashion Industry

African Catwalk is a new book by award-winning photographer Per-Anders Pettersson, that takes the viewer on a journey behind the scenes of Africa’s flourishing fashion industry. African Catwalk brings together images shot in 16 countries over a 7  year period, and captures a side to the fashion industry rarely seen by the audience. From the birds-eye view of models parading down a sleek catwalk under the glare of bright lights to the unguarded moments of models waiting their turn African Catwalk documents the details that are making the Africa’s diverse fashion industry one of the most exciting around.

 

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Traditional Nigerian Textiles Meet Contemporary African Design

Ethnik by T.O. is a stylish range of contemporary African design footwear and fashion accessories made with beautifully woven Aso Oke, a traditional Yoruba textile. The collection, launched in 2015, is the brainchild of photographer and designer Tunde Olowabi, who by tapping into his heritage is adding to the diverse creative voices shaping contemporary African design.
[Main image credits: Ethnik by T.O. – Tunde Olowabi Studios]
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Le Dessein Empowering Young Girls Through Educated Fashion

I love hearing about brands that seek innovative ways to make a difference in the world and was immediately captivated by the story behind Le Dessein, no ordinary fashion brand. Based in the US, Le Dessein uses fashion to educate and empower young girls in developing countries and has a goal of educating 10,000 girls in ten years. And, what is different about the business model is that rather than simply creating a collection and selling the clothes, they have chosen to make the girls they support an active part of the brand. This is achieved by embroidering art sketches created by the girls into the clothing collections. By doing this not only do you get to support the provision of education -25% of the profits go towards their annual tuition- but you also get a personal connection to the brand’s ethos and more importantly the girls themselves get a boost to their self-esteem in knowing their sketches are out in the world, being worn.
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Picture Africa Exhibition Celebrating African Creativity

“Picture Africa” is an exciting new exhibition that celebrates African creativity, the relationship between photography, textiles, and fashion as seen through a pan-African lens. The exhibition will feature a host of leading African design and creative talent, as well as contributors from bloggers, image-makers, artisans and fashion leaders. Curated by Cathy O’Clery “Picture Africa” is a feature of two 100% Design South Africa events, first taking place at Decorex Cape Town, which runs from 29 April – 2 May 2016, before travelling to Gauteng, where it will be on show at 100% Design South Africa from 5 – 10 August 2016.

Calling All Emerging Accessory Designers Enter The ABURY Design Experience

If you are passionate about designing and producing accessories that not only look good but have a positive impact, then it is not too late to enter the Abury Design Experience (ADEx) competition to be in with a chance to create a capsule accessories collection for the sustainable luxury accessory brand, Abury. Abury’s ethos is to combine traditional, old-world crafts with avant-garde design to create a new luxury style that fosters intercultural exchange and helps preserves world crafts. And, now in its second year, ADEx is an international design competition- held in partnership with Harper’s Bazaar Germany -that builds on Abury’s crafts skills exchange ethos. And, in addition to designing a collection for Abury, the winner will also receive travel, stay, a production budget and up to three months in Morocco collaborating with local artisans.

Hermès Collaborates with Ardmore Artisans for The La Marche Du Zambèze Scarf

The luxury French fashion house, Hermès recently launched La Marche du Zambeze, a stunning silk twill scarf that was the result of a collaboration with South African ceramic studio, Ardmore. Celebrating African art and creativity the scarf was designed by Ardmore’s artisans. La Marche du Zambeze is set in the great river lands of the Zambezi tracing its course from the savannah to the delta marshes and features a majestic elephant at its centre, symbolising family and power. Gathered around the elephant are the creatures of his kingdom, giraffe, zebra, leopard, and crocodile. The river’s flora is silhouetted all around the composition, off-setting rich patterns of python and crocodile skin.
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