10 African Fashion Designers Who Are Rocking The Runways
The fashion industry in many African countries is booming with African designs making it onto catwalks all over the world.
1.Ozwald Boateng – Ghana
Ozwald Boateng, who is originally from Ghana, was inspired by fashion early in life. He loved the fancy suits that his father wore. At age 14 he got a summer job sewing linings into suits. When he was in college, he discovered that he had a passion for design. He started selling designs to fellow students and switched his major from computer science to fashion and design. His big break came in 1994 when he designed for Paris Fashion Week. Today, the former creative director of Givenchy is selling suits to celebrities such as Graham Norton, Will Smith or Richard Branson.
2. Lisa Folawiyo – Nigeria
Lisa Folawiyo created the brand Jewel by Lisa. The label uses Ankara fabric in colorful prints and embellishes them with Swarovski crystals. Her designs have been worn by celebrities from all around the world and have been featured by media outlets like BBC, Essence Magazine, and Marie Claire. She showcased at the 2011 Made in Africa Collective, at New York Fashion Week and won the African Fashion International Designer Award during the same year. Her name figures on 2015’s BOF 500 list, which is a professional index of the people shaping the global fashion industry.
3. Adama Paris – Senegal
Adama Ndiaye is a Senegalese fashion designer who also goes by the name of Adama Paris. Ndiaye left a banking career in Europe to pursue fashion design in Senegal where she created the Dakar Fashion Week and Black fashion Week to promote talented designers.
4. Aisha Obuobi – Ghana
Aisha Obuobi is the creative director of Christie Brown, a Ghanaian luxury women’s fashion brand. It fuses modern themes with traditional African aesthetics. This allows modern women to keep their contemporary style while appreciating African culture. Obuobi named the brand after her grandmother who motivated her interest in fashion. Christie Brown has been internationally successful. At the 2009 Arise Africa Fashion Week in Johannesburg, it won The Emerging Designer of the Year Award and was the only Ghanaian label selected to showcase in the Arise L’Afrique- à- Porter at the 2010 Paris Fashion Week.
5. Fikirte Addis – Ethiopia
Ethiopian designer Fikirite Addis founded the label Yefiker Design in 2009. Her label interprets traditional Ethiopian fashion with a modern twist. In 2011, she was a featured designer in Africa Fashion Week. Before her career in fashion, Fikirte was trained as a child psychologist. Keeping true to her roots, she fundraises for children’s causes and draws attention to issues of child labor.
6. Hebret Lakew and Enid Lanez – Kenya
Hebret Lakew and Enid Lanez founded the brand Kooroo in 2006. Kooroo is a luxury brand based in Nairobi that specializes in high-end ready to wear clothes and accessories. The designs reflect African heritage – they use African prints, silks, jerseys, cotton, linens, imagery and bold colors – in a global context. The brand also gives back to the community. Through the Maua Corporate Social Responsibility, they support schools in the Kibagari slums of Nairobi.
7. David Tlale – South Africa
South Africa native David Tlale launched his brand in 2003 and quickly rose to success. He is known for his dramatic showmanship and daring style. His designs have been showcased all around the world. In 2009, he was named Fashion Designer of the year at the Africa Fashion Awards in Johannesburg. He also displayed a collection at New York Fashion Week with called Cultural Intimacy.
8. Duro Olowu – Nigeria
Duro Olowu was born in Lagos, Nigeria. He studied law in England and practiced it for a few years in Nigeria. But when he returned to London he pursued his dream: fashion. His first collection was a worldwide hit; it sold in New York, London and Paris. His Duro dress was named dress of the year in 2005 by British and American Vogue. He also won the New Designer of the Year Award at the British Fashion Awards that year.
9. Korto Momolu – Liberia
Korto Momolu left Liberia during the 1990 civil war. She moved to Canada and studied fashion design at the Academies des Couturiers design institute. She then moved the U.S. to study at the Parson School of Design. She competed on well-known fashion design reality show Project Runway. She was a finalist and showed a collection at New York Fashion Week, ultimately finishing as first runner-up. Her work was featured on Essence magazine, LA Times, Ladybrille.com, and InStyle.com.
10. Deola Sagoe – Nigeria
Deola Sagoe’s gained international notoriety for her lively and colorful designs. She has shown several of her couture collections at Cape Town Fashion Week and has been invited to New York Fashion Week. Sagoe was also nominated for the Africa Designs and the MNET/ Anglo Gold African designs 2000 awards by U.S. Vogue editor Andre Leon Talley and won. She uses her fashion for charity as well – she represents Nigeria in United Nations campaign Catwalk the World: Fashion for Food. The campaign’s raises money in the hope of halving the number of people going hungry in the world by 2015.