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Thursday, April 18, 2024

16 Inspiring African Fashion Brands

The African fashion industry is just as diverse as Africa itself. Nevertheless, African fashion brands have been helping showcase the continent’s talents, innovative ideas, and creativity while also promoting Africa’s diversity.

The fashion world had fewer African fashion superstars in the past, but that has changed as many African fashion brands make highlights across the globe with their unique creativity. 

These African fashion brands appear on top global runways and publications like Forbes and Vogue.

Below, we have highlighted 16 inspiring African fashion brands that you can support and watch out for, with information on how they draw their inspiration.

1. Farida Temraz (Egypt)

Famous for her fashion psychology, Farida Temraz is the creative director and founder of the African fashion brand Temraza.

Farida Temraz is an Egyptian fashion designer that discovered her passion for fashion at seven and then ventured into the industry in 2012.

She is an integrated marketing communications bachelor’s degree graduate from the American University in Cairo (AUC). Because of her passion for fashion, she gained other fashion certificates from Los Angeles, Harvard, and John Hopkins.

An introduction to the ‘Temraza’ Africa fashion brand

The fashion brand Temraza, founded in 2015, started with just a name and logo and then built trust among clients through their unique designs. Categories of the brand include heels, casual line, body accessories, beachwear, bridal dresses, and evening dresses.

Upon inception, the founder Farida Temraz took her first collection to the Cairo Fashion Festival city’s first edition. She has also attended her first international fashion show in 2014 at the London Fashion Week. Her joy upon seeing people’s reaction to her design knew no bounds.

Breakthroughs of Farida Temraz (Temraza)

Profiled in the famous Pharaohs’ Golden Parade in Cairo, Egypt, in April 2021, Farida Temraz made the costumes for the three Egyptian singers and the orchestral teams’ face masks at the event.

She explores the performer’s personality while combining Egyptian heritage and culture in her designs. 

Among her numerous awards include;

  • First place award amid 15 international designers in 2015 Paris Fashion week
  • Best female Couture Designer title in 2017 New York Fashion Week
  • Best fashion designer in Egypt 2018
  • U.S. Department of State and Dutch of Foreign Affairs’ Leading awards

She ensures that her designs are in harmony with the user’s personality, color, and shape. She has brought African fashion, mainly Egyptian designs, in a unique way to the world. She aims at empowering women through her brand.

2. David Tlale (South Africa)

David Tlale is a fashion design icon from South Africa and the founder of the ‘David Tlale fashion brand.

The founder was a lecturer before he got the strong desire to do fashion. He then quit lecturing and spent four and half years studying fashion.

About ‘David Tlale’ African fashion brand

David Tlale is a fashion brand, and an empire established in 2003 and presently has four branches across South Africa. The brands create affordable, dramatic, exotic, and surprising designs.

With over 15 years of experience in fashion and design, the creative director of the label says he draws inspiration from seasons, people, travels, and many other factors.

David Tlale’s collections range from women’s clothing, men’s shoes, underwear to sale women’s clothing.

The success story of David Tlale brand

David Tlale is one of the few South Africans and Africans that have made it to many prestigious international stages.

The brand has showcased its designs at the Paris Fashion Week, New York Fashion Week, and Cape Town Fashion Week. Edgars, a major fashion retailer, receives some of its fashion collections from the brand.

In 2016, the brand won the Lifestyle/Style and Fashion Icon Achievement Award and the Continental style & fashion influencer (male) at the Abryanz Style and Fashion Awards (ASFA’s).

3. Maki Oh (Nigeria)

Founded by Nigerian fashion designer Amaka Osakwe as a women’s wear brand, Maki Oh presents a selection of jittery African yet modern looks.

One significant feature of the brand is that the owner dyes textiles with the hand with a touch of modern materials.

‘Maki Oh’ African fashion label at a glance

Maki Oh presents African cultures with each piece featuring and telling a story of the continent with bold colors, flared pants, elevated splits, among others.

Maki Oh began in 2010, but people discovered it in 2012 during the New York Fashion Week. After making the spotlight in 2012, the brand has dressed many international celebrities.

In 2013, the former First Lady of the US Michelle Obama wore the Maki Oh brand to South Africa. Also, Kerry Washington, Lady Gaga, Rihanna, Leelee Sobieski, and Beyonce have won the Maki Oh label.

Their collections include formal dresses, wedding dresses, cocktail dresses, casual dresses, etc. Their retailers include Alara, Far Fetch, and McMullen.

About the owner of Maki Oh

The owner of Maki Oh Amaka Osakwe was born and grew up in Lagos, Nigeria. She went to the United Kingdom to obtain a Bachelors’s degree in fashion studies from the Arts University of Bournemouth, U.K. After her college degree, she returned to Nigeria to establish her fashion brand.

Maki Oh Recognitions 

Maki Oh was one of the two African finalists at the 2014 LVMH Prize, also featured at the New York Fashion Week (NYFW), Vogue, Man Repeller, and U.S. stockists.

In 2015 at the Lagos Fashion & Design Week, she won the Womenswear Designer of the Year. In addition to these accolades, Maki Oh has been on Vitra and FIT museums runways.

4. MaXhosa by Laduma (South Africa)

MaXhosa Africa is a knitwear brand by Laduma Ngxokolo from South Africa. 

Upon establishing the brand in 2010, the brand’s creative director intended to provide unique pieces for Xhosa fans.

The brand blends traditional colors, beadworks, and imagery of the African continent to bring the diversity of the African heritage to the world.

The brand includes collections of men, women, unisex outfits, and accessories.

Highlights on recognition of the African fashion brand MaXhosa Africa

Among the many local and international recognitions that the MaXhosa Africa fashion design brand has received include;

Showcase at the famous Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) in New York, Smithsonian Museum, Berlin museums, and Hamburg museums.

5. Atafo by Ohimai Atafo (Nigeria)

Atafo, previously called Mai Atafo, is an African fashion brand owned by a Nigerian entrepreneur, Ohimai Atafo. 

The brand specializes in traditional clothing, wedding dresses, evening dresses, and men’s suits.

Profile of the owner’ Ohimai Atafo.’

Apart from being a brand owner and creative director for the Atafo menswear and womenswear fashion Ohinai Atafo is engaged in many other ventures.

He is a compere/Master of Ceremony (MC), ambassador to top brands, brand manager, and many other titles in his portfolio.

Design and brand’s accolades

Since the inception of the Atafo African clothing brand, the label has won many recognitions, some of which include;

  • Menswear Fashion Brand of The Year in the Fashion’s Finest Africa Awards Lagos in 2018
  • Glazia Magazine’s Person of The Year (FASHION) award in 2018
  • Abryanz Style and Fashion Awards Uganda’s award for Lifetime Style & Fashion Icon Achievement – in 2017
  • The Man Award for Man of The Year – Men’s Fashion Week Nigeria in 2017
  • Fashion Brand CEO of the Year – La Mode Magazine Ever Green Event Awards in 2017

6. Sark Collections (By Sarkodie, Ghana)

Sark Collections is a luxurious African fashion line owned by a Ghanaian rapper Sarkodie and a design by Yas. The fashion line established in 2013 consists of a collection of sweat pants, belts, t-shirts, baseball caps, jumpers, and sneakers.

The music celebrity famously wears the brand to his shows with a logo and belt showing his face. A top clothing store in Ghana,’ Dzorwwulu Store,’ mainly sells Sarkidie’s fashion brand.

7. Tiffany Amber (Nigeria)

Tiffany Amber is an international fashion brand of African origin that focuses on understanding the fashion that women want by offering playful and exclusive clothing. Tiffany Amber is the first ready-to-wear fashion brand in Nigeria, West Africa.

Highlight on the owner and establishment of Tiffany Amber 

Tiffany Amber was opened in 1998 by fashion designer Folake Coker in Nigeria. The pieces from the fashion label are unique and luxurious, telling the African story about modern women.

Presently, the fashion label Tiffany Amber has four boutiques and stores across Abuja FCT, Nigeria, and Lagos, Nigeria.

The brand pays attention to drapes and silhouettes, ensuring that the pieces appreciate the African tradition in unison with the modern world.

Recognitions of brand and designer

Tiffany Amber has received both local and international recognition since its inception. For instance, in 2008, the label made two outings at the New York Fashion Week, making it the first African fashion brand ever to make such presentations.

Again, in 2009, at the African Fashion Week Johannesburg, the label received an award as the ‘Designer of the Year.’ That same year, the brand set up two extra lines: Folake Folarin (a Couture line) and TAN by Tiffany Amber (a Diffusion line).

8. Abrantie (Ghana)

With a deep passion for men’s fashion, Abrantie seeks to generate clothing for multi-dimensional men who hold their manliness in all its forms.

The Ghanaian fashion brand Abrantie communicates with men through apparel and stirs that added measure of poise.

Information about the creative director of Abrantie

A Ghanaian fashion designer Oheneba Nana Yaw Boamah as the creative director of Abrantie.

He is also a United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) influencer. The clothing brand is most commonly called Abrantie the Gentleman in Ghana.

Abrantie has styled many local and continental celebrities, including Jay Foley, John Dumelo, Bismark the joke, Kalybos, James Gardiner, Stonebwoy, Fiifi Coleman, and lots more.

Most of their designs use African prints, which also serve as a part of their inspiration.

9. Doreen Mashika (Tanzania)

Inspired by her Tanzanian heritage, Doreen Mashika set up her fashion brand with her name creating designs of silhouettes suitable for island visits.

The Doreen Mashika African fashion brand designs are most suitable for vacation travels with fabrics made from African prints.

Profile of the creative director of Doreen Mashika African fashion brand

Doreen Mashika was born and brought up in Tanzania. Later on, he relocated to Switzerland to work and study. In Switzerland, she began to have a great passion for fashion and ventured into it.

To make her dreams come true, she relocated to Zanzibar and set up a company fashion company that has received recognition from people across the globe.

10. Esnoko by Chiza (Zambia)

Since its birth as an African fashion brand, Esnoko has grown from strength to strength designing dresses, suits, jewelry, tuxedos, hats, ties, scarves, bags, purses, and belts for men and women.

A short record of the inception and growth of the brand and designer

Chiza Ngulube is the creative designer of the Esnoko African fashion brand, a standalone store based in Zambia.

He makes all his designs from African prints blending African diversity and tradition with the modern lifestyle.

His breakthrough as a fashion designer was in 2016 when he showcased his designs at the South African Fashion Week during the Autumn/Winter edition.

He displayed the Zambian print chitenge at the event, which comprised tuxedo blazers and pants.

Also in his collection for the event is a modern form of the sibiza, a blazer with cape sleeves. Sibiza is a famous traditional outfit in the Lozi tribe of Zambia.

11. Amsale Abera (Ethiopia)

Between creating a suitable design for her wedding dress in 1985, Amsale Abera started her own bridal gown company with her name.

Brief introduction of the Amsale Abera designer and brand

Among the many degrees that Amsale Abera has, she developed her fashion passion by earning an A.A. degree in 1982 from the New York City’s Fashion Institute of Technology.

She started working at Harve Bernard Ltd as a design assistant following that degree.

After Amsale Abera set up her wedding gown brand in 1985, the business was making progress, and in 1996, she set up the Amsale flagship salon in New York.

In 1997, Amsale Abera opened the Amsale Evening Couture Collection. She runs her fashion lines in collaboration with Kenneth Pool and Christos labels.

Amsale Abera’s success stories 

The designer is among the 150 most influential African Americans in the ‘Power 50’. However, the brand has received other recognitions, some of which include;

Provision of dresses many celebrities such as Hilaria Thomas, Halle Berry, Ariana Grande, Julia Roberts, Katy Perry, Selma Blair, Kristen Bell, Salma Hayek, and Katherine Heigl.

Another excellent recognition is the Amsale Abera brand’s appearance at television shows such as The View, Grey’s Anatomy, and The Oprah Winfrey Show.

Furthermore, actors displayed Amsale Abera African fashion brand in many movies, including The Hangover, Runaway Bride, When in Rome, Analyze This, 27 Dresses, and American Wedding.

12. The Yohannes Sisters (Ethiopia)

The Yohannes Sisters (Lilly and Zeze) are pushing Ethiopian traditional fabric and fashion, made commonly with cotton, to different countries. They take their time to produce unique talk-of-town dresses across African countries.

Contributions and achievements of the Yohannes Sisters in the fashion industry

The two fashion design sisters Lilly and Zeze jointly own the Yohannes Sisters African fashion brand in Ethiopia.

Their burning desire for fashion and design has paid them enormously, especially with Ethiopian fabrics. 

They produce long cotton dresses.

However, they specialize in designing evening gowns, family attires, wedding gowns, and family attires.

The brand was one of the top highlights at the New York Fashion Week of 2017. They have also dressed many celebrities like Wayna and Zeritu Kebede (an R&B and Soul artist).

13. Lola Faturoti (Nigeria)

Born in a family of seamstresses, Lola Faturoti drew her inspiration for fashion, watching her grandmother sew clothes as a child. She uses traditional Nigerian fabrics to make bespoke designs of women’s wear.

Highlights of Lola Faturoti

Lola Faturoti brand has featured on pages of top brands like Elle, Vogue, New York Times, Essence, Harpers Bazaar, to mention a few.

Also, the brand and collections have received awards of different categories, including the Vidal Sassoon Best Young Innovative Designer award in 1994, 1st fashion designer selected to represent the United States at the Osaka Fashion Committee show in Japan in 1996, among others.

14. Nkhensani Nkosi (Stonned Cherie – South Africa)

Stonned Cherie is a South African women’s fashion brand owned by Nkhensani Nkosi, the creative director. Nkhensani Nkosi is also a serial entrepreneur, television personality, and actress.

Stonned Cherie uses African prints to make Afro-urban designs for females. They take great care in producing every of their piece and ensure it blends well with the stature and skin color of the users.

Most significant achievements of the Stonned Cherie African fashion brand

Among the many accomplishments of the Stoned Cherie include her features at the World Cup’s opening ceremony and her showcase at the New York Fashion Week.

However, having been in business for over ten years, Stoned Cherie has received many accolades and showcased on many catwalks.

15. Kibonen Nfi (Cameroon)

Kibonen Nfi is an African fashion brand from Cameroon. The brand named after the owner produces designs of traditional handmade pieces of clothing, especially the traditional Cameroon’ toghu’. She also has a fashion label Kibonen NY.

The success story of Kibonen Nfi

The brand’s passion for native African fashion has drawn the attraction of many featuring in many publications. The brand has also dressed icons like Justine Skye, Lupita Nyong’o, and Gayle King.

16. Selly Raby Kane (Senegal)

The African fashion brand Selly Raby Kane is named after the creative director and founder Selly Raby Kane (Senegal), from Senegal. The owner is also an artist and says she draws her inspiration from Dakar, Senegal’s capital.

Highlights of the Selly Raby Kane African fashion brand

In 2019, the prestigious Times magazine featured Selly Raby Kane’s brand. The brand has countless recognition in and out of Africa from the day it made its first clothing collection in 2012.

She combines Africa, especially Sengals designs, with contemporary design to showcase to the world.

What is the most famous clothing style in Africa?

Dashiki is the most popular clothing and African style. The dashiki covers the upper body worn by both males and females with many unique colors. Other popular African styles are boubou, kente, kaba, buba, and agbada.

Who is the most famous fashion designer in 2021?

The most famous fashion designer in 2021 is Coco Chanel (Channel). She produces dresses, jackets, skirts, and jewelry that make women look their best. She believed that what makes up luxury is the comfort that it offers.

Channel produces clothing and jewelry for icons like Jackie Kennedy, Princess Diana, and Audrey Hepburn in history and even today.

What is the most iconic fashion brand?

The most iconic fashion brand globally is Nike, valued at $36.8 billion by 2020. Other iconic fashion brands in the world include but are not limited to Louis Vuitton ($32.3 billion), Hermes ($18.3 billion), and Gucci ($18.2 billion).

Final words

The top inspiring African fashion brands mentioned here have made remarkable achievements for themselves and the continent. 

They draw inspiration from the plentiful textile materials in Africa and the continent’s tradition and culture. 

They bear in mind that fashion designing consists of putting the best use of one’s skills and originality.

Their stories will inspire entrepreneurs and upcoming fashion.

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