WINNIE: THE MERCURIAL FASHION ICON

The passing of Winnie Madikizela-Mandela has saddened the world. Messages of grief are pouring in, reflecting the esteem and respect she inspired in millions the world over. Ever the fearless activist and campaigner for racial equality and freedom, Winnie was also an icon of style, albeit an unlikely one, for some. Since meeting Nelson in 1957 aged 22, her entire …

IBRAHIM KAMARA: FASHION OUTLAW

Having been out of the loop for 12 months means I get to do a lot of catching up – in fact, that’s all I’ve been doing these last months. While I was busy making friends with wee Ella a lot of new creatives have come into the spotlight, and I relish the overdose of visuals I get just by …

CALL FOR PAPERS: “FASHION AND DEVELOPMENT IN AFRICA”

The peer-reviewd journal Africa and Mediterraneo is looking for interdisciplinary essays with a focus on sustainability, development, and entrepreneurship in African fashion. The journal is seeking contributions that offer a detailed analysis of the methods and experiences of “ethical fashion” implemented in Africa, as well as their theoretical and practical position in the global market, which grows more and more competitive by the day. The …

SEARCH FOR #OWNYOURCULTURE ON INSTAGRAM AND BROWSE THROUGH THE VISUAL HISTORY OF AFRICAN ORNAMENTS

#OwnYourCulture is a social media movement that seeks to “decolonize fashion, one necklace at a time”. It showcases ‘traditional’ ornaments as fashionable pieces, in a bid to show the fashionable-ity  of traditional jewelry and reconnect to what fashion was and looked like in Africa before European colonization. Fashion consultant Chepkemboi Mang’ira of the blog MissVavavum launched #OwnYourCulture on Instagram  in 2015, asking users to style a traditional cultural piece with contemporary clothes.   Since …

MAKING THE PAST RELEVANT: SIMON AND MARY’S “50/50” FEAT. THE SARTISTS

Simon and Mary is a South African headwear company, established in Johannesburg in the 1930s by Mordechai Wozniak, a Polish immigrant, and run today by his great-great grandson Dean. The factory, which was originally called “Supreme Hat and Cap Manufacturers”, launched the actual brand “Simon and Mary” in 2014. It produces wool felt hats using original machinery from the 1960s. …

MUKHTARA YUSUF: INDIGENOUS EPISTEMOLOGIES AND ‘BAD DESIGN’

As anticipated, here is my second post about Mukhtara Yusuf, penned and published in Blacks to the Future. Stay on the blog to read it, or head to BsttF to enjoy a bonus audio track by Mukhtara’s mother! *** Mukhtara Yusuf is a cultural activist of Nigerian Yoruba origin who explores identity making in a post-colonial context through Afrofuturist art. …

WEARING TRAUMA: MUKHTARA YUSUF’S YORUBA-INSPIRED DESIGNS

Mukhtara Yusuf is a cultural activist of Nigerian Yoruba origin based in the US, who explores identity making in the context of the black diaspora. Her media of choice include printwork and collage, but she is especially committed to fashion and jewelry design. To her, dress articulates the unfinished business of self-making as a “3rdculture kid” of the diaspora. In …

ON THE #DOEKGATE AND THE CULTURAL RELEVANCE OF THE HEADWRAP

Social media users, have you come across the #RespekTheDoek campaign yet? It began ten days ago on Twitter, when the South African network eNCA removed a video package from its TV channel on the grounds that reporter Nontobeko Sibisi shot it wearing a headwrap – or doek, as it is called in Afrikaans. eNCA’s policy, which claims to “be in line with [South Africa’s] corporate and national values”, deems headgear inappropriate. Since …

AFROSARTORIALISTS’ JOURNEY TO EUROPE AND A NEW TALENT IN MY SPOTLIGHT

In the year and a half since I launched Afrosartorialism, the fortune and fame of African style bloggers has grown quickly and steadily. Some of them have become international trendsetters; others have launched careers in the fashion industry; others yet have put a growing visibility in the service of community projects and social initiatives. In different capacities, the cultural work of these style amateurs is forcing a change in the …