We’ve said it once or twice and we’re more than happy to say it again—African fashion is on the rise. And this isn’t something new, it’s been happening for less than a decade, but its steady upward movement into the global zeitgeist is something we can’t help but celebrate. But when we get past the low-key gloating, it’s time to ask—why? Well, we have 10 reasons right here.
1. Interest from the West
The first and obvious reason is all the attention African fashion gets from western designers like Christian Louboutin. Western designers are both a global and household name. So when an Ankara print shows up on the hottest spring line, it starts to turn heads and people start asking the right questions.
2. Celebrity interest in African fashion
When a ceremonial gele head wrap struts down the runaway, the rich and famous start wanting to add it to their world famous wardrobes. That’s when you get Beyoncé, Rihanna, even Michelle Obama being stopped on the red carpet with a wax print asking, “Who are you wearing?" And when influential black celebrities start a trend, the world soon follows.
Culture is a mixture of so many things, combining the every day on-goings of a like-minded group of people. Fashion is one the largest aspects of culture. Another aspect, and some would say the lifeblood of most culture is music. Afrobeats has been on a similar rise as African fashion, feeding people’s sense of rhythm all over the globe. The more people find interest in Afrobeats, the more interest they’ll find in African culture, and by-proxy, African fashion.
4. African art
As we speak about what adds to culture, we would be remiss not to include African Art. There has been a rise in interest in ancient and contemporary African art, with collectors paying millions to add pieces to their collections. The more interest African art generates, the more interested people are in African culture, which leads right back to a larger interest in African fashion.
5. Ancestral roots
We all know how black people are treated when in a predominantly non-black area, in America, in Europe, we all know. Connecting to one’s ancestral roots has seemed to be a popular way to combat the hate and find strength on one self. It may be controversial for some, but finding strength, and controversy, always makes something worth talking about. Especially it’s fashionably worn.
6. African cinema and Nollywood
The growth of African films is staggering, showing the world what Africa is capable of with a script and a camera. With Youtube and other digital platforms films are distributed globally even faster. Which gives the world an easier access to see what the hottest Africans are wearing.
7. A younger generation learning about their heritage
There are a large number of 1st, 2nd, and even 3rd generation African young adults living all over the world. Those children may have been raised in America, or the U.K, or elsewhere but their blood is still African. And with the help of YouTube, blogs, Wikipedia, these growing children want to find ways to reconnect to their ancestral homeland—giving them room to express and share African culture and fashion with their new homeland.
8. Expats going home to start fashion-focused businesses
African nations have been seeing a rise in the economy, which gives incentives for new businesses to form. In Africa, one of the easier businesses to keep afloat is a fashion-focused or clothing shop. And many African citizens who’ve been away for sometime are finding this to be perfect time to return home, open up shop, and invest in the fashion trend.
9. More people in Africa are buying and wearing more fashion
Like said earlier, the economy is doing better than before and with that, more fashion-focused shops are opening. With all this opportunity more people are walking down the streets in Africa with the freshest outfits advertising the greatness of African fashion.
10. Social Media
So now we have more shops, more money to spend in those shops, and more people buying at those shops. The only thing left to blow this even further is the miracle of social media. African culture is clearly on the rise, and with it, African fashion. And social media has done its fair share to help the movement. Nothing screams “I have to have it” then seeing someone flaunting their new outfit, on vacation in their latest Instagram post. Social media has connected us all and has allowed the word to spread much faster. And the word today is African fashion is hot.
Want to check out some of the hottest new African styles? Check out the collection.