For the August edition of ELLE South Africa, editor Emilie Gambade aimed “to create a special issue that celebrates not only South African talent, but also the creativity and energy of our continent.”
When people outside Africa think of the continent in terms of fashion, the image they have is of animal print and beads, an absurd generalization. A look through the pages of ELLE The Africa Issue reveals a totally different reality: sleek modern silhouettes in either plain fabric or vibrant prints, and not a leopard spot or tiger/zebra stripe in sight!
We still tend to turn to Europe, and especially France for fashion inspiration. Perhaps it is time to look closer to home, and forge our own unique fashion identity. Elizabeth Galloway Academy of Fashion Design can perhaps play a leading role in this, already attracting students across the continent from countries such as Congo (DRC), Ghana, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Tanzania, Uganda and Zimbabwe.
Also, the eminent Nigerian-born designer Duro Olowu who is currently based in London, specifically refers to EGAFD as an educational institution that is “doing an incredible job” in the field of fashion. High praise indeed and something upon which to build.
Pliny the Elder’s well-known observation, Out of Africa always something new, could very well apply to our fashion as well!
Here then, are images of work by African designers, some of whom were featured in ELLE.
And finally two EG alumnae who have been getting themselves noticed: