5 African Designers That Should Be On Your Fashion Radar


July 30, 2018 | BY Marie Haddad

African designers are truly the masters of mixing prints, patterns and colours, adding much-needed vibrancy to the fashion world. Mixing ethnic influences with contemporary design, these labels stay true to their roots by using colourful textiles, energetic silhouettes and dynamic styling.

Whether it's summer dresses, hand-crafted statement pieces or streetwear, these are five up-and-coming African labels are doing it best:

Photo: Courtesy of Andrea Iyamah

Andrea Iyamah

Daring silhouettes, vibrant prints and bold colours is what Nigerian designer Dumebi Iyamah is all about. Based in Canada, Andrea Iyamah creates both swimwear and ready-to-wear collections inspired by African aesthetics and tailoring methods.  

Each unique collection takes influences from different African nations while embracing the feminine figure. 

Available at andreaiyamah.com

5 African Designers That Should Be On Your Fashion Radar
Photo: Courtesy of Lisa Folawiyo

Lisa Folawiyo

Lisa Folawiyo's eponymous label is known and loved for its use of colourful prints and West African fabrics with a playful modern twist. By using contemporary beading, silhouettes and tailoring, Folawiyo has played a key role in putting Nigerian designers on the global fashion map.

Each handmade garment has a unique history from its inception to construction, and Folawiyo's incredible team of artisans handmake each piece—some of which take up to 240 hours to produce. 

Available at  lisafolawiyo.com

See also: 8 Things You Didn't Know About Australian Designer Christopher Esber

Photo: Courtesy of Rich Mnisi

Rich Mnisi

Youthful and fun, this South African contemporary label founded by Rich Mnisi explores the relationship betweem African traditions with modern life through minimalist andogynous styles and silhouettes in his collections.

With awards such as Young Designer of the Year by African Fashion International and Designer of the Year at South Africa Fashion Week under her belt, Mnisi's evolution and global expansion should be on everyone’s radar. 

Available at richmnisi.com

5 African Designers That Should Be On Your Fashion Radar
Photo: Courtesy of NotJustALabel

Orange Culture 

Self-taught designer Adebayo Oke-Lawal, launched his inaugural mens and womenswear label in 2011. With African influences throughout each collection, the label creates contemporary fashion pieces with an ethnic touch.

Orange Culture's aesthetic can be best described as Nigerian inspired urban streetwear, as Oke-Lawal draws inspiration from his heritage and incorporates traditional prints into modern everyday wear.

Available at osengwa.com

Photo: Courtesy of Tongoro


Dedicated to the cultural and social development in Senegal, founder Sarah Diouf has launched Tongoro to empower African women in fashion. 

Her collections are lively and feminine, using prints, patterns and bold silhouettes to emphasise the beauty and playfulness of women. Affordability and integrity are a main focus for Diouf, who believes the “Tongoro girl” should be able to shop her entire closet in one place.   

Available at tongoro.com

See also: The Only Straw Accessories You Need This Summer

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