There are no better ways to experience the diversity and riches of Africa than through fashion and nature, no matter where you are in the world. However, if you have the chance to travel to a few of the 57 countries in Africa, here is a brief glimpse into those ones you might really want to place on your go-to list for an authentic experience of culture and nature you’ll never forget.
Another good thing is it will help you diversify your closet with exclusive labels that have either shown during New York Fashion Week or under a collective showcase called Africa Fashion Week, New York. Read on for the overview of a multi-part series that will take an in-depth look into the rich apparel and sights of the African continent.
DESIGNER DAVID TLALE | SOUTH AFRICA
Johannesburg, the financial center of South Africa, has a rich history and landmarks for travelers to indulge in. The Apartheid Museum and the shopping areas of Mandela Square in Sandton and Soweto are exciting. Visiting malls and clothing stores like Burgandy Fly, located in Soweto, will give you access to local fashion designers.
A well-known fashion designer whose pieces you might want to indulge in is David Tlale. His reputation and self-titled collection is inspired by African heritage, but conceived to be modern, edgy, and authentic. After making bold business statements at Adiat Disu & Associates’ Africa Fashion Week Master Class, hosted at the United Nations Foundation, Tlale showcased his Fall 2014 Collection at Mercedes Benz Fashion Week.
DESIGNER RODNEY EMEKA | NIGERIA
Nigeria has a stunning resort called Obudu Mountain Ranch. Intended for the “nature-centric” traveler, it’s located in the town of Obudu. The sprawling expanse of land was previously a cattle ranch; it is now, however, a getaway situated in the Sankwala Mountains. It hosts a cable car ride through the mountains and a golf course as its main attractions.
For the city-centered tourist, Victoria Island in the south-western region of Lagos also has two prestigious hotels (Eko Hotel and Intercontinental Hotel), that host formal red [green]-carpet and informal events such as Lagos Fashion and Design Week.
Nestled among these beautiful attractions across the country are opportunities to shop and discover a few local Nigerian fashion labels that just might be the missing pieces you need to complete your trip in style for any occasion.
Anaba Wisdom Chidiebube: The design label Weiz Dhurm Franklyn has a style developed by an infusion of contrasting elements like tradition and modernity. Each piece is tailored to body form and includes hand-beaded detailing.
Eki Orleans: A premier designer at Africa Fashion Week, New York, German-Nigerian Hazel Eki Aggrey-Orleans is the creative force behind high-end, Lagos based fashion label Eki Orleans. She is inspired by her time spent in Lagos, and often chooses patterns and colors that are a remembrance of her childhood and an interpretation of nature through her eyes.
Igwedinma Rodney Emeka of McMeka draws inspiration from other designers like Tom Ford and Tiffany Amber. Emeka has always seen fashion as a luxury piece, which is evident in his designed suits with straight cuts.
DESIGNER HILDA MAUYA | KENYA
Nairobi, the capital of Kenya, is the country’s most populous city, and filled with activities; festivals, galas, and such. For example, FAFA – Festival for Fashion and Arts – focused on bringing together established and emerging African fashion designers from across the continent at the Oval in Westlands, Nairobi.
Other things to enjoy are restaurants and naturally beautiful grassland vistas. The average post safari stop, Carnivore Restaurant, for example, is a place to enjoy a few unique main courses of the local cuisine which include choice cuts of ostrich, crocodile, or zebra.
A good way to catch a glimpse into Kenya’s rich past is the Nairobi National Museum displaying artifacts indigenous to various Kenyan tribes, prehistoric artifacts from the area (including three million year-old footprints!), and more than 900 stuffed bird and animal species native to Africa.
Whether you’re eating natural Kenyan cuisine, shopping the busy streets of East Africa’s largest city, Nairobi, or planning your next sightseeing trip, there are a few fashion design delicacies that you can add to your must-have list :
Fashion Designer Hilda Mauya of Dahil Republic of Couture Fashion House: Born in Kenya, Hilda Mauya designs everyday couture by combining African-accented fabrics like Ankara with fabrics like chiffon. Her designs are westernized, while preserving her African heritage.
Sally Karago: She developed an Interest in fashion at the age of 12 after watching her neighbor design clothes in Nairobi. Sally Karago is the managing director of Mcensal Fashion House. Her designs have brought the Maasai blanket and Kikoi fabric to fashion’s biggest stages, even featuring porcupine quills in evening wear. How’s that for a prickly situation?
DESIGNER TIAGBE OF KOSOSHI | TOGO
Lome, the capital of Togo, has plenty of natural beauty in the Kpalimé region. Located an hour and a half from Lomé, Kpalimé is surrounded by several hills covered in rain forest, with small villages, deep valleys, and stunning waterfalls. Local guides can arrange hikes of various lengths through acres of virgin forest to the peaks of Mount Agou and Mount Kloto, and to the Kpoeta and Tomegbe waterfalls. Once the center of the west African coffee and cocoa trade, the town still has some impressive colonial buildings, such as the German cathedral and the governor’s house.
Kososhi by Tiagbe, based in Togo, premiered for the first time during New York Fashion Week, under the AFW, NY collective, featuring 1950s silhouettes with prints and patterns for the African nostalgic. Perhaps a yummy piece from this label would look greater on a ladies night out to Alt Muchen, a celebrated German foodie find in Togo.
DESIGNER KHADIJA MOUH | MOROCCO
A destination much known for its beauty and relaxation potential and sits on the laps of the Mediterranean (much like its fashion aesthetic). Morocco is a laid-back city that has great bathhouses called hammams, modeled after Turkish or Russian styles. It is also home to some great golf courses, such as the Royal Dar es Salaam Gold Club, in Rabat (one of the finest golf courses in the world).
A fashion designer, Khadija Mouh of Morocco Caftan New York, is a native of Morocco and recently showcased in New York Fashion Week. She features hand-embroidered needlework famous for its intricate detail and precision.
Adiree Company is a media, marketing, and marketplace group reaching multicultural consumers. Every month, readers turn to content by Adiree — for impactful conversation, our marketing and it’s marketplace to engage with meaningful products. Focusing on everything from culture, lifestyle to careers, Adiree Company leverages the power of diversity and heritage to engage and empower. Adiree Company was founded in 2009 and is headquartered in New York City, with offices in Lagos Nigeria.