Why African Fashion is Making its Mark in the Industry - Sika’a

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February 13, 2018 4 min read

The history of African fashion is a rich one, and the development of trends over the years still influences African clothing to this day. We are seeing African inspired designs on the catwalks and in high street stores more and more, making African fashion extremely influential on the industry today.

For a long time, bright and vibrant textiles have been produced in Africa. The creation of these fabrics has greatly influenced African fashion, even in the modern styles of today. With African fashion being at the forefront of the industry right now, what has influenced the fashion trends across the content? Read on to discover why African Fashion is Making its Mark on the Industry...


21st Century…

African print dress

African has seen many significant developments in fashion over the last five years. One of the most important developments is the change in perception regarding African fabrics. The fabrics which have long been part of African heritage are no longer seen by consumers as for ‘traditional’ wear only, and instead are becoming part of mainstream fashion.

The use of African fabrics in high-end fashion has been increasing, which western designers such as Louis Vuitton using African textiles in its latest collections.

In addition, a growing number of African fashion designers have been showcasing their work on catwalks across the globe, such as Mina Evans, Wana Sambo and Uzuri Couture. Ghana, Nigeria and Togo are all becoming well known within the fashion industry, with many western designers traveling to these locations to gain inspiration for their next designs.

With all eyes on African fashion right now, industry experts have said that there is potential for Africa to develop a real value surrounding garments made in Africa. Much like the ‘Made in Italy’ stamp, it won’t be long before African dresses and other garments become highly sought after. To add a ‘Made in Africa’ stamp would signify the history and sign of craftsmanship behind the garments, which is something that the fashion industry are currently demanding from the continent.

African fashion is ever growing, and while this fantastic trend adds more variety to everyday fashion and provides fashionistas with more style options, the growth also supports the craftspeople, designers and communities across Africa. African fashion has become a worldwide phenomenon, and is continuing to grow.


African Fashion – A Brief History...

African fashion

African clothing is known for its bright and vibrant colours and cold textiles. The history of fashion in Africa spans 75,000 years. For many years, Africa has been creating clothing in bright colours and bold prints, using traditional African fabrics and craftsmanship to do so.

In West Africa, woven fibres from as far back as the 800s were discovered in Nigeria, and in Mali, cotton fragments were found from the 1000s. These fabrics have been studied, and it was found that woven clothing made from cotton and gold threads would have been worn.

Intricate weaving techniques have been used in Africa for thousands of years, with the skill being handed down through each generation. This has resulted in beautiful fabrics being made that are associated with the unique areas within Africa. The regional differences can be put down to the varying agricultural landscapes and the natural resources available, as well as the different cultures. Jute, Flex and raffia palm are well known as fabrics from West Africa, whereas camel and sheep wool are traditionally woven into fabrics in Northern Africa, and silk is used in Eastern Africa.

African fashion is well known for it’s bright and bold colours and patterns, and colour has long been added to African fabrics to create striking tones and unique prints. Today traditional African fashion such as the aso-oke head tie might be paired with more modern and vibrant wax prints.

Infused with rich culture and history, today the wax print takes centre stage in 21st century African fashion. As one of the biggest creators and suppliers of wax print fabrics, Vlisco textile house have been hugely popular in Africa and now worldwide since the late 1800s.

Over the years, a huge number of different prints have been created, often with different cultures and countries in mind. The bold and bright fabrics are iconic of African fashion, and it is these elements that we see more and more in 21st century style.

More traditional prints are being fused with modern day cuts and styles, but new 21st century prints are also in high demand. The wax prints always have something in similar though – unusual designs, bright colours and crisp vibrant lines and patterns, all of which are iconic with African Fashion.

At Sika’a we are proud to source our fabrics from Vlisco. Each and every one of our garments are designed, sourced and created in the heart of Africa. We take elements of traditional African fashion and fuse them with 21st century style. We are playful with prints, colours and cuts, but you can still see the striking history behind African fashion in all of our designs.

Ready to sample 21st century African fashion? Browse our latest collections now...

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