The latest collection from Stella McCartney has been met with some disapproval. Showcasing next season’s designs at Paris Fashion Week, Stella McCartney is facing accusations of cultural appropriation following the unveil of the collection.
The Spring 2018 designs from McCartney featured the use of traditional African prints and fabrics, sourced by the leader in African prints Vlisco – the very same supplier that is used in the Sika’a garments. The backlash started across social media, with fashion writers and bloggers saying that Stella McCartney should not be using the fabrics and prints and claiming them as her own designs.
What many consumers have found frustrating is that there is no context given behind the use of the fabrics. They have been used to create stunning garments, but with no respect for their history and heritage. These are fabrics that people in Africa have worn for decades, and in the show’s program, McCartney described her latest collection as ‘a joyful exploration of British style.’ Which could be suggested as completely disregarding the African origin of the prints and styles.
The reality is that African prints are very much on trend for the season ahead. The popular designers use of the prints should only drive awareness as to where the prints and fabrics originally come from, and what they mean to African communities, as long as it is made known that these prints are not in fact original designs by Stella herself. Other designers including Burberry and Moschino used similar prints in their latest collections too – the latest designs just go to show how big African inspired fashion will be in 2018.
Ankara, known as wax print, is a popular and traditional West African pattern in countries such as Nigeria. The print has tribal designs and bright colours, using cotton material. Within the West African culture it is often used on dresses and everyday outfits as well as formal attire.
Read more about the response to the latest Stella McCartney collection here: https://fashionista.com/2017/10/stella-mccartney-ankara-prints
Spring Summer ‘18 African Inspired Trends…
Traditional aspects of African fashion heavily influenced the spring/summer ‘18 runway, with bold, bright and traditional African prints being featured by various designers.
Just over a decade ago, Jean-Paul Gaultier focused his entire haute couture collection on African fashion, naming it 'Hommage à l’Afrique.’ The obsession with African fashion started in the late 1970s, when Yves Saint Laurent was inspired by African design and prints, creating a very popular collection that was heavily influenced by traditional African fashion. Since then, the continent has become a recurring theme on both national and international runways.
With a focus on womenswear, but also in menswear, for the season ahead African prints, cuts and shapes are set to be big. Garments in bold prints, colours and with lots of volume took over the catwalks at Paris Fashion Week – men’s shirts were given a bold printed update, dresses were dramatic and bright, skirts were awash with bright prints – this season there is a particularly focus on the traditional wax fabric and traditional African colours and prints.
It’s clear to see what Stella was trying to achieve with her latest collection, but it just didn’t quite give the nod of appreciation that was needed towards the heritage of the prints and fabrics. African inspired fashion will be huge next season, but it’s important to get the message right with the garments.
The Sika’a Approach...
At Sika’a we take a very different approach to our use of West African prints, and while we use the same supplier of fabrics as Stella McCartney has used in her latest collection, we are open and honest about where our inspiration comes from. We don’t just run a few designs here and there inspired by African culture, we are all about African culture.
As an African inspired fashion house, we strongly believe in promoting positive images from Africa and its creative and hard working people. Sophisticated and unique, to us African style is something to be celebrated and embraced. We pay homage to the traditional African styles and fabrics, pushing boundaries and creating 21st century garments that are a little bit different, while remaining respectful to the source of our fabrics and the heritage of the prints that we use.
We choose to work only with talented designers that are knowledgeable about African fashion and fabrics, and we source our materials from the very best in the business – Vlisco – the very same supplier of Stella McCartney.
The Sika’a Pencil Skirt, for example, uses similar traditional prints, but in an up-to-date cut. The skirt hugs the figure, nipping you in at the waist to create a stunning silhouette. The bold print is perfectly balanced with a plain and simple Bardot top and a key look for Spring/Summer 2018.
In addition, our High-Waist African Midi Skirt uses the same traditional yet playful print. In a bold yellow, the skirt is flirty and fun, celebrating the African culture.
At Sika’a we whole heartedly embrace African fashion, traditions and culture. Africa is at the heart of all that we do, and we make our garments not only for those that follow the African culture, but for the everyday person who wants to be bold and experimental with their style.
Our garments are idea to mix with everyday pieces, to add an unexpected twist and standout from the crowd. Whether that’s teaming a pair of bright and bold African print shorts with a white blouse or simple vest top, or wearing an African print full leg jumpsuit with muted accessories, at Sika’a we allow everyone to enjoy, embrace and have fun with African inspired fashion.
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