I see zebras. I see lions. I see bright colours in the sky that slowly drip and slip into the dusty earth below. The sun beats down on me and I surrender to it, melting, along with the colours, into the ground. This is my dream as I bundle a coat over my shivering body. Africa. Hot. Colourful. Primordial Beauty. This is me as I hurry toward the grocery store. Cold. Pale. Lost in my head as I slip and narrowly miss being run over by a, possibly drunk, snow removal truck.
Maybe because it’s winter in Canada or maybe because new spring clothes will be arriving in stores soon, or maybe it’s because my sister just got back from a trip to this country, but I’ve been dreaming of Africa. Who knows why and, let’s be honest, who cares? In the past couple of years, African fashion weeks have started in both New York and London. They draw thousands of spectators and are growing with every season. Does this mean Africa is getting ready to take its place on the fashion world’s stage? Let’s hope so!
African fabrics are playing a big part in this Spring/Summers fashions. While the styling remains decidedly western, the fabrics, popping with colours and patterns, are the real stars.
If you visit anywhere in Africa, you’ll be blown away by how the colours of the clothes play against the landscape and make everything seem more alive and life affirming. Wildly rich and colourful fabrics wrap elegant women’s torsos. And I love that! But I can’t wear it. I’m white and skinny. It just wouldn’t work and that is why I’m thrilled to see western and african designers trying to create designs with these fabrics for people like me. The following are a few African designers that got it just right. Click on the photos to see them full size.
And for the men – I really like how his belt matches his shirt, which is something I usually only see women do. It’s an attention to detail that suggests he’s a man who’s aware and thoughtful which, in turn, makes him very popular with the ladies.