M a r k e t N e w s

Kenya: Prints and Textiles in African Fashion

Posted on : Monday, 19th January 2015

 I'm obsessed with all kinds of prints, florals and botanicals, geometrics, art-deco and plaids; those inspired by ethnic tradition as well as the artisanal African weaves that are slowly becoming less popular.As an avid champion of African fashion, I am very interested in the assumptions and subsequent choices people make with regard to fashion. Often, consumer choice on African fashion is limited to wax textiles produced in the Netherlands and to the more widely available mass-produced digital prints of those Dutch textiles on coarser fabric.

With the high prices of locally-made designer apparel, buyers, it seems, emphasize on the quality and availability of interesting and unique textiles over 'design' when making purchasing decisions.So I have found that many who claim a dislike for African fashion or who complain about it being outmoded or over-priced, are limited in their knowledge of the available textiles and prints that may be called authentically African.

The African cultural renaissance includes internationally recognised designers who are re-interpreting traditional textiles into fresh and modern ones by implementing their design process on ever more luxurious fabrics.There's more to African fashion than the increasingly dated designs that dominate our imagination of African fabrics. Further, as many African designers experiment with an eclectic mix of design inspirations, including western design aesthetics, it is important to think about the distinction and linkages between African designed apparel and derivative global fashion.Redefining concepts of luxury through the rich heritage of our African textiles.
For centuries, traditional African cultures created textiles rich in symbolism, with patterns and motifs loaded with cultural meaning. These prints, or derivatives from them, were then appropriated into commercial international fashion and, with advances in technology, reproduced in bulk as digital prints. What African luxury brands now seek to do is blend this ancient visual heritage into design aesthetics that include eclectic fabric and design choices. This productive process demands the refinement and advancement of the ancient techniques and therefore the retention of an authentic African identity, even as it appeals to global luxury markets.
For her 2014 collection, Nigerian designer Maki Oh showed off rich hand-dyed silks using the adiree textile design technique. While the Rwanda-based, Spanish label Mille Collines recreated century old patterns used in Tuareg silver jewelry to create a new textile for their 2014 collection. Luxury Designer Mimi Plange makes a beautiful collection inspired by the Herero people from Namibia. More recently, Kenya-based fashion house Kooroo launched their 'River Omo' collection showing off beautiful laser cut motifs inspired by indigenous Ethiopian ethnic groups.

Source : http://allafrica.com/stories/201501160705.html
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