Africa Style: With Freedom Came Fashion Flair

Many years ago I worked as a sales associate at Hugo Boss in the Beverly Center in Los Angeles. We sold a variety of items from the store, including bags, accessories, underwear, and clothing. But the thing I was most happy to sell was men’s suits. Because a good suit often transforms. The man walked into the store with a forgotten look on his face, looking accomplished and accomplished in a neatly cut two-button single-breasted navy suit with peaked lapels.A step towards a new “”african fashionWhen I saw the exhibition at the Brooklyn Museum, I felt I was witnessing something wonderful, something more amazing than just a personal restyle. I was taken to a historical time when nearly the entire continent was shedding its colonial rule and stepping onto the world stage with the accompanying dress change.

The first to mark this massive transformation is a wall with a chronology of texts and documentary photographs detailing the consequential moments of 20th-century African liberation struggles. Video monitors show film footage of major ceremonies, including the founding of the Republic of Ghana in 1957. An adjoining wall illustrates the national flags of all her 54 African countries, as well as their emblems and coats of arms. The exhibit appears to be fairly deliberately based on the history of the independence movement. Christine CzecinskaCurator who led the team that planned the original exhibition at Victoria and Albert Museum A reporter from London confirmed this, saying it was important to her for viewers to understand that the outfit had a “political dimension”.

In the exhibition catalog, Czecinska writes that Tunisia and Morocco were liberated from French rule in 1956, and Ghana was liberated from Britain a year later. In 1960, 17 African countries shook off colonial rule, and he carved that time into history as “history.”african year.“The radical social and political reordering that took place sparked a cultural renaissance across the continent,” writes Čeczynska. “Fashion, music and the visual arts have harnessed once-alienated traditions to create innovative forms with an eye toward future autonomy.”

Although autonomy has not always produced shrewd political leadership and policies that benefit the majority of the population, some countries once held back by colonial rule have learned to stand on their own. I think you have to recognize

According to organizers Ernestine White-Mifetu, curator of African art at the museum, and Anissa Malvoisin, the revival and re-emergence of cultural practices and forms unique to African indigenous peoples is Brooklyn’s version of ‘African fashion’. It will play an expanded role in I’m a postdoctoral fellow here. Today it contains 300 of his objects, of which about 130 are clothing, textiles and jewellery, and more than 50 of his works from the museum’s collection. The show’s curator added more documentary footage of his four big festivals on the continent in the ’60s and his ’70s. 1st World Festival of Black Arts (FESMAN) 1966 Dakar. Zaire of Kinshasa 74, 1974.of pan african culture festival in Algeria (PANAF) in 1969.and the second World Black African Arts Festival (FESTAC) 1977, Lagos.

There is also a temporary library here with classic books that examine its history and its heritage. It was adorned with framed, mural-sized photographs of FESTA activities by Marilyn Nance, author of Last Days in Lagos, which I had happened to visit when I entered. Bright white suits and bell-bottomed trousers contrast with women in dresses carefully wrapped in kente fabric and men in tribal costumes with ornate leg bands. Brooklyn native Nance said about 200 black Americans from New York, including her, traveled to Lagos knowing it would be a very important event.

We got to hear one more thing that made this iteration different from the V&A show. The music followed me as I moved from gallery to gallery. Mr. Malvoisin has a playlist (from the QR code accessible) was carefully selected. (You can only hear a portion of it at the show, so follow the link.) There’s a frenzied theme flowing through music that matches the clothing and accessories on display.

I have to say this. The show is stunningly beautiful, with amazing and intriguing textiles, accessories and clothing. This show has not the slightest bit of expectations or clichés. A history lesson follows a clothing exhibit with exhibits featuring photographs of major mid-century designers such as Kofi Anser from Ghana, Chris Seydoux from Mali and Shayde Thomas Pham from Nigeria. . (Thomas Farm wears a stunning golden robe accented with black squares and dark yellow chevrons. No one wearing this can go to work without notice.)

Behind these displays are monitors showing current runway shows, and the innovative spirit of Africa’s time and place shines through in collections that seemingly draw from European sources. There are too many designers to list all their amazing work here, but it’s worth mentioning one from Kenya. Ami Doshi Shahin the ornaments section, in his “Salt of the Earth” collection, has devised gold and green metal chokers with long tails of leather or fabric that fall down the wearer’s back.

In a nearby exhibit, Inzuki The young Rwandan brand presents a woven basket collar necklace consisting of intertwined bands in aquamarine, deep orange and hot pink, clearly drawn from traditional basket designs. Here, the everyday is repurposed as luxury. This section is supplemented by items from the Brooklyn Museum collection, including a gold ring from the Pharaonic dynasty and his early 20th-century beadwork from southern Africa.

The show isn’t fetish, but it doesn’t shy away from talking about the process. There is a set of mannequins showing her three stages of the dress, from pattern cuts to toile mockups to the finished garment. Katunguru MwendwaThe Katush line is designed in her home studio in Nairobi, Kenya. Arsi IfraWinner of Fashion Trust Arabia’s Evening Wear Award last year, the Morocco-based designer creates sumptuous garments that are all about maximalist layering, patterns, drapes and materials.south african designer Lucanyo Mudinghi creates gender neutral matching jackets and joggers in felted mohair, wool and acrylic, as well as scarves that double as body shawls.

Mixed with the gorgeous design are street photography by artists such as: Sarah Weiswa, Trevor Stuerman And Stephen Tayo shows us what people on the streets are wearing, and how their outfits are as imaginative and daring as the fashions of the more abundant resources here. There are also studio photos by Legerdemain artists such as Mari’s Seydou Keita and Malik Sidibe. What would it be like to embark on a career documenting this exploratory, upstart beauty at the beginning of a whole new country? And all this greeted me before I got to the big Rotunda Hall where the show ended.

In this gallery, about 40 mannequins are adorned with a fascinating array of works by contemporary designers from the diaspora. Eilaf Osman, Papa Oppon, Brother Belize and its founder Aurora James Christopher John Rogers and studio one eighty nine This section is meant to show how Africa has global influence. According to Marisa Guthrie, Ladies’ wear daily: “The contributions of African-born designers are already evident in the fashion industry, but this exhibition is perhaps the first time their heritage has been comprehensively assessed.”

In the words of V&A’s Čeczynska, the show is “inspired by fashion theater with the narrative potential of building and performing identity through props.” It was this possibility that drew me to fashion, the idea that I might be able to express myself in a way that stood out, that I might embody an elegance that I had never had before. But the exhibition makes much bigger bets than simply expressing one’s identity. What unites the fashion talent represented by Brooklyn (and London) is the apparent need for politics and aesthetics to work hand in hand.

Subjectivity means little if not expressed. To have agency is to act in the world according to one’s own imagination and intellectual capacity. I never really felt like working as a salesperson for someone else’s brand or someone else’s notion of proper design.

At the end of the show, with this in mind, I returned to take a closer look at Waiswa’s photos of people on the streets participating in a “saving social” exchanging clothes and music. In one portrait, a woman wears a bandeau top with her hair tied back in two coiled braids and fastened with two leather belts. On her abdomen is a thin orange belt that buckles her gold panther. In the next photo, three young men wear an eclectic mix of patterned and beaded jewellery. One wears red and white striped overalls. Another model combines trousers with amber flowers and a red jacket. The third combined horizontal and vertical stripes. When I worked in fashion retail, I never thought my style could make me so bold.

A spirit of diligent innovation, using whatever is at hand, and a relentless optimism about what the future may bring is evident throughout the exhibition. A deep understanding of ‘African fashion’ is that it is always important to be able to dress yourself, not just dress yourself.

african fashion

Until October 22nd at the Brooklyn Museum, 200 Eastern Parkway, Brooklyn, NY. Brooklyn Museum.org.

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