Made in Africa
While most of the clothing world may still be dancing to the "Made in China" beat, there is a slow and steady growth in the recognition of all the beautiful fashion Made in Africa! For decades, major western designers have taken inspiration from the continent, but now there is a growing recognition that despite how crazy as it may seem, Africans can actually produce a beautiful finished product worthy of a hefty price tag at Barneys and the pages of Vogue or Elle!
Even though designers in South Africa have been producing beautiful works for years, these days, tailors in Kenya, Ghana, and Ethiopia are gaining a little global recognition for the work they are contributing to the global fashion industry.
Some of my favorites designers highlighting the "Made in Africa" movement include:
Bantu: The sister and brother team of Yodit Eklund and Yohannes Mekbebe started out Bantu swimwear with the idea of bringing a bit of the Africa to the West using traditional wax print designs. The line is currently produced in Ethiopia but the company plans to share the production love through the entire continent.
Sika: I have previously written about my love of this U.K. based designer but I can't sing her praises enough. Even though her company is out of U.K. and her clothing graces the pages of Vogue Japan, all her work is produced in her own factory over in Ghana! How cool is that? Can I get my own factory?!?!
Suno: Another of my favorites (see here), this company is not to be messed with this season. I can think of any major magazine that has not covered this beautiful collection of East Africa khangas turned $600 a dress design! Not only does designer Max Osterweis draw inspiration from these prints, he insures that local Kenyans get a bit of the cut as well. All the work is produced in his workshop in Kenya.
LaLesso: While this Kenyan/South African team is not new to the runways of Jo'burg, or the pages of global magazines, I am especially loving the eco-friendly fashion production line that they have in the works to be based right out of Kenya. SOKO aims to be a community-drive, ethical and environmental aware production line.