Victoria & Albert Museum London, UK
02.07.2022 – 16.04.2023
Models holding hands, Lagos, Nigeria, 2019 by Stephen Tayo. Courtesy Lagos Fashion Week
Spanning iconic mid-20th century to contemporary creatives through photographs, textiles, music and the visual arts, Africa Fashion will explore the vitality and global impact of a fashion scene as dynamic and varied as the continent itself.
The irresistible creativity, ingenuity and unstoppable global impact of contemporary African fashions are celebrated in an extensive display of garments, textiles, personal testimonies, photographs, sketches, film and catwalk footage in this exhibition. Many of the garments on show hail from the archives of iconic mid-twentieth century African designers – Shade Thomas-Fahm, Chris Seydou, Kofi Ansah and Alphadi. Alongside these are personal insights from influential contemporary African fashion creatives, including Imane Ayissi, IAMISIGO, Moshions, Thebe Magugu and Sindiso Khumalo, as well as highlights from fashion trends of the day, which are on display for the first time.
Foregrounding individual African voices and perspectives, the exhibition presents African fashions as a self-defining art form that reveals the richness and diversity of African histories and cultures. Africa Fashion celebrates the vitality and innovation of a selection of fashion creatives from over 20 countries, exploring the work of the vanguard in the twentieth century and the creatives at the heart of this eclectic and cosmopolitan scene today.
Across contemporary couture, ready-to-wear, made-to-order and adornment, the exhibition seeks to offer a close-up look at the new generation of ground-breaking designers, collectives, stylists and fashion photographers working in Africa today. It explores how the digital world accelerated the expansion of the industry, irreversibly transforming global fashions as we know them.
From global fashion weeks to celebrity wearers and the role of social media, Africa Fashion will celebrate and champion the diversity and ingenuity of the continent's fashion scene. The exhibition forms part of a broader and ongoing V&A commitment to grow the museum's permanent collection of work by African and African Diaspora designers, working collaboratively to tell new layered stories about the richness and diversity of African creativity, cultures, and histories, using fashion as a catalyst.
More information: https://www.vam.ac.uk/exhibitions/africa-fashion
Self-portrait, Gouled Ahmed, Addis Foam, Ethiopia
London SW7 2RL, UK