Many African designers try to find refuge in imitating the concept of luxury fashion as per what they witness by the major fashion brands following the simple rules such as large social media following, being featured in Vogue and publishing images of luxury style influencers wearing their garments on their status.
This is all essential to creating a particular image of which might get you some sort of respect in certain sectors of the industry, but it is a total miss of the goal post for African fashion, designers and creatives.
In the west, defining your status of luxury depends on which fashion brand you are wearing. To be more specific, which item of the latest collection of the luxury brand you are wearing. In all honesty some ladies are rocking a gucci bags from their 10 year old runway collection thinking they are instyle because it’s simply gucci.
However, there is a new age and it has nothing to do with the said brand names. In fact the said brand names we have long heard of in Vogue doesn’t matter here in Africa. What matters is really what it boils down to, and that’s how luxurious your outfit actually looks. But even more so, there is also a growing aesthetic and authenticity about African fashion that defines it’s class and it can’t be duplicated.
Some brands are already really defining the concept of luxury when it comes to Africa. Ignore that basic lack of creativity we saw on the Dior Cruise, the real creative end of African fashion and African prints is far ahead, and below are some samples of the new age of Luxury African fashion soon to find it’s core identity.
Just like Afrobeat music, the only noticeable identity it maintain is the fact that it is African. You can not point out it’s uniqueness in the sound of the beats, because that various from RnB dancehall and it is almost exactly the same sound. You can not trace it by the content of the music because that is very much the same to all pop songs out there, and neither can you trace it simply down to the accents, but when you hear Afrobeat African music you know it just is.
And this is the uniqueness of African fashion, it isn’t African because it is print, or because it has cowry shells in it, it is African because the whole composure and essence is bared in the roots of the creator. And therefore defining the luxury aspect of it. Our luxury fashion is accumulated from royals, traditions, modern designs shaped by our day to day lives and couture. Dior will need to hire more than a few designers to emulate this.
Africa needs to take hold of it’s identity and trends, and home grown events and magazines is what makes this a reality. By hailing mainstream brands that are heavily rooted in racism is to give the key to players outside of the entity of which African fashion was born in.