How Quality, Aspiration and Creativity will Redefine Africa’s Fashion

David Indeje is Khusoko’s Digital Editor, covering East African markets.
Africa fashion

African fashion has always been known for its colours and patterns and it has grown in popularity.  The industry has become more diverse and more inclusive.

What is African fashion?

“African fashion bordering between desire and rebellion,” title of one of France24 news coverage 

“It is about selling across “African borders, European borders. It is about bringing people together,” Daniella Ovuno, Fashion Designer from Gabon.

Baay Sooley, Fashion Designer, Senegal, “It is a contemporary vision for Africa, blending the modern aesthetics with an African feel.”

We spoke to Ntsika Tyatya, Public Relations Manager Maxhosa By Laduma, a South African knitwear brand founded in 2012 by Laduma Ngxokolo.

Maxhosa designs showcase the beauty, culture, language and aspiration of the Xhosa people. It has evolved to become a leading African lux, premium and mass heritage fashion and lifestyle brand.

Lihle Ngxokolo & Laduma Ngxokolo

For Africa’s fashion industry to competitively be at par with other players globally, Ntsika says, “Quality is what it is and aspiration, as well the creativity.”

What is the biggest challenge facing the African fashion industry?

I think the next challenge, I would say it is that the prominent designers are more visible, and the challenge is that the smaller guys have breathed underwater.

The recession made people look for the true value, not ones they will buy for the sake of supporting.

The non-prominent designers suffer more, as there are lost in the noise. Colour is also a great trend, where one colour can make an entire outfit, were all white or all black.

Another great trend is the use of clothes to serve a function, instead of just being threads.

What is defining the fashion industry within Africa currently? This is because global brands have been making inroads and opening stores, is there something that is attracting them?.

I would say that it has a multiverse of DNA to offer and all that  DNA, adds as a unique appeal.

What are some of the top five trends shaping the industry?

There are few trends emerging, specifically, the print is becoming more and more emerging, as designers are looking towards their own cultures as inspiration. The technology of the fabrics, as well as the clothes, is now part of the fashion journey.

What can make African brands compete effectively with global brands?

Quality is what it is and aspiration, as well the creativity.

It seems everything is changing in the fashion industry — especially the consumer.

True, the consumers are more knowledgeable, the fashion industry can be educated on history as well as anthropology. For example, we have taken as the essence of Xhosa and thus taking consumers on the Xhosa journey as well as culture, through fashion.  

What are the most noticeable elements of change in your perspectives and the way customers interact with the fashion brands, the way they engage with a variety of products? 

People want to know the story behind the brand, they do not just want to buy the product. They seek more product information and more value, also how long it will last.

What do you see as the most important challenges for fashion players as they continue to deliver on improving their sustainability record?

The fashion players must be able to look at not cutting corners, they must do the work, and genuinely care, not about just their own environment, but look at their resource, human resource the global impact they make. We must merge consciousness with the conscience.


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David Indeje is Khusoko’s Digital Editor, covering East African markets.

In my role as Community Engagement Editor For Khusoko, I care about our audience. engaging them, getting news delivered to them across a variety of platforms, and expanding the diversity of voices on our website.

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