One of the very inspiring parts of the African fashion industry is the young crop of creatives who have taken the charge of the industry and are changing the conversations within the industry, how we are perceived from outside the continent and successfully disrupting the stereotypical picture of Africa that comes to the mind of a non-African. From designing pieces that subvert the traditional and expected norms of gender to creating moving visual content, these creatives are partaking in a movement larger than their individual selves and simultaneously building the fashion and creative industries in Africa. While these creatives all a had mind-blowing 2018 and reached inspiring heights in their journeys and careers we think their 2019 is going to be even more amazing.
To kickstart your 2019, we have curated a list of inspiring fashion creatives from Africa that you should definitely watch out for in 2019.
From the streets and runways of Lagos to London, Adebayo’s androgynous fashion brand Orange Culture is making waves globally. The 2016 Future Award Winner and 2018 Forbes 30 under 30 fashion designer and creative director steadily subverts traditional gender norms in fashion and our idea of masculinity both in the pieces his brand creates as well as his personal style making him a trailblazer in African fashion. After a particularly amazing 2018 which involved many collaborations, phenomenal SS19 presentation and deserved acccolades, Adebayo seems set for an even more amazing 2019 especially seeing how he started the year strong by announcing that he would be a speaker at Design Indaba 2019 which is taking place at the Opera House of the Artscape Theatre Centre in Cape Town on Wednesday, the 27th of February to Friday 1st of March 2019.
While Beyoncé being spotted in pieces from her brand Tongoro may have been a major highlight for the Senegalese designer, it wasn’t her only one. Sarah has, in the past few short years since she started Tongoro, managed to define and stay true to her brand’s aesthetics and beliefs as well as grow and establish a strong customer base within and outside Africa. This 29 year old fashion veteran is definitely one fashion creative to follow and watch this coming year.
Dubbed the most influential and connected man of 2018 by GQ South Africa and with a portfolio many can not even dare dream about, South African multimedia visual artist and creative juggernaut Trevor Stuurman is quite the inspiration for creatives all around Africa. His storytelling ability, moving images, eye for angles and color are some of the reasons this photographer has gone on to work with many top brands and photographed some of the biggest names in varying industries.
Living in the heart of Nigeria’s fashion capital is this fashion blogger and visual content creator who owes the dedicated following she has grown in a relatively short time to the premium content she consistently churns out. Her Instagram feed is the perfect palette for the fashion girl who loves looking good and lives on a budget just as her blog is littered with everything a fashion girl could possibly want – from pocket-friendly outfit inspirations to DIY and budget beauty tips. Over the course of three years, this creative has created and curated content for many brands like Lagos Fashion Week, Olay, Infinix Nigeria and so many more leaving most of us wondering and waiting to see what she has lined up for 2019.
While in South Africa, Beyoncé was styled by the talented Peju Famojure and was dressed mainly in pieces by African designers and one of such designers – which in Beyoncé’s own words ‘go so hard’ was Rich Mnisi. This eponymous contemporary brand, whose creative director is the Africa Fashion International Young Designer of the Year 2014 winner, has built not just an envious clientele but an inspiring brand aesthetic and overall brand story that stands out from the average African fashion brand. Rich has stayed true to his brand aesthetics and work ethics over the past few years and it has been rewarded by him bagging several accolades and seeing his brand showcased on many international runways.
Fashion blogger and visual content creator Nonye ‘Nayonde’ Udeogu took the Nigerian fashion world especially the fashion blogosphere with surprise as she quickly transitioned from the new fashion kid on the block to a veteran blogger and one of the best loved fashion influencers. With just about two years under her belt, this fashion creative has built quite the portfolio not just as a blogger and influencer but as a creative director and social media consultant and is one we are excited to watch grow in 2019 because not only will she thrive but she will definitely do so fashionably.
After slaying for most of 2018 with back to back stylish outfits and serving us almost daily style inspiration, fashion stylist, creative director and all round fashion badass Jennifer Oseh is one that we look forward to seeing climb to greater heights in 2019. Seeing how she has been teasing us with pieces and designs from her fashion brand Wild Kulture, we hope 2019 is the year she finally gives us her debut collection which we’ve been waiting for!
Kenyan fashion blogger and writer Silvia Njoki’s consistency in delivering such premium content is one that we can’t help but be inspired by. The award winning fashion blogger, who interestingly once enrolled to be a nun, has successfully dabbled in fashion writing and styling, gone on to write for Arise Magazine and as well as styling many projects and working for many platforms and everyday gets better and better. 2019 is going to be so bomb for her.
This fashion and editorial photographer had a phenomenal 2018! Stephen Tayo spent most of his 2018 creating quality, aesthetically pleasing and moving images that not only provoke emotions but also tell beautiful stories and his talent and hardwork has led to him working on so many amazing photography projects and working with many publications including British Vogue and The New York Times. One doesn’t need a seer to know that this creative has a fascinating 2019 ahead and many more career milestones to hit in the not so distant future especially seeing how he is already having his second photography exhibition of 2019 in the Netherlands.
BellaNaija Style Editor, award winning fashion writer, creative director, curvy model and fashionista Eki Ogunbor is quite the fashion powerhouse. With deep fashion roots and experience, Eki definitely knows her stuff and keeps on killing it fashionwise whether it is a simple OOTD or a killer fashion campaign. She is also the founder of Kisara, a leather accessories brand Eki launched in 2018 after its debut on the LFW runway in Mai Atafo’s AW 19 collection. We can’t wait to see what Eki has planned for KISARA this year! All we can say is Go Eki!
When Mary isn’t putting together her latest article, she’s putting together a killer look or perfecting her already perfect Instagram fashion girl aesthetics. This fashion editor, insider and creative had one hell of a year in 2018, from representing BellaNaija Style on several panels to slaying the Lagos Fashion Week street style where she was the perfect #MadeInNigeria ambassador and she is set to do it all again this year and even bigger!
Award winning fashion stylist, writer and fashion consultant Oluwatosin ‘The Style Infidel’ Ogundadegbe is quite a source of inspiration. Watching him put in hard work and dedication into every project he undertakes and to see him the reap the benefits when they each turn out to be masterpieces that earn him multiple awards is honestly all the inspiration we need every morning to get up and make moves.
After her exciting BA graduate presentation titled Psychedelic – a sexy colourful presentation that teased and celebrated the sensuality and sexuality of the African male which was quite refreshing – which grabbed everyone’s attention, Mowalola Ogunlesi has become something of a enigma in the best possible way. Dropping out of her MA to give her all to the brand, Mowalola is set to continue making waves in men’s fashion and she is starting from London Fashion Week Men where she will be showcasing with Fashion East.
Young, talented and passionate are words that come to mind when one seeks to describe this young man who is doing in his part in changing the African fashion industry for the better. The fashion editor and communications and branding expert is constantly improving his already well-developed communications skills by working for and with fashion publications as a media director and editor to curate the best fashion content experience.
Cameroonian-Lebanese beauty blogger and content creator Vanessa Azar has come very far from her dark days battling severe depression to now where she is challenging French beauty brands and walking the Lagos Fashion Week 2018 runway for several designers. Her steady growth, strength and stunning content are reasons to watch out for this influencer and creative in 2019.
With a smile that could possibly light up the dark side of the moon and more melanin than most of us possess, it is always a delight to spot this multifaceted fashion creative’s face on your Instagram’s feed. As a fashion illustrator, model, photographer and YouTuber Whitney Madueke puts in her all and it shows as she and the content gets better every day and with 2019 in view, we know she’s definitely going to evolve and do even more amazing things.
This digital content creator found her way to our most stylish South Africans of 2018 list and she has also now found her way to this list and boy does she deserve every bit of recognition she gets! Her effortless chic style and dedication to her craft makes her the perfect WCE as does her consistency.
Fashion blogger, youtuber and fashion influencer Temi Otedola is what we would call a content creating powerhouse. Temi is either working on a new lookbook video for her YouTube channel or creating content for instagram and her consistency as well as the quality of her content – be it videos or blog posts – has made her one of the most loved fashion influencers to come out of Nigeria as well as one of the faces of the Nigerian fashion influencer/blogging industry. 2019 better be ready because Temi is coming to dominate!
Fashion content creator and influencer Marta Lungo’s clean and relatable style is one of the reasons she stands out from the blogging crowd. This Manchester-based creative’s very eclectic and real style makes her a disruptor and interesting to watch especially as she focuses solely on the fashion without giving much thought to curating an aspirational lifestyle. With 2018 in the bag and 2019 here already, we’re excited to see what looks she has planned to share.
Going by the moniker Style Connaisseur on The Gram, Angel Obasi is such a breath of fresh fashionable air. Her style consists of beautiful gowns and a lot of amazing ankara pieces. Her interpretation of the modern African woman is not lost on her audience who follow her for regular style inspiration that reminds them that ankara is anything but boring. Her 2018 was filled with amazing highlights and moments including a campaign with Nigerian beauty brand Youtopia Beauty and 2019 is looking up for her already!
Writer and communications guru Ayodeji Rotinwa at first glance might look out of place in this list however a closer look will reveal how much his words have contributed to the growth of the Nigerian fashion industry. His 2018 New York Times article ‘What It Means To Dress In Lagos’ – a well fleshed out article on personal style in the fashion capital of Nigeria – stands a chance in the run for one of the best-written pieces about the Nigerian fashion industry of 2018. We are looking forward to reading even more amazing pieces from him.
Ami Doshi Shah
After graduating from the Birmingham School of Art & Design with distinction and winning the Goldsmiths’ Award for Best Design, the gifted Kenyan jeweler and silversmith Ami Doshi Shah went on a twelve year design hiatus and returned to the scene by establishing the brand I AM I. Over the past few years, the eponymous brand has been making silent yet giant strides, from working with award-winning visual artist Jimmy Chuchu to create jewelry on his equally award-winning fashion film To Catch A Dream in 2015 to showcasing at the Nolcha Shows during New York Fashion Week. This designer is starting off 2019 strong with the International Fashion Showcase which holds during February this year and things are more than looking up for this East African creative this year.
In 2018, this editorial photographer took his career to a new level. With great changes to his photography and even more additions to his photography portfolio, Bayo switched up on us and bloomed right before our very eyes. What is truly inspiring about Adebayo is how he focuses solely on his craft and shuts out every noise as one can see from his almost anonymous Instagram account which solely has pictures of his work. His focus, dedication and raw talent makes us have no doubt that this photographer will have a truly thrilling 2019.
Fashion writer, blogger, influencer and all-round fashion girl Derin makes our list for the second year in a row because of her very commendable consistency. This ‘pocket-sized proudly Isalé-Èkó girl’ – as she humorously describes herself – is steadily creating fashion content from OOTDs to articles to blog posts and we can’t wait to see them open even more doors for her this year.
From making it to Teen Vogue 21 under 21 Class of 2018 to being featured by the likes of Vice and more, twenty-one year old talented and stylish fashion designer Teni Adeola may be one of the best fashion exports Nigeria and Africa has to offer the world at the moment. Her fashion brand Slashed by Tia’s distinct fashion pieces has been worn by various A-list Hollywood stars like Lorde, SZA and Gigi Hadid and has made their well received and praised debut on the runways of major fashion shows all around the world. 2018 was unreal with back to back wins for this creative and 2019 will, without a doubt, be even more amazing.
With almost a decade of industry experience under his belt, fashion and travel editor Alexander Julian is, in the simplest of words, a content badass. The NYC content specialist with a portfolio that includes some of the biggest names in the industry like Coca Cola, Fendi, GQ and so much more is one industry insider who leaves you in awe and very inspired. After securing so many bags and wins in 2018 and starting 2019 strongly, we definitely will be seeing more of Alexander winning in 2019.
Creative director of Andrea Iyamah Dumebi Iyamah has successfully built a brand that will surely stand the test of time. Known for it’s colorful and unique take on clothing, Andrea Iyamah has catapulted Dumebi into fame and becoming a household name and a favorite for many stars and fashion lovers. She has used her understanding of the fashion industry and brilliant business strategy to build one of Nigeria’s biggest fashion brands.
Uche Uba is far from a new face. The Los Angeles actor and model has worked for several top brands and campaigns and has more than paid his dues. From Nike to Hugo Boss, this model has worked with many of the biggest names in the Industry and has developed a modelling and acting portfolio that easily leaves many of his counterparts in the dust. 2018 may have been amazing for the creative but 2019 is bound to be spectacular.
Twenty-five-year-old Mimi Shodeinde is the Nigerian-born London-based interior designer who is using her design brand to take minimalist luxury design to a new level. Mimi founded her design brand Miminat Designs in 2014 and in the past few and shorts years she has focused on creating minimalist functional pieces that channel her African identity and showcases her African influences. By centring her Africanness in the pieces she creates, Mimi has built and carved a niche for herself which has helped raise her to the very top as one of leading African women in the design world. After an amazing 2018 which included the release of her well-received and loved Okuta collection- a functional collection that was heavily inspired by Yoruba murals – and her continuously solidifying her place as a powerhouse in the industry, we are certain 2019 will be an even bigger year for this designer.