Over the past few years, Africa has emerged as a focus for budding talent, especially in the fashion industry. In particular, African menswear designers have become increasingly visible on the global fashion map. These designers, both emerging and established, merge local craftsmanship, traditional stories and an appreciation for diverse African cultures with top-notch and on-trend designs. They’ve been able to merge bold patterns and prints that marry modern and traditional textiles that tell African stories.
We have seen African menswear designers showcase, season after season, their latest offerings at different fashion weeks – from Cape Town to Milan – and it’s clear that the industry is building a reputation as a resource for fresh design talent across the globe.
Check out these five menswear brands that are currently making waves on the continent as well as on the global stage.
South African eponymous fashion brand led by Rich Mnisi is renowned for its colourful patterns, daring cuts and silhouettes and the skilful way the designer blurs gender lines in fashion. In 2019, Rich snagged “Emerging Designer of the Year” at Essence Best In Black Fashion Awards. The inexhaustible designs that seem to come naturally to this fashion veteran make his brand a fashion powerhouse.
Walé Oyéjidé (Ikiré Jones)
View this post on Instagram
US-based Nigerian designer and the creative director of Ikiré Jones, Wale Oyéjidé marries West African aesthetics with artistic influences from different cultures across the globe. One of his major accolades was his costume designs for some of the fictional characters in Marvel’s Black Panther movie.
Renowned British fashion designer of Ghanaian descent Ozwald Boateng, known for his trademark twist on classic British tailoring and bespoke style has had numerous endorsements from notable celebrities and most recently Tenet movie lead actor, John David Washington who rocked his signature Kente single button suit. In 2018, Ozwald designed British Airways uniforms. He’s also the first tailor to ever show at Paris Fashion Week.
Ivory Coast-born menswear designer Laurence Chauvin-Buthaud founder of Laurenceairline and one of the cornerstones for African fashion. Laurence has provided training for the locals in Ivory Coast with conscious efforts to build Africa’s fashion for the international scene in terms of top-notch production and bold contemporary designs made in Africa. Apart from her philanthropy, Laurence boasts of high-quality streetwear rich in pattern and colour, while blazing the trail as a woman in the Ivorian menswear industry.
2021 International Woolmark Prize finalist and ARISE Fashion Week‘s “30 Under 30” winner Kenneth Ize is one of the youngest designers with a truckload of achievements. The talented aso-oke front runner is known for putting West African fashion on the global map. His namesake brand has been endorsed by numerous celebrities like Viola Davis, Naomi Campbell, Yara Shahidi and a host of others.