African Fashion in 2023

Watching the ASHLUXE X Felakuti AW23 fashion show, as vibrant colors and bold patterns danced down the runway, I remembered it was three years ago when I penned an article for this very publication, declaring with unwavering conviction, “the future of fashion is Africa, and the future of African fashion is now.” And here we are, a mere blink of an eye later, witnessing the remarkable manifestation of that prophecy.

The progress made in African fashion since that declaration has been nothing short of extraordinary. Streetwear brands like ASHLUXE and HIGH FASHION have emerged as trailblazers, capturing the spirit of the African youth and propelling it onto the global stage. Their fusion of contemporary aesthetics with traditional African elements has struck a resonant chord, captivating fashion enthusiasts worldwide. But behind their meteoric rise lies a powerful driving force: Afrobeats.

The infectious rhythms and soul-stirring melodies of Afrobeats have not only conquered the music charts but also contributed immensely to the success of African fashion. As the world became captivated by the beats of Wizkid, Burna Boy, Asake, Rema and Tiwa Savage, they couldn’t help but be drawn to the vibrant fashion statements accompanying these artists. African textiles and styles began to permeate the international fashion scene, and people of African descent embraced their heritage with renewed pride.

Today, it is not uncommon to witness West African Nigerian men donning their Kaftans and Agbadas like badges of honor. These traditional garments, once reserved for special occasions, have become a symbol of cultural identity and a celebration of African fashion. In fact, it has become increasingly common for couples to exchange vows draped in elegant native attire, weaving their love stories with the rich tapestry of African traditions. African fashion brands are also more proud than ever to release collections which are majorly African attire. A notable example is AFRICANA, a Nigerian fashion brand that astounded us with their most recent runway show, which was a mesmerizing display of traditional Benin styles and symbols. The fusion of ancient Benin culture with contemporary fashion created a visual feast that celebrated African heritage in all its glory.

The impact of African fashion has transcended borders and resonated with global fashion houses. Designers from around the world have recognized the allure of African aesthetics and incorporated African styles into their runways.

One cannot discuss the rise of African fashion without acknowledging the influential figures who have embraced and championed it.

Take, for instance, Jeremiah Owosu Koramoah, the Ghanaian American football linebacker. With unwavering conviction, he has crafted an image for himself on and off the field, adorning exclusively African clothing during each game.

In a world where pre-match runways have become almost as important as the game itself, Koramoah’s style choices have become a statement of African pride, reminding us that fashion is not merely fabric; it is a powerful expression of identity.

The resonance of African fashion has not gone unnoticed by the media. Both internal and foreign outlets have taken a keen interest in our fashion news updates, recognizing the vibrancy and creativity emanating from the African continent. The arrival of HYPEBEAST AFRICA, a platform dedicated to showcasing African streetwear and culture, stands as a testament to the growing international recognition of our fashion prowess. Furthermore, the rise of indigenous fashion magazines has provided a platform for African designers and creatives to share their stories, aspirations, and inspirations with the world.

As I reflect upon how far we have come as Africans in fashion, I am filled with an overwhelming sense of pride. We have shattered stereotypes, defied expectations, and transformed the narrative surrounding African fashion. Our designs, steeped in history and infused with contemporary flair, have captivated the hearts and minds of fashion enthusiasts across the globe. The world has awakened to the undeniable truth: African fashion is a force to be reckoned with.

In this journey, ASHLUXE, HIGH FASHION, AFRICANA, T.I NATHAN, LISA FOLAWIYO, ATAFO and countless other brands have paved the way for a new era of African fashion. They have not only showcased our vibrant culture but have also empowered local artisans and craftsmen, breathing new life into traditional techniques.

Article written by Taiwo Jesudunsin Adesokan for the 4th Issue of Top Charts Africa magazine sponsored by 1XBET (Use the promo code “TOP100NG”)