For the first time in its history, the glamorous city of Hamburg will open its harbours and welcome some of the most talented and innovative designers of African origin to the Mercedes Benz me Store. On Friday 2nd December, the luxurious store will play host to fashion and business for the MADE IN AFRICA: FASHION AFRICA BRANDS EXPOSEE.
The stage will be set for multiple talents to showcase their latest designs. Among those present will be Bernie Seb (founder of Paris based men’s clothing range De La Sébure) and Ghanaian born Nana K. Brenu (of Studio 1981 fashion line fame) as well as multi-talented actor/model/designer Emo Rugene (handmade Afroshoes label) – all of whom deliver a series of avant-garde collections that seamlessly blends long kept African stylistic traditions with European chic and modernity.
In the contemporary fashion world, traditional western standards of beauty are increasingly being challenged by influential figures of African origin. Lupita Nyong’o has recently appeared on the front page of Vogue for the second time and male celebrities such as Samuel Jackson, Will Smith and Kendrick Lamar have all posed for the likes of Esquire and GQ. That said however, we seldom see these figures sporting traditional African garments or clothing that represents African culture or heritage. How many times can we honestly say that we’ve seen a model in Cosmopolitan sporting a chitenge dress or a dashiki gown?
Those in attendance at the event will be fortunate enough to meet three designers from the African Diaspora who are breathing new life into the modern fashion world and redefining cultural trends with their experimental and exuberant collections. The designers, each unique in their own right, have succeeded in harmoniously blending the traditions of their native African homelands – with their European experiences – to produce imaginative, stylish pieces that achieve perfect equilibrium between two seemingly contrasting codes of dress.
In De La Sébure we see the trademark bold, vibrant colours and geometric patterns that one would normally associate with traditional African designs – infused with elements of the ever-confident and dapper male in the single-sex clothing line.
In slight contrast, the minimalistic pieces from Studio 1981 depart from flamboyant colour schemes and focus on muted tones and delicate craftsmanship to create stylish, elegant female fashions.
Finally, Emo Rugene’s Kenyan inspired, hand crafted AfroShoes footwear designs ooze practicality and flair while, more importantly, using only locally sourced fabrics in an effort to support African economies.