Five of the best African designers


Solange is a fan. Design by Maki Oh. Helen Jennings, author of New African Fashion, picks the five emerging talents making waves on the African continent and beyond. Read my interview with her here.

MAKI OH, NIGERIA: Founded 2010, Lagos-based Amaka Osakwe uses local textiles such as ase oke and a Yoruba textile adire, a hand dyed indigo fabric, to create her thoughtful, sensual Maki Oh range of womenswear and is becoming a rising star in New York. Solange is a fan! ‘Adire is a hand dyed indigo fabric, which is a disappearing art,’ says Helen. ‘Amaka has rediscovered it. The original is more of a coarse cotton, covered in symbols. There are about 400 symbols, each with a different meaning. What Amaka has done has been to learn the craft and then creates her own version in silks and elevated adore into a luxury fabric. She focuses on traditional mens gowns and creates this lovely silhouettes out of them. She has a couple of stockists in the US and gets quite a lot of press, including and in America.’

LOZA MALEOMBHO, IVORY COAST: Loza established her label in Abidjan as a vehicle to empowering women both through employment and through her sharply structured creations. Her tailored jackets are to die for. ‘A women's cooperative makes her clothes. She’s based between the Ivory Coast and New York and she creates this amazing, very tailored clothing.’

'Amazing, very tailored clothing.' Design by Loza Maleombho.

LAURENCEAIRLINE, IVORY COAST: Laurence Chauvin-Buthaud is based between Abidjan and Paris and sells her menswear worldwide. She makes playful, simple pieces using bold bespoke prints.

Design by LaurenceAirline.

CHRISTIE BROWN, GHANA: Accra’s Aisha Obuobi offers effortless, wearable womenswear with delightful detailing such as covered buttons and fringing. She's dressed Beyonce's dancers and has collaborated with the UN's Ethical Fashion Initiative.

Design by Christie Brown.

MAXHOSA BY LADUMA, SOUTH AFRICA: Laduma Ngxokolo uses South African mohair and merino wool to create men's and women's knitwear inspired by traditional Xhosa beadwork and ceremonies.

Knitwear made from South African mohair and merino wool by MaxLhosa by Laduma. @hellojennings