Another Africa!

photo by Chris Saunders

Africa is the word du jour when it comes to fashion and lately the output of the most inspiring fashion trends...actually not trends but lessons in style and attitude, this better describes what we are seeing in Africa and this is what makes it so unique. Even the highest echelons of fashion journalism suddenly noticed the second largest continent on the planet and are talking about Africa...while I suddenly realised I picked up my mom's South African accent, admittedly nowhere near as strong as the Smarteez's but strong enough to make me feel like a language cheat (I never lived in Africa though people always ask me if I am originally from there) and to wish I could spend some time in its cities to experience the continent's creative energy!

photo by Chris Saunders - the Smarteez

photo by Nontsikelelo Veleko - the Smarteez


photo by Chris Saunders - the Smarteez


photo by Chris Saunders - the Smarteez


The Smarteez are four young South African creatives making the most original outfits, complemented by the coolest sunglasses which they are able to show off to (and inspire!) the rest of the world. Particularly for South Africa, social media and generally easy access to fashion websites through mobile phones finally means the end of cultural isolation for black people which is something most affluent and white South Africans had enjoyed since the end of the apartheid in the mid 90s.

So I wonder, now that the exposure for black African creatives is achieved will we start seeing collaborations between different African cultures, between north and south of the (very diverse!) African continent? Between white and black Africans? I am talking about the kind of intercultural collaborations that creatively define melting-pot cities like NY and London.

You can already see this on websites like Another Africa, where the focus is, yes primarily on black african art, fashion, photography and design but there are also other African backgrounds mixed in. Another Africa is about specificity in celebrating creativity in each country's unique culture, from Cairo to Soweto via Bamako, it's mostly urban as urban populations are most exposed to and influence by other cultures. Their powerful mantra summarises what creative Africa is about today:


‘Art is powerful, it simply needs unleashing and ultimately it will influence, inspire and help to reclaim Africa. The arts are not a first-world luxury, Another Africa is intended to be a constant reminder of this.’


Well, you should check out their latest Tumblr uploads, they are all about snappy outfits and cool sunglasses, here is my personal favourite!

photo by Daniele Tamagni


Or Malick Sidibe's photos which captures the pride and exuberance of a generation of young ­Africans in the 60s, during two decades of momentous and euphoric social and cultural change!

photo Malick Sidibe'



Another Africa is not the only testimony of change in Africa, an certainly not the only showcase for African style; you should check out Chris Saunder's photos as well.

photo by Chris Saunders

photo by Chris Saunders

photo by Chris Saunders


I also find the work of I See A Different You collective from Soweto very inspiring. The eyewear is tiiiiiiny but, in a way very rarely seen on street-style photos, it really complements each look and each person showing it off is at-one within their surroundings.

photo by I See A Different You

photo by I See A Different You


Does any of you remember Diesel's Spring Summer 2001 sibylline ad campaign? Well, twelve years later, seems like Africa is having the last word when it comes to style and has actually exceeded the prophecy of an, unlikely at the time, stylish portrait of Africa!






Post a Comment

Popular Posts