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Fashion: Made in Africa

It’s never been easier to shop the continent for fashionable gift ideas. 

Within just a few years, we’ve gone from a sometimes parochial Proudly South African sense of ownership to rallying cries of Buy Local, which seems to have settled into a more powerful stamp and statement of self-confidence  Made in Africa.

The world has long been coming to the continent for inspiration, but the recognition of our contribution to the global fashion industry has been lacking. And it’s influenced how we fill our shopping carts. 

A model wears Thebe Magugu during the Thebe Magugu Show on Day One of South Africa Fashion Week 2019 Luxury Collection at Sandton City on

A model wears Thebe Magugu during the Thebe Magugu Show on Day One of South Africa Fashion Week 2019 Luxury Collection at Sandton City on

Local Designers Doing it Big 

Last month, we talked about how Kimberley-born Thebe Magugu had won this year’s LVMH Prize for Young Designers.

It was the first time a designer from Africa won the coveted accolade. Then Essence presented his best friend and collaborator, Rich Mnisi from Johannesburg, with their Emerging Designer of the Year Award at their inaugural Best in Black Fashion Awards.

Around the same time, Palesa Mokubung from Kroonstad shared her Mantsho x H&M collection with the world   the first time the Swedish retailer has worked with a fashion house from Africa. 

(However, the garments were made in a factory in India, according to an interview with Palesa in the Mail & Guardian.) 

Earlier this year, Papama Mtwisha’s Africa Your Time Is Now merchandise was available for sale at Bloomingdale’s flagship store in New York.

Other African brands, such as MaXhosa by Port Elizabeth-born Laduma Ngxokolo, AAKS by Ghanaian Akosua Afriyie-Kumi  whose handbags are handwoven by women from Ghana – and Pichulik by Capetonian Katherine Pichulik, were on show as part of the Lion King concept pop-up called Style Kingdom at the US department store chain. 

A model wears Thebe Magugu during the Thebe Magugu Show on Day One of South Africa Fashion Week 2019 Luxury Collection at Sandton City

A model wears Thebe Magugu during the Thebe Magugu Show on Day One of South Africa Fashion Week 2019 Luxury Collection at Sandton City

Closer To Home

On home soil, Self-Care has recently popped up in Rosebank Mall, and features homegrown brands like Gugu Intimates, Corium Skincare, Nilotiqa and more, while Thula Sindi opened up a joint retail initiative called Africa Rise Store at Sandton City a few weeks ago.

From Klerksdorp, Thula, who is the official curator, is working with other design creative houses like ERRE, Maria McCloy, Loincloth and Ashes, Hamethop, and Taibo Bacar amongst others in the gallery-like space.  

It’s never been easier to shop the continent for your festive gift ideas, which you can still find if you’re travelling overseas. 

Words by Zanele Kumalo 

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