My thoughts today are on the distinction of African fashion. There are very few women and I mean few, who value the distinction of African fashion. It’s not Africans because we know the value of our clothes. It’s mostly the West, or a certain crop of elite people who feel that it’s their right to tell every what they feel is distinct or not so distinct about style. To them our clothes, African Fashion is ethnic, often exotic, and in many cases without the label of authenticity that they use to crown the collection of designers in other parts of the world be it Paris, Milan or New York. My intent is not to engage in meaningless arguments on what is style or not, but to share with them why I think African Fashion is as distinct and vibrant as those designs you will find in Paris, Milan or New York (see examples below and shop here for it).
For starters anyone who buys any piece identified as African Fashion values distinction. That woman or man values elegance, refinement, individuality, is part of a connected whole (as in the case of aso-ebi’s more on that later), and dances to the tune of his/her music as see in the pictures above. In other words, that woman or man is not concerned with following the whims of fast fashion or new fashion as seen on the runways. She (and I will focus on the woman) loves to stand out, is vibrant, fashionably free and bold like in the designs above by Midgette Giraffe and only African Fashion would allow her to do so. She is not obsessed with what Vogue or Fashion Weeks describe as new trends in Fashion. She observes them, appreciates the work behind the clothes and focuses on ways to interpret them to suit her sense of style.
She doesn’t steal their ideas, no, on the contrary, she refines them and make key pieces that accentuates every good point of her figure. If the woman happens to be a lady of class, other people will copy her style, but in their own way, for they too are eager to express their own individuality in the clothes they wear. This is what makes African Fashion Distinct. I could go on and on, but the simple truth is that African Fashion is for the woman who values distinction. The woman has more courage than others who choose to follow what society dictates as style and it begins from the crown on her head to the sole of her feet. The next time you see African Fashion on display, take a look at that woman again to see why I am screaming out loud that African Fashion is Distinct.