Beautiful Books: “Stunning Fashion from Africa” ​​| NDR.de – Culture

Status: 09.10.2022 at 06.00

The updated and well-researched photo book “Stunning Fashion from Africa” ​​guarantees a visual adventure through the continent’s young, vibrant and exuberant creative scene.

by Silke Lahmann-Lammert

“Writing about African fashion in the 54 countries of the continent is an impossible task”: With this claim, Emmanuelle Courrèges opens her book on African fashion. Of course, the French author is right: her photo book shows only part of the overwhelming diversity that fashion designers produce in Morocco, Mali, Kenya and all the other countries between the Mediterranean and the Cape of Good Hope. Nevertheless, the book delivers what the title promises: “Stunning fashion from Africa”.

More spectacular outfits by African designers

Fashion from Africa? Some may remember the late 1990s: Back then, the models at the big fashion shows walked down the catwalk in dresses that looked as if the fabrics came straight from the bazaar in Marrakech or Ouagadougou. Designed by couturiers such as Yves St. Laurent or Paco Rabanne. One searched in vain for African names among designers of the so-called “ethno style”.

In order to gain recognition, they seem to have to demonstrate their Africanness in a visible way, being excluded from the fashion world if that evidence is perceived as “too ethnic” by the West.
Emmanuelle Courreges

This is how Emmanuelle Courrèges describes the atmosphere in Western fashion capitals 25 years ago. But the times are long gone when creative people in Bamako, Lagos or Johannesburg let themselves be put in their place in Europe. In his book, the author presents African fashion designers who confidently draw on the continent’s cultural sources.

Completely carefree, they mix traditionally woven, dyed and printed fabrics with modern recycled materials. They combine African garments such as “Boubou” or “Batakari” with bomber jackets and hoodies. Some outfits are so flashy and futuristic that those who dare to wear them are guaranteed to make a spectacular entrance.

Clothes that tell stories

The tunic dress from the “Modern Hunters” collection by Nigerian-Ghanaian fashion designer Bubu Ogisi is completely different. The robe made of openwork silk panels shines in a red that is second to none. Cap sleeves, a V-neck and a delicate line of cowrie shells below the waist complete the understated elegance.

But the dress doesn’t just look gorgeous, it also tells a story: the fashion designer was inspired by the Ashanti queen Yaa Asantewaa when she designed the dress. She is said to have worn such clothes when she led the last major uprising against British colonial rule in 1900. In the book, Ogisi explains:

My collection, which is inspired by the clothes traditionally worn by men (…) can be understood as a sign that rules can be broken and that women do not lose power if they don’t dress in an apparently feminine or sexy way.
Bubu Ogisi

A dress as a sign of self-determination, strength and creativity: Emmanuelle Courrèges shows in her photo book how closely fashion and African self-empowerment are connected. Therefore, she only uses fashion images by African photographers to illustrate her book. She also dedicates a separate chapter to them.

“Fantastic Fashion from Africa”: A Visual Adventure Journey

In the past, Africans were not photographed by Africans, but by others. Now we have the power to change that.
Trevor Stuurman

This is emphasized by the South African star photographer Trevor Stuurman. Emmanuelle Corrèges also presents influential artists and fashion bloggers.

The up-to-date and well-researched photo book guarantees a visual adventure through the continent’s young, lively and exuberant creative scene. A book that delivers what the title promises: breathtaking fashion from Africa!

Amazing fashion from Africa

by Emmanuelle Courreges

Page number:
240 pages
Genre:
picture book
More info:
Translated by Kai Kilian
Publisher:
barley hill
Order number:
978-3-8369-2191-6
Price:
€45

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NDR Culture | 09.10.2022 | 16:20

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