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African Influence in Fashion

Briana McCarthy | 1/8/2014, 2:59 p.m.
Korto Momolu

Fashion is a 400 billion dollar industry in the US. Well-dressed celebrities like June Ambrose, Solange Knowles, and Tracee Ellis-Ross help to fuel the fashion obsession that helps to keep the sell of clothing and accessories on the rise. To many, European influence is what seems to be the cornerstone of the fashion industry. Because of this notion many people fail to see the African influence on many of the fashion trends we love and wear every day. Let’s be honest, anytime the word “African” is mentioned in a conversation about fashion, thoughts generally go to clothing or accessories made with “tribal” or “ethnic” fabric. Contrary to popular belief, African influence goes far beyond kente cloth and shells. While tribal-themed apparel is all the rage, that is not Africa’s only influence on fashion. Beyond the fabric, the African influence brings us vibrant, well-constructed designs that keep fashion lovers wanting more.

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Briana McCarthy

Korto Momolu designs

Today, designers from across the globe have made their marks in fashion, bringing with them the beauty of African culture. Let’s take a look at some designers that are helping to bring African culture and style to the forefront of the fashion industry.

Korto Momolu

Korto is a Liberian-born designer whose talent landed her a spot on season five of ‘Project Runway’. Her designs are clean yet bold. The African influence in her designs shine through her garments in her vibrant color choices, rich fabrics, and the movement of each garment.

As if designing fabulous garments wasn’t enough, Korto has also branched off into designing eco-friendly fine jewelry and launched her own line “Green Love” at New York fashion week in 2011.

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Briana McCarthy

Samilia Colar

Samilia Colar

Samila is a Nigerian designer based in Memphis, Tennesee. She intertwines her rich Nigerian culture into her famous handbags and accessories. Known for her use of color and handcrafted designs, Colar has set out on a mission to provide pieces that are attractively unique, smart, and beautiful—and from the looks of it, she’s done just that.

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Briana McCarthy

Fenix Couture by Josephyn Akioyamen

Josephyn Akioyamen

Josephyn Akioyamen is a Nigerian-Canadian designer that certainly hasn’t forgotten her roots. Through her line Fenix Couture she embeds African influence into her designs using both color and texture. Her garments are described as “ easy to wear, versatile, feminine, luxurious and subtly sexy." Akioyamen’s ready-to-wear line was born in 2009 and has been making waves in the fashion world ever since.

As you can see, African influence in fashion is alive and well. And it will continue to thrive through designers like these and a host of others that are making their mark on the industry.