Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Must-Read: "New Africa Fashion"

Helen Jennings, editor at award-winning fashion magazine ARISE, has written a book entitled "New Africa Fashion" which takes readers on a journey through the history of African fashion, beauty and style; exploring the impact and influence on modern day designers, such as Burberry Prorsum, Louis Vuitton and Calvin Klein. Of course, it was Yves Saint Laurent in 1967 who first introduced African-inspired trends into the mainstream with his 'African' dresses collection, which featured mini dresses embellished in wooden beading, shells and raffia; not to mention the now iconic 'safari jacket' first seen in 1966. His designs were also imitated by Paco Rabanne, and today the trend for tribal, colonial and exotic style and prints has continued in collections by Sass & Bide, Kenzo, Ralph Lauren and even early designs by Thierry Mugler, before Formichetti re-worked and re-launched the brand with the help of latex and Lady Gaga.

Images © Sass & Bide AW11

Images © Burberry SS12
Through a series of stunning visuals, the book also tracks the emergence of young designers from the continent itself. It's often easy to champion brands such as Burberry for seducing us into the African fashion savannah, but it's important to pay credit to the African fashion industry itself, and the individuals within it, trying to bring their own vision of seasonal trends to a wider international audience. Featuring designers such as Duro Olowu, Jewel by Lisa and Black Coffee, the book also approaches the continuing trend for environmentally conscious clothing in the African fashion field. Eco-warrior Vivienne Westwood recently designed a range of handbags for the Ethical Fashion Programme based in Africa, creating three handmade bags from materials such as recycled advertising banners and safari tents in Nairobi. 
Image © Getty Images
If like me you're passionate about getting to the heart of fashion, looking at its rich history and the people, cultures, art and music which helped shape its iconic eras, and influence future fashions - then this book is for you. Available to buy now, it's priced at £19.99.


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