Why the V&A New Africa Fashion Exhibition is so important – and it’s too late.

fashion


Fashion is an inspiration to tell deep, rich, and expanded stories from the African continent. We hope that visitors will be stimulated and that expectations will be clarified.

Christine Chesinska, guard

An exhibition of fashion and design from around the world recently opened the doors of the V&A London, which has spent years on the African continent. In fact, for almost 200 years. For the first time in its 170-year history, V&A is hosting an African-only exhibition.

Fashion has long been seen and taught In Europe, Japanese designers occasionally appear as non-Western commentators. Student-oriented fashion education is based on an unchanging design cycle since the 1980s, focusing on famous designers in New York, London, Paris and Milan.

Fashion globalization now has to look beyond the Euro-centric perspective and draw respectfully from a wide range of innovations and attract a wider market. Now is the time to break the stereotypical elitist view of Africa and fashion. And this is a great place to start a new exhibition from V&A, Africa Fashion.

Black and white image of a model in sunglasses pretending to be on a cartoon plane.
Burkina Faso photographer Sanle Sori was famous for his African style.
Sanle Sorry Threatened / David Hill Gallery, Author provided (will not be reused)

Decorating fashion

Does the lack of recognition of African fashion indicate that the colonial years and many African cultures and artifacts have been rejected as “simple” and unsuitable for storage or exhibition? Even to capture the past, there is a hierarchical process that pushes some cultures to the bottom of the historical league table.

The “simpleness” or lack of it on the part of the African colonists led to the expulsion of the African continent, which had been inaccessible or inadequate for decades. This mentality was another kind of “other” that grew from “sold” images and language to slavery. Colonialists undermine the humanity of the African continent by portraying uneducated Africans as different from European peoples and cultures.

European designers have always borrowed – sometimes looted and plundered – African cultures in their designs and catwalk shows. Western designers applauded African heritage and culture, but the producers said goodbye and left no room.

A brightly colored Kentu cloth made from Ghana.
Traditional Kentu cloth from Ghana.
Prunes / Alam

The use of African textiles, colors, styles, and styles in the West often shows disrespect and lack of understanding. Finally, the exhibition created an opportunity to celebrate African fashion, recognizing and promoting an amazing source of inspiration, creativity and culture, said Cameroonian designer Iman Asiisi last time.

During the Haute Couture Week, under the Golden Crown of the Paris Building, the most beautiful way for me to know is that African knowhow is as sophisticated and valuable as handicrafts made by craftsmen from Cameroon, Ghana or Nigeria. In the rest of the world.

Erosion

The V&A exhibition has been running for two years, with exhibitions in anthropology and ecology departments often showcasing the unmistakable fashion history of museums and galleries in the UK.

The introduction to African fashion is hospitable and beautifully presented, which suggests from the beginning that this is a revered place to tell a rich creative story, but in no way the whole story. The exhibition was organized by Christine Chechinska, V&A’s Head of Africa and Diaspora, and focused on various topics such as African politics and cultural renaissance and how it affects designers.

An important theme is the continent of Africa, not the country, but the diversity of cultures and nations. The exhibition features 45 designers from more than 20 countries and will serve as an information base for fashion lovers, educators and industry contributors.

An African cloth that says, 'I will bring freedom with my own hands.'
Since 1960, “I bring freedom in my hands” dress fabric.
Received by Miss Mary Kirby / V&A, Author provided (will not be reused)

From the beginning, the show will involve the African Diaspora. As an African heritage woman, it is amazing to see family photo albums related to myself. These images capture handicrafts, style, and pride, and there is ample evidence that fashion was a part of many African lives today.

Various short films show how African fashion, combined with modern touches, captures cultural elements and explores creativity and inspiration while providing conversation opportunities.

Cultural costumes and fashion present the countless cultures and heritage of the continent. The first, divided into two parts, looks at the development of post-colonial fashion as an introduction.

When Ghanaian Prime Minister Kwame Nkrumah announced his country’s liberation from British colonial rule in 1957, we saw Madiba’s shirt, which he wore in traditional Kentu, and shaking the signature of Nelson Mandela. There are also stunning images from the famous photographers of the 1960s and 1970s, Sanle Sori and Seydu Keita Studios.

The modern section of the exhibition offers fashion from a variety of well-known designers across the continent. New Age designers include brands such as Nigerian Orange Culture and Sustainable Textile Designer Cindiso Kumalo, both of which focus on political issues such as femininity and LGBTKI + rights.

The African Fashion Exhibition is the beginning of a discussion on the most neglected innovations in the West. The vivid displays dispel misconceptions and enrich viewers by enriching African fashion knowledge. I beg you to go and see for yourself.



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