Saturday, July 2, 2011

Trendcentral: Africa in Style

This is one of the latest newsletters from It´s all about Africa now...


Authentic tribal design is being exported to a global audience

It’s no secret that Morocco has become the vacation destination of 2011, yet global interest in Africa extends well beyond its northernmost country. On the heels of the African music trend is a design movement that’s sourcing style from across the world’s second largest continent.

Afia: On a trip to Ghana, designer Meghan Sebold became so enraptured with the handmade textiles of West Africa that she decided to start a sustainable fashion label using them. The result is Afia, an “urban indigenous” women’s apparel line that pairs the aforementioned fabrics with modern, trend-forward silhouettes (high-waisted shorts, rompers, fanny packs). The patterns are made in Chicago, New York and West Africa, and the textiles are sourced and hand sewn by the Dzidefo Women’s Co-op in Ghana. The company is a proud proponent of fair wage labor, handcrafted goods and international collaboration, giving shoppers incentive to opt for authenticity over inferior imitations.

Herbert Schier: The Herbert Schier shoe company has been making this year’s chicest boot since 1938. Yet only recently have Schier shoes entered the States, where they are gaining cred from tastemaking publications. Most know the shoe style as the desert boot, but to the Damara people of Swakopmund, Namibia, it’s known as a “vellie.” Vellies are commonly worn by Namibians, as they are sturdy enough to withstand daily wear and tear amid the rough African terrain. Each pair is made by hand from Kudu leather, which shows imperfections (since the animal is wild), ideal for conquering the sidewalks of a modern day urban safari.

Indigi Designs: Natalie du Toit, former Creative Director of Fundi Light & Living, founded housewares line Indigi Designs earlier this year as a way to translate the traditional colors and patterns from her native South Africa into a contemporary line for international homes. She says it’s easy to find inspiration in Cape Town, as the beauty and energy of its indigenous cultures is evident everywhere. Consequently, the collection is a sophisticated interpretation of that vibrancy. An equally compelling selling point is the craftsmanship with which it is assembled – from shweshwe textiles to wire baskets, each item is handmade in South Africa with remarkable attention to detail and respect for natural materials.

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