This week the annual Durban Fashion Fair comes to my city – Durban, South Africa and the Durban Convention Centre will be transformed into a fashion extravaganza with its 2018 theme “AfroFuturism”
What is AfroFuturism
AfroFuturism is a buzzword that has been around for a while, but was given a big boost with the film “Black Panther. ” It is a movement across various genres including literature, art, music, fashion and interiors, that features futuristic African themes which celebrate the uniqueness of black history, traditions and culture.
Despite being a look into the future, this Durban Fashion Fair has got me a bit nostalgic. In 2009 I launched the African Inspiration Colour Forecast for Plascon Paints – themed Afri-Colour.
The brochure begins with the following words: Africa enchants. With it’s warmth, its wilderness, its wisdom, its soul, its colours. Africa is humbling, real and raw. It is both the place of origin and the future – a melting pot of passion, creativity and inspiration.
These words are as real today as they were then. I remember fashion designer Craig Jacobs of Fundudzi was inspired by this and collaborated with us on his 2010 collection at SA Fashion week.
It is fantastic to see how the world has embraced the creativity and talent of African designers, knowing we have only scratched the surface. Inspired by Durban Fashion Fair here are a few of the African Designers I have come across making waves with their AfroFuturistic designs.
AfroFuturism in Fashion and Interiors
Atang Tshikare began Zabalazaa designs in 2010. I first saw his work at 100% Design in Cape Town where he showcased one of the most beautiful chairs I had ever seen.
Atang is a multidisciplinary artist who works with various mediums to create his unique designs inspired by African patterns. Here is his latest chair design made from cut glass and solid bronze.
Maxhosa by Laduma
I fell in love with art and knitwear when I knitted my first Kaffe Fassett jersey in my twenties. Then along came Laduma Ngxokolo.
Recognised as one of Africa’s finest knitwear designers and innovator of the Xhosa inspired knitwear brand Maxhosa by Laduma. His successful range of knitwear has been shown on catwalks around the world. While his fashion is incredible, I am excited to see he has started a rug collection.
Have a look at this wonderful documentary on Laduma and the inspiration behind his brand:-
I met furniture designer Mpho Vackier at the Joburg Design Festival. She was showcasing her African Crowns Collection. A range of furniture dominated by organic lines, textures and shapes inspired by historical African hairstyles. The colour palette is in multiple shades of natural clay terracottas and ochres inspired by the gorgeous red locks of the Himba women in northern Namibia and the Hamar women in Ethiopia.
No post on futuristic designs based on African culture and traditions would be complete without mentioning the legendary Esther Mahlangu, an inspirational Ndebele artist, who at 82 is still inspiring us with her incredible designs.
In April this year, at the age of 82, she received an honorary doctorate for her incredible work as an artist. I am so grateful that I got to meet her, one of the most inspirational people I have ever met.
Durban Fashion Fair
Durban Fashion Fair runs from September 19-22 at the Durban ICC. 40 Designers including local fashion talents as well as invited designers from the African continent will be showcasing their AfroFuturistic collections. Tickets can be purchased at webtickets.co.za and cost R100 per person.
The beauty of the Afrofuturism designs in fashion and interiors is the wonderful preservation of culture and the interesting and inspiring stories behind the designs.
There is no doubt this is one trend that is not going anywhere and I can’t wait to see what is yet to come. I am off to London this week for the London Design Festival and I hope to see more African Inspired designs.
If you are there and see any please let me know.
Hope you have an inspirational week.