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The V&A to celebrate African fashion

What is African fashion? Is it the work of modern designers such as LVMH award-winning Thebe Magugu of South Africa, or the traditional kente fabric of Ghana, or perhaps something in between? It’s a huge question that the V&A will valiantly attempt to answer in its just-announced fashion exhibition set to open in June 2022.

“Celebrating the irresistible creativity, ingenuity and unstoppable global impact of contemporary African fashions,” the exhibition will begin with the period of the mid-twentieth century, when many countries were gaining hard-won independence and liberation. It will also take a closer look at the new generation of fashion talent working in Africa today, including designers, stylists, photographers and collectives.

Leading a public call for personal stories, archival pieces and ephemera, Dr Christine Checinska, Curator of African Fashion and the African Diaspora, said: ‘impossible. Instead, Africa Fashion will celebrate the vitality and innovation of a selection of fashion designers, exploring the work of the avant-garde in the 20th century and the creatives at the heart of this eclectic and cosmopolitan scene today. We hope this exhibition will trigger a renegotiation of the geography of fashion and be a game-changer for the field.

Pictures: Kofi Ansah ‘Indigo’ Couture 1997 – Narh & Linda. Photo © 1997 Eric Don-Arthur; Shades Boutique 1971 flyer courtesy of Shade Thomas-Fahm

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