Victoria and Albert Museum to display its first-ever 'Africa Fashion' exhibition - see pics

Updated: Jun 29, 2022, 07:56 AM(IST)

The African fashion exhibition will feature designers who have previously worked with Beyoncé and architect David Adjaye. 

Historic Africa Fashion in London

For the first time, the Victoria and Albert Museum in London will open African fashion exhibition this week. The exhibition will feature designers who have previously worked with Beyoncé and architect David Adjaye. 

Notably, the "Africa Fashion", at the Victoria and Albert (V&A) Museum is also the country's first exhibition dedicated to the medium. 


Fashion of the continent

The exibition will showcase designs, photographs and films from 25 of the 54 countries as the Africa Fashion aims to look across the fashion of the continent. 

The exibition will showcase items (objects, photos and films) starting from the African liberation years in the 1950s to 1980s to up-and-coming contemporary designers. 


Glimpse into the glamour

Elisabeth Murray, who is the project curator, told news agency AFP that the show will provide a "glimpse into the glamour and politics of the fashion scene". 

"We wanted to celebrate the amazing African fashion scene today. So the creativity of all the designers, stylists, photographers, and looking at the inspiration behind that," she added. 


New equitable ways of working together

The V&A was founded in 1852, as Britain under queen Victoria expanded its global empire, including, in the decades that followed, in Africa.

But Senior curator Christine Checinska said African creativity had "largely been excluded or misrepresented in the museum, owing to the historic division between art and ethnographic museums arising from our colonial roots and embedded racist assumptions".

"The conversations and collaborations that have shaped the making of the Africa Fashion exhibition are a testbed for new equitable ways of working together that allow us to imagine and call into being the V&A of the future," she added.

Displaying a diverse range of African designs, textiles and influences, the ambitious exhibition is a way to address that imbalance, she said. 


African Cultural Renaissance

The scene is set with a section on "African Cultural Renaissance", highlighting protest posters and literature from independence movements that developed in conjunction with fashion. 

"The Vanguard" is the central attraction, displaying iconic works by well-known African designers including Niger's Alphadi, Nigeria's Shade Thomas-Fahm and Kofi Ansah of Ghana. 

A variety of African textiles and styles such as beadwork and raffia are employed in innovative designs with cross-cultural influences. 
Thomas-Fahm's designs, for example, reinvented traditional African-wear for the "cosmopolitan, working woman". 


"Afrotopia", "Cutting-Edge" and "Mixology" at display

Other displays - with names such as "Afrotopia", "Cutting-Edge" and "Mixology" - explore fashion alongside issues such as sustainability, gender, race and sexual identity. 

One highlight is the centre-piece made by Moroccan designer Artsi especially for the exhibition. 


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