Feb 3, 2022
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V&A to open landmark Africa Fashion exhibition this summer

Feb 3, 2022

London’s Victoria & Albert museum (V&A) is to launch the latest in a series of landmark fashion exhibitions in July and this time it’s focusing on Africa Fashion.

The V&A - Photo: Pixabay/Public domain

It has revealed more details about the previously-announced event and said 45 designers from over 20 countries will feature in the show that runs from 22 July this year until 16 April 2023.

It will be the UK’s most extensive exhibition of African fashion to date, “celebrating the vitality and innovation of this vibrant scene, as dynamic and varied as the continent itself”.

Over 250 objects will be on display, around half of them drawn from the museum’s collection, including 70 new acquisitions. Many of the garments on show are from the personal archives of a selection of mid-20th century African designers – Shade Thomas-Fahm, Chris Seydou, Kofi Ansah and Alphadi, marking the first time their work will be shown in a London museum. 

Influential contemporary African fashion creatives will also have a place, including Imane Ayissi, Iaimisigo, Moshions, Thebe Magugu and Sindiso Khumalo. 

The V&A said Africa Fashion “will showcase these objects and the stories behind them alongside personal insights from the designers, together with sketches, editorial spreads, photographs, film and catwalk footage”.

Dr Christine Checinska, Senior Curator African and African Diaspora: Textiles and Fashion, said: Our guiding principle is the foregrounding of individual African voices and perspectives. The exhibition will present African fashion as a self-defining art form that reveals the richness and diversity of African histories and cultures. To showcase all fashions across such a vast region would be to attempt the impossible. Instead, Africa Fashion will celebrate the vitality and innovation of a selection of fashion creatives, exploring the work of the vanguard in the 20th century and the creatives at the heart of this eclectic and cosmopolitan scene today. We hope this exhibition will spark a renegotiation of the geography of fashion and become a game-changer for the field.”

Omoyemi Akerele, Founder and Director, Lagos Fashion Week and Style House Files, added: “African fashion is something that has existed forever, something that has been a part of us. African fashion is the future. African fashion is now. It’s not just designers, there’s a whole ecosystem of models, make-up artists, photographers, illustrators. This exhibition is important because for the very first time fashion from the continent will be viewed from a diverse perspective which spans centuries.”

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