These fashion movers and shakers will inspire wardrobe envy

Story highlights

Fashion landscape in Africa heavily influenced by social media

Younger demographic are influencing style

CNN  — 

Their clothes are bold, inspired by Africa’s traditional colors and textures, and they are making an impact far beyond their home continent.

A new generation of young African fashion bloggers and designers are interpreting heritage garments in a contemporary context, using the power of social media to spread their aesthetic.

“Fashion from Africa is as diverse as fashion from any other continent and can not be pigeonholed any longer,” says Helen Jennings, editorial director of, a website celebrating contemporary African fashion and culture, and author of the book New African Fashion.

“The industry is growing fast and although it still faces some very real challenges in terms of infrastructure and funding, it’s beginning to reach a wide audience of fashion conscious consumers thanks to e-commerce, social media and the fact that the international fashion industry is always on the hunt for something new” she adds.

From quirky surf wear to classic tailoring with a twists, here are Africa’s emerging fashion stars:


Penned by Nigerian-born Temi Otedola, JTO is a slick fashion blog that documents Otedola’s passion for fashion, art and photography. It also features her travels across style capitals like Milan and Paris and has a luxury and beauty section.

Featured in Vogue, Tatler and the London Evening Standard, the 19-year-old blogger is a regular at catwalk front rows.

“I think I’m really lucky because my blog came up at a time when Nigeria and Africa were a really hot subject in terms of fashion,” she says.

“I think this is really because people are seeing Africa and Nigeria as a market that can be tapped into,” Otedola adds.

The Fashion Engineer

With a playful reference to her profession as an engineer at a Nigerian renewable energy company, Sayedero Enytan’s blog,, is a one stop shop for savvy style and beauty tips.

Since its 2012 launch, the platform has started featuring other writers who cover menswear, celebrities and events. Enytan’s blog also has a comprehensive directory of Nigerian online shops and international brands who ship to the country.


This popular South African brand interprets traditional African culture and art for the modern customer, with colorful fabrics shaped into sharp, contemporary tailoring. Woodin has stores in eight countries on the continent, but the label wants its boutiques to be more than just shopping destinations.

It aspires for them to become social hubs for Africa’s so-called “Cheetah generation” – young, dynamic, smart cosmopolitans.


South African blogger Thithi Nteta has been featured in Elle and Glamour magazines in her home country, and her blog TEETEEISWITHME is a showcase of her sharp fashion aesthetic. She takes pride in supporting local brands, and produces videos and picture guides on how to pull-off tricky sartorial trends, like culottes.


With its mix of timeless, ladylike cuts and bold colors, designer Ibee Egbuson’s label Tangerine offers a ladylike aesthetic with an exotic twist. The brand is based in the Nigerian capital, Abuja, and offers both ready-to-wear and couture pieces which boldly mix prints in candy hues.

KISUA design

KISUA means a “well dressed person” in Swahili. An e-commerce platform that sells its own creations and collaborates with African designers to create garments, KISUA’s most famous client to date has been Beyonce.

The brand was founded by former economist Samuel Mensah, who noticed that whenever he would travel across Africa friends and family would ask him to bring them African-inspired garments.

“Before long, people were trying to place orders with me, offering money with a request that I purchase clothing for them during my next visit to a particular African city,” he says.

KISUA says it aims to provide a platform for African craftsmen and designers to access the international market.


This Gambian fashion boutique mixes contemporary tailoring with West Africa inspired details.

“I had one single goal. Open a boutique and fill it with good, stylish clothing that I had designed myself,” says Ndeyfatou Ceesayco, creative designer and co-founder of the label. The label has aspirations to go global with the next step being to create an online store that will open in August 2016.

Bantu Wax

With its designs gracing the pages of Vogue magazine, Bantu Wax is one of Africa’s most recognizable brands.

The label creates surf wear in a kaleidoscope of youthful prints, redefining the beach-blonde aesthetic usually associated with surf culture. The brand says it uses traditional techniques and works with local artisans to make “quality products that are functional and authentic for surfers, urban nomads and afro-punks.”


With its bold woven bags handcrafted by women in Ghana, the AAKS produces authentic local design which has been stocked by Urban Outfitters and Anthropologie. Founded by Ghanaian native Akosua Afriyie-Kumi, the brand has been shortlisted as an emerging designer from Africa by Vogue Italia, featured by Elle Decoration South Africa and Elle Spain.

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