A rich history and a rapidly evolving industry—View photographs from Africa in Fashion: Luxury, Craft and Textile Heritage by Ken Kweku Nimo

The JRB presents an excerpt from Ken Kweku Nimo’s new book Africa in Fashion: Luxury, Craft and Textile Heritage.

Africa in Fashion: Luxury, Craft and Textile Heritage
Ken Kweku Nimo
Laurence King Publishing, 2022

Africa in Fashion explores the kaleidoscope of craft cultures that have shaped African fashion for centuries and captures the stories of contemporary and avant-garde African brands. 

Ken Kweku Nimo is a Ghanaian researcher, brand strategist and designer based in South Africa. He holds a BA Hons in Fashion Merchandising and an MA in Design from the University of Johannesburg. His work underscores the potential of Africa’s luxury industry and cultural renaissance. He has contributed articles to the Journal of Design, Business and Society, and the Journal of Fashion Marketing and Management. He is a regular speaker at the In Pursuit of Luxury Conference (IPOL).

The book is a much-needed tale of Africa and its contribution to fashion; both historically and contemporary. The piece’s structure is inspirational for final year students writing their dissertations and creating their research projects as well as inspirational to those students beginning their career. As the university moves into a more inclusive and diverse perspective of higher education books such as this supply a positive and authentic voice from those who have lived and been part of the cultures they speak of. Africa in Fashion: The book is a modern and up-to-date view and voice of the countries of Africa and a positive and true expression of the African influence on the fashion industry. Detailed but not intimidating, thorough but not overpowered with words. Perfectly visual and informative to new and experienced students. It supplies them with basic and intermediate knowledge that can lead to bigger and more detailed work and artistic expression that is rooted in knowledge. Allowing areas of cultural appreciation to occur as well as necessary heritage stories to be told.
—Benjamin Minchell, University of the Creative Arts

Paw Pot two-tone design by AAKS. This popular mini bag is crafted from woven raffia in the brand’s signature shape. It is accented with tasseled leather trim and has a linen pouch.
The Dhamani Maureen neckpiece by Adele Dejak. This neckpiece consists of eight brass wires shaped into loops that are polished to a glow. The flow and rhythm of this statement piece is a testament to the dexterity indigenous Senegalese metalsmiths.
Shade Thomas-Fahm visiting weavers and working at the loom. 1960s.
Jacquard floral bomber with lilac tinsel dress from the Art History SS19 collection by Thebe Magugu.
A variety of handwoven cut-and-pile Shoowa/Kuba cloth.
Tiered peplum dress composed of cotton and dyed raffia yarns from the Madzang collection AW21-22 by Imane Ayissi. ‘Madzang’ in the Ewondo language of central Cameroon refers to a family member with whom there is complicity. The collection explores our relationship to people of distinct tribes, cultures, religions and race, with whom we share common experiences.
Woven Moroccan textile gown with puffed and ruffled satin sleeves, accessorized with embroidered pontifical cap and crown by Maison ARTC. Here, Artsi Ifrach tinkers with the idea of politics and religion.
Nuba T from the Unfashion collection by Mimi Plange. Leather trim nylon mesh T-shirt dress with neon spikes and metal rings, worn over a backless turtleneck, neon maxi dress. Unfashion is a movement, based on identity, distinction and individuality. Its story of freedom is expressed through diverse creative and design aesthetics, such as the body adornment and body painting.
Mourners wearing stamped Adinkra cloth during a funeral event.
Marianne Fassler SS14 creation shown during the Mercedes-Benz Cape Town Fashion Week South Africa in Cape Town, July 2014.

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