African Fashion is not an industry which is only related to Africans but also for people all around the world. Even when we dig up the history we can find many related proofs regarding the aforementioned clue that all around the world, African fashion has been used for different situations and for different styles in different countries.
Sometimes Africa has become the continent of resources, mainly for the fashion industry. Its cultural inheritance is exposed across the globe such as the examples of the Congolese and the Bambara masks now present around the world. The Coptic crosses of Ethiopia, the masks of the Egyptian pharaohs, the necklaces of Tuaregs or adornments of the Ashantis epitomized the talent of its craftsmen (Martin-Leke and Ellis, 2014: 177).
African inspiration grew stronger in the twenty-first century.
On March 2008, Victoria Rovine’s article titled: “Couturiers: L’Afrique est une muse.” (Literally translate it to “Couturier: Africa is a muse”) gives an oversight of the influence of Africa on the European fashion designers from the twentieth century onward. French Paul Poiret (1879-1944), well known for the exoticism of his creation (Africanism), and manufacturer Rodier represent this first generation of French dressmakers inspired by African patterns, colors or textiles. Designers such as Yves Saint Laurent and Christian Dior presented in 1967 collections with “art nègre” inspiration. Other examples are Todd Oldham who got his inspiration from the Ndebele during the nineties (Missoni, 1990); or Issey Miyake with his West African bogolan patterns. The first collection of the British stylist John Galliano for his haute couture collection for Christian Dior in 1997 included Masai-inspired clothing designs and accessories (Mbow, 1998: 135).
So the African richness and beautiful crafts are still inspiring international artists elsewhere.
In the modern day, ‘Made in Africa’ is one of the richest brands and this tag fashion is very popular throughout the outer world of Africa. I will make reference to African fashion or “Made in Africa” as an englobed model but I will not forget that there is a more versatility range of styles in Africa (for instance, Made in Tanzania or Nigerian Fashion).
The development of African luxury brands began in the late twentieth century with designers such as Chris Seydou (1949-1994 -Mali) (Mbow, 1998) but it is recently that it makes itself more noticeable.
The African consumption of luxury goods has brought a lot of attention too and articles and reports about it keep flourishing, such as “Luxury goods in Africa” report in 2015 by KPMG, “Africa luxury goods market: full of untapped promise” in 2015 Deborah Aitken, Maja Rakic, and Sonia Baldeira and “Luxury brands are wrong to ignore Africa” in 2014 by Johanna Collins-Wood etc.
When we go through the African fashion industry and its vast inspiring development around the world, the development of luxury African brands is an explorative one. It links African consumption and African luxury fashion. Indeed, Africa and luxury seem to have a strange connection which is even more striking when it comes to production.
Time is needed to build an awareness among consumers. Therefore, African community needs to be patient and supportive. Furthermore, since awareness is essential for being a successful industry, African luxury brands are penalized in comparison with other regions of the world. Firstly, because we still ignore its existence and its fashion contributions. But even without an awareness or advertising process, African fashion is everlasting and trendy and will reach a stage of ever popular and unbreakable industry very soon with its luxurious comforts.