Fashion Cities Africa is the first major UK exhibition dedicated to contemporary African fashion. In this exhibition, the Brighton Museum explores the global influence and diversity of African fashion, from couture to street style. It features four cities at the compass point of the African continent- Casablanca in Morocco, Lagos in Nigeria, Nairobi in Kenya, and Johannesburg in South Africa.
Developed with African fashion specialists Hannah Azieb Pool and Helen Jennings, this exhibition features some of the most exciting names and labels in contemporary African fashion. It provides a snapshot of fashion practices in these cities and an introduction to some of the stories behind the style, from the use of social media to create new platforms for fashion to the impact of the huge market for imported second-hand clothes.
The exhibition includes a wide range of apparel alongside images, films and sound evoking the drama, creativity and dynamism of these unique African cities.
I heard about the exhibition through a friend living in Brighton, and during my last trip, I decided to feed my curiosity and go view the exhibition. Brighton is truly a dynamic city just an hour away by train from London. I lived there during my undergraduate studies and I’m still very fond of it and take up any opportunity to go back for a visit.
I enjoyed the exhibition and really like that it included audio and visuals from several of the fashion designers and artists that curated the exhibition. It was also great that it had an interactive section where bloggers 2manysiblings had selected thrift garments to be tried on, accompanied with an ankara laden backdrop for the perfect selfie. You bet I did try on some of the coats and sweaters 🙂
Also an installation by furniture designer Yinka Ilori was carefully situated in the space, drawing viewers to sit for a while. Interestingly, I and my friend found ourselves on the chairs talking about travel, gender performance, and other social issues for about 15 minutes before we realised it! And then later wondered if it had been placed there for exactly that- a space for honest conversations while being surrounded by art from the continent.
The exhibition opened on the 30th April 2016 and runs until the 8th of January 2017. If you find yourself in Brighton during this time, I recommend a visit 🙂