Highlighting African Fashion’s Rising Prominence in 2023
African fashion took center stage in 2023 during South African Fashion Week, one of the continent’s premier runway events. For its 26th edition held at Mall of Africa in Johannesburg, a focus on sustainability was at the forefront. The spring/summer 2023 collections reminded attendees of SAFW’s role in propelling African talents to wider success.
The platform’s design competition for emerging creatives saw newcomers like Sifiso Kunene, Mmathoo Silika and Kuhle Phumzile Zondo debut collections. Cyla Gonsolves emerged as the winner, wowing with her whimsical looks. Past winner Thando Ntuli returned along with other established names like Sipho Mbuto, Ntando Ngwenya, Gugu Peteni and Fikile Sokhulu.
In another milestone, the Council for International African Fashion Education (CIAFE) launched an online course on the history of African and diaspora fashion. The 10-week module aims to tell these stories in a decolonized way, celebrating fashion’s diverse footprint across Africa.
Additionally, CIAFE partnered with Google Arts and Culture to create a digital museum archiving African fashion. This marks an important step in preserving African fashion history and making it accessible.
With global attention on African creators surging, 2023 has already seen major wins for the continent’s fashion footprint. As the calendar unfolds, eyes will be on leaders continuing to carve space for African designers and preserve their works for future generations.