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45 designers from over 20 African countries will feature in a landmark Africa Fashion exhibition at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London.

Tickets are now on sale for the exhibition, which will be the UK’s largest of its kind and celebrates the influence, creativity, and global impact of African fashions through the years.

Over 250 objects will be on display for visitors – from photographic portraits and catwalk footage, through to garments and textiles. Many of the garments on show will be from the personal archives of iconic mid-twentieth century African designers such as Shade Thomas-Fahm, Chris Seydou, Kofi Ansah and Alphadi, marking the first time their work will be shown in a London museum.

The exhibition will also celebrate influential contemporary African fashion creatives including Imane Ayissi, IAMISIGO, Moshions, Thebe Magugu and Sindiso Khumalo.

Omoyemi Akerele, Founder and Director or Lagos Fashion Week said:

“African fashion is something that has existed forever, something that has been a part of us. It’s not just designers, there’s a whole ecosystem of models, make-up artists, photographers, illustrators – imagine bringing everybody’s work to life season in season out. Fashion that’s created by our people for our people and for the benefit of growing and developing our economy.”

“This exhibition is important because for the very first time fashion from the continent will be viewed from a diverse perspective which spans centuries”.

The exhibition will be accompanied by a wider public programme focusing on African Fashion as well as in-conversations, talks, learning events, music performances and lots of free to attend events.

It also forms part of a broader and ongoing V&A commitment to grow the museum’s permanent collection of work by African and African Diaspora designers, working collaboratively to tell new layered stories about the richness and diversity of African creativity, cultures, and histories, using fashion as a catalyst.

Dr Christine Checinska, Senior Curator African and African Diaspora: Textiles and Fashion, said: Our guiding principle for Africa Fashion is the foregrounding of individual African voices and perspectives. The exhibition will present African fashions as a self-defining art form that reveals the richness and diversity of African histories and cultures.

To showcase all fashions across such a vast region would be to attempt the impossible. Instead, Africa Fashion will celebrate the vitality and innovation of a selection of fashion creatives, exploring the work of the vanguard in the twentieth century and the creatives at the heart of this eclectic and cosmopolitan scene today. We hope this exhibition will spark a renegotiation of the geography of fashion and become a game-changer for the field.

 

For interview requests – please contact Evadney Campbell of Shiloh PR at contact@shilohpr.com or +44(0) 7716 289 717

Notes to Editors:

Adult tickets £16. Tickets now on sale at vam.ac.uk/exhibitions/africa-fashion | #AfricaFashion

· The exhibition Africa Fashion will open 2 July 2022 in Gallery 40.

· Africa Fashion is curated by the V&A’s Dr Christine Checinska, Senior Curator of African and African Diaspora Textiles and Fashion assisted by project curator, Elisabeth Murray

· Exhibition trailer with designer quotes can be viewed here

· The full press release with further details can be found here

· Press Images available at pressimages.vam.ac.uk

Support for the V&A is more vital than ever. Please help us by acknowledging our supporters.

Africa Fashion is supported by Gregory Annenberg Weingarten, GRoW @ Annenberg

With additional support from Bank of America and Merchants on Long

With thanks to Africa Fashion Foundation

About GRoW @ Annenberg

GRoW @ Annenberg, a philanthropic initiative led by Annenberg Foundation Vice-President and Director Gregory Annenberg Weingarten, supports a broad range of innovative projects and organizations that address social and cultural issues, meet urgent community needs, and offer inspiration and collaboration—all with the goal of improving the quality of life in communities around the world.

About Merchants on Long

Founded in Cape Town, South Africa in 2010, Merchants on Long is a concept store which specialises in launching the most exciting emerging designers coming from Africa, it also serves as a home for more established brands. Everything stocked at Merchants on Long is made ethically and entirely on the African continent, focusing on designers for their authenticity, design and sustainable practices.

About African Fashion Foundation

African Fashion Foundation supports fashion designers and creative professionals from the continent and its diaspora to enable them to compete in global markets.  Founded by investment specialist and philanthropist, Roberta Annan in 2011, AFF provides professional and educational development opportunities in partnership with established players in the fashion industry to support the success and progression of the African creative economy.

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