These pieces by Lisa Folawiyo, on display at the exhibition, feature a mix of contrasting patterns and colors. Credit: Chelsea Lee


London’s prestigious Victoria and Albert Museum will host the largest African Fashion exhibition.

The event, which opens on July 2 and stretches across two floors, is a fascinating mixture of fashion from the mid-20th Century to the present day, told through photography, film, magazines and mannequins.

This exhibition will feature the work of some of the most important names in the development of African fashion, including Ghanaian Brand Christie Brown,  Folashade “Shade” Thomas-Fahm, who is often described as Nigeria’s first modern designer and 45 designers from more than 20 countries, and has more than 250 objects on display, 70 of which are new acquisitions. Starting with the period when many African nations were declaring independence, the exhibition examines the role fashion played in the continent’s cultural renaissance.

A design by Folashade “Shade” Thomas-Fahm, from the 1970s. Credit: Victoria and Albert Museum

More than 50 mannequins have been dressed in exquisite outfits showcasing Africa’s creative spirit. It is colourful and fun, but there is a purpose.


“I think for us fashion is a kind of catalyst through which we can give people a glimpse into the myriad histories and cultures on the continent,” said Christine Checinska, the lead curator. “That’s also what we hope people will take away — just the sheer thrill and relish of the potential of African creativity.”

PHOTO BY KADARA ENYEASI. Aso Lànkí, Kí Ató Ki Ènìyàn (‘We greet dress before we greet its wearer’) collection, Lagos, Nigeria, 2021.


“There’s a real sense of collective power, and a sense of pan-Africanism in spite of difference,” she added.



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