African prints

5 Luxury African Designers to Watch

Chanel. Tom Ford. Dior. Stella McCartney. For decades, American and European names dominated the roster of luxury fashion designers. But recently the fashion world’s attention has turned to Africa, where a wealth of luxury African labels and designers have begun earning attention for their vivid colors and bold prints. This work is changing the way we think about African fashion in the process and earning praise in the likes of Vogue, which commended African fashion for being “one of the most diverse and one of the most superior.” The talent, impeccable craft, and exquisite taste of these five leaders play a critical role in this recognition.


1. Duro Olowu | London


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Since landing on the London fashion scene in 2004, Nigerian-born Olowu quickly built a following thanks to his signature use of traditional prints juxtaposed with luxe vintage fabrics, surprising color combinations, and daring silhouettes. His high-waisted patchwork boho dress, known as the “Duro,” built a cult following after being discovered by both British and American Vogue in 2005. Available for purchase at Net-a-porter, Farfetch, and Matches Fashion.

2. Amake Osakwe | Nigeria


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Noted for famously dressing former First Lady Michelle Obama, Osakwe’s label Maki Oh is one of Africa’s most talked-about lines. The brand is celebrated for its use of bold prints and signature use of adire, an indigo-dyed cloth hand-made by the Yoruba people of West Africa. Available for purchase at OXOSI, ALARA, and TenOverSix.

3. Lisa Folawiyo | Nigeria


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Nigerian designer Lisa Folawiyo is recognized globally for her colorful collections fusing traditional West African fabrics like Ankara with ornate embellishments. Handsewn by expert artisans in Nigeria, Folawiyo’s eponymous line attracts a following of celebrities such as Lupita Nyong’o, Lucy Liu, and Solange Knowles. Available for purchase at Moda Operandi,, and Selfridges.

4. Sindiso Khumalo | London


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London-based Khumalo is noted for her sustainable textile designs, launching her line after being a finalist in Elle magazine’s New Talent competition. Khumalo’s prints feature bold graphic prints, and her textiles take inspiration from her original, hand-drawn designs. Available for purchase at Biffi Boutique, Helme Boutqiue, Raimondi Dress, Nildas Torres, Merchants on Long, and Luminance.

5. Andrea Iyamah |


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Heavily influenced by a range of African cultures, Nigerian-born designer Iyamah’s namesake brand specializes in ready-to-wear, custom-made dresses and swimwear. From skin-baring bikinis to cut-out dresses, Iyamah’s designs are eccentric, unique, and feature vibrant colors, daring cuts, and body-flattering silhouettes. Available for purchase at OXOSI, Nubian Hueman, and



Banner photo by Melissa Chessher.

Camille Nzengung comes from Watkinsville, Ga., and is the Suitcase editor at NEHA. From a young age, she’s always been deeply passionate about fashion, which inspired her to pursue a bachelor’s degree in fashion merchandising. She plans to move to New York this summer with aspirations of working for a national fashion publication.