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Who’s buying African Luxury and Why?

Who's buying and Why?
Beyonce wears black and white outfit from Tongoro Studio

There has been a significant global resurgence of demand for African luxury with a distinct African identity from different countries across the continent.

Throughout history, luxury from Africa have permeated across every luxury sector and leisure experience. From sumptuous interiors to extraordinary jewellery, adventurous retreats and minimalist textile design and artisanship. Once promoted as the preserve of the white elite, times have changed. With a clear focus and vision, emerging African luxury brands are designing for themselves and the African diaspora and choosing to celebrate their African heritage through a contemporary lens.

At Alára, a new luxury store in Lagos, avoids anything too ‘unAfrican.’ The store’s highly aestheticised and atmospheric Instagram account, attracts the wealthiest and most mobile of African elites to find the world of luxury at home, including via a certain re-enchantment of African arts and crafts. [1]

https://www.instagram.com/alaralagos/?hl=en

Aïssa Dione, a pioneer of West African textile design, combines traditional techniques and contemporary design to create a new aesthetic. Located in Rufisque, close to Dakar, central to her inspiration and important to her practice, is her studios ability to create jobs and fight poverty. Her work showcases Senegal’s rich textile heritage through her work with local artisans, employing techniques dating back to the fifteenth century.[2]

Clients include Fendi Casa and Hermès, and she has created fabrics for renowned interior designers, including Jacques Grange, Dimorestudio, Rose Tarlow, and Peter Marino. She continues to work with the government of Togo and Burkina Faso to develop and save the existing weaving cultures from disappearing by creating sophisticated designs, improving quality, and training the weavers to propel the traditional weaving arts to the heights of textile for commercial use while maintaining the uniqueness which each culture has.

http://aissadionetissus.com/atelier.php

These two examples serves to illustrate the dynamic business cultures on the African continent and that the purchase of African luxury sometimes stays at home and sometimes crosses continents. At its heart, is the commitment to a distinct African identity and style and economic growth and improvement.

Birimian is a female-led investment company that supports African brands with finances, production and distribution to help them meet boosted demand on a global scale. Founder and CEO, Kouassi-Olsson says, “It’s creating a community of investors, of key industry strategic stakeholders to surround African brands and accelerate their expansion.”[3]

The African Fashion exhibition at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, opening on 02 July 2022, recognises the power and influence of African luxury fashion on the global market and “will explore the vitality and global impact of a fashion scene as dynamic and varied as the continent itself.” [4]

https://twitter.com/V_and_A/status/1488815765797093381?s=20&t=lLPgJeYLMQWlRddzYvT0AA

Participation:

Find a luxury African brand and share 5 facts with your peers in the comments down below.

References:

  1. Dosekun, Simidele (2019), Fashioning Postfeminism: Spectacular Femininity and Transnational Culture. Champaign: University of Illinois Press.
  2. https://industrieafrica.com/blogs/imprint/spotlight-5-textile-interior-design-experts-bringing-african-furnishing-forward-johanna-bramble-aissa-dione-hana-getachew-eva-sonaike-nthabi-taukobong
  3. Birimian,. https://www.voguebusiness.com/companies/the-new-investment-fund-scaling-african-luxury-brands
  4. V&A,. https://www.vam.ac.uk/exhibitions/africa-fashion
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Africa to the World: Analysing the Global Appeal for African Luxury Fashion

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