Black Affairs, Africa and Development

White Customers, Black Fabrics

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Black-owned businesses make amazing clothing inspired by African patterns. What happens when, inevitably, everyone else starts buying them?

The current outpouring of assist for Black-owned companies has introduced consideration to vogue labels that work with African prints. The labels, lots of them based by West African designers dwelling in the US and Britain, are turning the standard patterns of West African material into modern American silhouettes.

Half of what’s driving the present dialog is that whereas African-born designers see African print as a option to unfold their tradition, they’re promoting it in a rustic that has its personal separate historical past and relationship to those materials.

Many individuals in America — of all colours — grew up associating African print clothes with expressions of Black satisfaction, based mostly on its recognition throughout the civil rights period and its use within the Black Energy motion as a option to present solidarity and reference to one’s African heritage. They see the style not as a option to unfold African tradition, however to reclaim it.


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