Contemporary African Fashion

Contemporary African Fashion

Foreword by Joanne Eicher, edited by Suzanne Gott and Kristyne Loughran
Distribution: Global
Publication date: 10/04/2010
Format: Paperback 71 b&w illus.
ISBN: 978-0-253-22256-5
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African fashion is as diverse and dynamic as the continent and the people who live there. While experts have long recognized the importance of clothing as a marker of ethnic identity, life stages, political affiliation, and social class, they have only just begun to discover African fashion. Contemporary African Fashion puts Africa at the intersection of world cultures and globalized identities, displaying the powerful creative force and impact of newly emerging styles. Richly illustrated with color photographs, this book showcases haute couture for the African continent. The visual impact of fashion created and worn today in Africa comes to life here, beautifully and brilliantly.

Author Bio

Suzanne Gott is Assistant Professor of Art History in the Department of Critical Studies at the University of British Columbia Okanagan. Her work focuses on fashion from the Ashanti region in Ghana.

Kristyne Loughran is an independent scholar who specializes in African jewelry and fashion. She is editor (with Thomas K. Seligman) of Art of Being Tuareg: Sahara Nomads in a Modern World.


“The visual impact of fashion created and worn in Africa today comes to life, beautifully and brilliantly, putting Africa at the intersection of world cultures and globalized identities, and displaying the powerful creative force and impact of newly emerging styles. ”

“Well written, highly readable, and very accessible . . . covers a whole range of topics relating to various historical, economic, social, and artistic dimensions that constitute contemporary African fashion.”
 — Mary Jo Arnoldi, Smithsonian Institution

“Emphasizes that African fashion is part of the global scene.”
 — Joanne B. Eicher, co-author of The Visible Self: Global Perspectives of Dress, Culture, and Society

“[A]s a scholarly text Contemporary African Fashion provides an important interdisciplinary analysis of a subject relevant to art historians, fashion historians, anthropologists, and historians alike. It would fit well within graduate-level reading lists for courses in African art history and histories of fashion. ”

“Contemporary African Fashion is beautifully designed and graced with compelling photos. . . . Together, the essays reinforce the idea of ever-evolving tradition and cultural interaction, and the great importance of personal appearance on the African continent. While the composite picture that emerges is informative, it is the richness of the specific stories that make this anthology compelling. April 27, 2011”
 — Journal of Folklore Research

“[This is] a richly documented, well-argued, thought-provoking and beautifully illustrated study of contemporary African fashion.”
 — de Arte

“The book is beautifully designed and features high-quality photographs illustrating the various topics addressed. The chapters are kept to a comfortable length, which makes the volume also a suitable tool for teaching. ”
 — African Arts

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Table of Contents

Foreword by Joanne B. Eicher

Introduction / Suzanne Gott and Kristyne Loughran

Part 1. Fashion within the African Continent
1. The Ghanaian Kaba: Fashion That Sustains Culture / Suzanne Gott
2. The Visual City: Tailors, Creativity, and Urban Life in Dakar, Senegal / Joanna Grabski
3. Secondhand Clothing and Fashion in Africa / Karen Tranberg Hansen
4. Fashion, Not Weather: A Rural Primer of Style / Elisabeth L. Cameron
5. Contemporary Wedding Fashions in Lagos, Nigeria / Elisha P. Renne

Part 2. African Fashion Designers
6. African Fashion: Design, Identity, and History / Victoria L. Rovine
7. Using the Past to Sculpt the Costume of the Future: An Interview with Kandioura Coulibaly / Janet Goldner
8. Intersecting Creativities: Oumou Sy's Costumes in the Dakar Landscape / Hudita Nura Mustafa
9. From Cemetery to Runway: Dress and Identity in Highland Madagascar / Rebecca L. Green

Part 3. African Fashion in the Diaspora
10. La Sape Exposed! High Fashion among Lower-Class Congolese Youth: From Colonial Modernity to Global Cosmopolitanism / Didier Gondola
11. Have Cloth--Will Travel / Kristyne Loughran
12. Dressing Somali (Some Assembly Required) / Heather Marie Akou
13. Translating African Textiles into U.S. Fashion Design: Brenda Winstead and Damali Afrikan Wear / Leslie W. Rabine

Further Readings
List of Contributing Authors

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