Many fashion designers use the shapes of real women as inspiration for their work. This is particularly true of African designers, who make bold use of women’s natural curves in ways that are paying off. Here are 10 bold African designers making great use of curves.
Owner of Kachi Designs, Chigozie Anaele has roots in Nigeria and says her brand is deeply influenced by West African style. Her designs are highly texturized, usually with multiple layers, ruffles, and exaggerated pleats that make for dramatic, ultra-feminine looks.
Lanre is another designer from Nigeria who blends traditional African style with iconic 1940s looks. Her dresses are hyper-womanly, with big swooshy skirts, puffed-out sleeves, bell-shaped dresses and unique silhouettes.
Liberian designer Victoria Wreh spent 10 years in a refugee camp, and much of her inspiration comes from that experience. You can see her love of life bursting through in youthful dresses that almost look alive with large shapes such as pointy “devils-wing” shoulders, and sexy long gowns with come-hither trains.
This Cameroonian visionary is the founder of Uzuri Couture, a vibrant line of clothing that mixes authentic African style with trends from throughout the decades, like 1960s poodle skirts, enormous bell-bottom pants, attention-demanding shoulder pads, and floor-length gowns fit for a queen.
This Nairobi-based designer makes outfits fit for the stage — they’re whimsical, daring, and over the top to just the right degree. Wambui’s designs are definitely curvy girl-friendly. Not only does she use great shapes — she uses cuts that emphasize the wearers’ own shapes.
We’ve brought up Ghanaian designer Christie Brown in several other fashion profiles, because she just has so much going for her, including her bold use of shapes. Every piece is multi dimensional, sometimes with delicate, unimposing tops paired with striking skirts, and then of course there are her larger-than-life jewelry pieces.
Josephyn is a Nigerian-Canadian designer whose designs are perfect for the subtle dresser wanting to branch out a little. She makes flattering silhouettes that are playful and sexy, and she mixes up her fabrics for eye-catching textures.
This U.K.-based designer draws inspiration for her brand — Bestow Elan — from her Ghanaian heritage. Erzumah uses shapes and designs that almost give the wearer an other-worldly appearance. Her designs are fierce, elongating and mesmerizing. She plays around with hemlines and waistlines for unique contours.
Eredappa is a Nigerian-born designer and a master of prints that energize you just by looking at them. She doesn’t use shapes that are too shocking, but sticks expertly to cuts that have always flattered the female form, such as empire waists, sweetheart tops, and ruffled necklines.
Vanessa is a Ugandan designer who is making a splash with her bright choice in colors, and theatrical designs. Her jagged bottom skirts, ultra-structured bustier tops and striking dress designs are like the theatrical version of an African tribal queen’s wardrobe.