Wandile Tevin Andrews
Every generation paves the way for the next. The baton of creativity is passed down from generation to generation, with nothing taking place in isolation, the former needing the latter and vice versa. In this way, innovations and discoveries come into being. The very same applies within the African fashion industry. As African fashion lifts as it rises, in fortified pockets, we see the consciousness of entire generations being raised and African creatives taking up their respective spaces and making space for others. The likes of Sally Karago are examples of this.
East African powerhouses between Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda and Burundi are no different. Rising to the occasion in an industry, not without its challenges, It shouldn't go without being mentioned that the glamour of one image, one breathtaking creation takes the works of many hands and individuals, behind the flashing cameras, the weft of each thread and the ebb and flow of fabrics. These are the five designers that are shaping East Africa's fashion industry:
Deepa Dosaja, Kenya
Deepa studied fashion design in Montreal, Canada and hasn't looked back since. A Kenyan fashion design powerhouse, she is a pioneer of sustainability. Dressing the likes of Lupita Nyong'o, the famed fashion designer strives to run her fashion business in a transparent and ethical manner.
Krystal Bella Shabani, Burundi
Krystal's brainchild, Krysbel Designs, is an exciting brand that specialises in clothing, accessories and jewellery for women, men and children. Her designs are classic and Burundian through and through.
Mustafa Hassanali, Tanzania
A medical doctor by profession, Mustafa has managed to carve out a path unlike any other through fashion. Boasting celebrity clientele such as Naomi Campbell, his designs are avant-garde, yet they maintain a patriotic approach and flair as they tell the story of the designer's Tanzanian roots.
Sally Karago, Kenya
Sally is an award-winning Kenyan fashion designer that specialises in high-fashion and ready-to-wear styles. A mastermind behind the Mcensal Fashion House that has pioneered contemporary East African fashion, Sally has gone on to open the Mcensal Fashion School. Her notoriety in fashion stems from how she managed to incorporate the Maasai blanket and Kikoi fabric. African Women Experts have described her as 'The Ace of Kenyan fashion', as she's gone against the grain, fusing Kenyan cultural elements such as Maasai blankets and Kikoi fabrics into her designs.
Raphael Allan Kasure, Uganda.
Raphael's label, Krafael Couture, is a work of heart. He pushes the boundaries and has designed the official National ceremonial wear for the Ugandan Olympic team for Rio 2016.
Notable mention also goes to Mille Collins's, Anyango Mpinga, John Kaveke, Adele Dejak, Katungulu Mwendwa, Lulu Mutuli, M+K Nairobi, Haute Baso, Charles Kasozi, Mago', Brenda Maraka, Ally Rehmtullah and Shiela Lukwanzi.
Africa Women Experts
Mille Collines campaign, photography | © Aubrey Jonsson