African fashion: V&A to open the largest exhibit of its kind
Fashion

The UK’s largest ever exhibition of African fashion is coming to the V&A this summer

The V&A’s landmark exhibition will be the UK’s largest of its kind and will showcase the work of 45 designers from over 20 countries. 

Designers from the African diaspora are set to be showcased in the V&A’s upcoming exhibition of the continent’s fashion, which will be the UK’s largest ever.

Africa Fashion, which will showcase the work of 45 designers from over 20 countries, will celebrate the irresistible creativity, ingenuity and unstoppable global impact of contemporary African fashions. 

African fashion: V&A to open the largest exhibit of its kind
Shade Thomas Fahm in the late 1960s pictured in Lagos.

Over 250 objects will be exhibited, with many of the items on show set to be donated from the personal archives of a selection of iconic mid-20th century African designers, including Shade Thomas-Fahm, Chris Seydou, Kofi Ansah and Alphadi, marking the first time their work will be shown in a London museum. 

“Our guiding principle for Africa Fashion is the foregrounding of individual African voices and perspectives,” Dr Christine Checinska, senior curator African and African diaspora: fashion and textiles, said. “The exhibition will present African fashions as a self-defining art form that reveals the richness and diversity of African histories and cultures.”

African fashion: V&A to open the largest exhibit of its kind
One of the looks from Thebe Magugu's autumn/winter 2021 collection.

African Fashion will also showcase and celebrate the works of contemporary designers, including Imane Ayissi and Thebe Magugu, who won the coveted LVMH prize in 2019 for emerging talent.

“African fashion is now. It’s not just designers, there’s a whole ecosystem of models, make-up artists, photographers, illustrators – imagine bringing everybody’s work to life season in season out,” says Omoyemi Akerele, founder of Lagos Fashion Week. “Fashion that’s created by our people for our people and for the benefit of growing and developing our economy. This exhibition is important because for the very first time, fashion from the continent will be viewed from a diverse perspective which spans centuries.”   

African Fashion will open at the V&A Museum on 2 July 2022 and will run until 16 April 2023. Tickets can be booked here.

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Images: courtesy of V&A.