Monday, 31 October 2011

Review: New African Fashion by Helen Jennings

I have something I need to goes:

My name is Frankie, and I love African fashion.

I had always had a strong appreciation for it (who doesn't love a strong print and lots of colour?!), and ever since attending Africa Fashion Week a little while ago, my love has blossomed into full-blown obsession. I've even found myself on numerous occasions staring longingly at the local African clothing shops in Dalston, wondering whether or not I could actually pull off a traditional head wrap (I've decided to ease myself into the look with a Charlotte Taylor penguin scarf for now...). I am part-Egyptian after all! So naturally when I was asked to review "New African Fashion", a new book by Helen Jennings, I was overly keen to accept.

According the book blurb, "From Africa-inspired to African-made, this guide is the first to celebrate a new wave of fashion designers who are appearing on the global stage." It's no secret that Africa has been influencing designers for many years, and more recently big names such as Michael Kors, Burberry and Donna Karen have shown clear Africa-inspired collections.

The book starts by talking about the origins of African fashion before leading into current African/Africa-inspired designers, covering both womenswear and menswear. The book features an incredible number of up and comers who are undoubtedly ones to watch. My favourites include Duro Olowu, Mimi Plange and Black Coffee. I was also very happy to see Bunmi Koko featured, as I've been a big fan of her designs for a while now.

As well as featuring African design talent, the book also covers some of Africa's best-known and emerging models, both male and female. It's a given that the legendary Alex Wek would be included, but it was also nice to see models such as Ataui Deng and Ajak Deng (no relation, but very good friends apparently!) in there too.

Overall, I was really impressed with this book. It offers a comprehensive look at the wide ranging talent that Africa has to offer, features interesting interviews and beautiful vibrant photography - what more could you ask for from fashion book?! And, as this blurb from the book says...

The more we all educate ourselves about Africa and embrace what it has to offer, the more fashion can continue to develop and innovate. Retailing at £19.99, I would highly recommend this book for any real fashion lovers or enthusiasts, especially those who are looking to broaden their own person style. You can order your copy from Amazon and many other book retailers right now.

Happy reading!

Much love,

Swell Vintage