Fashion is an art form that never ceases to expand or change. As people and societies evolve, trends in terms of style, lines and patterns reflect what affects them. Eco-friendly clothing brands, for example, have been popping up all over the world. But an even greater trend of the past few years is that of South African fashion, especially prints. The country has featured prominently in several industries besides fashion, resulting in its increased visual appeal. Telling productions and figures confirm this exciting development.
General African Spotlight
What turned more heads towards the beauty and strength of the continent than Marvel’s Black Panther (2018)? In addition to entertaining us with superhero action, the movie flooded our vision with native fashions, patterns and colors. The gaming industry has made its own contributions. These range from The Lion King (1994) platformer to the Diamond Link: Mighty Elephant slot game, featuring a rich African design and symbols such as drums, warriors, elephants that is available at Lucky Pants Bingo online platform, itself combining the themed online slot trend and the African trend. Decades of inspired cinema, video games and other visual productions have bolstered the attractiveness of African styles, their distinctiveness and warmth.
Growth of African Fashion
The fashion industry of South Africa really is booming, especially in the apparel sector. According to Statista figures, 2019 saw a revenue equal to $641m, which is only expected to keep growing to a total of $1,123m by 2023. While domestic consumer interest plays an important part in these statistics, international sales and overall recognition have helped increase visibility and its share of the global market. Clothes, bags and jewelry are some of the most popular fashion categories that make use of African styles.
Major runways in New York, London, Paris and other fashion centers around the globe have created considerable interest in South African prints. Hello Beautiful discusses exhibits like the 2017 showcase of The Museum at FIT, featuring fashion lines by 60 hugely successful black fashion designers. It included Ann Lowe’s traditional wedding gowns as well as apparel by Madison Maxey using a print based on computer code. The impact of these clothes, sometimes more artistic than fashionable, can be attributed to the originality and cultural significance imbued into each and every piece.
But their appeal also comes down to the beauty and history of African prints. Their diverse yet interconnecting spirit has spread throughout the fashion industry and beyond. The digital age has helped to strengthen our understanding of just how important fabrics and patterns can be to cultural identities. UCLA’s Fowler Museum published a book version of its own exhibit: African-Print Fashion Now! A Story of Taste, Globalization, And Style. The whole production combines garments, vintage photography and contemporary art to illustrate the fashion evolution of the whole African continent, from the 19th-century textile trade to prints’ globalization all the way to the 21st century.
The end of 2019 marks further boosts to the fashionable public’s interest in African styles. In will be fascinating to see what new creations appear on the scene as this phenomenon continues to enrich the patterns of the world.