Even though African fashion has moved out from the seamstress room and into the commercial style industry, there is still a large problem that faces the average woman who wants to look amazing in the latest cuts and styles of her homeland: the average clothing size available for us is between a size 2 – 10. This is puzzling considering how we black women are known for our beautiful bold curves. However Africlectists, here are four fantastic designers from the African Diaspora catering to the woman who can fill out a dress and deserves to look as good as she feels about herself.
Africa meets the West was the initial inspiration for Nigerian Linda Idegwu, whose line “Dear Curves” is possibly the most popular line dedicated to African women. Linda’s staple fabrics for all her designs are; Ase-oke, Ankara, Gele, George, Bubu, and TiV lace.
Named after Monif and her mother, partner Elaine Clarke, Monif C is a contemporary designer fahsion label based in New York with roots in Barbados. Seen on celebrities from BET’s Rip the Runway and MTV Movie Awards, Monif C’s beautiful and bright clothing flawlessly flatters fuller figured women and celebrates colors and patterns.
Rue 114 is the brainchild of Ghaniain designer Serwah Asante, whose line actually runs from sizes 0 – 32 (there is something for everybody!) Her motto is,“Great style should be available in all sizes because fabulous, fierce, kick-ass women come in all sizes!”. Their latest collection “Afua Bempomaa” is named after Asante’s mother. “This collection presents a Rue twist on African fashion that relies less so on traditional prints and more so on intricate embroidery and bead work found throughout much of the African design aesthetic. In the Akan tradition of Ghana, West Africa; each child is given a specific name based on gender and the day of their birth. As we seek to tell the story of every woman, we thought it appropriate to name each piece after a female “day of the week” name.”
(nah-KIM-u-lee): originates from Uganda; means flower. Nakimuli is definitely a label for young forward-thinking fashionistas. Designed by Tennille Nakimuli Shanae McMillan, Nakimuli is an exclusively limited quantity-produced ready-to-wear clothing line for young women. From her use of jersey fabrics to her unique silhouettes and use of colors and patterns, Tennille McMillan’s creations clearly reflect the spirit of her native Brooklyn —youthful, fresh, and funky.
Available in sizes 6 – 24 Masaari made a splash in the full figured fashion world with their 2012 summer debut. French/Cameroonian designer Love Voundi is striving to brng eco-friendly and African inspired design. Speaking to Refinery29, ”My family is from Africa, so I have always been surrounded by beautiful women wearing traditional African clothes. African people LOVE clothes, have a big sense of style, and are proud of it. It’s our culture and engrained in our DNA! This has influenced my relation with fabrics and my approach with colors and prints. But, of course, I am passionate about tribes, folklore, arts and crafts of various countries, not only Africa.”
What are you waiting for? Africlectists, go out there and celebrate your beautiful body!