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African Print: A Modern Tradition

Think of an African city and you think smells, sounds, a crush of people and colour. Lots of colour. Those bright patterns you associate with African dress are more than just a fashion trend – they tell a story, carry traditional meanings and convey history.

Increasingly modern designers are working these African prints into some very contemporary clothing and accessories. While it might not be mainstream in Australia yet, it is definitely worth knowing about if you love colour and design.

Below are 5 of the amazing designers currently using traditional African print fabrics in their designs.


1. One of the better known of these designers is Zanzibar’s Doreen Mashika – turning bold fabrics into modern, and very wearable clothes and accessories. Stocked through a number of European and American boutiques her designs are very wearable and very striking. Doreen Mashika’s Facebook Page.

Doreen Mashika African Fabric

100% Cotton African print dresses and handbags from Doreen Mashika


2. Another young designer making a name using fabrics from all over Africa, is the team at OneOfEach. Their bold African print bags, bangles and belts are bright, fun and highly desirable. This young brand sells through their own boutiques in South Africa and through stockists in USA, Europe and Australia. They source all their fabrics from local manufacturers and use leather off-cuts where possible, making their products eye catching and low impact.

ONEOFEACH African print accessories

African print bags, belts and bangles from OneOfEach


3. African print also makes for amazing shoes as a growing number of fashion designers are demonstrating. From Kenya Afro Shoes has several ranges of everyday shoes made with vibrant African fabric. Made locally in Kenya they make use of the readily available ankara fabric and support local manufacturing.


Loafers from Kenyan based Afro Shoes.


 4. On the upscale end of clothing design African fabrics are used and loved by many designers, in particular in West Africa. The beautiful works of Christie Brown are a fantastic example, and available through European online fashion sites and west African boutiques. They are modern, wearable and so very beautiful.

Christie Brown African prints

Pieces from Christie Brown’s runway show at Lagos Fashion and Design Week.


5. For something very different Joansu Jewellery’s range of African wax print and resin jewellery is unique and very modern. The use of traditional fabrics in simple shapes really draws attention to the colours and patterns of the fabric. Joansu Jewellery Facebook Page

Joansu Jewellery African print and resin

African Fabric and resin cuffs from Joansu Jewellery


Regardless of how you like your African fabrics utilised, they are bold, bright and a celebration of African spirit. They are also highly versatile, and let’s face it, just really beautiful.

The OneOfEach clutch bag range is available her at

Designed by boldlife



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