Words Kiran M Ray Photography Bennett Raglin Pictured Tiffany Amber at ARISE Magazine presents African Icons 2012
Ozwald Boateng opened his first shop at the age of 23. Today he is an icon in menswear. For SS13, the Savile Row stalwart has teamed up with Vlisco to incorporate the celebrated fabric house's prints into his classic suits. "There’s a movement taking shape on the continent," he says, "so those outside of it must talk to the movers and shakers, like myself and ARISE.”
Created in 1998, Tiffany Amber has become a mainstay of Nigerian fashion. This season designer Folake Folarin-Coker returns to New York Fashion Week with her Rhythms Of Africa collection, featuring both ultra-feminine and masculine tailoring in cool mint and tropical colours. “I have a special place in my heart for ARISE NYFW shows," she says. "At the first show in February 2009 [it was] like we were at a party thrown by the world. I loved it!”
Gavin Rajah has become a household name across South Africa after dressing everyone from Beyoncé to Tom Cruise and appearing on America’s Next Top Model and. He's also the co-founder of Cape Town Fashion Week and a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador. “I hope the world continues to explore design talent on the continent, who are fuelling the economic powerhouse Africa is turning out to be,” he says.
Designer Amake Osakwe of Maki Oh was crowned Designer Of The Year at ARISE Magazine Fashion Week 2012, and has attracted a number of celebrity fans including Solange Knowles and Leelee Sobieski. “African fashion can only grow because the world is beginning to sieve through its pre-conceived ideas of what African fashion is,” says the Lagos-raised designer.
After developing his craft at Stella McCartney, Tsemaye Binitie launched his namesake label in 2010. For SS13 he presents long panelled dresses, and the results of his experiments in high-tech twills, laser cutting and embroidery. “From the calibre of the models to being at the Lincoln Center, showing with ARISE at NYFW last year was all wow!” he remembers.