Mzukisi Mbane

Top 5 African Designers to watch in 2023

by | Dec 11, 2022 | Africa Celebrates, CSA Celebrates, Design, Entertainment, Fashion, Music, Talent, The Wire

  • Sustainably sourced.
  • Craftsmanship
  • Traditional textiles.
  • Elements of design.


@tongorostudio – Senegal

Founded in in 2016 by Paris-born, Ivory Coast-raised creative director Sarah Diouf, Tongoro is a ready-to-wear label with a strong emphasis on African fashion and craftsmanship. Focussing on materials that are sustainably sourced on the continent, each and every piece is made in Dakar, Senegal, by local tailors, renowned for their exceptional quality. The label counts Beyoncé, Naomi Campbell, Iman and Alicia Keys as fans.

Imane Ayissi

@imane_ayissi – Cameroon/France

Imane Ayissi’s love affair with fashion began in Cameroon and it would transport him to Paris where he launched his eponymous label in 2006. His fashion leads the way in contemporary African chic with a nod to French sensibilities, but never losing focus on his heritage. His made-to-measure pieces continue to bridge the gap between the traditional and the contemporary, blending elements of African tribal art with modern haute couture while mixing locally sourced organic fabrics (Ayissi favours textiles like kente and bògòlanfini, all created in collaboration with cooperatives) with silk and taffeta. His pieces have been worn on the red carpet by Zendaya and Angela Bassett.

Sindiso Khumalo

@sindisokhumalo – South Africa

Sustainability and craft are close to Sindiso Khumalo’s heart. She designs by hand using watercolours and collage, before working closely with NGOs and small workshops in South Africa and Burkina Faso to develop the handwoven and hand-embroidered textiles, using natural materials such as hemp, linen and organic African cotton. A joint winner of the LVMH Prize in 2020, she has shown at Milan Fashion Week and spoken at the United Nations on sustainability in fashion. Sindiso draws on her heritage to create modern textiles with a strong emphasis on African storytelling, often weaving social equality and female empowerment into her collections.

Masion Artc

@maisonartc  – Morroco

Self-taught, Israeli-Moroccan designer, Artsi Ifra, established Maison ARTC in the heart of Marrakech. Described as a “visionary” in the world of African fashion designers, Artsi has garnered international acclaim for his avant-garde designs, showing at Haute Couture Week in Paris. A champion of the slow fashion movement, Artsi uses vintage fabrics, repurposed garments and traditional textiles – often sourced at local markets – to create contemporary, sculptural silhouettes. At once playful and bold, all of his pieces are one-of-a-kind and Moroccan-made. Each design is always exquisitely photographed, further blurring the lines between art and fashion.

Orange Culture

@orangecultureng – Nigeria

Adebayo Oke-Lawal is a self-taught designer based in Lagos, Nigeria, who utilizes his designer brand, Orange Culture, to challenge macho Nigerian stereotypes and blur the borders between genders. Diverse, androgynous silhouettes are constructed in linen tunics, silk kimonos, and well-cut suits. Colour is cast in stripes, shimmery satins, and unapologetically bright palettes such as neon oranges and lime greens to unshackle the wearer from gender stereotypes and to rather embrace elements of design.

C.S.A.’s monthly cultural portal, The WIRE connects the dots of culture. With concise stories, many with video content, take a premium dive into the world of African entertainment & cultural fluidity. It’s one thing to be hip to what’s happening but it is another to know why.

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