The​ ​culture​ ​of​ ​Africa​ ​is​ ​varied​ ​and​ ​manifold,​ ​consisting​ ​of​ ​an​ ​amalgamation​ ​of​ ​tribes that​ ​each​ ​have​ ​their​ ​own​ ​unique​ ​characteristics.​ ​It​ ​is​ ​a​ ​product​ ​of​ ​the​ ​diverse populations​ ​that​ ​today​ ​inhabit​ ​the​ ​continent​ ​of​ ​Africa​ ​and​ ​the​ ​African​ ​Diaspora. African​ ​culture​ ​is​ ​conveyed​ ​in​ ​its​ ​arts​ ​and​ ​crafts,​ ​folklore​ ​and​ ​religion,​ ​clothing, cuisine,​ ​music​ ​and​ ​the​ ​numerous​ ​dialects.​ ​Africa​ ​is​ ​so​ ​engorged​ ​with​ ​culture,​ ​with​ ​it not​ ​only​ ​changing​ ​from​ ​one​ ​country​ ​to​ ​another,​ ​but​ ​with​ ​a​ ​single​ ​country,​ ​many cultures​ ​can​ ​be​ ​unearthed.

Africa,​ ​obviously,​ ​has​ ​influenced​ ​and​ ​has​ ​been​ ​influenced​ ​by​ ​other​ ​countries.​ ​This can​ ​be​ ​portrayed​ ​in​ ​the​ ​willingness​ ​to​ ​adapt​ ​to​ ​the​ ​ever-changing​ ​modern​ ​world rather​ ​than​ ​staying​ ​rooted​ ​to​ ​our​ ​static​ ​culture.​ ​The​ ​westernized​ ​few,​ ​swayed​ ​by European​ ​culture,​ ​first​ ​denied​ ​African​ ​traditional​ ​culture,​ ​but​ ​with​ ​the​ ​increase​ ​of African​ ​nationalism,​ ​a​ ​cultural​ ​recovery​ ​occurred.

Africa​ ​has​ ​a​ ​phenomenal​ ​influence​ ​in​ ​the​ ​luxurious​ ​brands​ ​of​ ​the​ ​world,​ ​especially​ ​in the​ ​clothing​ ​or​ ​fashion​ ​industry.​ ​According​ ​to​ ​the​ ​Times​ ​Live​ ​online​ ​newsletter,​ ​the prestigious​ ​French​ ​brand​ ​and​ ​luxury​ ​retail​ ​company​ ​founded​ ​in​ ​1854,​ ​Louis​ ​Vuitton Malletier,​ ​commonly​ ​referred​ ​to​ ​as​ ​just​ ​Louis​ ​Vuitton,​ ​has​ ​a​ ​new​ ​collection​ ​in​ ​their men’s​ ​wear​ ​influenced​ ​by​ ​the​ ​Basotho​ ​Tribe.​ ​News​ ​broke​ ​out​ ​on​ ​the​ ​13​th​​ ​July​ ​2017 and​ ​this​ ​was​ ​no​ ​better​ ​indicator​ ​to​ ​confirm​ ​Africa’s​ ​influence​ ​on​ ​luxury​ ​brands.

If​ ​there’s​ ​one​ ​sphere​ ​where​ ​the​ ​politics​ ​of​ ​cultural​ ​appropriation​ ​can​ ​be​ ​tested,​ ​or contested,​ ​it’s​ ​definitely​ ​fashion.​ ​Traditionally,​ ​designers​ ​have​ ​raided​ ​world​ ​history and​ ​culture​ ​in​ ​search​ ​of​ ​inspiration.​ ​In​ ​reality,​ ​the​ ​further​ ​a​ ​designer’s​ ​eye​ ​roams from​ ​their​ ​home​ ​territory,​ ​the​ ​better.​ ​Fashion​ ​is​ ​grounded​ ​in​ ​finding​ ​an​ ​escape​ ​and trying​ ​on​ ​alternative​ ​identities​ ​&​ ​lifestyles.

Louis​ ​Vuitton’s​ ​designs​ ​for​ ​their​ ​recent​ ​2017​ ​menswear​ ​collection​ ​prove​ ​that​ ​not only​ ​does​ ​the​ ​African​ ​culture​ ​have​ ​influence​ ​in​ ​other​ ​spheres,​ ​but​ ​fashion​ ​is​ ​one​ ​of the​ ​greatest.​ ​The​ ​LV​ ​collection​ ​features​ ​designs​ ​that​ ​derive​ ​inspiration​ ​from​ ​the generational​ ​Basotho​ ​blanket.​ ​In​ ​addition​ ​to​ ​this,​ ​the​ ​Ndebele’s​ ​zigzag​ ​patterns have​ ​been​ ​making​ ​their​ ​rounds​ ​in​ ​trending​ ​in​ ​the​ ​fashion​ ​world.​ ​These​ ​designs definitely​ ​pay​ ​homage​ ​to​ ​the​ ​tribes​ ​they​ ​draw​ ​inspiration​ ​from.​ ​The​ ​imagery​ ​is flawless​ ​&​ ​how​ ​these​ ​brands​ ​pay​ ​tribute​ ​to​ ​the​ ​African​ ​culture​ ​is​ ​mind-blowing.

 

With​ ​over​ ​50​ ​countries​ ​on​ ​this​ ​continent,​ ​Africa​ ​surely​ ​has​ ​a​ ​rich​ ​cultural​ ​diversity and​ ​with​ ​it​ ​comes​ ​various​ ​and​ ​numerous​ ​characteristics​ ​that​ ​western​ ​brands​ ​can draw​ ​inspiration​ ​from.​ ​Women’s​ ​traditional​ ​clothes​ ​in​ ​Ethiopia​ ​cloth​ ​called​ ​​Shemma and​ ​are​ ​used​ ​to​ ​make​ ​​Habesha​ Kemis​ ;​ ​their​ ​native​ ​traditional​ ​attire.​ ​The​ ​Zulu​ ​tribe wears​ ​a​ ​variety​ ​of​ ​attire,​ ​both​ ​traditional​ ​for​ ​ceremonial​ ​or​ ​culturally​ ​celebrated occasions.​ ​Traditional​ ​male​ ​clothing​ ​is​ ​usually​ ​light,​ ​consisting​ ​of​ ​a​ ​two-part​ ​apron used​ ​to​ ​cover​ ​the​ ​genitals​ ​and​ ​buttocks.​ ​The​ ​front​ ​piece​ ​is​ ​called​ ​​Umutsha ​and​ ​the rear​ ​called​​ Ibheshu​.​ ​The​ ​women​ ​in​ ​Kenya​ ​wear​ ​a​ ​cloth​ ​called​ ​a​ ​​Kanga,​ ​while​ ​the Masai​ ​men​ ​wear​ ​traditional​ ​clothes​ ​called​ ​​Matavuvale.

Of​ ​course,​ ​these​ ​are​ ​intricately​ ​woven​ ​and​ ​designed​ ​with​ ​native​ ​patterns​ ​and designs,​ ​thus,​ ​creating​ ​uniqueness​ ​and​ ​phenomenal​ ​clothing​ ​forms.​ ​This,​ ​then, draws​ ​the​ ​eyes​ ​of​ ​western​ ​brands​ ​to​ ​Africa​ ​for​ ​both​ ​inspiration​ ​and​ ​influence.

 

 


Mosa Ntwampe holds a BA Communications Degree from North West University, Additionally, he has a higher certificate in Graphic Design from Oakfields College. Mosa is the Marketing Coordinator  at the Inscape Education Group (Midrand Campus) and is currently pursuing his BA Honours Degree in Strategic Communications with the University of Johannesburg.

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