Being a fashion model has opened me up to so many incredible opportunities across the globe, from being part of the Adidas “Original Is Never Finished” campaign to walking the prestigious runways of the New York Fashion Week. While I’m all about serving 100% authentic and unapologetic African beauty to the rest of the world, there’s nothing like coming back home to celebrate fashion and style made for people like me by people like me.
I was fortunate enough to walk in David Tlale’s beautifully inspiring show at this year’s African Fashion International, and it got me thinking about the incredible diversity we have in African fashion. I feel most beautiful when what I’m wearing accentuates and celebrates my kind of beauty, and I want others to feel the same way too. That’s why I’m sharing five of my favorite African designers that highlight what I love about fashion and lifestyle here at home, and why they should be on your radar.
As one of my favorite fashion designers, David Tlale is synonymous with black excellence. The first time I saw David’s work was in 2013, and he’s been at the top of my list ever since. He incorporates powerful concepts throughout his designs, and they’re bound to give a more modern dimension and impact to your wardrobe while showcasing African beauty.
Every time I wear his clothes, I feel resilient and powerful, and knowing about his passion and work ethic makes me proud of what he’s already accomplished. I’m so excited to see what he has in store for the future.
If you’re looking for a brand that can bring out your beauty and confidence, then Maxhosa is perfect for you. Every piece from their knitwear collections is bursting with color — not only does it compliment dark skin tones, but it’s also inspired by stylistic traditions in rural South Africa.
When it comes to beautiful couture and bridal fashion, the name that immediately comes to my mind is Warrick Gautier. He is elevating the landscape of luxury African fashion, and his understanding of the look African women seek out sets him apart as one of my favorite designers.
Anything I wear from this brand makes me look and feel gorgeous, and the quality of his designs and sophisticated tailoring is something that any fashionista can appreciate. For Warrick Gautier, fashion truly is an artform.
Imprint ZA is another fashion brand that does an amazing job of embedding African cultural influences to his designs. Even though he’s still fairly young in the scene, he has already accomplished so much in a short amount of time, partnering with different brands and organizations that share his vision.
I love and admire designers who weave different experiences into their work, and Imprint ZA is definitely one of them. All it takes is one look at his clothes to see how the colors, cuts and silhouettes come together to bring a character and story to life.
Even though Amarula doesn’t sell fashion products, it still encompasses everything that I love about African brands. Amarula sells cream liqueur made from a small plant native and exclusive to Africa called marula, and it goes a long way to add flavor to a variety of cocktails or even just a cup of coffee.
Amarula has a beautiful story behind it: Amarula trees bear fruit only once a year, and elephants seek it out when it’s ripe. Every time the harvesters set out to get the fruit, they meet these beautiful African elephants, and now the brand is dedicated to protecting them in the wild. Amazing flavor and a great cause? What’s not to love about Amarula!
Meet Happy Jacqueline, a hard-working, passionate and successful model from Rwanda. Happy has made a name for herself as a highly established model in South Africa and is now etching her way to becoming a famous face in North American fashion. In a short amount of time, Happy has partnered with top-tier brands such as Romeo Hunte and David Tlale, made appearances in numerous global fashion publications like Elle, Glamour and Marie Claire, and dominated the catwalks of African Fashion International and New York Fashion Week. To follow along on her glamorous journey, follow Happy on Instagram at @happyjacquelineofficial.