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Launch of biggest exhibition of African fashion in London museum

The exhibition Africa Fashion will open 2 July 2022 in Gallery 40 at the Victoria and Albert museum

2 July 2022 will mark the launch of a landmark African fashion exhibition at the Victoria and Albert museum.

The exciting showcase of 45 designers from over 20 African countries will last in the museum for over nine months until 16 April 2023.

Over 250 objects will be on display for visitors - from photographic portraits and catwalk footage, through to garments and textiles.

Tickets are now on sale for the exhibition, which will be the UK’s largest of its kind and celebrates the influence, creativity, and global impact of African fashions through the years.

Many of the garments on show will be from the personal archives of iconic mid-twentieth century African designers such as Shade Thomas-Fahm, Chris Seydou, Kofi Ansah and Alphadi, marking the first time their work will be shown in a London museum.

The exhibition will also celebrate influential contemporary African fashion creatives including Imane Ayissi, IAMISIGO, Moshions, Thebe Magugu and Sindiso Khumalo.

Omoyemi Akerele, Founder and Director or Lagos Fashion Week said:

“African fashion is something that has existed forever, something that has been a part of us. It’s not just designers, there’s a whole ecosystem of models, make-up artists, photographers, illustrators – imagine bringing everybody’s work to life season in season out.

"Fashion that’s created by our people for our people and for the benefit of growing and developing our economy.

“This exhibition is important because for the very first time fashion from the continent will be viewed from a diverse perspective which spans centuries”.

The exhibition will be accompanied by a wider public programme focusing on African Fashion as well as in-conversations, talks, learning events, music performances and lots of free to attend events.

This forms part of a broader and ongoing V&A commitment to grow the museum’s permanent collection of work by African and African Diaspora designers, working collaboratively to tell new layered stories about the richness and diversity of African creativity, cultures, and histories, using fashion as a catalyst.

Dr Christine Checinska, Senior Curator African and African Diaspora: Textiles and Fashion, said:

"Our guiding principle for Africa Fashion is the foregrounding of individual African voices and perspectives. The exhibition will present African fashions as a self-defining art form that reveals the richness and diversity of African histories and cultures.

"To showcase all fashions across such a vast region would be to attempt the impossible. Instead, Africa Fashion will celebrate the vitality and innovation of a selection of fashion creatives, exploring the work of the vanguard in the twentieth century and the creatives at the heart of this eclectic and cosmopolitan scene today.

"We hope this exhibition will spark a renegotiation of the geography of fashion and become a game-changer for the field."

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