10 Facts About African Fashion You Might Not Know

10 Facts About African Fashion You Might Not Know

We all love a good list and it’s even better when it’s full of simple facts. 

What better way to celebrate history than knowing the simple facts, the firsts.

The first man to walk on the moon. The first Nigerian woman to drive a car. The first female president in the world. Who is the group of people that fought for independence? 

It’s not only fun to know, it opens up conversations around history. 

Although it is significantly harder to find African history because it was mostly word-of-mouth,  we’re sharing something special. 

10 facts you should know About African Fashion.


The first African-American to become a renowned Fashion designer is Ann Lowe. 
Lowe’s designs were unique and from the 1920s to 1960s, her designs were worn by high society women. Because of her race, she never got deserved credit for her work.


The first Black woman to present a collection at Rome’s celebrated fashion week, AltaRoma is Deola Sagoe.
This happened in 2004. Deola remains the leading lady of Africa’s Haute Couture.


Mande weavers and in particular the Tellem people were the first to master the art of weaving complex weft patterns into strips, a textile technique used as far back as the 11th century.

Learn more about this.


The African textile that is known as ‘Kitenge’ in East Africa and ‘Ankara’ in West Africa was first produced in Indonesia in 1846 by  Dutch entrepreneur Pieter Fentener Van Vlissingen.


The first forms of clothing in Africa were made from Barkcloth, furs, skins, and hides with the skins of animals chosen for symbolic significance, tribal allegiance, or personal symbols.

Read more about this.


The first African-American model to appear on the cover of the British edition of Vogue, in March 1966 was Donyele Luna. She was the first black supermodel to change things.

More about her.


Jewelry in Africa was typically made from Camel bones(Sudan), Amber beads(Mali), and Coconut shells (Nigeria).

See more of this.


The oldest African jewelry ever discovered was found, in 2004, in the Blombos cave on the southern tip of S. Africa. They are estimated at being over 75 000 years old and are pea-sized, mollusc shell beads that had been pierced. They have worn areas indicating that they were probably once strung into a necklace or bracelet.

Read more about this.


The Ghana-must-go bags are getting reimagined and refashioned cause they represent a painful past, when a 1983 executive order from Nigeria's then-President Shehu Shagari, called for nearly 2 million undocumented migrants, many were Ghanaians, to abruptly leave the country. Many used the bags to transport their things and the name stuck over the years.

Read more about this.


Gordon Parks, a black fashion photographer, was the first African-American to direct a major motion picture and also the first Black photographer on staff at Life Magazine from 1948 to 1972.

More on this.

What other facts about African Fashion do you know? Tell us in the Comment section.

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