Whenever a book on African fashion is released, we are pleased. It means someone is taking the time to really get into the sartorial depths of African fashion, to understand what African fashion is today, while also changing the stereotypes often attached to it.

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One book that does this in a fun and an unexpected way is African Catwalk. Leading industry contemporaries contributed to the book’s text; Simone Cipriani, the founder of the ITC Ethical Fashion Initiative; Allana Finley, an African fashion strategist; Allessia Glaviano, the senior photo editor for Vogue Italia and L’Uomo Vogue; and Stella Jean, fashion designer.

The book features insightful and riveting behind-the-scenes content on the African fashion industry. The beautiful and perceptive images in the book were taken by Swedish photographer, Per-Anders Pettersson, who also captured compelling moments from AFI’s Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week events.’

Sudan-born Canadian model Aluad Anei smokes a cigarette backstage during a break between shows during the Fashion Week Joburg on Fitzgerald Square in Newtown, Johannesburg 2013 © Per-Anders Pettersson
Sudan-born Canadian model Aluad Anei smokes a cigarette backstage during a break between shows during the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Joburg on Fitzgerald Square in Newtown, Johannesburg 2013 © Per-Anders Pettersson

Through his observant visuals, Pettersson documents the rise of the fashion industry across the continent, in 15 countries. “The images are taken of around 40 fashion weeks around Africa, [between] 2010 and 2015,” says Pettersson. The images were shot during a period when African fashion finally began to grasp the attention and appreciation of the wider fashion industry.

The book strips away the general assumptions associated with the continent and reveals, not an Africa in yearning, but an Africa brimming with talent.

The book’s imagery implies a sense of affluence, stylistic flair, a reshaping of the industry, and a modernization of the continent. Africa at its best.

South African model Geraldine Steenkamp and Cameroonian model Valerie Ayena wait in a car before walking for the South African designer David Tlale at an outdoor show in the Bo-Kaap area during the Cape Town Fashion Week, South Africa 2012 © Per-Anders Pettersson
South African model Geraldine Steenkamp and Cameroonian model Valerie Ayena wait in a car before walking for the South African designer David Tlale at an outdoor show in the Bo-Kaap area during the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Cape Town, South Africa 2012 © Per-Anders Pettersson

‘African Catwalk’ was exhibited in Galleria Carla Sozzani in Italy, between the 28th of April and the 5th of June. And will be exhibited at the Gallery Kontrast in Sweden, from the 27th of August to the 2nd of October.

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Pettersson’s photography from the book has also been on show at Der Speigel in Germany and VSD in France. Additionally, the book has also been featured in various international magazines, such as Time Magazine, Marie Claire (in France, Korea & Holland), CNN Style, and Vogue Italia, to name a few.

The book will be available in local bookstores from July this year.

 

To find out more about purchasing the book, you may contact:

Johan J Huge,

Peter Hyde Associates,

021 447 5300

johanjhugo@gmail.com/noelene@peterhyde.co.za