The African Celebrities Who Proudly Wear African Designers

African Celebrities

How African Celebrities can help to Promote the Growth of African Designers and the Fashion Industry

African Celebrities Are Helping to Promote the Growth of African Designers and the Fashion Industry

The news of the unification of Big Brother Naija and Big Brother Mzansi, known as Big Brother Titans, was met with much anticipation. Of particular interest was what Nigerian host Ebuka Obi-Uchendu would be wearing.

Ebuka, an acclaimed broadcaster, and host of Big Brother Naija, is renowned for his unique style. His affinity for sartorial elegance has led to a successful collaboration with designer Mai Atafo, creating looks that meld tailoring and traditional Nigerian garments.

Viewers had been looking forward to it, and Ebuka didn’t disappoint. He shared hosting duties with Big Brother Mzansi’s Lawrence Maleka and pulled off both his suiting and traditional wear looks with aplomb.

Ebuka in a suit and Nigerian traditional boubou
Nigeria media personality and co-host of Big Brother Titans at the premiere of the show in Johannesburg, South Africa. He wore custom looks by Mai Atafo. Image by Theoladayo

Wearing a sharply tailored black suit with white edges, made by Mai Atafo, the show culminated with Ebuka wearing an extravagant boubou (a robe created from one large rectangle of fabric with an opening in the middle for the neck). That easily made him the better-dressed of the two hosts.

He has earned his status as a stylish male celebrity thanks to his frequent collaborations with mostly African designers, giving him an unforgettable look. Whenever you need an iconic fashion look, he is the one to watch.

Ebuka understands the significant role that African celebrities can play in fostering the growth of African fashion designers, by donning their creations for esteemed occasions.

He is not alone in his appreciation for African fashion. South Africa’s Bonang Matheba, Nigeria’s Toke Makinwa, Denola Grey, and Ghana’s Nana Akua Addo are among fellow adherents of Pan-African designer labels. And they have built fanbases that watch their every style move.

Bonang often works with Gert-Johan Coetzee to craft special ensembles for her red-carpet appearances and other important events. She has also gone beyond South Africa’s borders, favouring outfits by Pan-African designers. She recently enlisted the help of Dah Mola – a Nigerian stylist – which led to some jaw-dropping looks designed by Pan-African designers, in 2022.

The international fame of Burna Boy, Davido, Black Coffee, Wizkid, Tiwa Savage, and Zakes Bantwini often sees them opting for Western labels. However, when they want to make a strong impression, they turn to African designers.

While in Qatar for the Qatar Fashion United by CR Runway event, Zakes sported South African designer, Gvllvnt’s garments both onstage and while exploring Doha.

Why it’s important that African celebrities wear garments by African designers

African fashion is quickly becoming a global sensation. From traditional aesthetics to modern streetwear, the designs of African creators are steadily gaining recognition within the mainstream fashion industry.

A collage of models walking down the ramp at Canex 2022 in Abidjan.
Some of the fashion designers featured in the African Fashion International produced show at Canex 2022 in Abidjan, Ivory Coast in November 2022. Revenue from Africa’s fashion industry is projected to increase yearly, accumulating to a market volume of US$15.65bn.

African designers are known for their creativity and originality, incorporating traditional crafts and materials into exciting new designs. Through their work, they seek to showcase the multitude of cultural influences across the African continent, changing people’s views and attitudes towards it.

With its long, rich heritage of culture and tradition, fashion is another method to preserve the customs of the continent.

Revenue from Africa’s fashion industry is projected to increase yearly, accumulating to a market volume of US$15.65bn by 2027. This impressive growth rate (CAGR 2023-2027) of 13.01% reflects the burgeoning marketplace and its potential for success. Though the industry is fresh, infrastructure and support are lacking.

Celebrities can play an important role in helping to create a positive view of Africa and its culture by donning African-designed apparel. Mainstream media coverage often fails to accurately portray African culture, and this is something that could be remedied through increased support from celebrities.

A group image of Black Panther actors.
The director and stars of Black Panther: Wakanda Forever premiere in Lagos, Nigeria. Only Danai Gurira wore a design from an African designer, choosing Ghana’s Christie Brown to make her stand out amongst her co-stars.

There was disappointment when Black Panther: Wakanda Forever stars chose to wear western brands at the film’s premiere in Lagos, Nigeria. Only Danai Gurira paid homage to the creative talent the continent boasts, wearing Christie Brown.

However, the Nigerian stars in attendance made sure to turn to African designers to create unique looks that made them stand out.

African celebrities have amassed a colossal following, and their clout is unmatched. By donning African designers, they serve as trendsetters and demonstrate the potential of products from the continent. This could bring economic growth to Africa, encouraging job creation and further investment in its economy.

Celebrities can use their influence to demonstrate pride in African heritage and culture through their sartorial choices. Not only is this an opportunity to showcase the work of talented young people, but it is also a chance to build a brighter future for the continent.

By wearing pieces by local designers, they send a powerful message to the world that Africans are united in the celebration of their culture and are actively supporting homegrown fashion talent.

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