5 Times African Women Led The Way in Fashion This Year
March has always been about celebrating Women. Housing International women’s Day and Mother’s Day, it’s not hard to see why. Even if this should be done every day, we will take what we can get. We are in the women’s Month.
The theme this year is “Choose to Challenge” and, I best believe African women are at the forefront when it comes to challenging the status quo – especially in fashion. They have been leading and SERVING. In quite a short time, they have served us vivid prints – Vivid prints that come alive with complex cuts. Hand-painted evening gowns complete with cowries, international collaborations, and even given us Ankara goodness at the Golden Globes!
For the 2021 International Women’s Day, check out 5 times African Women have written their names in capital letters on this year’s fashion slate.
Imagine talking about African women leading and failing to mention the new WTO boss, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala. Famously known for her signature Ankara outfits and scarf, Nigerians took to the internet to celebrate her enormous feat with the #BeLikeNgozi challenge.
The former Nigerian Finance Minister became even more visible with becoming the first woman and African to lead the World Trade Organization – A queen!
The challenge which trended globally included women donning her signature style – An Ankara dress usually in stunning patterns and prints, her signature scarf style, and not forgetting the clear glasses. Those who went all the way added single-strand pearl necklaces also reminiscent of her style.
Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala who spent 25 years at the World Bank as a Development Economist resumed her post at the WTO on March 1st – not forgetting her Ankara. What a way to kick off Women’s Month.
For the 78th Annual Golden Globes Awards, multi-award-winning Hollywood actress, Viola Davis, stunned in an off-shouldered puff-sleeved Ankara gown by Cameroonian designer, Claude Kameni.
A break from the lace and tulle evening gowns that frequently make an appearance at major award events, the gorgeous actress opted for an Ankara dress in vibrant batik-inspired colors and a dramatic fish-tail hemline.
Perfectly matched with Stuart Weitzman shoes and Pomellato jewelry, the talented actress made a virtual appearance at the awards ceremony from her home. According to her, she sought out CK to highlight the work of black designers who are often overlooked in the fashion industry.
If there is one thing the BBN ex-housemate has done since leaving the house, it’s dressing up! Erica has continuously shown up and showed out with her personal style. With an obvious love for African and bold looks, she has kept her right foot on our necks since last year.
For the Headies 2021 Awards ceremony in Lagos, the actress went subtle yet loud. Her floor-length Oya tulle gown from The Goddess Collection of Nigerian designer, MidebyMide looked like it belonged at the Met Gala. Arguably the best dressed at the event, Erica carried the hand-painted and hand-embellished dress with utmost carriage and left no room for further discussion.
According to the designer, “the goddess nature of the dress is manifested through the strong yet romantic styles embroidered with tenderness, exuding unobtrusive beauty and high-class elegance” and to be honest, we saw all of that. The accompanying gold jewelry and slick ponytail did further justice. Erica is definitely a breath of fresh air in the fashion scene.
An interesting lineup so far, right?
The 19-year-old internet sensation has by far been winning at everything this year. From growing up as a chess prodigy to becoming a popular TikTok comedian, she has made moves that would usually take years to make.
The crisp-eating 15x chess champion who is from Nairobi in Kenya has had the most fascinating year. It is almost like a true-life Cinderella movie. Don’t believe me? Check this out: From sitting pretty on the cover of Teen Vogue to bagging a deal with Rihanna’s Fenty and finally snagging a collaboration with the popular luxury designer brand Valentino, you can definitely see why! Not forgetting being nominated for an E! People’s Choice Awards in the African Social Star Category.
Also involved in a YouTube series with supermodel Naomi Campbell, the 19-year-old has managed to cement herself among the greats of the fashion industry all in the space of a few months. Oh! Did I mention that she got an Ivy Park package from Beyonce also? Yes, Elsa Majimbo has definitely won this year. and we haven’t gone halfway
According to the Twitter post by the Valentino official account announcing her deal, ‘It is Elsa’s world, we are just living in it.’ No lies there!
To celebrate the premiere of what is probably the most highly anticipated Hollywood sequel of 2021 – “Coming To America”, Nigerian celebrities completely showed up.
With the event theme being “African Royalty”, it became an avenue for both designers and celebrities to show the lengths of their creativity. If there’s something Nigerian designers know how to do, it is to tailor outfits specifically to the theme.
Ex-BBN housemate and season 4 winner, Mercy Eke is not new to making fashion statements at events. Winning best dressed at the AMVCA’ last year, the serial entrepreneur has continued to show with her bold and audacious dresses that she is quite deserving of the highly coveted award.
Styled by popular Nigerian stylist Swankyjerry, her highly embellished mini gown from Ceoluminee was paired with a large, equally embellished cape. It is safe to say the outfit was completely breathtaking and paired perfectly with a braided up-do and bold earrings. Mercy made only one statement at the event – ‘I am royalty.’