The Politics of Fabric and Fashion in Africa: 1960-Today | Summary and Q&A

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November 1, 2022
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Gresham College
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The Politics of Fabric and Fashion in Africa: 1960-Today

TL;DR

Fabric and fashion serve as means of self-expression and can challenge or reaffirm social positions, with African fashion showcasing diverse beliefs and values.

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Questions & Answers

Q: Can fabric and fashion be purely about self-expression without any political or cultural meaning?

While some fashion creatives may focus solely on creating beautiful clothes, African fashion often carries deeper meanings rooted in cultural and political contexts. However, not all African fashions have hidden political meanings, as some designers simply aim to make aesthetically pleasing garments.

Q: How did African fashion adapt to the post-colonial era?

With newfound independence, many African governments sought to reinvigorate textile production and supported the wearing of locally produced fabrics. The wearing of traditional fabrics became a political act, expressing national pride and challenging foreign dominance.

Q: How does African fashion influence the mainstream fashion industry?

African fashion already has a significant impact on the global fashion scene, with African designers showcasing their work on international platforms. African fashion's influence on high fashion and collaborations with global brands will likely continue to shape the industry.

Q: How does the exhibition address the impact of secondhand clothing on African fashion?

The exhibition acknowledges the issue of secondhand clothing flooding African markets. However, it also showcases African designers who use sustainable practices and conscious fashion, challenging the dominance of fast fashion and promoting local production.

Summary & Key Takeaways

  • Fabric and fashion have the power to speak and transform, encompassing various techniques, cultural meanings, and stories.

  • During the era of African independence, fabric and fashion became political acts that set the pace for cultural renaissance and redefined identities.

  • The exploration of fabric and fashion in the present showcases a diverse range of innovative African fashion creatives who continue to challenge societal norms.

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