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African fashion: ready for its close-up

ICONIC: Author Helen Jennings poses with African style icon Shingai Shoniwa, the lead singer of The Noisettes at the launch on Monday (pic: courtesy of

THE SPOTLIGHT has been shone on the talented designers, models and stylists who define the renaissance of African-inspired fashion.

New African Fashion is the brainchild of fashion journalist Helen Jenning who wanted to showcase the style emerging from the continent and the diaspora in a 21st century global context.

It is something close to Jenning’s heart who doubles up as the editor of Arise Magazine whose ethos is to celebrate all that is cool in contemporary African fashion, music and culture.

She said: "I have been overwhelmed by the response.

"This is the first coffee table book to celebrate the talented designers, models and image-makers who are shaping fashion's new frontier and putting African style on the map."

Through striking images, the glossy publication traces Africa’s influence on international designers from Yves Saint Laurent in the 1960s to the present day.

It also explores how Africa has captured the imagination of designers who are looking beyond the clichés of the African aesthetic and embracing traditional and contemporary fabrics and shapes.

New African Fashion was launched on Monday, November 7, and attracted stars such Shingai Shoniwa from the Noisettes, Afrobeat singer 2Face Idibia and international model Yasmin Warsame.

Shoniwa, who hails from Zimbabwe, has become synonymous for her style which incorporates a nod to her African heritage but in a modern way.

She called the book a "definite sign that the African renaissance had arrived".

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