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Designers across the continent gravitate towards the whimsical, the opulent, and lots of color. 

 by Sandiso Ngubane

 November 2, 2022

As African Fashion Month drew to a close, with Lagos taking place just last weekend, it became clear that although designers were delivering contrasting messages, they were gravitating towards a similar disposition as we head into 2023. The whimsical, decadent, opulent, colorful, and downright sensational were all in full display across collections at South African Fashion Week in Johannesburg, Glitz Africa Fashion Week in Accra, Hub of Africa Fashion Week in Addis Ababa, and Nigeria’s Lagos Fashion Week. Abstract prints, fabulous pleats, frills, and fringes dominated runways in what were primarily trans-seasonal shows, except for Johannesburg, where SA Fashion Week takes place twice a year and shows focused on the AW '23 season, specifically.

Here’s our curated list of the trends coming out of African Fashion Month that you can get into immediately! Shop the full collection of trends (and more) here.


1.

ALL IN THE SHAPE

From billowing bell sleeves to architectural and crafty shapes, designers went in all directions, carrying through the free-spirited vibe reflected in collections from Bam Collective, Black Coffee, and others. The affinity for form was even reflected in the choice of accessories with styling that included artful capes, hats, earrings, and ruffled sleeves.

Black and White Bouffant Sleeve Vest
Black and White Bouffant Sleeve Vest
Black and White Bouffant Sleeve Vest

Awa Meité

Black and White Bouffant Sleeve Vest

$300
Sassy Girl Hollow Set
Sassy Girl Hollow Set
Sassy Girl Hollow Set
Sassy Girl Hollow Set

Gozel Green

Sassy Girl Hollow Set

$550
Draped Coat Dress
Draped Coat Dress
Draped Coat Dress
Draped Coat Dress
Draped Coat Dress
Draped Coat Dress
Draped Coat Dress
Draped Coat Dress

Viviers

Draped Coat Dress

$1,220
Efik Shirt Dress
Efik Shirt Dress
Efik Shirt Dress
Efik Shirt Dress
Efik Shirt Dress
Efik Shirt Dress

Fruché

Efik Shirt Dress

$600

2.

CANDY SHOP

From pink to hints of purple and blue—and mostly, a fiery orange hue—color is not to be left behind if these shows are anything to go by. They came in different shades but were cheerful, energetic, and dynamic, with the likes of Simon and Elise, ERRE and Munkus bringing massive doses of feminine flair in playful dresses with high and low hemlines.

Paneled Pants
Paneled Pants
Paneled Pants
Paneled Pants
Paneled Pants
Paneled Pants
Paneled Pants

IAMISIGO

Paneled Pants

$307
Oge Set
Oge Set
Oge Set
Oge Set
Oge Set
Oge Set
Oge Set

Cynthia Abila

Oge Set

$600
Laju Suit
Laju Suit
Laju Suit
Laju Suit

Pepper Row

Laju Suit

$1,100
Mila Shirt
Mila Shirt
Mila Shirt

OLOOH

Mila Shirt

$200


3.

COME ON, LET’S PLAY

Speaking of the whimsical, frills, fringes, and pleats took a season that is quite obviously femme-heavy to the extremes of womanly elegance with the likes of Desiree Iyama, Bam Collective, and Fikile Sokhulu making a clear statement about the magic of femininity. Whether it was skirts, shirts, or dresses, the quirk of these playful elements was hard to miss.

Okoroshi Skirt
Okoroshi Skirt
Okoroshi Skirt
Okoroshi Skirt
Okoroshi Skirt
Okoroshi Skirt

Cynthia Abila

Okoroshi Skirt

$320
Pink Tie-Dye Sleeveless Peplum Top
Pink Tie-Dye Sleeveless Peplum Top
Pink Tie-Dye Sleeveless Peplum Top
Pink Tie-Dye Sleeveless Peplum Top
Pink Tie-Dye Sleeveless Peplum Top
Pink Tie-Dye Sleeveless Peplum Top

Hamaji

Pink Tie-Dye Sleeveless Peplum Top

$116
Frivolous Frill Skirt
Frivolous Frill Skirt
Frivolous Frill Skirt
Frivolous Frill Skirt
Frivolous Frill Skirt
Frivolous Frill Skirt
Frivolous Frill Skirt
Frivolous Frill Skirt
Frivolous Frill Skirt

Viviers

Frivolous Frill Skirt

$1,400
Na Me Dey Reign Pants
Na Me Dey Reign Pants
Na Me Dey Reign Pants
Na Me Dey Reign Pants
Na Me Dey Reign Pants

Fruché

Na Me Dey Reign Pants

$338

4.

PRINTS ASSORTED

Of course! It’s Africa. Are prints not to be expected? Most of what we saw is probably not what you have in mind. Designers went abstract, often creating their own—as the case was with South Africa’s Artclub & Friends. Others manipulated stripes and presented prints you’ve probably seen before in a new light. The tropical atmosphere of Zanzibar was brought to life in the form of Doreen Mashika’s distinct, print-fueled cosmopolitan vibe at Hub of Africa Fashion Week. 

Bumi Jumpsuit
Bumi Jumpsuit
Bumi Jumpsuit
Bumi Jumpsuit
Bumi Jumpsuit
Bumi Jumpsuit

KikoRomeo

Bumi Jumpsuit

$325
Kola Kimono
Kola Kimono
Kola Kimono

Awa Meité

Kola Kimono

$450
Acid Banana Orchid Pajama Shirt
Acid Banana Orchid Pajama Shirt
Acid Banana Orchid Pajama Shirt
Acid Banana Orchid Pajama Shirt
Acid Banana Orchid Pajama Shirt

Viviers

Acid Banana Orchid Pajama Shirt

$790
Yellow Yakisukumwa Dress
Yellow Yakisukumwa Dress
Yellow Yakisukumwa Dress
Yellow Yakisukumwa Dress
Yellow Yakisukumwa Dress

Katush

Yellow Yakisukumwa Dress

$675



5.

Suited up!

Variations on the classic suit have had an impact everywhere lately, demonstrating the menswear-inspired style as a trend with legs. It seems the two-piece staple was on the minds of many designers across the continent, too, with denim cuts, candy-colored types, and distinctly shaped shoulders making it clear that it’s really all about what you feel best suits you.

Lucky Asymmetric Blazer
Lucky Asymmetric Blazer
Lucky Asymmetric Blazer
Lucky Asymmetric Blazer
Lucky Asymmetric Blazer

Lisa Folawiyo

Lucky Asymmetric Blazer

$746
Blue Goumin Blazer
Blue Goumin Blazer
Blue Goumin Blazer
Blue Goumin Blazer

OLOOH

Blue Goumin Blazer

$335
Miles II Suit Jacket
Miles II Suit Jacket
Miles II Suit Jacket
Miles II Suit Jacket
Miles II Suit Jacket

Kente Gentlemen

Miles II Suit Jacket

$395
Collarless Blazer
Collarless Blazer
Collarless Blazer
Collarless Blazer
Collarless Blazer

UNI FORM

Collarless Blazer

$350

6.

High Shine

There’s some sheen and shine to accompany the decadence of indulgent shapes, contrasting the bright hues while being no less playful. It’s a trend that reflects itself in some of the most recent collections from the likes of Fruché, Orange Culture and perhaps, most strongly, Viviers. In addition to some of the other trends coming out of African Fashion Month, the metallics are a surefire indicator that a maximalist approach to dressing is what designers are at least hoping for in the colder months of 2023, but you don’t have to wait that long you can shop all of these trends and more now!

Aya Dress
Aya Dress
Aya Dress
Aya Dress

Kente Gentlemen

Aya Dress

$395
Party In The Back Top
Party In The Back Top
Party In The Back Top
Party In The Back Top
Party In The Back Top

Orange Culture

Party In The Back Top

$225
Panther De Ville Coat
Panther De Ville Coat
Panther De Ville Coat
Panther De Ville Coat
Panther De Ville Coat
Panther De Ville Coat

Fruché

Panther De Ville Coat

$1,125
Silk Lamé Signature Pants
Silk Lamé Signature Pants
Silk Lamé Signature Pants
Silk Lamé Signature Pants

Viviers

Silk Lamé Signature Pants

$1,285