6 Designers To Watch

 

Still wondering which will be the breakout fashion brands this year? Our guess is they will most likely be from one of the emerging designers who have appeared on our radar in recent years and are now setting their sights higher and tackling new challenges. Meet our designers to watch. We believe they will be the trendsetters on the African runways in 2015. By Mpona Lebajoa

ADA MGBEDEM, NIGERIA

Ella and Gaby

6 designers to watchAda Mgbudem, a graduate of International Languages from the University of Port Harcourt, is the creative director of Ella and Gabby. Inspired by her mother and home economics teacher, she hand-stitched her first “design” – a nightgown – at the age of eight and fell in love with fashion design since then. Although she always had an interest in fashion, she chose to be an entrepreneur in real estate, hospitality and security where she recorded great achieve-ments. However, in 2010, she turned her attention back to her passion and attended courses at Central Saint Martins London School of Fashion and Textiles to hone her skills as a fashion designer.

In April 2012, she launched Ella and Gabby. Her debut collection was sophisticated, yet elegantly understated, reflecting impeccable artisanship. Ella and Gabby tells a timeless story with clean lines, classic silhouettes and exquisite craftsman-ship, giving a sense of exclusive fantasy and a return to true elegance and beauty.

What to expect in 2015
“Ella and Gabby will bring more creativity and versatility that will be appealing to the Ella & Gabby woman,”
says Mgbudem. We can’t wait to see what this clearly talented lady brings to the table in 2015.

OHENEBA YAW BOAMAH, GHANA

Abrantie the Gentleman

NAW29 I_Page_23_Image_0002Oheneba Yaw Boamah is the creative entrepreneur and designer behind thelabel Abrantie the Gentleman, a menswear fashion brand and African print design and production company. A graduate of Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Tech-nology, College of Art, he has worked as adesigner for textile firms in Ghana and is currently a freelance African print designer working with both local and international print companies. A true visionary, he plays on the concept of the modern African man – seamlessly blending traditional and modern aesthetics, components he’ll continue to bring forth in 2015, we hear.

What to expect in 2015
“My last collection was very monochromatic, which I liked, so expect more monochromes and slightly daring royal blues, browns and pastels. 2015 and my collection are going to be based around ‘Men of More’, men doing well within their societies. We’ve already selected the men we think are ‘Men of More’ including actors, radio hosts, governors and such. The collection will be very rich and will be celebrating these ‘Men of More’.”


INTISAAR MUKADAM, ZIMBABWE

Intisaar

6 designers to watchZimbabwean designer Intisaar Muk-adam has become an international name after launching her label, IntisaarM, in Harare, in December 2010. Mukadam’s first collection, ‘Tribal’ was selected by a judging panel, including the renowned Brit-ish designer Karen Millen, as one of 16 degree collections to showcase at Graduate Fashion Week 2010 in London. Specialising in women’s fashion and knitwear, Mukadam is significantly influenced by Africa. The colours and shapes found in almost every African tribe are evi-dent in all her designs. In addition to creating unique prints and textures, inspired by the movement of nature, she explores block beading as a tech-nique to construct an illusion of lay-ers that lift away from the garments, and pushes boundaries by clashing colours and prints in ways that would not normally be considered. And she does it in such an effort-less manner that the pieces blend together rather seamlessly.

What to expect in 2015

“New designer baby, watch this space,” says Mukadam. We have no idea what to expect,
but we suspect Mukadam will continue to be a trailblazer, continuing to showcase
internationally, with unique collections proving to be a hit both within the African continent and globally.


SHERIA NGOWI, TANZANIA

Sheria Ngowi

NAW29 I_Page_25_Image_0001Sheria Ngowi is the founder of self-titled brand Sheria Ngowi. A self-proclaimed fashion enthusiast and master, he has won national and international acclaim with his creative designs inspired by the classical and alluring style of his late father. Ngowi has won several awards, such as the Swahili Fashion Week Award in 2011 and 2013 for the Best Male Designer of the Year. He has also been part of national and interna-tional shows across the globe including New York, Johannesburg, London and Toronto, to mention but a few. Not only is he a jetsetter, he has also dressed some of the most high profile people within Tanzania, including President Dr. Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete, as his official designer, and the likes of leading Tanzanian artist Plat-numz and Tanzania’s national football team, the Taifa Stars.

What to expect in 2015
“I love the history of my brand, but I want to bring a modern twist and I have to move on. As the founder, I wouldn’t want to repeat what I was doing from 2008-2014. I want to bring a fresh element to it while cultivating the true DNA of the brand. All aspects should be mod-ern and fresh. Clothes are a communication tool and I want to create something special. “I see my brand in 2015 being eligible to apply for all the important fashion weeks hosted around the world and pitching the brand into new markets, and dressing red carpets and hav-ing the most interesting client base, meeting and dressing the very best. But I also want to design for the rest of my life under a huge international brand and to be remembered for an artist’s touch, as charming and to dress the very most beautiful and interesting people in an iconic trademark I have invented.”“I see my brand in 2015 being eligible to apply for all the important fashion weeks hosted around the world and pitching the brand into new markets, and dressing red carpets and hav-ing the most interesting client base, meeting and dressing the very best. But I also want to design for the rest of my life under a huge international brand and to be remembered for an artist’s touch, as charming and to dress the very most beautiful and interesting people in an iconic trademark I have invented.”


SOPHIE NZINGA SY, SENEGAL

Sophie Nzinga

See Also

NAW29 I_Page_26_Image_0002Sophie Nzinga Sy, whose natural talent was developed while attending the prestigious design school Parsons The New School for Design, in New York, has always been an avid art enthusiast. The Senegalese designer is con-stantly drawing inspiration from her travels and the fusion of the multiple cultures that have shaped her, from her African roots to her New York City education and entrepreneurial mind-set. She considers herself a citizen of the world and her designs are a distinctive blend of her artistic experiences and an eclectic cocktail of her voyages. Nzinga’s design philosophy has remained to give the modern woman the key pieces to constantly re-invent her style while exuding confidence whether she is in a board meeting, attending a gala or travelling between New York and Lagos.

What to expect in 2015

Sophie Nzinga is promising us fashion collaborations with other designers, a diffusion line and an accessories collection. Expect to see Sophie Nzinga selling online as well as come to a store near you, with her sights set on getting her brand represented in Nigeria, South Africa, the UK and USA.


KHOTHATSO LAURENCE TSOTETSI, SOUTH AFRICA

Khothatso Laurence Tsotetsi

NAW29 I_Page_27_Image_0003Tsotetsi is the brains behind his eponymous brand . A graduate of the Tshwane University of Tech-nology, he’s done his fair share of interning and progressively finding himself within the industry. He has been recognised many times as a young designer with innovation and entrepreneurial skills. March 2012 saw Tsotetsi as an African Fashion International Fast Track Young Designer finalist and he showed at Mercedez-Benz Fash-ion Week Johannesburg. Later in the year, he showed a collection for Nivea Black and White campaign at Mercedez-Benz Fashion Week Africa. In February 2013, the young designer showed a collection at the Africa Fashion International Johannesburg Fashion Week Next Generation, under the mentorship of David Tlale. His 2013 collection at Mercedez-Benz Fashion Week Africa also saw him become the first South African designer to have Alek Wek walk for him.

What to expect in 2015
“A year of success,” he simply states. Watch out for him at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Johannesburg 2015.

 


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