The first major UK exhibition dedicated to contemporary African fashion will open at Brighton Museum & Art Gallery in April 2016.

Exploring fashion and style in four cities at the compass points of the African continent – Casablanca in Morocco, Lagos in Nigeria, Nairobi in Kenya and Johannesburg in South Africa – Fashion Cities Africa will consider recent and contemporary fashion practices in these distinctive metropoles, from couture to street style.

Too Many Siblings

The exhibition will focus on the style choices of individual ‘fashion agents’ from each city; from designers and stylists to photographers and bloggers. The exhibition will occupy three large galleries and include diverse apparel from couture to street style, alongside images, film, sound and even a reconstructed tailor’s workshop evoking the drama, creativity and dynamism of the distinctive cities. Highlights will include:

  • New commissions, including by Nairobi-based brother and sister duo 2Many Siblings
  • Controversial high-fashion outfits worn by one of Kenya’s hottest bands, Sauti Sol (MTV Europe’s Best African Act 2014)
  • Garments and accessories associated with The Sartists, a Johannesburg-based creative collective documenting their lives and style in post-apartheid South Africa
  • Exquisite hand-crafted ‘caftan couture’ pieces by Casablanca-based designer Zhor Raïs
  • Apparel by Maki Oh (TBC), the internationally acclaimed Lagos-based label worn by figures including Michelle Obama

A parallel project, undertaken by members of some of Brighton & Hove’s African diaspora communities, will explore the relationship between fashion, identity and the African continent from a local perspective. Powerful images from the project, which will be co-ordinated by Sarah Naomi Lee, will accompany the exhibition.