African menswear designers and their style aesthetics celebrate multiple ethnicities and nationalities. The garments are vibrant and electric. Designers adhere strictly to standards of craftsmanship and design but these designers innovatively use textiles and prints to tell stories. They are passionate about displaying what home means to their global consumers. African menswear designers are increasingly visible on the global fashion calendar and in demand from international retailers.
We’ve compiled a list of menswear designers and brands that stand out to us:
Philadelphia-based Nigerian designer Walé Oyéjidé is one of the driving forces behind contemporary menswear label Ikire Jones, a conflation of his father’s village in Nigeria and his wife’s American name. He serves as the creative director, working alongside co-founder Sam Hubler, the brand’s bespoke tailor. The label marries classic art with an African aesthetic.
A self-admitted connoisseur of pop culture, Mnisi’s design perspective is informed by the contemporary while still incorporating elements of his heritage. South African Rich Mnisi’s 3-year-old unisex brand blurs gender lines. Its designs, though, minimal, are extremely vibrant. The aforementioned comes as no surprise when the brand’s inspiration comes from art, music, film, and nature.
Dent de Man
The brand, which translates to “tooth of man,” is named after a mountain of the same name near the Ivory Coast city of Man. Ivorian-British designer Alexis Temomanin launched Dent de Man in 2012. Temomanin’s obsessive interest in pattern makes itself known in Dent de Man’s unrestrained use of bold, colorful prints. Though the patterns he uses have roots in Indonesia; the lasting result of the Dutch fabric trade on the continent in the 1800s, and the popularity of Indonesian prints in Europe during that era.
MaXhosa by Laduma
South African textile and knitwear designer Laduma Ngxokolo’s colorful interpretations of his Xhosa background have caught the eye of an international crowd. Ngxokolo’s textile skill manifested early; in 2010 he won the South African Society of Dyers and Colorist’s Design Competition before going on to win the international leg of the competition in London. Even then, the winning collection, which he named “The Colourful World of the Xhosa Culture,” was dedicated to Ngxokolo’s interest in sharing the diverse and multifaceted traditions of his people.
The menswear brand got inspired by the popular Nigerian/Yoruba signature traditional attire; ‘Agbada‘ to create a collection centered around a versatile 3-piece robe. It is a brand that allows African men navigate masculinity and express fluidity through clothes.
Teddy Ondo Ella
This summer Teddy Ondo Ella debuted his self-titled brand at New York Fashion Week. He did so with an Okuyi rite of passage and Gabonese dancers. It comes after Ella’s already established marketing agency, sneakers club, and streetwear brand. With his new venture, he hopes to shed light on his country, Gabon, and others across the continent.
Maison Château Rouge
In 2015, Senegalese brothers Youssouf and Mamadou Fofana founded Maison Château Rouge in Paris. The house specializes in streetwear pieces made with wax print.The first generation immigrants are hell-bent on ensuring the African continent is at the center of their entrepreneurial projects. Their minimalist concept store shines and speaks to Paris’s undeniable grip on what it means to be stylish while embracing Africa’s influence on modern day fashion.