Sub-Saharan African clothing and footwear market is worth $ 31 billion US dollars. Growing creative ambition in African fashion trends is essential. The story behind Africa’s fashion crosses the complex designs of the continent’s culture, heritage, and her dress. The next big thing is to provide a solution to the potential of Africa to drive the future of Africa and slow economic growth due to rising youth unemployment and increased value of commodities. Scenario of African fashion industry Courtesy: premiumtimesng.com Sub-Saharan African clothing and footwear market is worth $ 31 billion US dollars. Growing creative ambition in African fashion trends is essential, but poor supply discipline, the lack of international partners and the challenges of inferior infrastructure will be resolved promptly. Cotton, textile and apparel manufacturers in 18 sub-Saharan African countries are backing a new initiative to boost confidence in Africa as a sourcing location and attract new buyers and investors to the region. Scopes for having investors in African fashion industry Effect of African Culture and Beauty on the global fashion scene, the number of non-selected and African descent models has increased significantly, running the runways for fashion’s biggest brands, which featured in leading fashion magazines and featured among most of the world’s land breaking advertising campaigns. In 2018, Amitoy Lagum of Uganda and Harith Paul of Tanzania, such as Harith Paul, will see the continual increase in African models of fashion. Although the African market for footwear industry is still young, the continent is heavily involved with raw materials, extraordinary talent and affordable labor, which is the perfect push to build an extraordinary footwear industry. Countries like Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, and Nigeria lead the revolutionary footprint of the continent. In 2015, Ethiopia has earned more than $ 30 million from the export of shoes, which has achieved ninth place in the leather products industry worldwide. And this is just the beginning. In 2018, we can expect to see further growth from Ethiopia and other African countries, the price of African footwear industry may be likely to rise to $ 1 billion in the next decade. Today, though very few universities across the continent are offering first or master’s degree in fashion, the perception of fashion on the continent is improving as a result of African fashion being increasingly accepted and adopted across the globe.Scenario of African fashion industryRecently South Africa, a country on the southernmost tip of the African continent is planning to develop a master plan for the growth of the apparel, textile, footwear, and leather retail value chain, targeting to create 60,000 jobs, according to Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies. He said that his department is working with Justin Barnes, facilitator for the new automotive master plan till 2035, to come out with a similar plan. The plan may be announced early next year, according to a report in a South African newspaper. Thanks to the upward trend of Africa’s clothing exports, especially thanks to the Bangladeshi investors, there has been a threat to the second position in the world’s clothing business. Under the African Growth and Scope Act (AGOA), the United States enjoys duty-free and quota-free access for certain goods with clothing. African fashion industry present scenario And among the main reasons for growing garments exports from African countries is one of the impressive Bangladeshi garment makers to take advantage of responsibility under the African Growth and Opportunity Act, or AGOA. AGOA is a piece of legislation that was approved by the U.S. Congress in May 2000. The purpose of this legislation is to assist the economies of sub-Saharan Africa and to improve economic relations between the United States and the region. Source:Textile Today Keywords： clothing and footwear , African clothing and footwear
The evolution of African clothing is difficult to trace because of the lack of historical evidence. Although artifacts from Egyptian culture date back to before 3000 b.c.e., no similar evidence is available for the majority of the African continent until the mid-twentieth century. Sources from Arab culture refer to the people of northern Africa by the eighth century c.e., but much of early African clothing history has been pieced together from art, oral histories, and traditions that are continued by present-day tribal members. When Europeans began trading and later developed colonies in Africa starting in the thirteenth century c.e., more information about how Africans dressed was recorded and continues to this day. The spotty information available, combined with the huge number of different cultures living in Africa, however, provides only a very general history of the clothing trends on the continent. Clothing was not a necessity for warmth or protection throughout much of the African continent because of the consistently warm weather. Many people, especially men, did not wear any clothing at all and instead decorated their bodies with paint or scars. When Africans did wear clothing, evidence suggests that animal skins and bark cloth were the first materials used. It is unknown when these readily available materials were first utilized, but they were used to make simple aprons to cover the genitals or large robes to drape around the body. Later many cultures developed weaving techniques to produce beautiful cloth. Raffia, the fiber of a palm plant, and cotton were common materials used to weave fabric. At first cloth was woven by hand, and later looms (weaving devices) were created to make more complicated fabrics. Men and women worked together to produce fabric for clothing, with men weaving the fabric and women decorating it in many cultures. Perhaps the most well known fabrics were the intricately woven cotton or silk Kente cloth of Ghana ; the mud cloth of Mali , with its distinctive brown and beige patterns; and the tufted Kuba cloth of the Democratic Republic of the Congo . Other types of cloth were also woven by other groups; each culture using its distinctive cloth to create clothing. Some used their fabric to create elaborate wrapped clothing styles, similar to the toga worn by ancient Romans. Others cut and sewed their fabric into skirts, shirts, dresses, and loose trousers. Different versions of loose-fitting robes are worn in many different regions of Africa. In Nigeria and Senegal a robe called a boubou for men and a m’boubou for women is popular. Other similar robes include the agbada and riga in Nigeria, the gandoura or leppi in Cameroon , and the dansiki in West Africa. Styles in northern Africa reflect the strong influence Muslims have had on the cultures, especially the Berbers of Morocco and other Saharan desert countries. The clothing styles already discussed are considered traditional African dress, but there is a great deal we don’t know about them and other forms of African dress. We know nothing about the origins of these styles, for example, nor do we know the precise ways that they changed over time. It is almost certain, however, that African clothing styles, like the styles of all other long-enduring cultures, have evolved over time. In ancient times, when different African groups would meet and trade with each other, exotic items, such as shell beads in inland communities, would become prized status symbols and be incorporated into different tribal clothing styles. One prime example of how trade changed African clothing is the popularity of the tiny glass beads brought to Africa from Europe in the fifteenth century. Africans coveted the beads and soon created elaborate beaded skirts, capes, headdresses, and even shoes. The colors and patterns of the beadwork distinguished tribes from one another, and the styles of beaded clothing differentiated people by sex, age, and social status. These beaded items are now identified as traditional among many different groups in Africa. Further contact with Europeans introduced other Western items, namely Western clothing styles. Although these items were first combined with older African styles, by the twenty-first century it was not uncommon to see people in Africa wearing jeans, T-shirts, and tennis shoes, or other Western style outfits. FOR MORE INFORMATION Blauer, Ettagale. African Elegance. New York : Rizzoli, 1999. Giddings, V. L. "African American Dress in the 1960s." In African American Dress and Adornment: A Cultural Perspective, edited by B. M. Starke, L. O. Holloman, and B. K. Nordquist. Dubuque, IA: Kendall Hunt Publishing Company, 1990. Hoobler, Dorothy, and Thomas Hoobler. Vanity Rules: A History of American Fashion and Beauty. Brookfield, CT: Twenty-First Century Books, 2000. Kennett, Frances, and Caroline MacDonald-Haig. Ethnic Dress. New York : Facts on File, 1994. Agbada African Americans ‘ Dress During the Civil Rights Movement Animal Skins Aso Oke Cloth Bark Cloth Batik Cloth Berber Dress Boubou Cotton Kente Cloth Kuba Cloth Mud Cloth
This unique dress is made with a cotton Ankara fabric. Designed to give elegance and style fpr that special occassion. It measures 40 inches and modelled by 5. 7 inches tall person. Please note that it can be seen with other beautiful prints. Below is our size chart: UK4, US0-Bust30, waist22. 5, Hip32. 5 UK6, US2-Bust33,waist22. 5, Hip35. UK8, US4-Bust34, waist26. 5, Hip36. UK10, US6-Bust36, waist28. 5, Hip38. UK12, US8-Bust38, waist30. 5, Hip40. UK14, US-10-Bust40, waist32 5, Hip42. UK16, US-12-Bust42, waist34. 5, Hip44. UK18, US-14-Bust44, waist37. 5, Hip48. UK20, US-16-Bust47, waist39, Hip50. Uk22, US-18-Bust50, waist42, Hip53. UK24, US-20-Bust53, waist45, Hip56. UK26, US-22-Bust56, waist48, Hip59. Please check the measurement carefully before choosing your size chart, it will also include shoulder to shoulder, upper arm circumference-bust-waist-hips-dress length. Please note that you can also send across your measurement , if you are not comfortable with the above size chart. Feel free to make an etsy conversation with me. Thanks for visiting.
Hey @virgilabloh can I earn an internship? I have ideas! “ #virgilabloh @dapperdanharlem @fondationlv @LVMH @LouisVuitton #LouisVuitton #LV Special Thanks for Production 🧠Creative Direction: @magnusjuliano 💇🏾♂️Hair:Ciera Jackson 📷: @mystic_elena 🔬3D Printed Beads: @yateveo_sounds @sarahfrancishollis / @eatcrowstudiogram 📇Vinyl: @yep_its_mont A post shared by Magnus Juliano (@magnusjuliano) on Dec 31, 2018 at 9:02pm PST You don’t have to be particularly fashion-forward to recognise the Louis Vuitton logo. One aspiring designer and rapper, Magnus Juliano, has taken the signature design of the brand and turned it into something out of the ordinary; braid accessories. The 27-year-old graphic designer from Columbus, Ohio has used 3D printing to create the colourful look. And it’s not just about trendy hair accessories, he says, it’s about honouring African American roots. Special Thanks for Production 🧠Creative Direction: @magnusjuliano 💇🏾♂️Hair:Ciera Jackson 📷: @mystic_elena 🔬3D Printed Beads: @yateveo_sounds @sarahfrancishollis / @eatcrowstudiogram 📇Vinyl: @yep_its_mont Revealing the stylish LV monogram carefully crafted into his braids, Magnus posted the look on his Instagram, tagging Virgil Abloh, artistic director of Louis Vuitton’s men’s wear collection. He wrote: ‘Hey Virgil Abloh, can I earn an internship? I have ideas!’ The technicolour designs created by Magnus took a lot of time and effort as he spent six months 3D printing each design and putting it together. The best statement leggings to help you stand out at the gym The M&S January sale arrives with all the classic styles you need in 2019 Behold the first fashion trend of 2019: Giant backpacks ‘I failed in production a few times so I had to keep restarting again and again. It was discouraging and I almost walked away from it, but [fortunately] regrouped,’ he told Vogue . ‘African American roots are rich in hair jewellery and headdress — it’s our fabric. I chose [to pay tribute to] Louis Vuitton because of the impact [the brand has] had on art and design, but from the perspective of designers like Dapper Dan, who didn’t have access to [luxury brands], yet still made hip-hop couture using their likeness.’ 🙏🏾 @virgilabloh @dapperdanharlem @fondationlv @LVMH @LouisVuitton #LouisVuitton #LV Special Thanks for Production 🧠Creative Direction: @magnusjuliano 💇🏾♂️Hair:Ciera Jackson 📷: @mystic_elena 🔬3D Printed Beads: @yateveo_sounds @sarahfrancishollis / @eatcrowstudiogram 📇Vinyl: @yep_its_mont A post shared by Magnus Juliano (@magnusjuliano) on Jan 1, 2019 at 4:37pm PST Magnus used a 3D-printing company co-founded by his former university professor to create the ornaments. He also enlisted the help of a hairstylist to do do the braiding and fastening work. He tagged Louis Vuitton in the post to direct their attention to his work, which won over a lot of fans on Instagram. Many called the work ‘dope’ while one wrote: ‘You definitely deserve that internship.’ Others left him positive words of encouragement, saying: ‘Virgil would be a fool not to get in touch with you. But if that does happen, don’t stop and keep producing. You have so much talent and authenticity you cannot be ignored. And this can work for so many other brands.’ We’re excited to see whether the look catches on.
Traditional African crafts and the typically restrained Scandinavian colour palette informed the interiors of this members’ club in west London , which has been created by Cavendish Studios and Russell Sage Studios. The Conduit is set within an eight-storey building in London’s affluent Mayfair district, sharing the same street as upscale restaurant Sketch and a number of high-end fashion boutiques. Open to individuals from a variety of professional backgrounds, the members-only club caters to those interested in "tackling some of the most pressing challenges facing [society] today" by running an events programme focused on seven topics: climate change and sustainability, health and nutrition, justice, art and culture, education and skills, employment and economic opportunity, and equality. South London-based practice Feix&Merlin Architects carried out a subtle renovation of the building’s structure, maintaining its neoclassical facade and inserting two new lift shafts which can be used by the club’s staff to transport good and stock between floors. The interior of the 4,000 square-metre site, which formally served as an ancillary building for the nearby Westbury Hotel, has been overhauled by Cavendish Studios and Russell Sage Studios to "Scandinavian minimalism meets African craft". After developing a series of mood boards, both studios went about decking out the club’s communal spaces in neutral hues and subtly decor elements. "During our design process and approach to the project we developed a very artisanal approach. We then travelled to Africa and worked with NGOs and artisans who use craft as means of social ‘upliftment’," Cavendish Studios told Dezeen. Photograph by Steven Joyce In the sixth floor sitting room, where customers can work or relax, beige plaster walls have been paired with the building’s original diamond-patterned terracotta floors. Olive green sofas, sage-coloured rugs and cane armchairs have been used to dress the space, along with woven vases which line shelves on the wall. Photograph by Steven Joyce Huge arched doors lead through to a greenery-filled roof terrace, which is simply finished with pale grey seats and timber side tables. A number of potted succulents and tall leafy plants have also been placed at several points indoors. "There’s a strong emphasis on using interior planting to bring the space ‘alive’ while utilising the outdoor terraces to their full potential to create an oasis within the club," explained Russell Sage Studios. A more opulent material palette has been introduced in the basement, where a speakeasy-style bar has been created for members – the drinks counter is fronted by emerald-green tiles, while shiny gold brass has been used to form tables. Fringed pendant lamps also hang at the centre of the room’s vaulted ceiling booths, complemented by rich red velvet chairs. The recently-opened Soho House Mumbai members club has interiors that reference traditional Indian textiles – its guest suites feature lampshades made from vintage saris, while its cinema has walls upholstered in fabrics that were hand printed in Rajasthan. Photography is by Adam Scott unless stated otherwise. Project credits: Interior design: Cavendish Studios; Joel Bernstein and Rebecca Gaon, Russell Sage Studio Lighting designer: Xavio Architects: Feix&Merlin
Why you should care Tammy Frazer is making high-end fragrances, candles and soaps that are 100 percent natural and non-toxic. The year, 2007; the place, Sydney. Life is good for South African-born Tammy Frazer. She has a marketing job at a forward-thinking bank, a mentorship that’s opened her eyes to the world of agribusiness and (almost) a master’s degree in communications. One Sunday a conversation with friends turns to perfume. The group moves on, but Frazer fixates. Unable to sleep that night, she fires up her laptop and slips through the looking glass into the nascent world of natural fragrances. The next morning, she quits her job. Frazer Parfum, the company Frazer founded in 2008, is one of a handful of perfumers turning up their noses at the synthetic ingredients used by the biggest names in the business, choosing instead to make scents from nature. Relying on distillation innovations like CO2 extraction, the company turns roots, resins, flowers, leaves and citrus into all-natural essential oil fragrances. It’s still early days (“Most perfume shops don’t know what a natural fragrance is,” she says), but Frazer has captured the attention of New York Fashion Week, the Smithsonian Museum of African Art and model-turned-writer Sophie Dahl (who touted Frazer’s Rose & Tuberose in British Vogue ). The natural fragrance category has evolved “in tandem with the emphasis on healthier lifestyles,” says Jack Corley, president of the Natural Fragrance Division at Custom Essence in New Jersey. While the U.S. fragrance market dropped from over $4 billion in 2012 to $3.8 billion in 2018 — due to oversaturation, sameness and boredom with celebrity products — natural fragrances “have grown at an average of 8 percent per annum over the last five years,” Corley notes. With the overall natural/organic personal care market valued at $16.6 billion last year — 3.6 percent of which is spent on fragrances — natural aromas like Frazer’s represent a $540 million market. On the flip side, however, natural perfumes don’t last as long as their synthetic competition, they tend to cost more and are crafted from only 600 ingredients — compared to 3,600 used in regular perfumes. Humans may be sophisticated creatures, says Frazer, “but we are still very clumsy in how we engage with smell.” With four collections under her belt, Frazer, 40, is expanding her business from scenting people to scenting spaces as well. She’s devoted the last couple of years to developing room sprays, linen sprays and a range of 36 aromatherapy candles with names like Sleepyhead and Gardener’s Lawn — all designed to make a room smell not like a specific ingredient (à la Diptyque candles) but rather to evoke a particular emotion. Humans may be sophisticated creatures, says Frazer, “but we are still very clumsy in how we engage with smell.” Clumsy is precisely how I feel when we meet in the heady laboratory above her home in Cape Town. Seated at a stainless-steel countertop and flanked by functional flasks on one side (production) and hand-blown glass and porcelain on the other (packaging), Frazer lifts the lid on a complex world I had never so much as sniffed. Example: Redheads, she informs me, have “this really fatty scent” that fights with most perfumes but “works amazingly with orange blossom and ambrette seed.” Granted, Fraser had a head start on the rest of us. Her grandfather, Graham Wulff, invented Oil of Olay in 1952, and her dad worked for Swiss fragrance house Givaudan. While the Olay connection helped Frazer secure her first contract — with Harrods, no less — she’s since moved on because of the legendary department store’s “old-fashioned” brand, in Frazer’s telling, and increasingly high-cost shelf space. Her first move was meeting the dean of ISIPCA, the international perfumery school in Versailles, France, for postgraduate studies in perfume. But with a curriculum offering just a one-week course on natural scents, she knew it wouldn’t provide the education she was after. So, “I decided to follow the farmers.” She started in Grasse, aka the world’s perfume capital, and connected with as many people as possible who could teach her about the ingredients and how they are used in fragrance making. From there, Frazer was introduced to mentors from Switzerland to Belgium, and soon she had built her debut fragrance collection. For her second collection, she was the first to showcase natural resins found only on the African continent . Next up was Bok — which coincided with the birth of her first child and features a kids’ perfume, room spray and bar soap. INR, the company’s fourth collection, celebrates the importance of self. “We have come a long way since women wore perfume purely for others, namely men,” says Frazer. INR is “about how you feel. … It is about your memories, your tears, your smiles and overcoming the little daily fears that hold you back.” She’s also spent time putting together Skin Portraits, the first and only “scent novella” to be displayed by the Smithsonian that consists of photographs, essays and fragrances that capture nine notable South Africans. More recently, Frazer partnered with Nandipha Mntambo, a visual artist known for using natural materials to explore female identity and the human body, to design “a scent that would evoke the smell and the feel of … cowhide,” as Mntambo puts it. Design consultant Gary Cotterell, who has known Frazer for years and oversaw the collaboration, was impressed by Frazer’s commitment to hand-crafting a beautiful product that’s 100 percent natural (“It’s much harder than it looks,” he says). Silvana Bottega, a South African wine marketer who worked with Frazer to create a “parfum du vin” — a scent inspired by wine with hints of rose petals, splashes of ripe berries, light vanilla and the smoky essence of the barrels — praises “the depth of [her] sensory vocabulary” and her refusal to compromise. Despite her success to date, “Tammy is still quite under the radar,” says Cotterell. “She doesn’t have a flashy personality,” and she’s so involved in every aspect of her business that there’s a self-imposed ceiling on how much she can achieve. Ten years in, Frazer Parfum is only sold online, but Frazer is determined to crack the mainstream market — despite the substantial challenges inherent in her more expensive, harder-to-source products. She’s talking to a luxury South African homeware brand about stocking her aromatherapy candles, she recently created a fragrance for a South African clothing chain, and she’s planning a concept store in California, chosen because residents there “already live and breathe wellness.” She admits it’s been a steep learning curve, but the former marketing exec knows that producing at higher volumes is the key to reducing prices and extending her brand’s reach. But she’d never sell out — would she? “I’d love to ‘sell out’!” she exclaims, saying it would be “incredible” if a “bigger, knowledgeable industry powerhouse” were to purchase and grow the Frazer brand. That, it seems, would be the smell of success.
Africa’s long held rich cultural history and heritage was told in a symbolic fashion at presumably the largest and longest tourism event in West Afica. Filled with enthusiasm, colour, and glamour, the 2018 Calabar Carnival attracted over two million tourists, who gathered in the city of Calabar, to learn the African story with over 50 million television audience, watching the street parade and International Carnival competition from live broadcast. Calabar Carnival is an annual, special and popular cultural festival, that displays African culture and heritage by means of music, dressing, drama and other cultural creativities of talented persons- and it is held every December in Calabar, Nigeria. The festival, is usually a 32-day annual street party from December 31 to January 1, and this year’s edition particularly, under the theme; ‘Africanism’ was used to tell the story of the African race. The festival, is understood to be the peak of tourism in Cross River state, and perhaps the whole of Nigeria, as tourists from all over the world gather for the period to share in the African history. Participants were highly costumed in an admirable spectacle that reflected the cultural heritage of the African people. The drama, music, dance and costume showcased by particapants were all creatively tailored to tell a particular story about the African race. Over 26 countries from different continents joined in this year’s procession and display of culture and heritage from of Nigeria and other parts of the continent. Among the list of countries that participated in the International Carnival competition were Ghana’s Carnival Queens, Mexico, South Africa, Indonessia, Lithuania, Brazil, Kenya, Senegal, Tanzania, Switzerland, United States Of America, Canada and Ukraine. These countries who participated in the International Carvival competition at the U.J Esuene Stadium infrint of judges who scored marks for the best participants. At the end of the competition, the 1st prize was awarded to Switzerland, while the second and third prize were given to Mexico and Lithuania, respectively. Eventhough Ghana’s Carnival Queens gave an interesting account of how the Ga’s journeyed from Egypt to present location in Ghana, it was not enough to win them any laurel. For the many other events that was held, among the highlights of the Carnival was the Calabar Carnival Parade that featured 50,000 costumed revellers who performed in five major carnival bands and other 10 non-competing bands in a 12 kilometer parade route. It was filled with colour, sparkle, DJs, live musicians, steel bands, incredible floats and costumes, speaking high volume of the African unity and strength.Thousands, lined up the streets to watch the parade in admiration and the atmosphere was electricfying. Passion 4, won in the overall battle of the bands and street parade, with Seagull placing second and Freedom band coming third. As commented by Professor Ben Ayade, Governor of Cross River State, the 2018 Calabar Carnival was a platform to showcase Africa to the world. “With the theme Africanism, Africa has the opportunity of telling the whole world its story the way it knows best which is through its dance and bright colours," he said. “Civilisation started in Africa, so Africa must take its pride of place in the world. We are also here to show that Africa as a continent is the future, Europe is the past while Asia was the present,” he added. Calabar hosted the world successfully without any blemish throughout the duration of the festival. Some tourists who spoke to the GNA commended the – Cross River State Carnival Commission for the quality level of hospitality, security, transport system and organisation. "The exhilarating display of the rich African culture and heritage was worth every minute in Calabar," Nora, a Ukrainian said.
Alex Da Corte’s “Rubber Pencil Devil,” from 2018, at the Carnegie International’s 57th edition. Alex Da Corte and Karma New York; Tom Little For the art world, the biggest news coming out of Pittsburgh last year should have been the opening of the 57th edition of the Carnegie International , the oldest survey exhibition of visual art in the United States. Instead, news of that exhibition was eclipsed in October by a shooting at the progressive Tree of Life Synagogue in the Squirrel Hill neighborhood of Pittsburgh, which killed 11 people and wounded six. Art seems minor in the wake of such events. And yet, as time and history stretch out in the aftermath of trauma, art becomes a prime place where tragedy is acknowledged, memorialized and processed. Art is an inherently hopeful gesture, and as institutions increasingly become forums (“laboratories,” in the current parlance) for new ideas — not just places to show off wealth or wield “soft power” — they can be places to heal and ponder how to move forward. In Pittsburgh — where vast sums of money made relatively quickly during the Industrial Revolution were spent on art — museums and alternative spaces abound, complementing many schools and universities. Contemporary art, with its global ambitions, feels right at home. The city was, historically, a magnet for immigrants and home to indigenous peoples. A recent tour of Pittsburgh showed how the vibrant visual arts community, in many ways, offers a model for diversity and tolerance. El Anatsui’s “Three Angles,” draped on the Carnegie Museum of Art for the Carnegie International. Carnegie International, 57th Edition, 2018 Through March 25 at Carnegie Museum of Art; 412-622-3131, cmoa.org . This edition of the Carnegie International, organized by Ingrid Schaffner , includes 32 artists and artist collectives — and very few unfamiliar names. The upside of this approach is that many of the artists here are midcareer and know, from experience, how to operate within the potentially homogenizing context of a large exhibition and create exceptional displays. Several here are outstanding, activating the Carnegie Museum of Art’s collection and making you think differently about art history. On the outside of the museum, El Anatsui , the Ghanaian sculptor who has become one of the most imitated artists in Africa, has draped the upper facade of the entrance with a work made from his signature found bottle caps and printing plates sourced from a Pittsburgh printing press. The work treats the museum like a kind of body to be dressed with a garment. Inside the galleries, Ulrike Müller and Sarah Crowner use bright tiles, enamel, weaving and canvases sewn together to test the line between art and craft. Nearby, a terrific presentation of portraits by Lynette Yiadom-Boakye with cryptic titles suggests painting as a portal into the everyday lives of her characters, while Dayanita Singh’ s installation with lush silver gelatin images bundled in cloth in India questions how history in the form of images is archived and stored. The boundary between furniture and sculpture is playfully transgressed in Jessi Reaves’s fantastic full-room installation, where art and design blend. You’re encouraged to sit on the sculpture-furniture. If you make the pilgrimage out to Fallingwater , Frank Lloyd Wright’s “cabin” masterpiece designed for the family of Edgar J. Kaufmann, you can see Ms. Reaves’s sculpture on the terrace, made during a residency there: a lanky homemade shelving unit with an iridescent burgundy zip-on mantle that looks like a sadomasochistic vampire’s cape. Back in the museum, Josiah McElheny, working with the curators John Corbett and Jim Dempsey , shows his MacArthur-award mettle with an expertly researched display. Curious musical instruments and documents relate to maverick composers like Harry Partch, Pauline Oliveros and Lucia Dlugoszewski , who created sculptural wooden instruments that are one of the standouts of the installation. Two artists who engage with the Carnegie’s collection in innovative ways are Karen Kilimnik and Jeremy Deller . Mr. Deller has installed tiny video screens in window-size cases in the museum, turning historical displays of upscale living rooms into updated everypersons’ dollhouses. Ms. Kilimnik is exhibiting her effusively florid paintings alongside the Carnegie’s decorative arts collection, as if to show how the salon-style hang, created to bring art (and intellectual discourse) to mass audiences in the French salons of the 18th and 19th centuries, could also be a form of aspirational kitsch. An installation view of Koyo Kouoh’s “Dig Where You Stand,” from the Carnegie International. One of the most ambitious presentations here is the terrific show-within-a-show, “Dig Where You Stand,” organized by the Cameroon-born Koyo Kouoh , with research contributed by graduate students at the University of Pittsburgh. Drawing from the collections of the Carnegie Museums for what she calls a “visual essay,” she points out that changing language is the taproot of changing ideas. She wants us to rethink “coloniality” — different forms of colonialism and occupation — since Africa, she points out in the guide, is a continent with 54 very different countries; the one thing they all share is that they were colonized. Throughout the ocher-colored space she has paired objects and images to make you question their origins and messages. African sculptures sit near Mickalene Thomas’s photograph of black women assuming the pose from a famous Manet painting. Screenprints by Kara Walker are juxtaposed with a cutout silhouette of an “honorable” gentleman holding a whip. Ms. Kouoh throws all categories into a quandary. Bernd and Hilla Becher’s black-and-white photographs of outdated industrial structures in Germany — considered landmarks of conceptual art — are shown next to Teenie Harris’s photographs of a 1950s home-appliance fair for African-Americans in Pittsburgh. What defines art history and constitutes a survey museum? What’s included, championed and omitted — and how do those decisions reflect colonial and racist history? The implication is that every encyclopedic museum is probably sitting on a trove of exceptional objects that could be artfully rearranged to promote diversity, inclusion and tolerance, rather than acquisition and power. (Unless, of course, all the art should be “repatriated” and sent back to where it was made, though “home” may no longer exist.) A view of Karina Smigla-Bobinski’s installation, “ADA,” at the Mattress Factory in Pittsburgh. Artists in Residence Through Aug. 4 at the Mattress Factory; 412-231-3169, mattress.org . The Mattress Factory , Pittsburgh’s premier alternative space, housed in a former industrial building and a couple of annexes, has become a mecca for installation art. Here you will find immersive works by the pioneering light artist James Turrell and one of Yayoi Kusama ’s wildly popular “infinity rooms.” The focus, however, is on the temporary residents at the Mattress Factory and what they produce. The projects by 2018 residents include the Brazilian collective OSGEMEOS ’s top-floor installation, with large yellow light bulbs sprouting from the floor, altered photographs and paintings that pay homage to cheap portrait studios in Latin America, and a wild zoetrope, a pre-film animation device that winds up a couple of times a day. Laleh Mehran ’s darkened room in the basement relies on viewer-activated digital effects that update the ancient Persian concept of “Boroosh” or “glimmer of light.” In the nearby Monterey Annex, Karina Smigla-Bobinski ’s transparent ball, studded with charcoal and inspired by nanobiotechnology and 19th-century computer prototypes, becomes a viewer-activated drawing machine you can bounce off the walls. Christina A. West ’s electric apple-hued “Screen” (2018) is like a distorted fun house inspired by photographic green screens. In general, the works at the Mattress Factory are engaging crowd pleasers that challenge how we create and relate to our environments — although sometimes they sacrifice rigor for social-media “likes.” Zach Blas’s “Contra-Internet: Jubilee 2033,” from 2018, a video still, from “Paradox: The Body in the Age of AI,” at Miller ICA. ‘Paradox: The Body in the Age of AI’ Through Feb. 3 at Miller ICA at Carnegie Mellon University; 412-268-3618, miller-ica.cmu.edu . Located on a university campus and close to research laboratories devoted to information technology, “ Paradox: The Body in the Age of AI ,” a show of 11 contemporary artists organized by Elizabeth Chodos at Miller ICA, offers a perfect context for considering humans of the future. The title refers to Moravec’s paradox, the discovery that we can teach machines to reason and play chess — but not to master toddler-level sensorimotor skills encoded in the human brain through evolution. Claudia Hart’s installation with a virtual reality headset activates this principle by putting you in a new, disorienting sensorial environment. Jes Fan and Nick Cave create biomorphic sculptures that imagine new life-forms, and Zach Blas ’s speculative video envisions a post-gender, post-capitalist cyberworld. Questioning the role of the artist in the age of artificial intelligence, Brian Bress includes his own work-in-progress as one of the illusionistic layers in a video laden with visual trickery, called “Sunset Geometry” (2018). Siebren Versteeg ’s algorithmically generated painting machine makes attractive abstractions, suggesting that AI is slowly closing the gap between rational computing and corporeal creativity. Devan Shimoyama’s “Cry, Baby” at the Andy Warhol Museum. ‘Devan Shimoyama: Cry, Baby’ Through March 17 at the Andy Warhol Museum; 412-237-8300, warhol.org . In the mid-1970s, Andy Warhol was commissioned by an Italian art dealer to create portraits of drag stars who treated gender — altered through clothing, wigs and makeup — as a medium. “Ladies and Gentlemen” (1974-75) is paradoxically one of Warhol’s largest and yet least-known series. A collaged painting made with glitter, rhinestones and jewelry by Devan Shimoyama , an art professor at Carnegie Mellon University, hangs alongside the “Ladies and Gentlemen” paintings, creating a near-perfect pairing. On another floor in the Warhol Museum, Mr. Shimoyama presents dozens of paintings, sculptures and photographs in which he uses himself as a boundary-testing and stereotype-breaking model, often in the imagined context of the African-American barbershop, a hotbed of heteronormative masculinity. A series of photographs created by Mr. Shimoyama during a residency on Fire Island in New York, in 2015, documents private rituals he performed on the beach with driftwood. He made the photographs at a moment when violence against black Americans was, once again, headline news, and began by reading about witchcraft, queer counterculture and chaos magic, photographing his body like a shaman, in the same way Warhol’s subjects performed in various genders to rise above a bleak real world. Paper couture by Isabelle de Borchgrave: a red gown for Charlotte-Marguerite de Montmorency, princess of Condé, 2017, at the Frick Pittsburgh. ‘Isabelle de Borchgrave: Fashioning Art From Paper’ Through Jan. 6 at the Frick Pittsburgh; 412-371-0600, thefrickpittsburgh.org . The Belgian artist Isabelle de Borchgrave uses paper to remake historical costumes and dresses in famous museum paintings. Inspired by a visit to the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute in the mid-1990s, Ms. de Borchgrave’s crumpled, pleated and painted marvels sit perfectly within the Frick’s collection of old masters, imitating the silk, satin, velvet and brocade the artists captured in paint. There are re-creations here of costumes worn by queens and mythical goddesses in masterpieces by Botticelli and other painters, and of fashion designs by Paul Poiret and Jeanne Lanvin. Some of her most stunning works here, however, hang on walls: They recreate Central Asia caftans from the 1700s to the 1800s, which Ms. de Borchgrave first encountered in Istanbul. They demonstrate her considerable skill as a painter and expand the Frick’s Western European-inspired collection into the customs and aesthetics of cultures far beyond the aspirations of Pittsburgh’s Gilded Age patrons.
A look from the Balenciaga ready-to-wear spring/summer 2019 show. Image credit: Indigital Everybody’s talking about the circular fashion system. But what is it, and can it work? “We know what we need to do,” says Dame Ellen MacArthur, fixing me with her intense grey-blue stare. “We have to redesign the industry so that it’s restorative and regenerative.” Her tone says that this is entirely achievable and there’s no need to make a song and dance about it. Still. It does seem rather … monumental. “Isn’t that a bit of a tall order?” I venture. “To redesign the whole fashion industry?” “Not just the fashion industry,” she says, “but the global economy.” We are conversing at the Copenhagen Fashion Summit, where industry heavy-weights come together each May to try to figure out how to make fashion more sustainable. This is the second year running that MacArthur has been a drawcard speaker. A Brit who found fame as a record-breaking yachtswoman, in 2005 MacArthur became the fastest person to sail solo non-stop around the world. This she followed with something arguably more extraordinary: she gave up her passion in order to promote the circular economy. Her lightbulb moment happened at sea, when dealing with finite resources. That round-the-world voyage took her 71 days, 14 hours and 18 minutes. “I wrote in my logs: ‘What I have on this boat is all I have.’” Extending that thinking to the global economy was the next step. Today her eponymous foundation works with business, academia and organisations like the UN Environment Programme, European Commission and World Economic Forum to facilitate the transition to a circular economy, that is: one that designs out waste and pollution, keeps materials in use and regenerates natural systems. Change is overdue. The UK is running out of landfill space. In Australia, we’ve relied on exporting most of our recycling, and China’s recent “ban on foreign waste” is causing headaches – we simply don’t have the systems in place to deal with it all here. According to the ABC’s War on Waste , Australians throw away 6,000 kilos of fashion and textile waste every 10 minutes, while some estimates suggest that up to a third of all the garments produced annually around the world are never sold. Where do they go? The Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s 2017 report A New Textiles Economy states that less than one per cent is recycled into new clothing. Down-cycling into things like industrial rags or furniture stuffing is more likely. Used clothing is on-sold via re-commerce sites and flea markets, and donated to charities.It’s also exported by the bale to mitumba (second-hand) markets in Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda and elsewhere. Oxfam estimates that 70 per cent of used clothing donated to charities globally ends up in Africa, where mountains of cheap old clothes are killing local textile industries. Several East African countries are currently pushing for a ban. Figures for how much pre-consumer fashion waste is destroyed are harder to come by. Burberry was in the news at the end of the financial year for admitting to destroying A$49 million worth of unsold goods, but they’re not alone; it’s common practice. Last year a Swedish television program revealed that a power plant in Vasteras had been burning unsold H&M clothes as fuel, while the New York Times reported that sneakers from a SoHo Nike store had been mutilated and dumped on the sidewalk. Interestingly, these three companies are at the forefront of searching for solutions. Nike and H&M are global partners of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation. Burberry joins them, along with Stella McCartney and PVH (which owns Calvin Klein and Tommy Hilfiger) as core partners for MacArthur’s new Make Fashion Circular initiative. At the production level, Burberry works with London-based company Elvis & Kresse to repurpose leather waste from the cutting-room floor. Nike’s Flyknit sneakers use waste-reduction design principles, while the brand’s Reuse-A-Shoe program turns worn-out shoes into Nike Grind, a material used to surface sports courts and playgrounds. H&M introduced its first in-store clothing recycling bins back in 2012, inviting customers to donate unwanted clothing from any brand. H&M Group’s head of sustainability Anna Gedda expects the industry’s textile recycling capabilities to improve within the next five years. No-one aspires to squander. We’ve gotten ourselves into this mess unthinkingly but all of us must shoulder some of the blame. The issue calls for bold new thinking, collaboration and a willingness to let go of what we’re used to. Back in 2002, circular economy thought leaders Michael Braungart and William McDonough noted in their book, Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things , that “neither the health of natural systems, nor an awareness of their delicacy, complexity and interconnectedness, have been part of the industrial design agenda”. Sixteen years on, MacArthur says with devastating simplicity: “Our current system is broken. It can’t work in the long term.” Advocates for a circular economy believe we must change the way that we design, make, sell and consume products and, in the process, reframe how we think about materials and resources, durability, longevity and end-of-use. Literally, it’s about moving from a line to a circle: closing the loop. Forget ‘take, make, dispose’. In its place? Keep resources in the system, thereby retaining their value. Generally speaking, since the Industrial Revolution our system has been linear: we extract, harvest, hunt, mine or otherwise obtain resources from nature, and often use them to manufacture goods with built-in obsolescence. We dispose of these goods to make room for new ones. Mostly, that means landfill. Sometimes, worse: only 14 per cent of plastic packaging, for example, is collected for recycling, and eight million tonnes of plastics enter the oceans each year. That’s obviously bad for the environment, but it’s now looking bad for the bottom line, too. Walter Stahel is a Swiss architect and academic who is credited with being the first person to use the term “cradle to cradle” in the 1970s. He argues that, for the last century, we’ve been able to get away with our wasteful linear approach because resource prices for energy and materials have constantly decreased, but in the future the trend is towards prices constantly increasing. When waste no longer adds up, it must be redefined as a resource. In such a context, businesses will need to carefully manage, and keep hold of, their existing finite materials. Global Fashion Agenda (the not-for-profit arm of the Copenhagen Fashion Summit) warns: “If the fashion industry does not start acting now, the linear model will soon reach its physical limits. According to current forecasts, the world population will exceed 8.5 billion by 2030, and global garment production will increase by 63 per cent.” As the eco meme goes: “There is no Planet B.” So how might we practically apply circular principles to fashion? According to the UK-based charity WRAP (Waste Resources Action Programme), as much as 80 per cent of a product’s environmental impact is determined at the design stage. That gives brands and designers power to reshape the system. So tomorrow’s designers will consider what happens to that dress after its first wearer is done with it. In Cradle to Cradle , McDonough and Braungart explain how materials fall broadly into two categories: they can “be composed either of materials that biodegrade and become food for biological cycles” – think about a tree that sheds its autumn leaves, which then become food for the soil – “or of technical materials that stay in closed-loop cycles”. Here lies your plastic and metal, non-biodegradable packaging, your phone, your car. In a circular system, these technical and biological nutrients are kept separate. A pair of poly-cotton yoga pants provides a good example: in its natural state the cotton component is biodegradable, but the addition of the plastic fibre turns the garment into what McDonough calls “a Frankenstein product” that’s difficult to disassemble and reuse. Under a linear system, there’s little incentive to care if something is tricky to recycle, but if the brand retains responsibility for its products at the end of the value chain, that’s a different proposition. “Let’s look at automotive,” suggests MacArthur. Not long ago, owning a car was a cultural norm. Everyone who could afford one, bought one. “That is no longer the case. People have leases, or they access a car when they need one through a car-sharing scheme.” Millennials are less interested in car ownership than previous generations and that trend will deepen. “Manufacturers know things are changing and that they’re going to be building different cars in the future. Cars will be re-manufacturable and repairable, because users won’t own them; the manufacturers will own them and it will be in their interests to design them so that all the materials will be recoverable.” She believes that fashion is also poised to focus on access over ownership. Designer subscription wardrobes already exist. Beijing-based YCloset works on a subscription model whereby for around $100 a month, subscribers get unlimited access to a virtual closet. Kenzo and Acne began working with the platform last year. US leader Rent the Runway’s tagline is “save time, save money, save the planet”. On the site, you can rent all sorts of designer items for a fraction of their retail price. CEO Jennifer Hyman told Glossy last year that she plans to put Zara out of business. Rent the Runway hit US$100 million in revenue in 2016 and the company is growing. With nine million members online, they are branching out with physical stores in five US cities. According to the Washington Post (reporting on data from third parties), only around six percent of fashion fans have rented clothing in the US but Gen Z has a totally different view: “Fifty -seven per cent of teenagers wish brands offered more ways to rent or borrow items.” In Australia, Glam Corner is the market leader. The company has been in the game for six years, and rents pieces by Zimmermann, Camilla and Marc and Alice McCall. Co-founder and COO Audrey Khaing-Jones says the market is evolving. “Most of our customers [still] discover us when looking for a one-off item that they’d have spent a lot of money on but only worn once – think ballgowns, wedding guest outfits, bridesmaids … [But they are] looking for an increasingly wide range of products.” A thriving new circular economy will be as complex as the old linear one, incorporating circular materials, resource efficiency, renewable energy and design for longevity and multiple owners, as well as things like local sourcing, detoxifying supply chains and developing new ways to access products. System change requires unprecedented collaboration. Anne Gedda says these goals exist “beyond competition”. As of July 2018, 94 companies, including H&M, Kering (which owns Gucci, Balenciaga and Alexander McQueen), PVH, Nike and Adidas, have signed up to Global Fashion Agenda’s 2020 Circular Fashion Commitment. The aim is to work on circular design strategies, increase the amount of used product that’s collected and resold, and step up the use of recycled, post-consumer fibres. “This is about opportunity,” says MacArthur. “It’s about redesigning things to be better, it’s about innovation, creativity and positivity. We can do things better. Isn’t that a great thing to run towards?” This article originally appeared in Vogue Australia’s October 2018 issue.
It’s been nearly 20 years since Nairobi-based designer Anna Trzebinski launched her eponymous clothing, jewelry, and accessories line, which has since attracted a global following of discerning customers. In building her enterprise, says Trzebinski, she has not traveled an easy road, but rather has taken a long and at times challenging journey, which has in the end brought a profound sense of reward. Muse recently spoke with the designer about the current craze for ethical design in the luxury space and the lessons learned from the women of Africa’s traditional societies. What brought you to Kenya in the first place? My parents moved to Kenya from West Germany in the mid 1960s, when I was an infant, as they had no interest in bringing their children up in dreary postwar Europe. For them, Africa represented a place of freedom and rebirth, which it remains for me to this day. My father was an architect who built us a beautiful house. Not long after they moved here, however, my mother, who was not happy in the marriage, left my father for a neighbor, Michael Cunningham-Reid, who happened to be the stepson of Lord Delamere, one of the first prominent British settlers in Kenya. Trzebinski in the studio and fitting new garments. What was it like growing up in East Africa? Growing up I lived largely under the radar of my mother and stepfather’s very self-absorbed life. And while I had a privileged upbringing, with drivers and cooks and nannies and accounts at the local provisions store, I suffered quite a bit from emotional neglect. Luckily, our domestic staff provided the nurturing and care and love and safety that was otherwise lacking. I spoke [Swahili] fluently, ate what they ate, and basically felt entirely safe, loved, and at home among the local Kenyans, which really formed my DNA and became the foundation of my relationship to my country. My life was pretty dysfunctional but also full of adventure and freedom. I lived a carefree happy independent barefoot African childhood. Raw untamed wilderness was my playground literally right outside our gate. I have memories of leopard and giraffe drinking out of our pool at night. What led you to launch your line of clothing and accessories? I just needed a creative outlet. In 2001, my husband [artist Tonio Trzebinski] was having a show in New York and I took a suitcase full of my creations—fine woolen scarves and leather jackets embellished with Maasai and Samburu beadwork and beadwork bracelets and collars. A friend of mine arranged a meeting with the buyers for Donna Karan, and on our way back through London, I met the team at Paul Smith. As it turned out, I landed two substantial orders. But then my world was turned totally upside down. A month after 9/11, my husband was shot dead in a car jacking. He lost his life at the age of 41, leaving me with our two children, Lana and Stas, then aged 8 and 9. My world was utterly shattered. Ultimately, creativity turned tears and heartbreak into beautiful things and somehow that saved me. I also found unbelievable support among the amazing women I was working with—the Maasai and Samburu. Together, we have created, grown, and maintained our tiny Kenya-based artisanal couture house, which has enabled us to raise our kids together. “Women are the heartbeat of this continent. They are the movers and shakers, but perhaps more important, women are the breadwinners, the ones that take responsibility for stability and raising the kids.” Has it been easy doing business as a female entrepreneur in Africa? Most certainly. If you think about it, women are the backbone of African society. Women are the heartbeat of this continent. They are the movers and shakers, but perhaps more important, women are the breadwinners, the ones that take responsibility for stability and raising the kids. Education is incredibly important in Africa and there is a huge pool of educated women, particularly now, as boys, who tended to be favored to receive schooling in the past, have not always proven so reliable when it comes to supporting their families. There is also a huge pool of women who themselves lack formal schooling but are determined to educate their own children and many of them happen to be skilled artisans. It is with this latter group that the beauty of my business comes in big time. Trzebinski’s designs. You have made a point of running an “ethical” fashion brand? What is quite interesting now is that there is suddenly a desire for “ethical fashion,” particularly in the luxury sector, which I wholeheartedly embrace. But for so many companies wanting to capitalize on the concept, it is not quite as sincere as it sounds. A number of companies have come here with a desire to bring the women out of the villages and get them into factories to produce what turns out in many cases to be only a totemic amount of product…just enough to get a bit of PR value out of their enterprises. I have found that it is much better to have the women work on their own terms, coming together in communal workspaces within the context of their own lives and within the village support systems they have. We make a point of being sensitive to what works for the local pace and culture and life. In the end, everything we make is 100 percent biodegradable apart from some nylon threads used and a few buttons. We never overproduce, and our pieces are by design anything but seasonal. They are signature pieces that do not go out of style or they are one-of-a-kind heirlooms. We are upholding so many traditional ways of doing things. Anna Trzebinski in her workshop. You have become involved with the Samburu on a more personal level? A couple of years after I lost Tonio, I wound up taking respite in the bush, in Laikipia, where I had spent quite a bit of time in the past. And it was on the second of these retreats that I met Loyaban Lemarti, a Samburu warrior and guide. His uncle had been one of the first guides I had met when I was 16. Lemarti and I fell in love and got married in 2005. And we wound up establishing Lemarti’s Camp, a high-end tented safari camp in Laikipia. We have a daughter Tacha, who just turned 12. But the marriage was not to last. When we separated, I so mourned that I would somehow lose this traditional way of life. Day by day, however, small groups of Samburu arrived at my doorstep— including my in-laws—welcoming me back, reassuring me that I was loved and would always be part of that place. And now that Lemarti and I have transitioned into a wonderful friendship, it all feels safe again. And I maintain a farm in Laikipia. Trzebinski and her design team in the studio. You have found a mentor of sorts in Ralph Lauren. Ralph Lauren has been incredibly supportive over the years. We met in 2012, when he and his wife, Ricky, came to visit us at Lemarti’s Camp to celebrate their wedding anniversary during the winter holidays. At that time, he seemed quite taken by the authenticity of the pieces we had created and encouraged me to really expand my offerings. Of course, at that point I had no idea that I had built a “brand.” They sat me down and interrogated me, and Ralph invited me to New York, where we met to strategize on a path forward. He even suggested that I look to open a shop in New York, which we did consider. I actually opened a shop in Aspen for a couple of years. Last summer, I decided to bring the business home to Nairobi to regroup. Ultimately, we have chosen to host nomadic pop-up shops where our clients can get immersed in the cultures of Africa in a far more meaningful way. Ralph continues to be a source of encouragement and inspiration for me, especially since my return to Nairobi, where it all began. Tell us about you vision for the brand going forward. I think we have an opportunity to be a luxury brand for the next era, a brand that has traditional artisanal craftsmanship at its core. Where our sense of purpose and our community is not boardroom derived but is fundamental to how we interact with each other, collaborate, and do business. Everyone doing well is a core societal belief among the traditional societies in Africa—sadly one that you do not necessarily have in the United States or even Europe. We believe that our craftsmanship is second to none. With that, we are going to be building our business around bringing our products to our exclusive global clientele and doing so at scale. This will be the future of our business. To cater our most discerning customers, the global elite, and give them reasons to get closer with and to the brand.