13 African and Black-owned brands from Arise Fashion Week 2023 – ADJOAA
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13 African And Black-owned Brands From Arise Fashion Week 2023 To Have On Your Radar

Arise Fashion Week 2023 may have ended, but the talks are yet to end. The twentieth edition of the three day Fashion Week saw new faces and old faces. The event, which happened in Lagos, Nigeria celebrated the impact of the fashion industry in Africa and beyond.

2022 Fashion weeks saw an emergence of brands from Africa, some of whom were birthed during the pandemic. This year, more fashion brands from Africa who are geared towards sustainability made the news alongside diaspora based Black designers under the theme Arise Fashion Week 2023

We could not help but profile some of the 13 iconic and emerging fashion brands to grace this year's event. 

NKWO, NIGERIA 

Nkwo is an artisanal brand at the forefront of the sustainable fashion movement in Nigeria with the conservation of natural resources and the environment as the label's core values.
NKWO, NIGERIA

The brand is known to recycles and repurpose textiles to reduce waste. Nkow The brand  that can be passed down from generation to generation. The brand has been worn by the likes of Naomi Campbell on Vogue features.

Nkwo Onwuka  is the face behind the brand. She first started as a designer in 2007 in the UK, and later relaunched in 2012 at her home country, Nigeria.  Her love for nature inspired her to launch a sustainable platform that pushes for the conservation of natural resources. 

Onwuka has won numerous awards including CNMI Sustainable Fashion Awards, Bicester Collection Award for Emerging Designers. Last year, she also featured in the 2022 Billboard campaign for Conscious Fashion in New York City.

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BIANCA SAUNDERS, BRITAIN 

Bianca Saunders is a London-based menswear fashion brand birthed in 2017. The brand approaches design with what it describes as ‘a multi-disciplinary attitude that brings cross-cultural references into a modern and reinvigorated evolution of menswear’. 

BIANCA SAUNDERS, BRITAIN

Recognised by the British Fashion Council ‘as one to watch’ in 2018, the has  since won numerous accolades and featured in publications such as Vogue and the Guardian. 

BIANCA SAUNDERS, BRITAIN

Founder, Saunders is a British-Jamaican who takes inspiration from her Carribean roots to make pieces that redefine masculinity. She earned a BA. in Fashion Design and specialised in menswear for her master’s degree at Royal College of Art.  Bianca was a semi-finalist in the LVMH prize in 2021.

Mokodu Fall, Senegal 

Mokodu Fall is a Senegalese artist and designer from based in Italy.

Fall moved to Italy aged 22 to practise his painting after working as a political cartoonist in his home country. His art is profoundly rooted in Senegalese culture. 

MOKODU FALL, SENEGAL

Mokodu paints on clothes and loves to portray Black icons and has featured esteemed figures such as Nelson Mandela, Barack Obama, and Fela Kutiin his works.

His work has participated in numerous exhibitions around the world including the 2015 African Art fair Paris, May 2015 Biennial contemporary art and culture in Rome, Italy and Biennial Dak’art, Senegal in 2016. Fall is passionate about making eco-friendly, sustainable pieces that celebrate Black excellence.

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ZIVA LAGOS, NIGERIA

Tania Omotayo founded Ziva Lagos, a ready-to-wear fashion brand, in Nigeria in 2016.

The brand was founded with the goal of becoming the market leader in delivering affordable fast fashion to women across Africa.

All fabrics are sourced locally, and the clothes are designed and manufactured in their factory before being sold in their flagship store in the heart of Lekki, Lagos, Nigeria.

Tania moved to England when she was thirteen. She studied marketing and advertising and started her fashion career as a side hustle until she quit her job to do fashion full time. Omotayo has been named one of Forbes Africa 30 under 30 in 

Tania and team are committed to make fashion more accessible by instilling confidence in everyday women through trendy pieces created by an in-house team of incredibly talented illustrators, designers, and tailors led by our founder Tania.

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MARIYA SANUSI, NIGERIA 

Mariya Sanusi is an emerging brand from Nigeria that has self love at its heart. The brand is unique in the way it presents Northern Nigerian Culture and heritage in its designs.

Through African prints, nature and culture, Mariya brings to life a complete, feminine and modest design that suits the modern Nigerian woman who values modesty. Perhaps, what makes Mariya more worthy of purchasing is its giving back principle.

Though a very young brand, Sanusi contributes a portion of its sales to underprivileged women in Kano, Nigeria. 

Mariya Sanusi Abubakar is the founder of the brand. She is a fashion enthusiast and entrepreneur who describes her sense of fashion as bold. Mariya comes from the Northern part of Nigeria and never fails to make bold designs that reflect her heritage. 

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AJABENG, GHANA

Ajabeng is a unisex, Afro-minimalist brand that birthed at the intersection of minimalism and contemporary african art.

The brand's dedication to building a more sustainable fashion ecosystem is underscored by its commitment to fair employment practices, providing opportunities for young African creatives and maximising the use of biodegradable materials in its creations.

AJABENG, GHANA

AJABENG, GHANA

Travis Obeng-Casper, Ghanaian designer and artist is the founder of Ajabeng. He founded Ajabeng whilst still in school at Radford University in 2018.He has interned at top fashion brands like Ohemaa Ohene, Chiip O Neal and Versace Collection.

Travis was included in a list of Top eight designers by a panel made up of leading fashion Industry players including Naomi Campbell and Mobolajo Dawodu (GQ Style USA Fashion Director) during Arise Fashion Week in 2020. 

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BLOKE, NIGERIA 

Bloke is a Nigerian genderless artisanal label introducing a distinct notion of luxury by bridging contemporary design with a handcrafted approach, enveloped with an undertone of consciousness.

Bloke is a Nigerian genderless artisanal label introducing a distinct notion of luxury by bridging contemporary design with a handcrafted approach, enveloped with an undertone of consciousness.

Founded by Faith Oluwajimi in 2015, to create well thought out garments and objects for its performative function and collectable purpose. Bloke is a new cultural exploration of textiles and knitwear through an avant-garde eye approach.

Oluwajimi hails from Ogun State, Nigeria and studied agriculture before relocating to Lagos in 2015 to start his brand. He is a self taught designer who has been won many awards since debuting and has featured in Vogue Italia and Vice.

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OLOOH, IVORY COAST 

Olooh is a unisex fashion brand handcrafted in La Côte d'Ivoire using organic fabrics.​​​​​​​​⠀

Modernist shapes and bold colours makeup Olooh’s signature aesthetic, with founder and photographer Kader Diaby blending the Malinké aesthetic; his native tribe from the north of Côte d'Ivoire, known for its ample shapes and earthy tones, with the unique energy of Abidjan, his hometown.​​​​​​​​

AJABENG, GHANA

Diaby is an Ivorian photographer, musician and designer. He picked up sewing from his seamstress mother and started to make designs for his own photo shoots. He founded Olooh in 2018 inspired to make menswear that reflects Ivorian culture and modernity. ​​⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀

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SELAM FESSAHAYE, ERITREA

Selam is an EritreanSwedish  former stylist and costume designer. She showcased her first full collection in 2018 in Stockholm and has since won four awards including “ Eye Catcher” of the Year at Swedish Elle Gala.

SELAM FESSAHAYE, ERITREA

SELAM FESSAHAYE, ERITREA

FESSAHAYE describes her pieces as each having “its own identity, personality and character. This complexity shows many dimensions, which leads to diverse connections and experiences by viewing and wearing it”

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UNI FORM, SOUTH AFRICA 

Luke Radloff is uniform’s founder and creative director.

UNI FORM, SOUTH AFRICA

UNI FORM, SOUTH AFRICA

Radloff has rich experience in fashion and has applied his experiences into starting a brand that projects a new South Africa, “one that transcends outdated notions of what Africa has to offer”.

Uni Form is based in Johannesburg, South Africa and values producing quality and elegant garments. Uni Form’s pieces are trans-seasonal, perfect pick for anyone who values sustainably made garments. 

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F R U C H E, NIGERIA 

Fruché is a Nigerian sustainable fashion brand founded in 2014. The brand is a mix of traditional Nigerian culture, heritage, artisanal techniques and contemporary design.

F R U C H E, NIGERIA

The brand embodies a unique sensibility that seamlessly combines an outspoken narrative and a bold sensuality that is luxuriously modern. It also aims to explore rich, historical, radical, futuristic and modern progressive stories that challenge the notion that Nigerian/ African women and men are expected to look and dress a certain way.

F R U C H E, NIGERIA

The brand was founded by Frank Aghuno, a self taught designer from Lagos who was inspired by his designer mother whom he describes as his biggest influence.

PEPPER ROW, NIGERIA 

Pepper Row is an emerging luxury and sustainable fashion brand in Nigeria. It was founded in 2018 by creative director Omafume Niemogha.  

The brand capitalises on its rich African heritage to redefine and make contemporary, modern wear for the young free-spirited African. The brand has a strong commitment to sustainability, always prioritising the needs of their local artisans and employing upcycling processes in their production. Pepper Row is also an alumnus of Arise Africa’s inaugural Arise 30 Under 30 in 2020. 

PEPPER ROW, NIGERIA

A bright spark, Omofume has two degrees, one in Chemical engineering from the University of Lagos and one in manufacturing engineering from the University of West of England. Her goal is  to promote Africa’s rich cultural and artisanal craftsmanship in a sustainable manner.

VICNATE, NIGERIA

VICNATE

Vicnate is a Nigerian emerging fashion sensation founded by Victor Anate. Vicnate transcends personal and social engagements and embraces a vision that is simple, deliberate, and packed with youthful bursts.

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