A Look Back: African-Print Fashion Now! A Story of Taste, Globalization, and Style

MARCH 26–JULY 30, 2017

African-Print Fashion Now introduced Fowler audiences to “popular” African-print styles created by seamstresses and tailors across the continent; international runway fashions designed by Africa’s newest generation of couturiers; and transnational and youth styles favored in Africa’s urban centers. The exhibition told the global stories of “African-print cloth”: colorful, boldly designed, manufactured cotton textiles. These stories included the early history of the print cloth trade in West and Central Africa; the expansion of production following independence movements; and the increasing popularity of Asian-made print cloth today. Take a virtual walk through the exhibition:

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The exhibition featured popular African styles from Ghana, Nigeria, Côte d’Ivoire, Cameroon, and Senegal, as well as groundbreaking runway fashions by some of Africa’s most talented couturiers: Ituen Basi, Gilles Touré, Lanre da Silva Ajayi, Titi Ademola, Lisa Folawiyo, Dent de Man, Adama Paris, Patricia Waota, Ikiré Jones, Alexis Temomanin, and Afua Dabanka.


African-Print Fashion Now!: Designer Titi Ademola


African-Print Fashion Now!: Designer Alexis Temomanin

Black-and-white studio portraits illuminated print fashions of the 1960s and 1970s, while works by contemporary artists incorporated African prints to convey evocative messages about heritage, hybridity, displacement, and aspiration.

Contemporary photographs by Omar Victor Diop, Leonce Raphael Agbodjelou, and Hassan Hajjaj; paintings by Njideka Akunyili Crosby and Eddy Kamuanga Ilunga; and a mural by graffiti artist Docta suggested the ever-present role of fashion in African life. Throughout the exhibition, African-print fashions were celebrated as creative responses to key historical moments and the imaginings of Africa in the future.


Njideka Akunyili Crosby (b. Enugu, Nigeria, 1983)
Nyado: The Thing around Her Neck, 2011
Charcoal, acrylic, colored pencils, lace, collage, and
Xerox transfers on paper; 213.4 x 213.4 cm;
Courtesy the Artist and Victoria Miro, London.
©Njideka Akunyili Crosby

Exhibition Credits
African-Print Fashion Now! A Story of Taste, Globalization, and Style was organized by the Fowler Museum at UCLA in association with Vlisco Netherlands B.V. It was guest curated by Suzanne Gott with Kristyne S. Loughran, Betsy D. Quick, and Leslie W. Rabine.

Image at top:
African-Print Fashion Now! A Story of Taste, Globalization, and Style opening celebration on March 25, 2017.