Gallery Tour: Stories of Style
On closing day of African-Print Fashion Now, join co-curator Betsy Quick for an exhibition walkthrough, touching on issues of taste, globalization, and style. Free and open to all.
Parking available in UCLA Lot 4
221 Westwood Plaza off Sunset Blvd
$3/hr or max $12/day
Since Africans create a wealth of local hand-dyed and handwoven fabrics, it is surprising that factory-produced “African print” is the cloth that many people across the continent and the diaspora universally appoint to signify heritage and memory. At the same time, these prints represent “global Africa.” In every West African country, citizens express national distinction through the styles they create. In fact, each country has two different basic styles. The first, tracing its roots to the early twentieth century, is a variation on the three-piece ensemble of long wrap-skirt, top, and scarf. Each country claims its own version, and seamstresses create infinite variations—fitted or boxy, ruffled, ruched, or pleated, full or narrow sleeves—that go in and out of fashion. Of course, consumers and seamstresses are always adopting new fashion elements from other countries to enhance their own national outfits. The second style belongs to “global fashion,” and consists of trendy dresses, jackets, and pants. Here, too, there are both specific national styles and much cross-border exchange among fashion-conscious West and Central Africans.