An exhibition about African fashion at the Victoria and Albert Museum will attempt to reframe the narrative about the continent, showcasing its independence and creativity following decades of false assumptions.
Africa Fashion opens on 11 June 2022 and will feature 250 objects telling the story of the continent through the work of its most prominent and influential designers.
“It will tell a tale of unbounded creativity and abundance,” said Christine Checinska, curator of African and African diaspora fashion at the museum. “To me that’s very different to the stories we have heard around ‘lack’, when it comes to Africa.”
The continent’s fashion output has been clouded by false assumptions, according to Kimberly Jenkins, who runs the Fashion and Race database, an organisation that aims to “decolonialise” fashion. “While there are regions that are in need due to war and poverty, the entire continent has often been misunderstood,” she said.
“There is the idea that Africa is not capable or equipped to showcase innovation or creative design.