African-Print Fashion Now! A Story of Taste, Globalization, and Style (2017)

By: Suzanne Gott, ed.; Kristyne Loughran, ed.; Betsy D Quick, ed.; Leslie W Rabine, ed.

Initially developed by European manufacturers for the West and Central African textile trade in the late nineteenth century, African prints became a vital part of many local “popular” fashion systems over the course of the twentieth century. While distinct styles developed, so did shared regional preferences, resulting in African-print fashions that are diverse yet often interconnected. Print fashion has over time come to present distinctive visual codes that carry a sense of African identity and cultural heritage, and because of this, it is pervasive and prominent in twenty-first-century African and diasporic visual cultures. Today, the expanding virtual presence of African-print fashion on the Internet and social media attests to its immense popularity, as well as to its capacity to generate global interest and appeal.

Featuring an abundance of colorful, boldly patterned African-print cloth and garments, vintage photographs, and contemporary works of art, African-Print Fashion Now! is the first major volume to delve into the history, significance, and multifaceted meanings of this dynamic fashion mode. The book foregrounds the stylishness and cosmopolitanism that have long flourished on the continent, while highlighting the expansiveness and innovation of twenty-first-century print fashion.

More Information


Los Angeles : Fowler Museum at UCLA, 2017
Format 302 pages : illustrations (chiefly color) ; 31 cm.
ISBN : 9780990762638  0990762637
OCLC : 976036332  ocn976036332

Table of contents

Table of contents

Foreword / Marla C. Berns

Acknowledgments / Suzanne Gott, Kristyne S. Loughran, Betsy D. Quick, and Leslie W. Rabine

Notes on fashioning art across Africa / John Picton

Introducing African-print fashion / Suzanne Gott and Kristyne S. Loughran

Part I. African-print cloth: origins and transformations

  • Dutch wax classics: the designs introduced by Ebenezer Brown Fleming circa 1890-1912 and their legacy / Helen Elands
    • Interleaf A. Design at Vlisco / M. Amah Edoh
    • Interleaf B. Designing for wax prints at ABC / Helen Elands
  • African prints/African ownership: on naming, values, and classics / Kathleen Bickford Berzock
    • Interleaf C. African prints made in Europe / Betsy D. Quick
  • “Bringing fabrics to life”: Akosombo Textiles Limited of Ghana / Stephan F. Miescher
    • Interleaf D. African prints made in Africa / Suzanne Gott
    • Interleaf E. African-prints in Abidjan: a success story / Anne Grosfilley
  • Real/Fake: brands, labels, and China in West Africa / Nina Sylvanus
    • Interleaf F. African prints made in Asia: China, India, and Pakistan / Leslie W. Rabine

Part II. Fashioning identities, expanding styles

  • Portraits in print / Leslie W. Rabine
  • “Life” dressing in Kumasi: African-print style in “popular” fashion / Suzanne Gott
    • Interleaf G. Nsaasaawa: Ghanaian patchwork from the kitchen to the catwalk / Boatema Boateng — Interleaf H. From grandmother’s dress to the fashion runway: Chitenge styles in Zambia / Karen Tranberg Hansen
  • Ankara fashions in Nigeria / Elisha P. Renne
    • Interleaf I. Shopping in Abidjan with Saundra Lang / Leslie W. Rabine
  • Voices on the runway: African prints and African fashion designers / Kristyne S. Loughran
    • Interleaf J. Claire Kane Guaranteed Wax Collection and the photography of Omar Victor Diop / Ken Aïcha Sy

Part III. New directions

  • Vlisco; rebranding into fashion / Suzanne Gott and Kristyne S. Loughran
    • Interleaf K. Re-dressing the past: Vlisco’s entry into post-apartheid South Africa / Sandra Klopper
  • Designing futures: virtual communities and fashion weeks push African-print fashion forward / Helen Jennings
    • Interleaf L. The eternal return of fashion: Angelina, the Dashiki, and twenty-first-century African fashion / Leslie W. Rabine
  • From colonialism to hip-hop style: African-print fashion in Senegal / Leslie W. Rabine
  • In the making: African-print fashion and contemporary art / Hansi Momodu-Gordon

Afterword: cloth, dress, and drama / Victoria L. Rovine.

About the author

About the author

Suzanne Gott is Assistant Professor of Art History in the Department of Critical Studies at the University of British Columbia Okanagan. Her work focuses on fashion from the Ashanti region in Ghana.

Kristyne Loughran is an independent scholar who specializes in African jewelry and fashion. She is editor (with Thomas K. Seligman) of Art of Being Tuareg: Sahara Nomads in a Modern World.

Book Reviews

Book Reviews

“African-Print Fashion Now! A Story of Taste, Globalization, and Style. Suzanne Gott, Kristyne S. Loughran, Betsy D. Quick, and Leslie W. Rabine.” African Arts 50:1 (2017), 42-59.

Student reviews