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Largest ever exhibition of African fashion opens at London's V&A

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London V&A to display its first African fashion exhibition
London V&A to display its first African fashion exhibition   -   Copyright  V&A Press Office
By Theo Farrant  with AP

African fashion is taking centre stage at London's Victoria and Albert Museum.

A new exhibition titled 'Africa Fashion' will tell the history of the continent's clothing and showcase some of the best of its contemporary designers.

It claims to be the UK's largest exhibition of African fashion ever.

"We really see fashion as a catalyst with which to tell deeper, richer, expanded stories about the myriad histories and cultures across the continent," says exhibition curator Dr Christine Checinska.

"And so we hope that our visitors will come away feeling inspired, and perhaps some assumptions might be challenged as well. So it's a space where you can think about African fashions, you can experience the buzz of the African fashion scene, and you can come away inspired, we hope, to find out more."

What's on display at the exhibition?

V&A Press Office
Africa Fashion at the V&A Installation shotV&A Press Office

More than 250 objects from 40 contemporary designers are on display, as part of a wider push by the V&A to increase its collection of work by African and African Diaspora designers.

Embellished with thousands of beads are clothes by Nigerian designer Lisa Folawiyo which twinkle under the lights. The prints on these fabrics may echo traditional African designs, but there is a clear modern twist.

Nigeria-based Nkwo Onwuka's outfits are also on display, made from recycled denim, and give a nod to the West African country's culture with the traditional gele head wrap.

South African brand Nao Serati's sparkly purple suit blends femininity and masculinity in a celebration of gender fluidity.

And from the very north of the African continent, Moroccan fashion house Maison ARTC has created a new piece designed specifically for the exhibition. 

Africa Fashion opens on July 2 and will run until April 16 2023 at London's V&A Museum.

Video editor • Theo Farrant