PatchWork And Other Techniques Black-Owned Fashion Brands Are Using To Gain Recognition On A Global Scale
The fashion industry has a wealth of Black creatives that are changing the fashion scene with fresh ideas and unique designs. By using techniques and processes that are rare in the industry, they have been able to stand out and draw attention to themselves.
Here are the unique techniques and processes fashion brands use that makes them different as well as opinions from a fashion designer on these techniques.
African Traditional Techniques and Raffia
Africa is a continent rich in culture, creativity, design, and local natural resources that fashion brands can use to their advantage. One way fashion entrepreneurs have been able to use the richness of Africa to take their brands to the global stage is by incorporating traditional techniques and local resources in their design process.
AAKS, Wales Bonner, and Brothers Vellies are three fashion brands that use African techniques and textiles to make their brands stand out.
New Year, New Collection ! I am SO incredibly excited to finally launch my NEW Spring/Summer 2020 collection of bags. A real labour of love, but we did it! Yay. View and shop our full collection online NOW. 💓 Which will be your absolute favourite ? Let us know 🙌🏾 ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Photography by @bestezeybel Website by @wearecandyblack Styling @aydansivaci Make Up @serkanparmaksizoglu ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ #Aaks #NewSeason #NewCollection #2020 #Bags #SummerIsComing #Raffia #New
For AAKS, it is the use of local raffia and treasured traditional methods that have been passed down from generation to generation that makes them stand out. The luxury Ghanian brand which makes fashion accessories such as handbags, tote bags, and shoulder bags always infuses brightly dyed, exuberant coloured raffia in their bags to make them pop.
Grace Wales Bonner for @dior⠀⠀ ⠀⠀ Maria Grazia Chiuri invited Grace Wales Bonner to present an interpretation of the revolutionary ‘New Look’ silhouette from Monsieur Dior first show in 1954. Her take on the Bar Jacket and skirt combining crochet raffia was presented at the Dior Cruise 20 show at Palais El Badi, Marrakesh.⠀⠀ ⠀⠀ Photograph @joan_braun⠀⠀ Model @hiandramartinez⠀⠀ ⠀⠀ #archive #morocco #walesbonner ⠀
Wales Bonner, on the other hand, is a menswear and womenswear label that merges European and African heritage into its designs. The brand which is inspired by history, music, and literature gives a unique twist to African heritage by giving it a European identity.
For Brothers Vellies, it is all about keeping African traditional design practices and techniques alive, so the brand infuses them into its footwear. The highly-durable shoes, which are sustainably and ethically crafted, have an African feel and look to them that makes them one-of-a-kind.
Bright Colours and Voluminous Fabrics
Every brand should have a unique selling point (USP) that draws its target audience to them. While some focus on minimalist designs that draw the attention of conservative customers, others use bright colours and voluminous designs to draw daring customers in.
🦕 The iconic Niko Riam in a Baja Blast silk taffeta pannier ball skirt and cropped blouse for #christopherjohnrogers FW2020. 🧤 Styling: @imruh Casting: @rickymichiels MUA: @marcelogutierrez for @maccosmetics Hair: @naeemahlafond for @amikapro Nails: @jackiesaulsbery for @suiteleven Set Design: @saurasgarriga Art Direction: @christinachanel Production: @imgfocus PR: @loftcreativegrouppr
For Christopher John Rogers, their USP is characterised by lots of volume and bold colours. The brand which uses bright colours and voluminous fabrics to make women feel powerful, bold, and capable of anything, has managed to draw attention to itself with its over-the-top yet wearable designs.
Another brand that has used bright colours to distinguish itself from others is Nigerian brand, Andrea Iyamah. The bespoke, ready-to-wear, and swimwear brand which is inspired by the colours, culture, nature, and design elements in Africa uses these elements, coupled with unique cuts and delicate silhouettes, to draw attention to itself.
"I work with colours in all my dealings, but I really don't find it appealing when I make use of very bright colours. I have issues with bright colours and combinations made with them, in my own opinion, it affects eyes. Because of this, I tend to work with warmer colours, also when combining, I try as much as possible to tone down the colours." - Ngozi Gift.
Stories have a way of drawing customers in and endearing them to a brand. Having a great story behind your brand is great, but what is even greater is using a brand to tell stories that matter and inspire others. Pyer Moss and Wales Bonner are two brands that do this.
Pyer Moss is a brand that takes after its founder who is very vocal about inclusivity and activism in fashion. The brand is used for storytelling, activism, debate, theatre and social commentary. It is also one that collaboration to push their message across.
Through their collections, they have been able to tell stories of Black Americans that have not been recognised before now.
In addition to merging European and African heritage, Wales Bonner uses its designs to respond to widespread notions about race and gender.
Attention to Detail
It is the most intricate and seemingly small details of the design process for fashion pieces that bring out the beauty in them. This is why fashion designers have to pay very close attention to the smallest details of their designs.
Thelma West is one fashion brand that has gained global recognition by paying attention to little details. The high-end London-based Nigerian jewellery brand makes head-turning one-of-a-kind diamond pieces.
Owing to their impeccable attention to detail, which is quite apparent on their jewellery, Thelma West stands out of the crowd with unique pieces that keeps clients coming back. The brand specialises in everything diamond - from white diamond to pink diamonds - and never overlooks any details.
Leftover Fabric and Patchwork
Who says leftover fabrics must be thrown away? Many times, pieces or fabrics can be uses to create the most amazing and beautiful designs.
Fashion accessories brand, Roop, is one brand that never overlooks leftover fabric. They create distinctive handbag pieces from leftover satin fabrics with each handbag being unique and some even one-of-a-kind. The shape and design of the handbags are also very distinct and unusual, giving them an extra edge.
Known for giving a modern-day twist to vintage clothing and for their patchwork baguette bags and ready-to-wear-outfit, Asate Maisé is one brand that is rising in the fashion industry. By using small pieces of fabrics, the brand creates beautiful patchwork pieces that are breathtakingly beautiful and playful.
"I believe that anything I create or recreate must speak. So, in using leftover fabrics to create outfit designs, I try as much as possible to create something people can talk about. Even if I want to recreate what has being created before, I give it a unique touch, either in the copulation of the dress or in the embellishments. I try to always make my work stand out." - Ngozi Gift.
Having a unique brand that has a very distinct USP can take a fashion brand from being lost in the crowd to standing out beautifully. So, what's your Unique Selling Point?