If you ever needed a lesson in vintage fashions, you may want to look abroad at some of the hottest designers and vintage aficionados in Johannesburg, Lagos and Namibia. Everything from plaids, to vintage wingtips, and dresses your mother may have worn when she was younger, is what’s making heads turn nowadays.
One of the most well-known “fashion gurus” in Namibia is Loux the Vintage Guru, who describes himself as the “epitome of everything…VINTAGE”. Loux takes vintage clothes from his father’s generation and adds his modern touch to them. In a recent interview with The Guardian’s Kimon de Greef, Loux discusses his sense of style and fashion motivations.
KdG: Historically, African clothing has been framed by the west as a rural phenomenon and predominantly associated with ethnic identity. Now cities like Johannesburg and Lagos are on the international fashion map. Are today’s local designers influencing international trends more meaningfully than with stale afro-chique clichés?
LVG: Some designers are influencing the old clichés, certainly. If you go to cities in places like Ghana and Nigeria you see people dressing in African prints every day. To work, to church — it’s part of day-to-day life there. The cultural identity of African prints influences my own contemporary style, too. I find it defines a kind of modern femininity, both in terms of individual strength and in attitude.
KdG: Must fashion look ‘African’ to be considered African?
LVG: Not really, but I think a certain African look is still important. It’s beautiful when people can embrace cultures outside their own, for example through adopting African lifestyles and fashion. Africa is a beautiful continent full of beautiful people, so why not make the African fashion scene known around the world as a source of inspiration? Just think of the impact leaders like Nelson Mandela and Julius Nyerere have had. The more we dress African, the more our clothing can be properly regarded as fashion.
KdG: Let’s talk vintage. By wearing old western clothing, are fashionistas like yourself imitating colonial trends or asserting a new kind of African identity?
LVG: Ha ha! No, I am certainly asserting a new kind of African identity. The clothes are western, sure, but I wear them ensuring that that all eyes are on Africa as a fresh source of creativity. In the same vein I am referencing the history of African dandy men, such as the sapeurs of the Congo.
One of my most recent favorite YouTube series is “An African City“. If you want to see style in action, you definitely need to check out the wardrobe being used. In every episode, there’s everything from traditional African prints, to the vintage fashions Loux discussed.