One woman is challenging the idea of fashion and taking the spotlight off Europe and shining it on Africa. Diana Opoti, a fashion and brand consultant in Nairobi, Kenya and host of a popular television program about African designers, has traveled the African continent in search of innovative designers who work creatively with texture, form and color thus defying clichés about African fashion. Oopti collected some of her favorites in her 100 Days of African Fashion campaign.
The campaign involved her wearing African fashion every day and documenting it on her Instagram page. The prints and outfits are funky and fresh and defy the stereotypes about African fashion. “I had so many mixed messages about what people perceive about African fashion and what status it had,” Opoti said.
“I’m your average African woman,” Opoti said. “If you aren’t designing clothes that fit me, you aren’t designing clothes for African women.”
Opoti focus on fashion for real women was achieved by using herself as the only model, taking pictures (mostly) in the same spot, and avoiding stylized makeup or hair. “Nothing is photoshopped,” she said. By doing this, the looks are more realistic and it seems like you could wear them in your daily life.
In fact that was the point. Most of the clothes featured in Opoti’s campaign came from her own closet and lean towards the everyday. “I knew I had enough clothes to pull this off because this is just how I dress,” she said. “There’s a set of people who walk around feeling, ‘I want African fashion, I want a designer label, I want a fashion statement piece.’ Some people live life like that, but the vast majority of people buy what they like. They buy clothes so that they’re not cold, or they buy what suits their body.”
While people might be wary of rocking African prints or think they’ll be doing it wrong, Opoti says, “You don’t need to overthink this. Just wear it.”
If you’re looking for ideas or just want to drool over some awesome and colorful outfits, check out all the ensembles in Opoti’s 100 Days of African Fashion campaign.