A parallel project, undertaken by members of some of Brighton & Hove’s African diaspora communities, will explore the relationship between fashion, identity and the African continent from a local perspective. Powerful images from the project will accompany the exhibition.
Fashion Cities Africa is part of the wider project Fashioning Africa, supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund through the Collecting Cultures programme – which supports strategic collecting projects for museums, libraries and archives.
Brighton Museum & Art Gallery already holds an important collection of historical African textiles, mostly gathered 1880-1940. Thanks to National Lottery players, Fashioning Africa will research recent developments and establish an African textile and fashion collection representing 1960-2000. Running until 2017, the project has appointed a collecting panel from BAME and fashion communities, and will be delivered in partnership with the University of Brighton and the Sussex Africa Centre at the University of Sussex.
Fashion Cities Africa will also be accompanied by a book of the same name, edited by Hannah Azieb Pool with contributions by Helen Jennings (Intellect, 2016, £20). This will showcase street styles in the four cities through images of their fashion agents by high-profile fashion photographers (Sarah Waiswa, Victor Dlamini, Deborah Benzaquen and Lakin Ogunbanwo), accompanied by profiles and essays.
The exhibition will be accompanied by a vibrant community engagement and events programme, including fashion shows, a market, music, dance and performance, workshops, young people’s activities, talks and debates. A landmark international conference, Creating African Fashion Histories, will be held on Wednesday 2 November 2016. Many activities will feature the individuals showcased in the exhibition.
Supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund, the James Henry Green Charitable Trust, Arts Council England Major Partner Museum Programme, the Art Fund (Jonathan Ruffer Curatorial Grants Programme) and the British Council.