Over the period 2015 to 2018 Royal Pavilion & Museums staff are working on two exciting initiatives relating to African fashion.

Photo of two men in suits in Newtown Johannesburg, courtesy Derek Smith
Newtown Johannesburg, courtesy Derek Smith

Fashion Cities Africa is a temporary exhibition which will be shown at Brighton Museum & Art Gallery between April 2016 and January 2017. The exhibition will explore practices of dress, fashion and styling in four African cities: Casablanca (Morocco), Lagos (Nigeria), Nairobi (Kenya) and Johannesburg (South Africa).

Panoramic photo of skyline of Casablanca, Morocco
Casablanca, Morocco

Fashion Cities Africa takes its lead from the museum’s important collection of historic African textiles but develops the theme to look at recent and contemporary fashions associated with these distinctive metropolises. In focusing upon dress worn by specific individuals it will highlight the role of the individual in forming new (dress) identities.

The exhibition will be accompanied by a community engagement programme and a vibrant events programme including music, dance, performance, workshops, talks and debates.

Photo of Fashion designer Mehdi Khessouane at Festimode Casablanca, 2012
Fashion designer Mehdi Khessouane at Festimode Casablanca, 2012

Fashioning Africa is a longer-term project to develop Brighton Museum’s holdings of African textiles, the majority of which entered the collection between 1880 and 1940. With support from the Heritage Lottery Fund’s Collecting Cultures scheme, museum staff are researching developments in African textiles and fashion so that we can develop a new collection of post-1960s African dress. As part of this process we’re making trips to other museum collections, talking to dress specialists and members of African diaspora communities as well as to our academic partners, the Sussex Africa Centre at the University of Sussex and the University of Brighton.

The project team will be posting regular updates about both activities on Royal Pavilion & Museums’ Fashion Africa Tumblr or contact project lead Helen Mears, Keeper of World Art, for more information: helen.mears@brighton-hove.gov.uk.

Fashion Cities Africa is generously supported by the James Henry Green Charitable Trust, the Heritage Lottery Fund, Arts Council England (Major Partner Museums Programme) and the Art Fund (Jonathan Ruffer Curatorial Grants Programme).

More Information

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