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African Fashion (?) Why do these stereotypes exist and persist?

African Fashion (?) is an online, discursive course designed to invite engagement in debates and provocations both as a group and individually. Particular attention is paid to confronting the deep impact of coloniality/modernity in negotiating ways of thinking and writing about fashion from the African continent.

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A new course offered by the African Fashion Research Institute explores why African fashion stereotypes exist and persist, welcoming an online exchange to collectively query the concept of African Fashion(?). Co-convened by Dr Erica de Greef and Dr heeten bhagat, this course is designed to invite participants to contribute to a series of debates – seemingly simple and superficial – with the purpose of troubling existing and stubborn ideas about fashion from the continent.

for students, designers, academics, cultural activists, artists or researchers working in fashion in and across the African continent and the diaspora, this short intensive course runs weekly for 7 weeks. The course, supported by various readings, podcasts and audios, is advanced through weekly tasks developed in the form of texts, visual essays, collage, audio or filmic pieces. In doing so, we invite participation through ongoing engagement and contribution to the debate/s with the purpose of encouraging discursive and multivalent responses.

“If fashion developments could be reframed in nonlinear unfoldings and transformations, fashion of the future could revert to, maintain, or emphasize the influences of local networks and perhaps instead of evolving towards an end (the unattainable technological, modern, western future as stated by Rolando Vázquez), it could continually rebalance the weight of cultural and other influences as a means of stylistic change,” says L (December 2020).

Through fresh, provocative voices, like these, we aim to convene a community of African fashion thinkers exploring new philosophies and harvesting a range of ideas that elevate diverse and different critical positions for participants. Our methodology finds route through the ubiquitous, though often unused intentions of decolonising curricula and broadening the scope of understanding by destabilising hierarchical models as we navigate the mechanisms that have come to frame the design and aesthetic sensibilities, and current fashion practices and presences.

Duration: 7 weeks
Dates: April-May
Format: 2 sessions/week
1 live/pre-recorded seminar – 1hr
1 individual assignment – reading/films/podcasts and writing/other
Fee: 150∈ or equivalent

Outcomes: Assignments through the course are designed to coalesce into one original
final think-piece as written or visual essay, podcast or video

For more information or if you are interested please email: africanfashionresearchinstitut@gmail.com