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8 African Fashion Designers Driving Social Change the World Needs to Know

African fashion is having a moment in which long overdue attention is being paid to some exceptional talents. Aside from creating designs that makes the world take notice, however, these same creatives are championing sustainability, African economic growth, and the forging of a new African identity. Designers like Nigeria’s Adebayo Oke-Lawal and Fola Francis are using their designs to push boundaries and challenge the stereotypes of gender on the continent. Congolese designer Anifa Mvuemba, meanwhile, is credited as being the first person to curate a 3D virtual fashion show for her label, Hanifa, which went viral in 2021. Founded in 2016 by Sarah Diof, a woman of Senegalese, Central African, and Congolese heritage, Tongoro is a ready-to-wear womenswear brand that produces playful and unique apparel. Headquartered in Dakar, Senegal, Tongoro sources their materials from artisans across Africa, and Diof makes sure to work with local tailors as a way of fostering the economic development of artisans on the continent.