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Power of African Fashion Celebrated in Landmark Exhibition at the V&A

A new exhibition at London’s Victoria & Albert Museum is showcasing African fashion like never before. Massive in scope and scale, it focuses on the period from the mid-20th century to the present, providing a glimpse into the African cultural renaissance that began with the end of colonialism. It features the work of 45 designers from more than 20 countries, and has more than 250 objects on display, 70 of which are new acquisitions. Starting with the period when many African nations were declaring independence, the exhibition examines the role fashion played in the continent’s cultural renaissance. More than 50 mannequins have been dressed in exquisite outfits showcasing Africa’s creative spirit. It is colourful and fun, but there is a purpose. “I think for us fashion is a kind of catalyst through which we can give people a glimpse into the myriad histories and cultures on the continent,” said Christine Checinska, the lead curator. “That’s also what we hope people will take away — just the sheer thrill and relish of the potential of African creativity.”