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African-Print Fashion Now!: A Story of Taste, Globalization, and Style

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Edited by Suzanne Gott, Kristyne S. Loughran, Betsy D. Quick, and Leslie W. Rabine

Initially developed by European manufacturers for the West and Central African textile trade in the late nineteenth century, African prints became a vital part of many local “popular” fashion systems over the course of the twentieth century. While distinct styles developed, so did shared regional preferences, resulting in African-print fashions that are diverse yet often interconnected. Print fashion has over time come to present distinctive visual codes that carry a sense of African identity and cultural heritage, and because of this, it is pervasive and prominent in twenty-first-century African and diasporic visual cultures. Today, the expanding virtual presence of African-print fashion on the Internet and social media attests to its immense popularity, as well as to its capacity to generate global interest and appeal.

Featuring an abundance of colorful, boldly patterned African-print cloth and garments, vintage photographs, and contemporary works of art, African-Print Fashion Now! is the first major volume to delve into the history, significance, and multifaceted meanings of this dynamic fashion mode. The book foregrounds the stylishness and cosmopolitanism that have long flourished on the continent, while highlighting the expansiveness and innovation of twenty-first-century print fashion.

Contemporary photographs by Omar Victor Diop, Leonce Raphael Agbodjelou, and Hassan Hajjaj; paintings by Njideka Akunyili Crosby and Eddy Kamuanga Ilunga; and a mural by graffiti artist Docta suggest the ever-present role of fashion in African life. Throughout the volume, African-print fashions are considered as creative responses to key historical moments and the imaginings of Africa in the future. Hardcover, 304 pages.