Author: Muse Origins

Tuxedos, takkies and wearable art

These clothing and jewellery collections from African fashion labels speak for themselves. If you’re looking for sartorial inspiration different from the red carpet and magazine pages, you’re bound to find them here.

Jason Porshe is a luxury bespoke Nigerian menswear brand. The latest collection ‘Skyfall’ – tagged as a glorious return to the 20s by the creative director Jason Samuel – is stylish, classy, old-school and vintage. It includes tuxedos, plaid trousers, trench coats, detailed coats, and elegant suits with a colour palette that varies from classical to neutral shades.



Yevu is an upstart menswear and womenswear fashion brand, taken right from the streets of Ghana and into the marketplace of Australia. The creative director, Anna Robertson, spent a year in West Africa and established a sustainable and ethical brand. Each outfit is handmade by Ghanaian artisans.



Sawa Shoes is a retro sneaker brand that is 100% sourced and made in Ethiopia. Founded in 2009 in Cameroon, the brand has expanded into international markets and launched an online store. CEO Mehdi Slimani says Sawa is inspired by a ‘vintage attitude’ and he is dedicated to adding value to Africa by supporting the local industry. The premium footwear is available in a variety of styles and fabrics – low tops, high tops, leather, suede and canvas.



Nigerian Ghanaian designer Anita Quansah launched her own London-based label of statement jewellery in 2006. Her collections have been a huge success, with international magazines like Vogue and Elle featuring her work. Each piece is handmade, unusual and unforgettable.  The latest collection, Silhouette of Power, stays true to the brand. Crystals, shells, feathers, chains, and many more are brought together to create wearable art.



The Wambui Mukenyi label was born in 2009, after the self-taught Kenyan designer branched out from sewing for private clients to creating wedding gowns and ready-to-wear women’s fashion. Her latest collection, Fall 2014, is inspired by minimal colour and simple geometric patterns.



Nyumbani Design is a Tanzanian-based jewellery brand. Their SS14 collection encapsulates the brand’s signature warm-coloured wooden jewellery, all of which are hand-carved with locally sourced wood from many different indigenous Tanzanian trees. This makes each piece unique in some way. The brand, founded by Kerry Glanfield, is inspired by her cultural influence from East Africa, the Caribbean and the Mediterranean. This collection is part of a wood fusion range, dipped in 24 carat gold plating.



Bold and beautiful dresses

Rue 114 is a Ghanaian fashion brand that caters for the plus-size woman. Launched in 2011 by Serwah Asante, the brand celebrates beauty in all shapes and sizes.  Forget ‘forgiving’ black and boring pastels – their latest collection in particular is bold, beautiful and anything but understated.

Fun, colour, print and a flair for the dramatic are what this collection is about. This is not for the wallflower or for a woman with low self-esteem … it’s for the curvy woman who knows she’s beautiful, and flaunts it.

Rue 114’s Spring-Summer collection, called Prints ‘n Scribes, takes its cue from colour blocking and pushes the boundaries of African fashion. The pieces are available for purchase online; prices range between $40  to $440.

The "Roshni" cute-as-a-button dress
The “Roshni” cute-as-a-button dress
The "Kiki" glam rock blazer.
The “Kiki” glam rock blazer
The "Tasha" print block bustiere with the "Joyce" prints n tulle ruffle skirt.
The “Tasha” print block bustiere with the “Joyce” prints ‘n tulle ruffle skirt
The "Dalita" afro rock skinny jeans
The “Dalita” afro rock skinny jeans
The "Kara" mint print sweetheart dress
The “Kara” mint print sweetheart dress
The "Zeljka" sweetheart 'n tulle dress
The “Zeljka” sweetheart ‘n tulle dress
The "Ayana" Cut-outs and Prints dress
The “Ayana” cut-outs and prints dress
The "Shantel" afro rock mermaid gown
The “Shantel” afro rock mermaid gown


Celebrating natural hair: The Coiffure Project

Baltimore-based photographer Glenford Nunez‘s latest project was inspired by his assistant Courtney who wears natural hair. He started photographing her with his cellphone and accumulated a small body of work that he then turned into a book of natural hair portraits.

Nunez on a shoot. (Pic: TYP Photography Studio)
Nunez on a shoot. (Pic: TYP Photography Studio)

Nunez is one of many photographers documenting a growing trend and pride in natural hair. Other projects worth checking out are Michael July’s coffee table book dedicated to the Afro and Nakeya B.’s “The Refutation of Good Hair” series with models eating handfuls of Kanekolan hair.


Nune’z mobile pics of Courtney led to the creation of the The Coiffure Project in which he showcases the beauty of natural hair on women of all shapes, colours and sizes. All his photos below are courtesy of TYP Photography Studio.











Step out in style: Handmade Moroccan shoes

When designer Tory Noll visited Morocco, she found inspiration in a tiny, unassuming shoe shop in Marrakech. She got a few pairs of Oxfords made for herself, and then for her friends when they raved about hers. That’s how the brand TEN & Co was born.

Noll has cleverly mixed two different cultures by combining the classic British Oxford with the beautiful and original patterns and colours of Morocco. She and her team scour souks and auctions to find the best Moroccan rugs and blankets which are used to create the shoes. Each pair is then painstakingly handmade by a cobbler in Marrakech. No two pairs are the same, which adds to the charm and appeal of these soles.

Pink, black and sea foam stripes. Made of vintage kilim with rose pink suede detailing.  Leather soles. $200
Pink, black and sea foam stripes. Made of vintage kilim with rose pink suede detailing. Leather soles. $200 (Pic:

TEN & Co’s 2013 Spring/Summer collection has just been revealed. If the shoes themselves won’t blow you away, the photography by René Cervantes and styling by Noll and  Alex Brannian will.


View the rest of the collection here.

Rwanda’s electropop icon

If you love electropop and alternative beats, then you’ll surely love Rwandan artist Iyadede, aka That Girl from Africa. I particularly like The Love Mantra, a track from her digital album The Demo. Iyadede’s voice is strong, warm and versatile – MTV Iggy describes it best: “Drawing on vintage sounds from Rwanda, and the unfettered creativity of post-punk, she refreshes the smooth Afropean tradition of Sade and spikes it with the Day-Glo groove of Deee-Lite and Neh Neh Cherry. She sometimes touches on the gravity of Lauryn Hill or Nneka too — and, like them, she can drop a rap verse like it was a handkerchief.”