Style Play: African fashion inspirations from SS17 Collections

The magical continent. Endless sandy deserts, tribes of vibrant colors and exotic large beasts.  Africa has been an inspiration for western fashion throughout history countless times, and it also has been evident in designers’ collections for Spring/Summer 2017.

In a celebration of diversity, Balmain amazed the world with his Spring/Summer 2017 collection. The African designer takes his inspiration to the catwalk showing a strong and confident woman. Models walk on catwalks wearing large platforms and soft sheer fabrics, as if they were being moved by the sheet’s air. Dresses are structured with large openings, marking the feminine silhouette and colors, earthy again, giving way to details of animal print that complete the safari look.

Balmain SS17
Balmain Paris Fashion Week SS17

African inspiration goes out from the catwalks to get into our closets, because it is not only reserved for haute couture. Western designers make use of the ancestral roots of the African continent to create urban and modern garments.  For the first time, sports brand PUMA joins the street wear brand from Amsterdam, Daily Paper, in a collection inspired by the African heritage of the latter.

Puma and Daily Paper ss17
Puma & Daily Paper SS17

The inspiration of the collection is found in Kenya’s cricketers Maasai players. Puma’s designs reinvent with cut clean lines, color blocking and drawings that reflect the Maasai and, specifically, their history with the practice of cricket.

Puma and Daily Paper ss17b
Puma & Daily Paper SS17
Puma and Daily Paper ss17a
Puma & Daily Paper SS17

The classic sneaker Puma Match is a key element in the collection. Daily Paper reinvents this classic and does so with three different interpretations: one with Velcro straps, one with its classic form but adding a print with a paint splash effect and, the last one, with a colorful translucent sole. All of them made with premium leather.

Puma and Daily Paper, sneaker Puma Match ss17
Puma & Daily Paper, sneaker Puma Match SS17

Another model redesigned by Daily Paper in this collaboration with Puma is the Court Platform. With a platform-style sole, high quality knitted fabric and the part of the instep made with leather, this unisex re-interpretation is both different and ground-breaking.

Puma and Daily Paper ss17c
Puma & Daily Paper SS17

Spanish label, Highly Preppy, presents its new collection for Spring/Summer 2017 titled ‘Safari Trip’. The label mixes in these garments the youthful spirit that characterizes it with vibrant colors and tribal prints that transport us to a beautiful sunset in the savannah.

Highly Preppy, Safari Trip Campaign ss17
Highly Preppy’s Safari Trip Campaign SS17

Highly Preppy, Safari Trip Campaign ss17b

Highly Preppy, Safari Trip Campaign ss17c

In a more formal version, Guess Jeans is also inspired by Africa for its new street style designs. An earthy palette, tropical print and safari influences slip in the new designs of the brand. Jumpsuits in khaki or top and skirt sets that enhance the feminine curves are some of the proposals presented as part of its Spring/Summer 2017 collection.

Guess Jeans ss17
GUESS Jeans SS17

Colors, motifs and forms of the African continent also incorporated to the creative language of the jewelry brand, Thomas Sabo. In pendants, earrings and rings the twisted motives of African baskets, symbolic heads of antelope and lion or a stylized interpretation of the spearheads are masterfully integrated. But not only the shapes make us explore the African landscapes. Among the materials used are silver, gold, pearl, onyx and tiger’s eye.

Thomas Sabo earrings in gold ss17
Thomas Sabo, gold earrings SS17
Thomas Sabo, pendants ss17
Thomas Sabo, pendants SS17

“My sources of inspiration are always the people! Their cultural background and aesthetic language that has evolved over the centuries become a formidable pool of ideas that leads me to new interpretations. With our new Africa series, we have captured for the first time the beauty of Africa’s cultural and stylistic context”, tells the Creative Director Susanne Kölbli.

The charms are the stars of the brand and, of course, they had to be included in this collection, which has about 30 different models for the Spring/Summer 2017 season.

Thomas Sabo charms ss17
Thomas Sabo, charms SS17

West is inspired by Africa as a way to catch their strength and exoticism. In the old continent, they speak more about an Afro-style rather than African fashion, although as time goes by it is less used. African designers move across borders and reach the catwalks to show us what is what they truly conceive about fashion. African fashion can no longer be considered an exotic idea or something separated from the international arena. The way in which African designers are understood goes beyond the continent.

Nigerian menswear brand, Orange Culture, presented its Autumn/Winter collection during London Fashion Week. Such African designers are becoming increasingly visible on the global stage and their designs are in high demand. Trendy, urban and elegant designs are what we saw in the Orange Culture fashion show.

Orange Culture ss17
Orange Culture SS17

Lastly, MaXhosa from Johannesburg has recently slayed its collection, in this case the Spring/Summer 2017 Collection. His designs are inspired by a cultural exchange between the western and Xhosa dress code and stands out for its prints and color, the hallmark of the African brand. Classic silhouettes that aim to show an innovative sense of an emblematic Africa that can survive time.  The result is a collection with a modern, distinctive and timeless aesthetic Xhosa. A bold and sophisticated declaration of what Africa is about and its current spirit.

Maxhosa, for Him ss17
MaXhosa, Men’s Collection SS17
Maxhosa, for Her ss17
MaXhosa, Women’s Collection SS17

Africa always comes back because almost every year fashion brands get inspired by its exoticism to create some of their collections. And at replay254, we love it!! What about you? Will you go with the flow of the African air for this season?

Photos courtesy of the brands shown and

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