So, Nti, whose label, Tribe, is one of the most sought after in West Africa, skillfully does what designers the world over have been doing for centuries—taking classics and making them chic once again. We’re talking caftans, boubous and batakaris, the very same patterns worn by the subjects in National Geographic photographs from back in the day when Africa was an anthropological curiosity, except Nti’s renditions are sleek and modern enough to be worn at professional events or swanky social affairs.
“It’s about doing something that not everybody else is doing,” is how Abnaa Dua-Sakyi sees it. Her line, House of Abnaa, is so popular that it is now being featured in select high-end boutiques in Europe and the United States.
Whether she’s designing wedding gowns, cocktail dresses or pants suits, Dua-Sakyi ensures that her artistry is reminiscent of the continent which she believes is too easily overlooked or underestimated. “I think there is a strong call back to our roots. We’re Africans, so why not do something that comes from inside of us? Why not do something that depicts our people in a positive light? There are a lot of good things happening in Africa.”
Meri Nana-Ama Danquah is the editor of The Black Body, a collection of personal essays, which will be published this September by Seven Stories Press.