African-Print Fashion Now! at the Mint Museum is an exhibition unlike any other Charlotte has seen. The Mint Museum Randolph will introduce a show full of the colorful, boldly-designed cotton textiles that have come to be known as “African-print cloth.” The curatorial team includes Suzanne Gott, Kristyne Loughran, Betsy Quick, and Leslie Rabine.
African-Print Fashion Now! encompasses the dynamic, diverse dress tradition designed by Africa’s newest generation of couturiers who create boundary-breaking, transnational youth styles favored in Africa’s urban centers. The show also works to trace the Indonesian and Indian roots of these distinctive cloths.
This type of printed cloth became central to many “popular” fashion systems in West and Central Africa over the decades. The exhibition narrative follows this story to the present, telling viewers about the cloth’s later association with emerging African national identities, its popular use in tailored ensembles, and its continuing appeal to today’s fashion conscious African women and African fashion designers. These textiles also embody a global story—the early history of the print cloth trade in West and Central Africa, the expansion of production following independence movements, and the increasing popularity of Asian-made print cloth today.
The Mint will feature popular African styles from Ghana, Nigeria, Côte d’Ivoire, Cameroon, and Senegal, as well as groundbreaking runway fashions by some of Africa’s most talented couturiers: Ituen Basi, Gilles Touré, Lanre da Silva Ajayi, Titi Ademola, Lisa Folawiyo, Dent de Man, Adama Paris, Patricia Waota, Ikiré Jones, and Afua Dabanka. Black-and-white studio portraits illuminate print fashions of the 1960s and 1970s, while works by contemporary artists incorporate African print to convey their various artistic messages.
New works by artists and designers have been commissioned for the exhibition, and the exhibition is accompanied by a fully-illustrated and scholarly catalogue.
With its groundbreaking, evocative art, tailored fashions, archival and contemporary cloths, black-and-white studio portrait photographs from the 1960s and 1970s, a series of runway videos, and seven works by contemporary visual artists, the show will run from October 7, 2018 to April 28, 2019.
African-Print Fashion Now! A Story of Taste, Globalization, and Style is organized by the Fowler Museum at UCLA in association with Vlisco Netherlands B.V. It is guest curated by Suzanne Gott with Kristyne S. Loughran, Betsy D. Quick, and Leslie W. Rabine. Major funding is provided by the National Endowment for the Arts with the additional support of R.L. Shep, DutchCulture, and the Pasadena Art Alliance.