Where are you wearing? Meaning: what cultures inspires the designers you wear? We’ve compiled a list of designers are unapologetically influenced by their cultures and traditions.
As the child of Cuban immigrants, the American designer received his foundation from Parsons school of design, and later went on to work with Ann Klein under Donna Karan, and later Calvin Klein on their women collection. He is known for his form fitting dresses, and soft colors palettes, which he attributed to his Cuban heritage.
2. Tracey Reese
African- American designer Tracey Reese’s rich, bold and vibrant designs are perfect for the everyday modern woman. She strives to clothe women of all sizes, shapes, and colors, and gets her inspiration from global culture. Her Spring/Summer 2014 women’ wear for example featured tropical colors, and prints.
3. Asiya Bareeva
An emerging fashion designer from Russia, Asiya draws her inspiration from the multiculturalism found in her country. As a Muslim designer, her take on modest fashion is fuses the different faiths and customs at the core of her designs. Those designs features layers of different fabrics, and prints along with beautiful embroidery.
4. Barjis Chohan
London based designer with Pakistani and Rajasthani heritages, Barjis’ design aesthetics benefited immensely from her dual heritage. The luxury brand offers women clothing, hand painted silk scarves, and custom bridal wear. Her designs cater to both Muslim women, and those from varying backgrounds allowing the ease of modest fashion without scarifying style.
5. Hwang Yi-Seul (Dew Hwang)
Reinventing the traditional Korean hanbok, Dew Hwang’s collection is a mecca of cultural gems. The hanbok is a colorful dress that dates back thousands of years, and consists of long skirts or trousers and a cropped jacket. Hwang puts a modern twist on this traditional clothing reworking it in various colors and fabrics.
6. Iman Aldebe
Swedish designer born of Jordanian parents, Iman is well known for her headscarves and haute couture turban collections that took the runway by storm. She uses her designs to bridge the hate gap in the society and cast down the stereotypes against the Muslim community.
7. Marwa Atik
Born and raised in California to Syrian parents, Marwa partnered with her sister to launch their company, VELA, offering elegant, beautiful and affordable veils and scarves to women worldwide. The beautiful patterns such as the “Mosaic print” and neutral colors are staples of her collection.
8. Purvi Doshi
Paying homage to her Indian heritage, the pieces are a combination of traditional techniques and contemporary designs. Awarded the emerging designer from Grazia magazine, she is known for her traditional crafting techniques, and embellished floral patterns long dresses.
9. Rimzim Dadu
Growing up in Delhi, the designer followed her family footstep in pursuing fashion, and making a living out of it. Her collection includes the Saris- a traditional south Asian garment made with a single piece of fabric (up to nine yards) that is wrapped and draped all the around the body.
Famous rock star, the Japanese heavy metal musician can now add designer to his portfolio. He launched his line featuring electric, and colorful Kimonos. Usually made with silk, Yoshiki’s pieces on the other side are made from floral prints, animal prints, and geometric patterns.
11. Yodit Eklund
Inspired by African tales and customs, designer Yodit Eklund’s surf wear brand Bantu Wax has been made in Africa by local artisans since its birth. Bantu Wax uses traditional processes to produce high quality products that are functional to surfers, and everything water related such as bikinis and board shorts.
12. Lanre Da Silva Ajayi
After founding the LDA brand in 2005, the Nigerian designer combines modern trends and African print to create a unique, and feminine line. The luxurious well-made pieces are the perfect addition to any wardrobe.
13. Marc Oliver and Inés Cuatrecasas
After a trip to Rwanda, designers Marc and Ines fell in love with the country and moved to Kingali to release their first collection in collaboration with a local dressmaker. Africa’s influence through prints and fabrics with the mix of international trends is at the heart of classy and versatile clothing.
14. Sindiso Khumalo
Sindiso draws her inspiration from her Zulu and Ndebele heritage. The South African designer features a collection highlighting sustainability, craft, and empowerment. She has spoken at the United Nations on sustainability in fashion and her passion on the topic reflects in her pieces.
15. Laduma Ngxokolo
Laduma Ngxokolo is one of Africa’s finest knitwear designer who established his brand in 2011 with the intent to develop a premium knitwear range celebrating traditional Xhosa beadwork aesthetics, using main textiles mohair and wool from South Africa. He caters to men and women and provides them with a choice of colorful and cultural clothing.
16. Thabo Makhetha-Kwinana
Thabo’s cape collection just makes us wish for colder weather all year long. They are colorful, avant-garde yet chic and made from the traditional Basotho blankets. The designer only caters to women and offers a luxury service for her high-end clients.
17. Liselore Frowijn
The Deutsch designer’s 2016 collection was inspired by the Igbo tribe in Nigeria. His collection “Afropolitan” related the story of tradition, progress, identity, and strength of the African woman. The designer translated the contrast between tradition and progress in a collection that continues to evolve and reforms. The pieces are just beautiful with electric colors, prints and embellished head ornaments.
18. Jefferson Osei, Abderrahmane Trabsini and Hussein Suleiman
The three friends with Ghanaian, Somali and Moroccan roots decided on launching their label “Daily Paper” with designs based on what their parents and grandparents wore. Their focus lies in the design of contemporary men’s fashion that are breathable, comfortable, and yet modern.
19. Liya Kebede
The Ethiopian designer created her line as a way to preserve traditional Ethiopian hand-weaving techniques and empower local artisans while creating African inspired clothing that are modern. The versatile line caters to men, women and kids. Their home collection also features handwoven envelope style pillowcases made mostly out of cotton.
20. Akosua Afriyie-Kumi
The Ghanaian native designer has been featured in Vogue UK and Le Matin Dimanche in Switzerland. Her handbags are produced in Bolgatanga in Ghana using raffia, and organically sourced leather. The bright colors and modern shapes will give you a sense of style you have been looking for.
21. Gareth Cowden
Founder of Babatunde – meaning “The father comes back” – Gareth Cowden is at the heart of beautiful handmade accessories. The tropical prints and vibrant colors will make your head spin and add that touch of je ne sais quoi to your outfit. As seen on Solange Knowles, the brand’ hats are a fashion staples.
22. Issey Miyake
Growing up in post war Japan, this designer was the first to reinvent the wear of Japanese traditional pieces. His designs have an architectural aesthetics and the combination of soft colors and constructed shapes makes for an elegant collection. The pieces are casual yet dressy enough for your special occasions.
23. Alano Edzerza
Based in Vancouver, the designer was trained in the practices of traditional Native American design. His work is bold and modern and perfect for people of all backgrounds. The collection features tunics, leggings and hoodies made from traditional designs and symbols.
24. Virgil Ortiz
Creating and promoting a global awareness of Pueblo culture, the designer makes it a point to reflect his cultural heritage in his designs. His dark and sexy designs combine leather and bold tribal designs to suit the inner Rockstar in you.
25. Nyorh Agwe
By supporting Cameroonian local artisans, the designer strives to become a “Made in Cameroon” label. Her collection highlights her roots and prides itself in sustaining the artisans’ crafts by providing jobs to develop their skills. Her womenswear collection is elegant and her jewelry is one of a kind in terms of colors and originality.