Friday Late: African Fashions on Film

February 1, 2021

For the latest instalment of our online Friday Late programme we shared a selection of short films and moving image works that celebrated the creativity and ingenuity of contemporary fashions from Nigeria and the African Diaspora. From cinematic celebrations of joy, luxury and leisure to portraits of creative youth, the selected films showcased the work of designers, stylists and film makers at the heart of this eclectic scene.

A Ti De 
‘A ti de’ meaning ‘we have arrived’ explores vintage Yoruba fashions from the 60s, 70s and 80s. The film sheds light on the richness of fashion during that era, particularly the Iro and Buba — wrap-around skirts tied at the waist, and long-sleeved, loose-fitting blouses. Growing up in Lagos, Nigeria, director Oye Diran recalls looking at old pictures his mother had of herself, friends and family. A Ti De is inspired by the memories of this heritage, celebrating both traditional Yoruba clothing and more contemporary stylings as well as hairstyles from Afros to beehives.  

This kaleidoscopic love story by director Samona Olanipekun and designer Priya Ahluwalia celebrates the everyday beauty and strength of Black existence. Featuring community leaders, steelband players, matriarchs, poets and political activists, with Ahluwalia’s collection subtly woven throughout, this work is part documentary, and part feature film. Ahluwalia’s namesake brand creates vibrant, forward-looking menswear that pays tribute to her family’s Nigerian, Jamaican and Indian heritage, with a touch of nostalgia for her 90s childhood in south London. 

A Beautiful Struggle 
A Beautiful Struggle follows a young musician who migrates from the countryside to seek stardom in the vibrant, psychedelic city of Lagos. This portrait is an ode to the pursuit of fame by all means necessary, set against the hustle of writer and director Dafe Oboro’s home city. The film features fashion designs by Nigeria-based designers Papa Oyeyemi and Abiola Olusola, and was created in collaboration with Vlisco&co. 

We Do 
We Do is a film about ceremony and sisterhood. Opening with three women helping each other dress, director Numa Perrier takes us on a luxuriously lo-fi excursion into the rituals surrounding clothing and preparing for special occasions. Designed by Memsor Kamarake and Ade Samuel and featuring whimsical and romantic collections from House of Aama, Love Oh Lou, Keeyahri, Brother Vellies and more. Produced by Ashley Cimone for Equator Productions in partnership with In The Blk, as part of a series that speaks to the solidarity found within Black communities. 

This Friday Late also marked the announcement of a major V&A exhibition celebrating the vitality and innovation of contemporary African fashions, opening in June 2022.

We’ll be back with more Friday Late programming at the end of February. Join our mailing list or keep an eye on the Friday Late webpage and the V&A’s social channels to hear about the next event!

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