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The Edit: 5 Ways to Wear African-Inspired Prints


From tie-dye to adire, African prints and fabrics have a distinct way of elevating the simplest of designs. But bold patterns can be overwhelming for some – from clashing prints to complementary or contrasting colors, there are so many ways it could all go wrong.

That is why we have provided five very doable ways to make prints work for you, from a co-ord set and to a full-length gown for the brave and adventurous to accessories and classic tailoring to ease in wallflowers, see below for the best printed pieces to wear now.

Always be coordinating

Shop the Malia Abstract Leopard Print Blazer and Pants by OnalajaShop the Malia Abstract Leopard Print Blazer and Malia Abstract Leopard Print Pant by Onalaja

A matching set is an effortless way to solve a style conundrum – you don’t have to think about what goes with what, the thinking has already been done for you. The suit-style pairing of the leopard-print Malia Blazer and Malia Pants by contemporary Nigerian brand Onalaja Is your one-stop look to sartorial success. Part of the brand’s Into the Wild collection, the primal pattern is a nod to the idea of survival, not only in the African jungle, but in the wake of a global pandemic.

Color block party

Shop the Adesuwa Print Shirt by Orange CultureShop the Adesuwa Print Shirt by Orange Culture

If you’d rather keep prints to one half of your look than the whole, then the multi-faceted short-sleeved Adesuwa Print Shirt from Orange Culture is the way to go. Crafted from dupion silk fabric, the button-down displays photographic collages of faces that are screen-printed in blocks of various colors. Featuring an array of visages of all shades, the Adesuwa shirt is representation in clothing from. Wear your over a plain white T-shirt and white pants for a breezy summer look.

Accessorize wisely

Shop the Ilamoye Mule Sandal by ShekudoShop the Ilamoye Mule Sandal by Shekudo

For the prints averse among us, you can take baby steps towards introducing pattern into your wardrobe with accessories instead. Jewelry, shoes and bags are all alternatives you can mix and match with your outfit. Go for the Ilamoye Mule Sandal by sustainably minded brand Shekudo. The heeled shoes are handcrafted from colorful traditional Nigerian aso oke fabric and finished with a cotton tassel detail. Wear them to add a textured element to any look.

Show your stripes

Shop the Red Stripe Trousers by Tokyo JamesShop the Red Stripe Trousers by Tokyo James

Stripes are not the easiest pattern to pull off, which is why it is best to ease into them one item at a time. Choose one pieces of striped clothing to make a statement and keep the rest of your look simple. The relaxed cut of the Tokyo James’ Red Stripe Trousers are perfect for adding a dimensional touch to a leisurely look. The London-based brand is the brainchild of British-Nigerian designer Inije Tokyo James, who infuses his designs with his dual heritage, mixing the bold colors of the African aesthetic with the smart cuts of British tailoring.

Go all out

Shop the Casablanca Flemenco Layered Dress by SisianoShop the Casablanca Flemenco Layered Dress by Sisiano

If playing it safe does not appear anywhere in your style vocabulary, then dressing to the nines in a dramatic printed number such as the striking Casablanca Flemenco dress by Sisiano is the perfect way to mix patterns. Inspired by rich and vibrant African colors, the full-length dress is rendered in an abstract watercolor pattern that’s been painted by hand. With a deep v-neckline in the front and back, pleated tiered skirt and bold hues, the Casablanca dress need little to finish it off – just add a pair of Big Cat Earrings from South African brand Lorne and you’re good to go.


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