As an avid promoter of African fashion, I’m continually in search of African design talents online and on the continent. However, to my disappointment, everything just seem to look the same these days. Bored of only seeing the same African print designs, I started researching African trends and designers. Since then, I’ve come across some mind blowing creations that could be easily featured in Vogue. So, I’ve decided to do a weekly column about some of the designers that you need to check out! This week’s feature is Ivorian designer, Loza Maléombho.
Born in Brazil and raised between Côte d’Ivoire and the United States, Loza started designing at the age of 13 years. She graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Animation at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia in 2006. After taking on several internships at New York City’s top fashion designer houses, she decided to launch her own brand.
Loza Maléombho was established in New York City in 2009 and relocated to Côte d’Ivoire in 2012, where its production now takes place. Loza Maléombho is best described as a fusion between traditional cultures / subcultures and contemporary fashion. Loza Maléombho bridges Ivorian traditions with modern fashion. The silhouettes celebrate the paradox of the old and new, cultural and futuristic aesthetics. Loza Maléombho experiments between the synergies of Ivorian tribal aesthetics and New York City’s urban fashion.
Loza Maléombho works with local artisans who for centuries have mastered their craft, and find ways to communicate their trade with fashionable items that are on trend.
Social Media Sensation
She has become a social media sensation thanks to her beautifully curated visual diary, bringing together historical references, Lookbooks, still life, travel and street style. What makes it even more special is her awe-inspiring selfies.
Loza Maléombho has turned her designs into an art form.
“My aim is to raise awareness of things I believe in and let other people express their beliefs too,” Loza Maléombho explains. “It started after Ferguson. I was in New York and felt a wave of deep frustration and depression. Those events were degrading to me on a personal level. I had to do something positive that would cultivate pride in order to stop those feelings from eating me up. My first selfie was of me wearing a crown of flowers, which evoked a sense of royalty and elegance.” In no time it had 70,000 notes on Tumblr, which she admits was “mind blowing.”
She developed the idea into a series of images, drawing on cultural references and figures, posing as queen Nefertiti, goddess Amalthea and wearing a Senufo helmet. The concept took off and fans and friends have since created their own versions. Loza Maléombho continues to push boundaries by promoting the tradition of African women balancing various meaningful items gracefully their head. Above is an Alien Edits she specifically made for Nataal.
More recently, her SS18 collection focused on earth tones, regal sandals, dark skin nudes and check prints. Scroll down and be mesmerised by her playful cuts and her bold colour combinations and fabrics.
Discover more designers here.