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African Style Archive: What's next?

A group of men standing
  • Written byJ Tilley
  • Published date17 May 2021
A group of men standing
African Style Archive. Courtesy Studio Pellosh. Copyright Maurice ‘Pellosh’ Bidilou⁠⁠

"I think it's being able to present this narrative of black people, African people and their rich history that has been massively overlooked in general with media, academia and fashion history. So this archiving for me is just a way of mapping because I've been able to plot different histories and put that together and share that to discover more. It's been such a great journey that I've been on and I'm looking forward to carrying it on." - Tosin Adeosun

This month we teamed up with African Style Archive - a digital platform dedicated to showcasing African style, from fashion shows to magazine clippings and street style snaps for an exclusive, week-long Instagram exhibition exploring African style and sartorial practices through imagery and conversation. Curator, Researcher and Founder of African Style Archive, Tosin Adeosun is supported by LCF Head of Archives, Susanna Cordner.

The week featured highlights from men’s fashion and tailoring in Central Africa in the 1970s through the studio photographs of Cameroonian photographer Michel Kameni and Congolese photographer Maurice “Pellosh” Bidilou, as well as Chez Julie who made her mark as the first well-known Ghanaian fashion designer that restructured historical and traditional Ghanian cloth-making style and designs. ⁠With an Instagram live conversation with Krys Osei, a Ghanaian-Cameroonian-American Lecturer in Cultural Studies for BA Fashion, Textiles and Jewellery at Central Saint Martins, and Lecturer in Fashion Media Production for BA Fashion Styling and Production at London College of Fashion and an exclusive podcast with Dr Christine Checinska.

An exclusive podcast was also created as part of the Instagram Exhibition, with Tosin in conversation with Dr Christine Checinska - the V&A’s inaugural Curator of African and African Diaspora Fashion. She is the Lead Curator of the forthcoming Africa Fashion exhibition, opening at the V&A fashion galleries June 2022. You can listen to the podcast episode below and listen to more LCF podcasts on the LCF Soundcloud.

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Further reading or resource recommendations from Tosin Adeosun

The Fashion and Race database is a great digital resource, I’m in awe of the hard work the team is doing with it. The African Lookbook by Catherine E. McKinley is also a great photo book with mini essays on African fashion. The archives of African photographers are great too, there are some great archives that have been digitised. The Archive of Malian Photography is a good place to start.

Aside from those, below are a few more recommendations that are available to access via the UAL Library:

  • The Art of African Fashion by Prince Claus Fund
  • African fashion, global style: histories, innovations, and ideas you can wear by Victoria Rovine
  • Contemporary African Fashion by Suzanne Gott and Kristyne Loughran
  • New African Fashion by Helen Jennings
  • Liberated Threads: Black Women, Style and the Global Politics of Soul by Tanisha C. Ford
  • The Birth of Cool: Style Narratives of the African Diaspora by Carol Tulloch
  • James Barnor Ever Young exhibition catalogue
  • Dandy Lion: The Black Dandy and Street Style by Shantrelle P. Lewis

Tosin is mentored by Head of Archives and host of LCF's most popular podcast series, Susanna Cordner. Last year, Tosin featured in conversation as part of Susanna's new series 'Objects of Affection' - a discussion with various professionals working with museums or collections in their day to day, highlighting a particular favourite object from their own area of study and another from an outside organisation.

Objects of Affection with Susanna Cordner and Tosin Adeosun

Recap on African Style Archive Instagram Exhibition on LCF's social media.

Find out more about LCF Archives.