‘Fashion Illustration Africa: A New Generation’, New book featuring Africa’s rising generation of fashion illustrators

‘Fashion Illustration Africa: A New Generation’ is a new book that highlights the illustrative work of 23 progressive fashion illustrators and designers from Africa and the diaspora.

‘Complied by Tapiwa Matsinde (Shoko Press), the book opens with an introduction and historical context by fashion illustrator Zakirah Rabaney’.

We spoke to both Tapiwa Matsinde (TM) and Zakirah Rabney (ZR) to learn a little more about the concept of the book and to find out why fashion illustrations are a hot commodity right now.


Congratulations on the launch of the new book. How did the idea for Fashion Illustration Africa come about?
TM: Thank you. The idea for Fashion Illustration Africa came from seeing the increasing global interest in fashion illustration in general and really wanting to explore the contribution African fashion illustrators were making to the industry. And by putting together a book we hope to encourage those, particularly in Africa, who may be interested in the discipline but for one reason or another may feel its not relevant for them. Fashion Illustration Africa is part of a wider vision to create more reference and inspirational books about Africa’s creativity.


What can we expect from the book?
TM: Fashion Illustration Africa is a visually inspiring resource that showcases a range of styles and techniques from a predominately young group of illustrators who because of their backgrounds are also championing diversity in fashion illustration. Covering Africa and the diaspora many of those featured are self-taught, and are embracing the opportunities that come with social media to make a name for themselves in the industry. So in a way Fashion Illustration Africa highlights the proactive, can do attitude that is defining the growth of Africa’s creative industries.


FEMALE CROWN – Ibe Ananaba.jpg © Ibe Ananaba

How did you select which illustrator to feature in the book? Was there a criteria that was required in order to be featured?
TM: Fashion illustration as a commercial industry in Africa is virtually non-existent. So from the outset we chose to have a mix of well-known and emerging fashion illustrators to give as true a reflection as we could of fashion illustration in relation to the continent as well as the global industry. First and foremost selection was based on the quality of the work produced. We sought out illustrators who showed promise and dedication to improving and refining their craft and those who were working to spread awareness of the discipline in their respective countries or communities. We also looked for differing styles and techniques to represent the different expressions of fashion illustration – such as traditional pen and ink, to more modern methods of digital design and experimental ones such as collage – looking for those illustrators who experimented with the tools they have to hand. We ended up with an exciting group of illustrators who believed in and embraced the vision for Fashion Illustration Africa.


Were there any challenges when it came to get the book produced?
TM: One of main challenges in producing Fashion Illustration Africa was deciding which illustrations to use to best represent each illustrator. There were so many strong illustrations to chose from, however working to a set number of pages for each profile meant not being able to include them all. Added to this the process of coordinating contributors who are spread across the globe is always a challenge, one that calls for great organisational discipline from the outset in order to complete the book within the deadline.


No Common Scents – Zakirah Rabaney.jpg © Zakirah Rabaney

There seems to be an increased interest in fashion illustrations at the moment. A lot of magazines and websites are incorporating them in their work. What is it about illustrations that excite people?
ZR: There’s a tangible creativity to fashion illustration that anyone can relate to, and they excite people because they record clothing in the most inventive ways. Illustrators can manipulate the lines, textures and colours of a garment or look for the sake of evoking a mood or a character in their work. Plus, no two fashion illustrators draw or interpret clothing in the exact same way. Their tools, mediums and styles are so varied and it is this kind of individualism and craftsmanship that attracts magazines and websites to fashion illustration.


Is there anything that you would like readers to know about the book?
Fashion Illustration Africa is intended to inspire both practicing and budding fashion illustrators, as well as serving as a handy reference book for industry professionals such as fashion editors and designers to find the talent they need for their projects.


Rooibos Tea With Friends – Nicole Cronje.jpg © Nicole Cronje

How can our readers seek more information about the book?
Readers can find out more about Fashion Illustration Africa by visiting the Shoko Press website: http://www.shokopress.com/?product=fashion-illustration-africa

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