As with all cultures and societies, there’s always an underground. What do I mean by that? It means there’s always a culture within the culture, better known as a subculture, a term that we are all familiar with. For example, emo and punk are subcultures that have influenced music and fashion here in America and other countries as well. Today I would like to draw your attention to the continent of Africa.
If you have been privy to certain media outlets lately, you would know big things have been happening in Africa lately, in regards to apparel. For instance, the push to Africa for manufacturing and sourcing of raw materials, being that products from there to the U.S. are duty-free for the next ten years courtesy of AGOA, and the low costs of labor (I have mixed feelings about this, but that’s a topic for another discussion) as well.
Enter: African Fashion Subcultures
- Skhothane, South Africa
This is a subculture prevalent in South Africa, more specifically in townships of Soweto and East Rand, and originated with the “born free generation”- those living in the townships of South Africa at the end of Apartheid. Skhothane is slang for “to lick” or “to boast”, and boasting is what these young cats surely do in their very bright garbs and gaudy style of dress, boasting Italian brands such as Rossimoda, Arbiter and Sfarzo. Clothing has always been a means of communication, whether it is to showcase one’s wealth (think rappers), to make one’s status known, or to protest. The young South Africans involved in this subculture use it as a means to bring life to these dreary towns where economic development has not translated into jobs for its young people.
2. The Heavy Metal Subculture of Botswana
I know what you’re thinking! Heavy Metal + Africa, WTF! But who says such a genre or style in this case should relegated to one group of people? Guess what? There are such things as African Deathmetal bands, as well! The culture was actually born out of a classic rock band that was formed in Botswana in the 1970s and has since evolved through the decades. Frank Mitchell, a South African photographer, has managed to capture some dope photos in a series he calls ‘The Renegades” of these individuals in their polished leathers, metal studs, cowboy hats, and shiny belt buckles.
These two are the ones that caught my attention the most, so I thought’d I’d share them with you. Fashion has so many subcultures within it, across various countries and continents, and it’s dope to see what people can create when they come together.
Stay tuned for more post like this as I dive into more fashion subcultures here and around the globe.