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Urban Culture in the Artistic Landscape in Africa

Some people see urban culture in Africa as cultural import from Europe and North America by geeks, graffiti pop or hip hop folks. Some others see it as a powerful community empowerment and sharing movement through art.

When you work in the heart of the fashion environment in Africa like myself, you are necessarily influenced by the beauty of the events from north to south of the continent. My favorite mention for art and design in Africa goes to the place of urban trends for the New Year 2014 through cultural expressions.

My prediction is that urban cultures will be an opening for new social trends on the Internet for the following reasons:

  • They are shared, resulting from the combination of cultural past experiences and future trends,
  • They are designed by young people who were born in the era of the internet and the new mobile terminals
  • They are the expression of a social thought
  • They sent a message

This article is a presentation of some urban movement in Africa. We describe here some fashion and social trend from Mozambique, Nigeria, Ethiopia and Cameroon with a strength impact on Internet Media

CAPULANA IN DESIGN from Mozambique.

« Wumburi is finding comfort within my difference »

capulResearch on trends in fashion in Mozambique allowed me to discover the address of Mozambican designers in the exploitation of the traditional loincloth in their design. My Special mention is addressed to Capulana  «Wumburi» Concept.

The movement was created by 3 young Mozambican women 5 years  ago. Thanks to the stimulus through the oil exploitation, Mozambique is already part of the Group of nations that are going to driver the economy of the African continent.

The artistic concept of Capulana is based on the traditional loincloth in Mozambique call Wumburi fabric. It  is the art to enhance the style of dress through the exploitation of the traditional patterned fabrics.

The price of the concept advantage is that it caters to all the profiles; young people, children, women, men, and it go beyond social classes.


More than art, the strength of Wumburi is the communication around strong messages or how to attach the design to a user experience that connects to   a set of values.

It is also the expression of family values, like respect to his community and personal empowerment.

The act of buying and design are a symbol for the user, becoming a member of a community through an identity. The Instagram and Pinterest social networks are the space of expression of this community by allowing the expression of values ​​as diffuse a golf experience.

Internet can also allow the emergence of communities or movements whose main goal was not to become a network.

Nigeria urban wear

As everywhere in the world, urban brands find their foundation through the social condition of the people. With over 20 million inhabitants, the city of Lagos In Nigeria   is part of the most populous cities in the world.

Nigeria is also known for its booming film industry and music. The context of cultural development , a young population and social life are sources of innovation for the designers.

lagoslaid“Many of local fashion designers create trends urban wear around the local hip hop movement and high life music” .We decided to focus on some of the well-known brand from the innovation urban wear industry in Nigeria.

The example of Lagos LaidBac (LLB), which was born in 2010 is   an idea birthed to give the image of the New Lagos metropolis life in art form.

A Label under the NaijaFever Collection brand, LLB formally represents quality, art and a culture of posterity. Taking the everyday images of Lagos and creating a Luxury brand of Tee Shirts and Related merchandise that people all over the world respect and embrace.

Lagos LaidBac is described by enthusiast as a collectors gem; “we describe LLB as Artistic Luxury from Lagos to the world. Loyally taking our homestead and reintroducing it to people as Rich, Cultural, Fun and Progressive.

Lagos LaidBac introduces illuminating colors, unrestricted art and profound graffiti, the softer side of Lagos.” Said one of the founders of the brand.

Innovation for the Nigerian and African urban culture will go beyond geographical boundaries to become registered as something that people could identify themselves. Online media Channel are the gateway for urban brands with tied budget.

The success of this urban design in the use of existing social media could be resuming into a question of:  how to develop a scenario for its brand experience and make a path among the many brands of urban culture?

 “Je Wandamagazine”

“Je Wanda magazine” is an online social magazine created at the initiative of Cameroonian. The goal is to promote culture through topics such as fashion, cinema, music, African art and young trends.

In fact it means what “je Wanda”? Je Wanda is taken from the most spoken language in Cameroon «francanglais» a mixture measured of  French, English and local expression.

“Je Wanda” means hallucinating or “surprises me”, an expression used   when one is surprised by something. The value of this expression lies in his side of positive thinking.

The Founders have understood the importance of social networks and have use Twitter as an important weapon to build a community around simple and shared topics.

The concept on twitter is called Wandamania, a page where people could send a tweet about an emotion, a news, event, or someone you know around the expression “Je Wanda”, which will lead to the later debate around your tweet, beyond developing a large community of users by the number, the stakes are also marketing and strategic, certainly many people still ask the question about how to develop a strategy on twitter?

The promoters of ‘Wanda magazine’ have managed something special in the world of social media in Africa, by generating value and creativity around an expression, and rewarding experiences and common practices that had not taken the step of the Internet machine.

Like the Cameroon, there are certainly in many African countries local expressions from national tongues ​​and used by millions of people. Google integrated new languages ​​including African languages ​​in its Google translation application. This innovation opens a lot of possibilities around education, culture and internet even with social media channels.

« Solerebel’s » Ethiopia


« Sole Rebels is an amazing footwear company founded in 2004 by company founder + managing director Bethlehem Tilahun Alemu in her community of Zenabwork Ethiopia.

Sole Rebels began as an idea that the creation of shoes could be a platform for inspiration and hope, by crafting xtraCOOL footwear that gave the person wearing them immense comfort and joy, and by creating great employment opportunities RIGHT INSIDE THEIR OWN COMMUNITY and giving the often ignored a chance to engage in creative endeavors.

The founder think that the motto at soleRebels is: “making the world a better place. One step at a time.” And we attempt to do that, in whatever small manner, every day.

“We aimed to create something that was authentically local but had a truly universal flavor to it, and for the past few years we have that and more.  All the while we never lose our focus on crafting our wares from the most Eco sensible materials available – a combination of recycled, organic + bio-based materials , and then making our shoes in the most energy efficient manner possible – with our talented hands , said the founder”.

There is a desire for the Ethiopians to see this trend go beyond borders and become a social innovation label for poor communities. The brand Solerebels also reflects this African cultural experience around the cultural exploitation of waste, the promotion of a textile that is part of a set of event past and present.

The development of an urban brand cannot settle with communities that live around the label; because they are in the heart user experience innovation that can also integrate other science and technology areas, and creativity in the fashion industry in part.


Everything is in the ability of the African government to be able to finance the creativity and develop the consumption of local fashion by the poor population.

The major challenge here is to build a business model with ecological and fashion value that can be produced and absorbed by the local market.

Everything resides in the exchange of good practices between the precursor knowledge countries and those seeking for innovation and transformation.

Internet platform for data sharing are important at this level. These platforms allow saving time, quality and reducing costs related to the development of a complex project into a new market.

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