L'Afrik Pop-Up and Fashion Show Is Heading to Oakland
When glossy magazines in the US talk about "fashion," they're largely referring to western fashion—designers based in New York, Paris, Milan, and London. It was only in the 80s that American media started taking note of Japanese names like Rei Kawakubo and Yohji Yamamoto. And how many people—even among those who love fashion—could name a designer based in China before Rihanna wore Guo Pei to the Met Gala in 2015? We're even further behind when it comes to African design literacy.
Sure, there are exceptions. Oakland's Sherri McMullen brought national attention to Maki Oh when she started carrying designer Amaka "Maki" Osakwe's line at McMullen in 2017. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's decision to wear mostly Nigerian designers has cast rising talent from Nigeria into the fashion spotlight. Vogue even recently wrote about Industrie Africa, a digital platform where shoppers can find more than 80 designers from 24 nations across Africa. But finding that talent in real life is hard because those examples are the outliers, not the norm. That's why L'Afrik is making the rounds across America.
On August 4 and 5, L'Afrik stops in Oakland for a weekend of pop-up shopping, fashion shows, and head wrap tutorials. Visitors can check out arrivals from African designers, enjoy runway shows, and jam out to Afrobeats from local DJs. Vendors will have apparel in sizes ranging from XS-4XL, as well as handbags, jewelry, and other accessories.
Still planning your schedule? L'Afrik lands at Oakstop (1721 Broadway #201) in Oakland Saturday, August 4, from 10am-7pm and Sunday, August 5, from 11am-6pm. The fashion shows—yes, plural shows—are at 12pm and 3pm Saturday and 3pm Sunday. Headwrap tutorials are at 2pm both days. The event is free, but you can register on Eventbrite.