Family, photography, memories: Africa Fashion Produced as part of Africa Fashion at the V&A, Kensington

Museums are not only about objects, they are also about people.

Dr. Christine Checinska, Senior Curator of Africa and Diaspora: Textiles and Fashion

To celebrate our Africa Fashion exhibition, we made a worldwide public call-out for material to feature in the forthcoming show. As well as seeking out early designs by notable designers such as Kofi Ansah and Shade Thomas-Fahm, the call-out asked for ‘Family portraits and home movies from the independence and liberation years, showing African and African diasporic fashion trends of the day’. We hoped to be able to borrow these for the exhibition and tell the personal stories, and unique fashion histories of individuals across the continent.

The response was incredibly generous, with dozens of people getting in touch and sharing their fascinating and beautiful garments, textiles, accessories, photographs and other objects with us. A particularly striking element of the responses was the wonderful stories behind each of the treasured photographs. The abundance of memories and emotions that these precious, personal images embody form a key part of the exhibition narrative, offering a poignant insight into the lives and fashions in and following the independence era in Africa and within African diasporic communities in the UK.

Explore a selection of photographs and stories sent in by members of the public below. Highlights can also be seen in the Africa Fashion exhibition, alongside original garments.

To find out more please visit the direct link.