The Cultural leader, Thando Hopa whose work has advocated for diversity, inclusion and representation on the global platform has come full circle and completed a historical work dubbed, The African Fashion Legacy (AFL).
The African Fashion legacy is Thando Hopa’s brainchild, a project she gave birth to after two years honing the idea with the assistance of singer and songwriter Angelique Kidjo. The Africa Fashion Legacy is a creative concept that explores the history of the transcontinental african fabrics that have been part of our lives, be it the centre of celebratory gatherings such as wedding or the identity of a ethnic originality. Through The African Fashion Legacy narrative she tells the fashion story intertwined with the story of representation with the collaboration of Miss Wheelchair World First Princess title-holder and model, Lebohang Monyatsi. Monyatsi is not only the face that brings the AFL project to life but is the cultural figure with the mark of resistance, the courage to change a narrative and to reach diverse cultural existences.
In the current March issue of Glamour SA, Hopa’s vision is documented in the fashion spread complimented by the visuals that display the transformation of transcontinental fabrics, namely Seshweshwe, Ankara, Blaudruk and Batik.
“Through conversations with my mother, who runs the Indlu Kantu Institute, and my mentor, Angelique Kidjo, I managed to explore the migration of fabric and how African heritage is vast and fluid. What was also important to me was to ensure that underrepresented groups are prominent in the stories of Africa, to assert that the face of Africa is beautifully diverse and varied”
Having delivered talks about representation and inclusion locally and on international platforms, the former prosecutor and model, Hopa felt the African fabric fashion story would articulate how she sees representation in a broader scale while assimilating the cultural experiences and diverse forms of humanity as well as the shared sense of heritage.
AFL by Thando Hopa is a collaborative fashion tale constructed with the help of fashion designer, Mantsho by Palesa Mokubung who brought the vision to life by crafting garments that depicted the history of the transcontinental fabrics from ideation, drawing of the sketches to final garments encapsulating the origin of the fabrics.
“I am truly happy by what I have achieved with the support of the World Economy Fellowship program. Through their funding partners I was able to tell the story of diverse history of African fabric, as well as the inherent beauty and variation of African bodies in the field of intersectional representation. Such projects are a defining moment in history”, concludes Hopa