Kent State Museum Showcases South African, Namibian Fashion Designers

The Kent State University Museum brings the work of contemporary fashion designers from two southern African nations to Ohio in a new exhibition.

Fashions of Southern Africa is curated by Sara Hume, Ph.D., and runs Aug. 26, 2016-July 2, 2017, in the museum’s Higbee Gallery. The museum also will host a free preview reception from 5-7 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 25. Please call 330-672-0300 to RSVP.

The exhibition draws on designs created in South Africa and Namibia, presenting distinctive and forward-looking work that offers fresh perspectives on style and fashion. Hume says the featured garments and accessories erase the simple binary between “Western fashion” and “traditional African dress.”

“News coverage concerning Africa often focuses on the challenges the continent faces with poverty, disease and war,” Hume said. “Far less attention is paid to the fact that Africa boasts the fastest-growing middle class in the world. With this increasing spending power, sectors such as the fashion industry have the potential to see enormous growth in the years to come.”

Fashions of Southern Africa includes work by both established and emerging designers contributing to a regional fashion culture distinct from that of Paris, New York or London. South Africa is represented by such designers as Marianne Fassler, Rich Mnisi and Laduma Ngxokolo, as well as footwear designer Maria McCloy and jewelry designer Pichulik. Representing the smaller Namibian market are designers Maria Caley and Quin-Leigh Hammond, who incorporate elements of traditional Namibian culture, and the My Republik brand, which is poised to expand into neighboring Botswana and Zambia.

The Kent State University Museum is located at 515 Hilltop Drive, at the corner of East Main and South Lincoln streets in Kent. The museum is open to the public on Wednesday, Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m.-4:45 p.m.; Thursday from 10 a.m.-8:45 p.m.; and Sunday from noon-4:45 p.m. Admission is $5 for adults, $4 for seniors and $3 for children under 18. The museum is free with a Kent State ID and free to the public on Sunday. Parking is free. For more information, call 330-672-3450 or visit

Sara Hume is curator and an associate professor at the Kent State University Museum. She earned her Ph.D. in modern European history from the University of Chicago. Her dissertation examines the development and preservation of traditional or folk dress practices in Alsace in the face of pressure from political conflict and mainstream fashion. She is interested in exploring the use of material culture, specifically clothing, in historical scholarship. She also holds a B.A. in art from Yale University and an M.A. in museum studies (with a concentration in costume and textiles) from the Fashion Institute of Technology.


Photo Caption:
Khosi Nkosi runway show at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Johannesburg 2016.

Media Contacts:
Alex Parrott,, 330-672-2714
Kristin Anderson,, 330-672-7907

POSTED: Monday, August 8, 2016 11:40 AM
Updated: Saturday, December 3, 2022 01:02 AM
Alex Parrott