Si Wi Yah; Sartorial Representations of the African Diaspora

Friday 4th May 2018,

London College of Fashion,

20 John Princes Street,

London, W1G 0BJ

and Saturday 5th May 2018,

Senate House, University of London,

Malet St,

London WC1E 7HU

Please click here for Earlybird tickets and see below for the conference programme

Si Wi Yah CIAD Conference Programme


This, CIAD’s first dress conference of the African Diaspora, seeks to understand how African Diaspora communities came to be visually represented or have developed the agency to represent themselves and establish their identities through clothing and adornment.

People of African heritage have been moved across the globe, through forced or self-determined migration in the western hemisphere, for hundreds of years.  As they came to settle in various corners of the globe, the retention of their African origins mixed with their new environments and other cultures and have developed the myriad of different communities that make up the African Diaspora.

Colonial textbooks have suggested that people on the continent of Africa, had little in the way of material or sartorial culture, with which to distinguish themselves and certainly nothing to rival the elegance of Europe. It is fair to say that not only has historic style and culture coming out of Africa been of the merit and quality on a par with Europe, but that oftentimes what has come out of the continent has been of such total opposite to the considerations of Europe that the eminence has been unrecognisable by historical westernised anthropologists and writers.

Having been transplanted in one way or another into different countries and communities around the world, people of African heritage have often helped to shape and enhance the culture of the countries within which they have found themselves.

Key Note Speakers

Professor Carol Tulloch

Contextually speaking, “every mistake is a fashion”

Carol Tulloch is Professor of Dress, Diaspora and Transnationalism at the University of the Arts London, where she is based at Chelsea College of Arts and is a member of TrAIN. She is the Chelsea College of Arts/V&A Fellow in Black Visual and Material Culture at the V&A Museum. Her recent publications include The Birth of Cool: Style Narratives of the Africa Diaspora (2016), Syd Shelton: Rock Against Racism: (co-editor 2015), A Riot of Our OwnA Reflection on Agency(2014/2018), and her recent exhibitions include Jessica Ogden: Still (2017), The Flat Cloth Cap (2016), Syd Shelton: A Riot of Our Own (co-curator 2015-17).


Laduma Ngxokolo

Maxhosa By Laduma: A Journey Of An Entrepreneur – The Story Behind The Brand & Its Impact On The African Design Space

Laduma Ngxokolo is one of Africa’s finest creatives, an innovative fashion designer and cultural icon. He has created a global fashion brand – MAXHOSA BY LADUMA – that has captured the hearts of fashionistas across the world, where his designs have graced runways and been featured in numerous fashion editorials. Drawing inspiration from the traditions and arts of his native South African Xhosa culture, his design journey began in 2010 when he started looking into finding knitwear design solutions for Amakrwala (Xhosa initiates). As he is a descendant of the Mpondo clan it was his own experience of the traditional initiation ritual that led to the development of his striking and elegant knitwear collection.