Sunny side up
Fashion innovator Sunny Dolat will bring unique perspective to Design Indaba
Always on the cutting edge and committed to bringing forward-thinking individuals into the public domain, Design Indaba’s speaker lineup offers an annual snapshot of topical and relevant talking points, and innovators in their respective spheres.
One such speaker, Sunny Dolat, will pave the way for a more nuanced discussion on African fashion. The creative director and cultural producer will be speaking at Design Indaba 2020 and hopes to shine a light on lesser-celebrated centres of African fashion. He feels that often, when referring to “African fashion” the general public is limited to its knowledge of the industry to fashion capitals like Johannesburg, Lagos, Cairo, Nairobi and Dakar. This is something the Kenyan creative director, cultural producer and fashion curator wants to change.
Nairobi-based Dolat, who is a co-founder of Kenyan multidisciplinary squad, The Nest Collective, decided to use his recent commission to curate and perform at the N’gola Biennale to explore a more inclusive representation of African fashion, curating and performing in an expansive fashion installation and ritual called In Their Finest Robes, The Children Shall Return.
Taking place at sunrise on the shores of Sao Tome and Principe, it featured Dolat as well as 56 models, each wearing a look by a designer from each of the 54 countries on the continent. For Dolat it is important for the fashion industry to have much more complex conversations around African fashion and believes that before one looks to the international community, we need to start with local creatives.
For his part, he chooses to focus his attention on designers who are communicating a more layered idea of what African fashion is. He says: “I have chosen to focus on people whose work is innovative, whose work showed that some thought had gone into it, and who are using textiles that are not often seen or talked about. People who are designing new textiles, and are, in fact, adding to the library of existing textiles. That is so important to highlight.”
Dolat’s and his team at The Nest Collective are not limited to fashion and work across the spectrum of but film, literature, visual arts, events and music, and he will be sure to enlighten and delight Design Indaba delegates on his boundary-pushing work when he takes the stage in early 2020.
Tickets for Design Indaba 2020 are on sale now.