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Power, Dress and Spirituality in West Africa

Fashion Historian Amber Butchart guest-curates a programme of three talks on power, dress and culture. For this event she presents Lorene Rhoomes, designer behind Akhu Designs, who discusses textiles and dress in West Africa, followed by a head wrap workshop.

Head wraps are an essential part of African history and culture. In sub-Saharan Africa they were traditionally worn by women to prove they were prosperous and spiritual, and elaborate Nigerian Gele and Ghanaian duku are worn today for celebrations, religious occasions or as an expression of cultural pride.

Lorene Rhoomes, designer behind Akhu Designs, shares her passion for West African dress, looking at the vital role of textiles in the region and finishing with a head wrap workshop. A number of fabrics will be covered from the sacred Kente, dubbed the Akan Royal Cloth; Adire, resist-dyed indigo cloths that historically symbolised wealth and nobility among community chiefs, and Ankara, also known as Dutch Wax, which has a long and intricate history ranging from Indonesia to Holland, Manchester and West Africa, whose stories of colonialism and identity are often used in the artwork of Yinka Shonibare.

Lorene Rhoomes is the hands and heart behind Afrocentric brand Akhu Designs. Inspired by her Nigerian and Jamaican heritage, the label specialises in turbans and head wraps that have cultural resonance as well as serious style credentials. She is a regular at the popular ‘Africa at Spitalfields’ market and she recently toured with Natural Hair Week teaching women the origins and historical journey of the head wrap from Africa to the diaspora.

Booking information

Tickets include a complimentary Peroni and entry to the Women Fashion Power exhibition between 18:00 - 19:00

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