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By Stream Africa
Summer is just around the corner and like most people, we’re obsessed with this season’s swimwear style because after all, what’s the point of working for summer bodies if not to show them off in eye-catching swimwear? Luckily, this year’s trends are characterized by vibrant carnival and ethnic prints, revealing cuts and flattering silhouettes. Here are a few African swimwear brands that we absolutely love, as we feel that they perfectly capture this season’s trends, while maintaining a timeless and unique aesthetic:
Andrea Iyamah Swim
The unique style embodied by Andrea Iyamah swimwear totally gives us the feels, as the highly wearable pieces each tell a story through symbolic prints and flattering cuts. The brand is owned by Nigerian designer Dumebi Iyamah, whose passion for her culture is reflected in the colorful patterns and retro design motifs that celebrate it. Not only did Iyamah launch the brand at the tender age of 17, but she has built it into one of the most iconic in the industry, boasting a slew of features in international publications like Elle, Cosmopolitan, Style Caster, Essence, HuffPost, Bustle and Ebony. And the best part is that women from the world over can shop Andrea Iyamah styles using their well-designed website, which you can find here.
The Olori Swim brand focuses on creating hand-made, one of a kind swimwear pieces that are sure to spark conversation and turn heads. With the use of ethnic prints and fabrics such as the popular dashiki, Ankara and Kente cloth, each piece takes its inspiration from a specific African culture. As the brainchild of well-travelled husband-and-wife team, Ibrahim Hasan and Dunnie Onasanya- Hasan, both Nigerian natives who now reside in Los Angeles, USA, this premier brand blends African tradition with Western design to create something truly unique.
However, what truly sets the Olori Swim brand apart is the fact that it celebrates each woman’s unique silhouette, and is able to cater to fuller figured and curvy women as equally as they do their petite and slender counterparts. Their sizes range from XS to 3XL, and you can shop their stunning swimwear pieces here.
As the name implies, Bfyne brings out the ‘fineness’ in each woman, and is characterized by well-placed cuts, edgy design and bold ornate African prints which they interpret like no other brand out there. Bfyne was founded by Nigerian-American Buki Adewho, who decided to create a line that she herself would wear, after being unable to find anything she liked for her vacation online. Since then, Buki has made waves with her unique brand of swimwear, gaining international recognition from renowned publications such as Vogue, Glamour and the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue.
Apart from their vivacious prints, Bfyne Swimwear uses careful and almost regal tailoring to create pieces that flatter any shape or figure, from the curvy to the boyish. And although aesthetically pleasing, this swimwear is made for swimming and enjoying the sun, which means that it’s highly functional and made by hand with every attention to detail taken care of. Bfyne Swimwear definitely inspires a sense of femininity in any woman, and puts you in that ‘Egyptian Goddess’ kind of mood. To find out more, check out their website here.
Inspired by the ancient royal Kingdom of the Ashanti, this beach wear brand delivers signature African symbolism in a way that is both practical and accessible to the everyday modern woman. It’s a luxury brand that was founded by Ghanaian siblings and design duo Yasmeen and Dexter, who sought to bring creativity and an authentic African aesthetic to the world of swimwear. The Ashanti Swimwear brand offers highly flattering and well-made pieces that bring out an inner glow or as we like to call it, that ‘African Butter’. To shop their line, check out their online store here.
This exclusive men’s swimwear brand is inspired by the rich heritage of Africa and uses a plethora of traditional African fabric prints to convey a sense of adventure, luxury, heritage and modernity. The exuberant yet elegantly printed shorts are a must-have addition to any traveling gentleman’s suitcase. You’ll truly stand out in these custom prints which are superimposed on comfortable and soft fabrics that are perfect for an active day at the beach. Shop the Okun brand on OnyCheck.com and BrownsFashion.com.
This list only scratches the surface when it comes to African swimwear brands, but we hope that it has inspired you to support African designers in the continent and the diaspora, by purchasing at least one item from each of them. And although they all draw on African heritage prints for inspiration, each brings something different to the table, which means that you’ll be slaying all summer long, while practically living in swimwear!