Ravensbourne lecturers featured in fashion exhibition celebrating black couture

Ugandan model wearing Lamula Nassuna
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Article by: David Millett

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A major new fashion exhibition exploring black couture, beauty and styles will be shown this month at the Centraal Museum in the Netherlands, featuring the work of Ravensbourne lecturers Lamula Anderson and Othello De’Souza-Hartley.

The ‘Voices of Fashion’ exhibition, running from 3 March to 24 May 2021, celebrates the contributions and legacy of black fashion, as well as casting a critical eye on how the fashion world has been, and continues to be, shaped by the legacies of European colonialism.

It features a collection by Lamula Anderson, a Ugandan-born, London-based designer and founder of fashion brand Lamula Nassuna. She is also the pathway leader of our Access to Higher Education course. Visual artist and photographer Othello De’Souza-Hartley, who works as a sessional lecturer for our Further Education courses, produced the visuals for the exhibition.

Black models on a poster for the Voices of Fashion event

Opening at the Centraal Museum in Utrecht, the exhibition marks the first time that an art museum in the Netherlands has staged a show that queries the white gaze as the default vantage point from which to present, wear and collect fashion.

It also features work from many other esteemed black artists, including Virgil Abloh, artistic director at Louis Vuitton and founder of Off-White; filmmaker Steve McQueen and artist Yinka Shonibare.

Ugandan model wears a dress designed by Lamula Nassuna

Photographs of Lamula’s collection, called ‘The Perfect Stereotype’, from two photoshoots will be featured, one conducted in Uganda and another from a London studio. It takes inspiration from – and celebrates – afro hair.

The collection is about "not fitting into the norm of others" and not worrying about what they think, Lamula said. "For me in particular, I personalised it on my crazy and wonderful adventures in life so far, but to also help provoke a dialogue on racial issues within our own communities and the industry, inspiring girls and boys to be comfortable in their first skin.

"The collection was originally shown as part of the Tate Collective in London, then in Berlin at the Kunstgewerbemuseum in 2019, so I am grateful that it has been well received. I am currently working on a new collection that again builds on the afro kinky textured hair but with a twist."

Ugandan model wearing Lamula Nassuna

On being shown at the Centraal Museum, Lamula added: "It feels great to be involved. When originally approached I had no idea of the other designers/artists exhibiting, so I feel chuffed to be amongst these amazing artists, like Yinka Shonibare. It's important because it truly highlights the best black designers around the world and echoes their narratives because there is something important being said."

Othello said: "To be part of the ‘Voices of Fashion’ exhibition is amazing, and to be amongst a host of other talented and established creators. This exhibition is important as it recognises the contributions that black creatives have made in the fashion world over many years."