After making his couture debut in January, the first designer from sub-Saharan Africa as a guest on the official couture calendar, Imane Ayissi’s lockdown collection sought to answer a series of existential questions “in an African way,” drawing parallels with the resilience of African societies.

He asked himself, what is the point of fashion when there is so much more at stake? Why create additional clothing when stores are closed and overflowing with unsold stock?

Unable to source artisanal fabrics — the starting point of many of his designs — from Africa, he created a pared back lineup with fabric scraps from previous collections and orders, seeking to magnify the simplicity of the materials through handmade assembly. Orders will be made from further fabric waste, heightening the uniqueness of each piece.

Pebble-shaped fabric fragments echoed naturally occurring forms in patchwork, and were paired with wide, tailored pants or flounces of tulle, successfully conveying the elegance inherent in making the best of what you have to hand.

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