Student designer celebrates African prints

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Ashleigh Masara, a familiar face in the local Stellenbosch fashion scene, is making a name for herself with African prints. Masara’s mother and grandmother have inspired her to break social norms by creating trendy and sophisticated fashion using African prints.

Her brand, Adeptian is derived from the Nigerian ethnic, Yoruba. Adeptian means “the crown tells a story”.

“It is a re-birth, or storytelling and an extension of who you are, Adeptian is thus a lifestyle,” she says.

Masara’s designs go against the norm when it comes to fashion and setting trends. Her goal is to see African prints be celebrated.

After many disappointing shopping trips, Masara realised that her fashion needs were not being met, hence starting her own brand.

“Art, fashion and photography all aim to tell a story and express the beauty of individuality. In the same way, I would like to express my cultural heritage.” Masara hopes to touch the lives of those she meets through her designs and products.

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The 20-year-old BCom student juggles her studies and makes time to brand herself as well as complete orders for customers. Apart from designs, Ashleigh is also offering headwrap tutorials, following requests from keen students.

In terms of collaborations, Masara is willing to learn and gain experience from her colleagues in the fashion industry. She currently works closely with Hazel Siseko of HAMU, a fashion and lifestyle brand and would like to work with local South African designers as well as international names, such as Thula Sindi and Duru Oluwu.

Masara’s tips for the gloomy Autumn days that lie ahead include; a bright wardrobe as well as a headwrap! For anyone looking to express their cultural heritage through what they wear, go check out Masara’s Instagram page.

Ashleigh Masara wearing a dashiki
Ashleigh Masara wearing a dashiki

Written by Tess Vengade