The capital of Senegal is booming with development. But not even a skyline of cranes can interrupt its hypnotizing elegance and legendary chill. We took the season’s best printed and patterned high fashion and spent 72 hours capturing the vibe on the street.
“Dakar is a very cool, laid-back place,” says GQ Style fashion director Mobolaji Dawodu. “And one thing that stands out? The clothing. They’re not scared of any type of print. The prints and colors are dynamic.” Dawodu and French photographer Fanny Latour-Lambert touched down in Senegal on the final day of Ramadan with several suitcases of clothes and some camera gear. The plan? To meet and shoot a few dozen Dakarites who exude a natural cool, whether they’re wearing traditional patterned boubous or a floral Off-White suit. “There are a lot of beautiful, elegant people in Dakar,” Dawodu says. In a crowded fashion season, the pieces that left the deepest impression on Dawodu did not hold back on prints and patterns-that were as celebratory as the garments you’ll find on the streets of Dakar. So every piece of high fashion Dawodu brought to Senegal was covered in the best bold designs of the season. And like we found when we visited Fela Kuti’s shrine for the holiday 2017 issue of GQ Style, the juxtaposition of local attire with designer fashions proves that for some, style is simply inherent.
Senegal’s capital is the westernmost city on Africa’s mainland, a hook-shaped peninsula that juts into the Atlantic, boasting expansive beaches and excellent surf year-round. It’s the epicenter of Senegal’s very tuned-up economy, and a hub for Senegal’s new generation of young artists, models, and students. As the Ramadan fast came to an end and hype for the country’s World Cup squad built, the squares were flooded with revelers. Dawodu put out a casting call for models but ended up meeting most of the characters here on the street, in bars, and at a dance party that had to be shut down by the police. The next day, as the city slowly hummed back to life, the team we’d gathered got dressed and represented the soul and spirit of Senegal.
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