In 2015, the Harn Museum of Art organized Kabas and Couture: Contemporary Ghanaian Fashion, one of the first American exhibitions to focus exclusively on the fashion culture of Ghana, a country in West Africa. At the time, very few fashion exhibitions included designers from the African continent, much less providing a comprehensive exploration of an African nation’s complex fashion culture. Almost ten years later, African fashion is en vogue; designers from across the continent are receiving unprecedented, albeit much deserved, acclaim, while major European and American museums are organizing exhibitions solely on African fashion. It is clear that African fashion is finally in the spotlight, yet its complexities are only beginning to be explored.

Ghanaian Fashion: An Exhibition in Three Passages will highlight specific narratives prevalent within African, and specifically Ghanaian fashion, allowing visitors to better understand and contemplate the histories, narratives and identities associated with Ghana’s vibrant fashion culture. Drawing on the Harn’s unparalleled collection of Ghanaian designer fashions, the two-year, rotating exhibition will invite visitors to delve into the nuances of Ghanaian fashion through three distinct iterations: I. African Feminism and Fashion (October 15, 2024 – June 15, 2025), II. The Designs of Kofi Ansah (July 1, 2025 – February 1, 2026), and III. Kabas & Couture: Then and Now (February 17, 2026 – October 4, 2026).

The first installation African Feminism and Fashion will explore women’s contributions to Ghana’s fashion culture, with a particular focus on how specific designers have challenged and innovated gendered forms of dressing. The Designs of Kofi Ansah will summarize the contributions of this particularly recognized Ghanaian designer by highlighting specific garments from throughout his career. The final iteration, Kabas and Couture: Then and Now, will revisit several of the fashion designers displayed in the initial exhibition in 2015, illustrating how their perspectives have changed over time, while also including new garments from emerging designers. All three exhibitions will include never before seen designer fashion garments, textiles and other forms of Ghanaian dress, enhanced by related photographs and videos. The exhibition will ultimately be a thoughtful and joyous celebration of the art form that is Ghanaian fashion!

Ghanaian Fashion: An Exhibition in Three Passages is curated by Dr. Christopher Richards, Associate Professor of Art History and Director of the Women’s and Gender Studies program at Brooklyn College.