Valerie Steele on cultural influences in fashion design

From the Ottoman Empire to modern-day fashion houses, Valerie Steele discusses the history of fashion.

Fashion historian and curator Valerie Steele gives profound insight into the global exploration of fashion, culture and identity.  She believes that fashion is rich in history; it is not a Western phenomenon. She discusses the empire of fashion and reveals how multiple styles around the world have replaced the dictatorship of a single fashion house.

Fashion is like a giant hoover that sucks up all kinds of interesting looks from all over the world ... mixes them together, and is frequently accused therefore of stealing ideas and ripping out all of the authenticity and then just spewing it forth as part of this great fashion machine, says Steele.

Speaking at Design Indaba Conference she gives insight into the many influences on fashion, from colonialism and power to civil rights and liberation. Steele further delves into the potential of South Africa to become the headquarters for African fashion, which many European designers have tried to interpret.