THEY’VE been termed exuberant Africanists, elegance personified and creative fashion custodians of contemporary culture – and they’re coming to Jo’burg.
Original, ingenuous and intriguing, over 18 of Africa and the African diasporas top designers – from ready to wear to haute couture – will take part in Africa Fashion Week, the continent’s most exciting fashion happening, when the event runs from October 20-23 at the Sandton Convention Centre, Johannesburg. In addition, the designers will vie for the coveted honors in the Africa Fashion Awards which concludes the runway show at Africa Fashion Week on October 22.
With 18 shows over three days in two venues at the Sandton Convention Centre, Africa Fashion Week will present designers from South Africa, Egypt, Ghana, India, Kenya, London, Jamaica, Mozambique, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Tanzania, Uganda, the United States and Zimbabwe.
Boundary-pushing fashion legends Malcolm Kluk and Christiaan Gabriel du Toit of KLUK CGT, “Tart” and Stefania Morland come from Cape Town, stylish swim-wear designer Dax Martin is from Durban while elite women’s wear designer, Thula Sindi, audacious doyenne Mariaan Fassler’s Leopard Frock and stand out designer David Tlale hail from Johannesburg.
Kenyan designers Lalesso come back to SA via Lamu Island in Kenya, while Taibo Bacar comes with a Best Designer accolade from Mozambique Fashion Week. The bold and innovative statements of Christie Brown and Kiki Clothing (with a recent Oscar red carpet appearance) and Duaba Serwa come from Ghana, while on the other side of the continent, acclaimed Gloria Wavamunno hails from Uganda and celebrated designer Mustafa Hassanali comes from Tanzania. North African leading light, Soucha Fashion is from Cairo.
Multi-cultural designer Adama Paris is from Senegal as is culturally-inspired label Madam Wokie while Nigeria’s Maki Oh’s alluring designs fuse traditional techniques with elegant detailed construction.
From the African diaspora comes the sophisticated style of New-York designer LaQuan (who started off designing custom pieces for an array of celebrities including Lady Gaga and Tyra Banks), multicultural Mataano (from Somalia via the United States), Lola Faturoti’s flowing silks and Nigerian prints from the U.S. and iconoclastic Johannesburg born-designer based in New York, Alexander Koutny.
With a Scottish-Nigerian heritage, Bumni Koko comes from London (Michelle Obama wears them) as does idiosyncratic Johannesburg-born designer Jacob Kimmie and Eki Orleans (with exuberant Nigerian-German ancestry).
Highlighting African fashion excellence, designers have been chosen for Africa Fashion Week through standards of global relevance and commercial viability along with innovation and distinctive design.
In the Africa Fashion Awards – which include the coveted African Designer of the Year award – nomination criteria are for designers whose work represents the strong emergence of a global African aesthetic along with potential global reach.
Apart from the ritzy ramp shows, local & international media, trend influencers, retail-industry specialists and fashion industry insiders will also descend on the concurrent Africa Fashion Trade Expo.
Over 30 000 people are expected to attend Africa Fashion Week.