Fashion Week Africa: The Glitz and glamour of African fashion brought to life

6 November Print

Fashion Week Africa: The Glitz and glamour of African fashion brought to life

This year’s Fashion Week Africa, which came off at the City Hall, Tshwane, Pretoria in South Africa brought African fashion to life to the fullest.

The four-day impressive event brought together about 30 of Africa’s finest designers under one roof and venue.

‘Day 1’

This year’s fashion extravaganza kicked off with a private spring/summer collection show – dubbed From Behind The Veil – by renowned South African designer Gavin Rajah.

The collection – featuring 29 models – comprised of carefully designed and beautifully blended cloths of grey, black, and white colours set to spice any occasion.

The new collection, Gavin Rajah told, was inspired by the strength of female characters that have ruled from behind veils in “Arthurian Legends from behind walls or towers during war.”

On Wednesday night – the first night, Samsung presented ‘Amaze Africa’, a unique showcase which brought together 14 leading fashion and accessory designers from across the continent.

The 14 designers, including Italy-based Ghanaian designer Nana Brenu, teamed up in pairs to display some exciting new designs to the delight of Africa.

Their designs ranged from classy, funky and urban trends with a unique blend of youthful colours.

Nana Brenu teamed up with Uganda/Kenyan designer Adele Dejak to present the ‘Coleoptera’ collection. Their presentation received massive acceptance from the audience.

Other collaborations on the night include ‘Herpetology’ by Laurence Airline (Ivory Coast) and Missibaba (South Africa), ‘Cycadales’ by Taibo Bacar (Mozambique) and Pichulik (South Africa), ‘Hymnoptera’ Loin Cloth and Ashes (Tanzania/South Africa) and Doreen Mashika (Tanzania), ‘Lepidoptera’ by Projecto Mental (Angola) and Rift Valley Leather (Kenya), ‘Avialae’ by Black Coffee (South Africa) and Albertus Swanepoel NY (South Africa/New York).

‘Day 2’

Day two of the fashion week witnessed four different shows at the City Hall. The show featured six designers from across the African continent.

The night saw exciting showcases of simple, transparent materials blended with exciting colours.

Two of the designers – South African designer Marianne Fassler and Sheria Mgowi from Tanzania – out of the six stole the night with their creative pieces.

South African designer Marianne Fassler, second show of the night, backed by her Leopard Frock team, showcased seasonal clothes for the global traveler.

Her show, dubbed ‘Painted, Patched & Patterned’, saw her exploring what she termed the concept of “up-cycling and re-claiming” in designs presented in the most “luxurious incarnation”.

She noted in her leaflet that, “All scraps of fabric are considered worthy of re-use and in the process of re-imagination the newly created pieces are crafted.”

Sheria Mgowi, third show for the night, played with colourful materials producing neat suits for men. The suits were mostly made from silk and cotton. His designs received rapturous applauds from the audience.

Other designers on the night included Kibonen, Shweta, and Laurence Airline.

‘Day 3’

The third day of the Fashion Week Africa saw Ghanaian young bubbly designer, Nelly Hagan Aboagye (Duaba Serwa), soaring on the night.

The Ghanaian captivated the audience with her top of the range “Sans Titre” collection which saw her breaking bounds to produce cloths fit for every occasion.

With a touch of West African and Western fabrics and colours, Duaba Serwa presented designs that, according to her, included traditional methods of construction to produce a dazzling array of cloths.

Some of her designs had crystalline glitter. She presented cocktail dresses, evening gowns, jumpsuits, crop tops and fitted skirts.

Nelly Hagan Aboagye, who was part of the second show for the night, speaking in an interview with after her show disclosed that her creations for the night were inspired by life.

“This collection was inspired by life. We played around with fabrics, we did some fabric manipulation we put sequences and batik together and this is what came out,” she said.

According to her, “Sans Titre” took four months to make and her prime aim was to make designs that women can easily relate to.

“I wanted to make a collection that most women could relate to. I wanted to have a colour pallet that wasn’t too colourful but worked enough for every woman to feel like they can wear a piece from it,” Nelly Aboagye explained.

Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Africa is her third show in South Africa. She said the experience this time around has been “fantastic,” and that ‘it gets better every year.”

Asked about her take on the current state of the African fashion industry, ‘Duaba Serwa’ said, “It’s a work in progress but I think we are doing very well. I think we are a driving force for fashion from the continent,” to the world.

Other designers on the third day included Mustafa Hassanali, Bongiwe Walaza, Murade, Taibo Bacar, Thula Sindi, and Soucha.

‘Day 4’

Ghana’s Mina Evans was on show on Saturday, Day four of the Fashion Week Africa.

The Ghanaian designer wowed patrons with her S/S 14 collection. Her collection, she noted, were themed around the bustling streets of New York and the chick fast-paced lifestyle of the city of MADISON – The Heart of New York.

Her cloths, made for everyday use, were made from delicate luxury fabrics including lace, leather and textured cotton.

Mina Evans told in an interview that, her collection was inspired by the “image of butterflies nestled together and the butterfly effect on the pieces was handmade using fabric to give them a 3D feel with African print.”

Other designers on the night include, Sophie Zinga, Projecto Mental, and Kluk CGDT.

There was also the AFI Next Generation “Fundamentals of Design” with Fabric Library presented by Angelina Masike, Wetive Nkosi, and Khothatso Tsotetsi; and MBSA & AFI PRESENT by Menckel.

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