African designers steal the show
Posted Friday, November 11 2011 at 00:00
Walking tall at 1.78 metres, Kenyan model Ajuma Nasenyana,, walked to the front to be crowned Model of the Year at this year’s Africa Fashion Week held in Johannesburg, South Africa two weeks ago.
An international model, Ajuma was one of the models who took to the catwalk to showcase some of the continents leading talent.
In its eighth year, Africa Fashion week brought together 30 designers, based on the continent and beyond, to showcase their designs at the Sandton Convention Centre for three days last month.
The designers were drawn from Egypt, Ghana, India, Kenya, London, Mozambique, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Tanzania, Uganda, the US and Zimbabwe.
The Lalesso line, by Cape Town-based Alice Heusser and Kenyan-born Olivia Kennaway, was one of the labels that showcased at the event. Inspired by the Khanga, one of East Africa’s most colourful fabrics, the two women have created swanky creations ranging from beach to casual wear.
The duo also showcased their designs at the London Fashion Week earlier in the year.
Their designs are stocked in different countries internationally and much-loved by African-American model and reality show host Kimora Lee Simons.
Also showcasing their Mataano label were Somali-born and New York-based identical twins Ayaan and Idly Mohallim. They showcased casual summer tops, dresses, rompers and full skirts.
Other designers were Tanzania’s Mustapha Hassanali, Kiki Clothing of Ghana, Maki Oh of Nigeria, Soucha of Tunisia, and South Africa’s Kluk CGDT and David Tlale who closed the show with a special climate change-themed event.
Ghanaian label Kiki Clothing, by Titi Ademola, won loud applause for her outfits which are worn by international celebrities such as Nicole Ari Parker among others.
The 18 shows held every evening during the three day event, showcased collections that got different reviews.
Bunmi Koko’s designs, which draw inspiration from both her Scottish and Nigerian heritage, received a standing ovation for her designs which are worn by the likes of American First Lady Michelle Obama.
London’s Ozwald Boateng received the Designer of the Year, international. The British designer of Ghanaian descent, who has a shop on Saville Row in central London, said it was the first African Award he has received.
Nigerian Lisa Folawiyo’s label, Jewel by Lisa, emerged as the Designer of the year, Africa. Other winners at the event included Mimi Plange who beat Maatano for the emerging designer of the year, and Maya Antoun for Accessories designer of the year. AFI works at bringing together the continent’s largest fashion trade expo. It showcases the continents best and is a launch pad for new designers and collections on the continent. Designers also get to interact with fashion buyers, network within the industry and raise the profile of their local industry.