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African Fashion hits the London catwalk

posted 8 Aug 2011, 04:46 by Mpelembe Admin
Fashion lovers flock to London's first ever 'African Fashion Week' -- an event dedicated to African and African inspired designers and models.


LONDON, ENGLAND, UNITED KINGDOM (AUGUST 06, 2011) REUTERS - More than 50 designers showcased their work at the just concluded African Fashion Week London, bringing to the catwalk a mix of bold colours and traditional African inspired designs.

This is the first time the Africa Fashion week has been held in London -- it has previously been hosted in Johannesburg and New York.


The two day event was packed full of shows from designers who travelled from around the world to display their creativity.

Organisers said designers had come from across the continent including, Kenya, Angola, Nigeria, Ghana and the audience was equally as varied with fashion lovers from as far as India, Poland and Scotland.


The event also attracted people interested in doing business with African designers as well as designers and models hoping to launch their international careers from the London catwalk.


Ronke Ademiliye, who is originally from Nigeria, was behind the event's conception.

"It was by seeing how our prints have gone global, and I just thought ok with the amount of Africans in London in the diaspora it would be good to give them a platform to showcase and it's worked," said Ademiliye as people queued outside the venue waiting to catch a glimpse of the new and emerging designer collections.


"As well mainstream has neglected us. It's extremely hard for any of our designers, whether they be established or new and emerging designers to get into the big shows that are out there," added the show's creative director, Sola Oyebade.

London based model and designer Nana Afua Antwi was one of the scores of fashionsitas displaying their new collections.

Originally from Ghana, she used symbolism and Ghanaian fabrics in her creations.


Antwi is optimistic about the future of African design.

"As well mainstream has neglected us. It's extremely hard for any of our designers, whether they be established or new and emerging designers to get into the big shows that are out there," she said.


Besides a wealth of established designers there were also newcomers taking part in the event.

One such up and coming designer was Felicia Onooura, originally from Nigeria.

Onooura's label, Adaora operates under the slogan 'simple designs to make you feel treasured.'

Her debut collection fused African prints with ready-to-wear dresses.


"I think it's saying quite a lot, it's making a statement, I do believe. I think it's really been acknowledged, nit just here in the UK but also world-wide, I think people are noticing us more and more and I feel that if we as Nigerians or Africans as a whole are able to entwine African print with other plain materials I think it can go all the way," said Onooura.

The two day event took place on the 5th and 6th of August.


Organisers said they are keen to promote the variety of African talent not only in Britain but around the world.

African styles are increasingly making a mark in global fashion with well known designers like Louis Vuitton and Gwen Steffani borrowing trends from the continent.


Organisers are now working on having Africa Fashion Week as a permanent fixture on the London fashion calendar with plans to stage an even bigger event next year.

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