August 11, 2015
Africa Fashion Week 2015: The Trends & Highlights
This year was the 5th anniversary of Europe’s biggest African-inspired fashion event: Africa Fashion Week.
World-class fashion shows in London and Europe are notorious for their high prices making them inaccessible for Diaspora African Fashion designers to showcase their work. In 2011, Ronke Ademiluyi, founder of AFWL (Africa Fashion Week London), decided to bridge this gap by creating a project to provide sponsored visibility platforms for undiscovered fashion designers, helping them turn their talents into enterprises that they could continue to grow into big businesses.
The first AFWL was held at Gibson Hall in August of 2011. A huge 4,500 exhibitors turned up to the event which showcased 29 designers of African and non-African origin. Since this first show, the project has welcomed approximately 50,000 visitors and showcased over 200 designers.
I went along on Saturday to watch the catwalk shows to see what these inspiring designers had to offer. Highlights for me included designers Chiemelie, Innocente Messy and Thora Jewels.
The collection by Chiemelie was bold and beautiful. The dresses experimented with vibrant colours, intricate patterns and a mix of fabrics from lace to netting, creating a feminine but daring look. The outfits are perfect for feeling confident and empowered.
The Innocente Messy collection showcased some elegant hand-crafted outfits perfect for the office. Using bright block colours and fine detailed patterns, the outfits were sophisticated and oozed professionalism.
Finally I loved the jewellery collection from Thora Jewels. Affordable and stylish, these statement pieces of jewellery are great for dressing up an existing outfit. The models all wore black because the jewellery didn’t need to add to an outfit as it stood out for itself.
Besides the catwalk shows there were 58 exhibitors for me to browse, all offering beautiful items of clothing and accessories all for reasonable prices. If you go next year I definitely recommend giving yourself a budget! There were even some famous faces there on the day including singer Lemar, who was there cheering on friend and designer Sherene Melinda.
To find out more about the show and it’s exhibitors you can visit AFWL’s website here.