Fashion

The take-away from Western-based African Fashion Shows

African fashion is emerging on the world stage with a strong vibe and serious attention from global celebrities.  In the past few years, there has been a massive increase in the number of African fashion shows, and most of them are not held in Africa nations.

In the United States, there is the Africa Fashion Week (New York) with the objectives of raising consciousness about African fashion/entertainment professionals in New York and the tristate area for African designers, see New York African Fashion Week. In the UK, African Fashion Week London (AFWL) celebrates London’s cultural legacy and the fusion of Western and African fashion, see African Fashion Week London.

Why the staging of African fashion shows in western capitals and nations may appear as a concern for serious-minded Africans who are genuinely unease about such shows not being held in Africa, there is obviously no reason for alarm as these shows expose African fashion to the global market.

Photo Credit: Bummi Koko
Photo Credit: Bummi Koko

The shows are showcasing relevant African designers who otherwise would have been unknown.  For example, there are fashion designs wore today in western nations that have on them Made in Africa.  And designers like Bunmi Koko, Jewel by Lisa, Asibelua, Lanre Da Silva, La Kluk CGDT, Pierre-Antoine Vetterello and Tsemaye Biniti have become global icons.  A peak look at major African designers:

Bunmi Koko
Emerging designer Bunmi Koko launched in 2009 and garnered the attention of Michelle Obama, Catherine Middleton and Nelson Mandela with ready-to-wear, evening and bridal pieces and has previously worked with Harrods, Prada, Louis Vuitton, and Alexander McQueen.

Jewel by Lisa
Jewel by Lisa, the line, founded by Nigerian designer Lisa Folawiyo, is best known for its Ankara fabrics, hand-embellished with sequins, Swarovski crystals, and beads, and has fans such as Kelis and Solange Knowles.

Photo Credit: Jewel by Lisa
Photo Credit: Jewel by Lisa

Asibelua
After the success of her fashion label Momo, Nigerian designer Fati Asibelua launched her namesake line, Asibelua. She was educated in Milan and London, Asibelua created Momo in 2000 with her unique printed textile designs.

Lanre Da Silva
Largely inspired by 1940s designs, Lanre Da Silva creatively combines patterns, prints and traditional fabrics in her collections.

KLûK CGTD
South African duo Malcolm Klûk’s and Christiaan Gabriel Du Toit’s KLûK CGTD is a favorite among celebrities including Beyoncé, Charlize Theron, and Rachel Weisz since its inception back in 200 and features bespoke ready-to-wear and bridal collections.

Pierre-Antoine Vettorello
After honing his skills at Balenciaga and Lagerfeld Gallery, French/Ivorian Vettorello is officially launching his label for Spring/Summer 2012. His work has been featured in Vogue Italia online, Dazed Digital and Marie Claire Belgique, and he won the Innovative Design Award at Arise Magazine Fashion Week — Lagos 2011.

Tsemaye Binitie
After gaining an invaluable stint on Stella McCartney’s design team in 2004, Nigerian-born Tsemaye Binitie launched his namesake label in 2009. His most recent collection was inspired by his muse, his mother — as well as his long-standing inspiration, the glamor of Versace circa 1980s.

African fashion is subsequently having a global reach and the fashion shows need to continue to grow its spectators and admirers. If Africa encourages more designers working and creating businesses, then Africa will be prepared for the advancement of fashion.

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