Africa Fashion Week London closed with an array of fierce designs, from evening wear to tropical summer wear to the contemporary modern woman and amazing African inspired shoes and accessories.
The show was opened by the lovely Clisha, the line for curvy women, which saw a range of evening dresses in greens and oranges and a cheeky hint of African print to bring out the inner African queen.
She was followed by Sa4a a collection of accessories and shoes for both women and men boasting big flashy hand bags for the ladies in luxurious deep reds, greens and purples with matching shoes and for the gents similarly luxurious doctor’s style cases with matching understated yet eye catching footwear. The Ghanain based designer was at Africa Fashion Week London for the first time this year and found the experience “Great. Admittedly stressful, but you need the stress to be good, to be successful”.
Bello Designs took to the runway next, a South African designer who’s been designing for five years brought an 11 piece collection to the runway that had a 90s (prom theme) almost Victorian style to the runway ranging in deep maroons, golds and creams. One piece stood out in particular, a cute denim, puffed shoulder with a half white half gold design that was reminiscent of an Alice in Wonderland outfit.
Adopted Culture on the other hand needs no introduction to the AFWL runway having showcased before. Nana Afua, the founder of the line brought us the tropics, with pieces ranging in greens, red and yellows she brought summer to London. Her collection featured her signature Madonna style bustier, with an African twist of course, using nests as part of the design. To match this look the models walked the runway styled with similarly styled hair, working beehive style (braided) nests as a hairstyle. Adopted Culture brought a very wearable line, featuring cut outs, low backs and amazing summer colours.
Following the tropics was a much more traditional, very African line. A South African collection by Mtofo which brought earthy colours to the runway, bringing reds and browns to the catwalk. The collection seemed to show the changes and different tribes that inhabited South Africa , showcasing a modern version of the traditional Sotho attire (Seshoeshoe) to asymmetrical traditional wear and Zulu hats and dresses with a touch of west/Dutch influence.
Not to be outdone, another South African line took to the runway, showcasing a very different line to Mtofo. Zandy B Designs brought a beautiful colour shift working from whites and neutral colours to bright aqua blues and greens and oranges and finally merging the colours to produce the flag of South Africa. The flag that symbolises unity of different nations – the rainbow nation.
Afroluscious on the other hand brought a Greek feel to the runway, featuring heavily in whites and see through materials; the collection screamed summer, beaches and trend. The collection shifted from whites to a stylish magazine print inspired look to golds and a hint of African print. The eleven piece collection, described by the designer Mamsie Mkwanazie is for “the young African woman confident to show off her body” She endeavours to move away from the traditional African woman who prefers to cover and hide her body and instead move on to the modern confident woman who knows her worth, has confidence and is willing to show off her body in discreet yet revealing way. Of AFWL, Mamsie said “it’s a great show and it’s nice to see young people doing things and getting ahead [in the fashion industry]”.
Closing the show was LNK, a collection that was an evening wear collection that was very feminine yet simplistic and quietly confident. Going from pinks and blacks to florals the collection boasted a femininity, simplicity and confidence, showcasing dresses every woman needs to wear either every evening or at least once in their lives.
Clisha, Sa4a, Bello Designs, Adopted Culture, Mtofo, Zandy B Designs, Afroluscious Designs and LNK brought a great range to AFWL showing off culture, talent, vision and modern FASHION!!
By: Mpona Lebajoa