Fashion Week! It’s over!! [add dramatic but fashionable crying] we couldn’t finish this TDS Blog series dedicated to all things Fashion Week, without looking at some successful representatives from East and West Africa. Namely the Swahili Fashion Week (SFW) and the Lagos Fashion and Design Week (LFDW); both whose most recent shows were in the last quarter of 2015.
Swahili Fashion Week
2015 marked the eight edition of the annual fashion event that is one of the biggest in East and Central Africa. The brainchild of Pan African couturier from Tanzania, Mustafa Hassanali, SFW was created in 2008 with the aim of creating a platform for Swahili speaking countries and beyond, to show their creativity and network with each other and potential clientele. It also creates the opportunity for emerging designers, to get their work into the industry and to the people for the first time. The 2015 ‘Emerging designer’ winner was Kulwa Maneno Mkwandule. But it’s not just the newbies who are honoured on December 5th, 2015 at Sea Cliff Hotel Dar es Salaam. There are awards for models, established designers and the media that has helped grow fashion in the east African community. NUR represented Kenya on the runway while Sarah Hassan represented in the awards division, taking home the ‘East African Fashion Journalist of the year’ award.
Here are a snippets from the collections that impressed us at the SFW15:
Lagos Fashion and Design Week
It may only be in its sixth year this 2016 but the Style House Files initiative is one of the biggest productions on the African continent. The LFDW15 showcased over 60 collections on the runway, including works from established designers such as Meena and Bridget Awosika. Part of LFDW is the Fashion Focus project which gives Finalists exposure to workshops, master classes and networking opportunities. Some select finalists also have the opportunity to showcase at the main event.
LFDW is big on nurturing and rewarding new skills in the fashion industry. But they go further by providing on-going support through capacity building, mentorship, and aid commerce facilitation by providing opportunities to showcase their work to audiences. “At the heart of the Lagos Fashion and Design Week platform is the fundamental vision to position Lagos as a global destination for Africa’s finest fashion design talents. Through LFDW, they present their collections, grow their fashion businesses and contribute to the sustainability of Nigeria’s Creative Economy,” explains Omoyemi Akerele – creative director and founder of Style House Files.
Being a part of the LFDW Fashion Focus Designers & Alumni gives the designers access to the International Fashion Showcase (IFS) festival in London. IFS is a project created by the British Council and the British Fashion Council that usually comes to fruition during London Fashion Week and features emerging designers from 25 countries. Nigeria, represented by LFDW Fashion Focus Designers & Alumni: Ejiro Amos Tafiri, Meena, Gozel Green, Onalaja, Papa Omisore and Sisiano, curated an illustration titled “Across the Bleed” this year (18th to the 26th of February 2016). Learn more here
Designs we liked from LFDW15: