Last month marked the 5th Anniversary of Europe’s largest Africa inspired catwalk event that celebrates African designs and talent; Africa Fashion Week London 2015. Part exhibition, part catwalk, Africa Fashion Week London (AFWL) celebrates and spotlights emerging designers who incorporate rich African style into their modern designs. The event took place on the 7th and 8th of August at London’s Kensington Olympia and had over 100 designers and brands from across Africa, Europe and Asia. The popularity of AFWL is yet another sign that fashion in Africa is taking root and influencing international fashion trends.
Founded by Ronke Ademiluyi, a British-Nigerian entrepreneur who is also behind Africa Fashion Week Nigeria, AFWL is an event that gives both Africa and non-African designers an opportunity to showcase the splendor and vibrancy of African inspired fashion. Since its inception in 2011, the annual fashion event has featured more than 300 designers from across the world. This year, the theme was ‘Apprentice and Skill Development,’ which was part of their Youth Development Initiative for the fashion business industry. This initiative was in part to nominate apprentices within the fashion industry to be Tourism Ambassadors, get them mentored by various fashion designers around the world and ultimately let them participate in the AFWL 2016. No names have been released yet on who these apprentices are.
The wonderful thing about these types of events is that they broaden expectation and illustrate that there is more to fashion in African than just Kente and Ankara. Fashion designers in Africa have found ways to fuse ‘traditional’ African fashion with more modern designs, creating amazing products as a result.
The AFWL featured a myriad of designers including, Kenyan Designer Njema Helena, Nigerian designer Needlepoint, self-taught award winning fashion designer Mary Martin, Shauna Neill, owner of accessories brand Blossom Handmade and Taiwanese AimeeKu. In addition, Aaugust, an emerging Zambian fashion brand owned by Emelda Mbuloand and Suwilanji Katuka was awarded the AFWL 2015 ‘Young Designer Of The Year’ award.
This year’s AFWL was a successful event featuring colorful and awe-inspiring designs, we look forward to AFWL2016.
Here are some of the fashion styles that emerged from this year’s African Fashion Week London;
All images sourced and subject to copyright © Africa Fashion Week London
Cover image sourced and subject to copyright © Africa Fashion Week London