Four daily catwalks, exhibitions of some of the best and up to date new and rich clothing styles and the active participation of some of the best known fashion designers and models from Africa and across the world, will feature prominently at the Olympia West hall in London very soon. The occasion will be the fourth edition of the biggest African inspired showcase of fashion talents The African fashion Week London (AFWL) billed for August 8-9 2014.
British born Nigeria designer Ade Bakare, Adama Paris from Senegal, Botswana designer Tsholo and Chi Chi Nwaba, winner of the 2014 face of Africa fashion week London, are some of the best known designers who will be showcasing their work this year. Most African models confessed they had a chance to walk on a real catwalk only when they started attending the AFWL since mainstream fashion shows hardly ever feature African models. Sudanese model Alek Wek is one of only a handful of African born black models who have captured an international following and is seen regularly on international catwalks from London through Paris to New York.
This year, the organizers of AFWL have introduced a new dimension to the show that could help some of the designers who had attended earlier events but had difficulties selling their wares. For a modest £100 fee and 30 percent off each item they sell, they could showcase their clothing, footwear, handbags and other items in the marketplace (http://africafashionweeklondon.com/afwl-market-place/) website of the AFWL. In return, AFWL will help designers with sales assistants and provide storage for their goods.
AFWL Nigerian born CEO and founder Ronke Ademiluyi told Iroko Magazine at the end of the 2013 edition that the biggest challenge organizing the event was getting the necessary finances because most mainstream advertisers did not believe the event will last for long. “…we are in our third year so some possible sponsors are watching to see what the event is all about. They probably want to make sure it is a sustainable event and not the type that comes today and disappears tomorrow like a lot of African events”.
On why African is becoming so popular across the globe, Ademiluyi said “I think it is the bold colours, I think it is the print. It is the bright colours and everyone is just buying into it.” You can read the full interview here.
South African sent the biggest single delegation to the 2013 AFWL parade with more 9 designers including print artist Steve Mandy, Slungile Mokoena, Ladypeace Gumede and Mamsie Mkhwanazi. Most will be attending the event this year again.
A full schedule of the two days event and tickets can be bought from the website here.
Tickets to attend the event cost anything from £10-£70 but high profile VIP tickets that will allow holders to attend the awards and closing gala at the Dorchester hotel on Sunday 10 August 2014 will cost £200.
African clothing styles and fashion are as different as they are colourful and represent thousands of years of history and the influences the continent has undergone through contact with other continents. It represents much more than stylish clothing but tells the story of a proud people who care the way the world looks at them. The cloth ranges include everything from traditional to contemporary dressing and the styles and colour vary from Morrocco in the north through Senegal to Nigeria and down to the rainbow nation; South Africa.
AFWL and the many other African inspired fashion shows around the globe are intended to bring out these bright colours out of the closet to an international market and the world has embraced African fashion wholeheartedly