More than 5000 visitors, 42 catwalk designers and 60 exhibitors later, this year’s African Fashion Week, London didn’t come to play!
The beautiful marbled Freemason’s Hall venue in Covent Garden was the setting for this year’s event, which took place on 11-12 August 2017, showcased the cream of emerging and established African-inspired designers to the international stage.
The first show started off with George Adesegun’s immaculate womenswear collection which included fabrics inscribed with the ancient secret symbols of the Nsibidi Secret Sect of South Eastern Nigeria. Structured day suits, evening gowns, silks and velvets all featured in his collection.
We saw Grey on Gray stun with an entire collection of seriously stylish leisurewear – all in shades grey, of course.
Ibrahim Musa brought a collection of menswear that highlighted exaggerated sleeves and tunics reminiscent of ancient Japanese haori and hakama.
Show two was dedicated to seven Nigerian designers sponsored by Tour Nigeria which featured mini collections by Kola Kuddus menswear; Godwin Green, Regallia, Bijelly, Araewa, Moremi and Maufechi.
Day two brought more drama and a larger exhibition hall. Twenty-two more exhibitors set up a one-day market place which saw more gifts, accessories and clothing for visitors.
Catwalk highlights of Show one included American artist Dario Mohr’s Daft Minerva collection of painted jumpsuits, jaunty hats and New York cool. 2017 Graduate designer Abisola Akanni’s utter ambition featured madly textured trousers, jackets, suits. Print mixed with wool, bowler hats and rubber boots – her menswear collection was a riot of colour and design all inspired by schoolboy uniforms of Nigeria.
Show two brought us highlights of bridal wear from designer Tubo. Mixing African heritage with princess silhouettes, the collection was a stunning fusion of cultures. Accessory designer, illicia, brought beautiful Italian leathers and detailed plaited leather interchangeable handles – all edited with Somali understated perfection. Jumpsuits from Becca Apparel in a sexy off-shoulder dramatic prints playfulness.
Show three was the headliner show. Notable designers, Mary Martin London, Soboye, Paledi Segapo’s PALSE HOMME and Caesar Couture all featured high drama, more Japanese inspiration, exquisite tailoring mixed with political statements. Tsitsi Fred was the only designer to bring knitwear, amazing, futuristic knitwear.
Africa Fashion Week London goes from strength to strength. This year’s resounding success showed London the kind of creativity, colour and swagger that is only found in Africa, here’s hoping that it will inspire the next generation into picking up a needle too.
Here are some of our best images from the event..
Images © Joanna Mitroi Photography