African Fashion Week showcases real African designers.
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It has always been a pet peeve that many of the African designs we are seeing pop up on international runways are designed by western designers. It is even more disturbing that when magazines and newspapers want to showcase African designs, they talk to non-African designers who they quote as ‘experts’. I always wonder if they couldn’t find one African designer to interview for an opinion.
African designers have been doing stuff for ages and they have been doing it well. The designs I see showcased are not any better than some that African designers create. In some instances, the African designers have pulled together fabric and symbols into exquisite pieces that rival many on the catwalks today. It is always gratifying to see African designers acknowledged for their talent, and African Fashion Week, South Africa was no disappointment. Over thirty designers, including Ozwald Boateng, Mataano, Lisa Folwaiyo, Lola Faturoti and Kluck CGDT, graced the runways, and awards were given out.
Ozwald Boateng won the Designer of the Year (International) award, which goes to the designer who has made the biggest global impact. The Designer of the Year (Africa) award went to Lisa Folwaiyo’s label, Jewel by Lisa. Bethann Hardison, an African-American, who is an editor-at-large for Italian Vogue, won the Outstanding Contribution to African Fashion award and Kenyan model, Ajuma Nasenyana, won the Model of the Year award.
David Tlale’s show was a green-themed event, and was showcased at the South African Mint to mixed reviews. Seems like people either loved it or hated it. Overall, it was another wonderful showcase of African design talent.