Fashion, Fashion, Fashion. What would fashion be without its extravagant shows? Probably less hype. But what do you want? Brands needs to sell us dreams and we love it: vibrating show-stoppers for eyes’ excitement. I have been writing a lot about different fashion events here but not about any show so far. So, there you go.
I attended two shows this year: the Africa Fashion Week London and the Black Fashion Experience in Paris. I did not really know what to expect about both of them as I had never heard of them before. However, I was getting excited to attend them. To be honest, one part of my dream life would be to attend shows and making brands and looks selections for whatever interested organisation or even mine. We are not there yet, but working on it!
The Africa Fashion Week London (AFWL) came first as a two days event on August 9th and 10th. Then, the Black Fashion Experience came later on September 27th and 28th. I only attended one day for each of them but I was not disappointed. I discovered interesting brands! Let me share my highlights of the London Africa Fashion Week here and I will do the Black Fashion Experience in a new dedicated article.
The AFWL took place in the heart of London, in Covent Garden. The event was quite hectic. There was an actual fair as part of the whole event. The place was crowded from the souk market to the food village – which smelled proper yummy but too much queuing, I gave up. There were plenty of vendors from who you could have bought clothing, shoes, bags, a lot of accessories and even homeware or cosmetics. Ankara fabric prevailed across all categories. I must confess I would have prefered a more diverse representation of African creativity. Not that I don’t like Ankara, but I wish it was less represented in Africa inspired events. I feel like it tends to be quite visually overwhelming. Its constant strong representation very often keeps this fabric as the major emblem of Africa inspired fashion in people minds. It is obviously one – for the most curious of yours, here is an insightful article about Ankara’s role in the Africa inspired fashion, a must read- but African designs and creativity cannot be all reduced to Ankara all the time. Except the brand brings a new cool to the fabric, I am rarely impressed. Anyway, Ankara fabric seemed to please a wide public, so why not.
Eight brands owned the catwalk for an hour on that Saturday afternoon. One of them especially stroke my attention: Sista by Eyoro. I loved the kimonos, the blouses and dresses with puffed sleeves and ruffled plastrons. The long puffed sleeves blouses reminded me of these old photographs where governesses wore this style: nice flat braids hairstyles, plastron shirt -with or without ruffles- with long puffed sleeves shirt and long skirts. I cannot really time that period but I hope you can picture what I am talking about. For me, this is a good example of new cool added to Ankara. I made my research on that brand. Unfortunately the website is not very well furnished with stocks. But you can always have a look at their Instagram to discover more or place an order.
Fashion for good
The last part of the show was a major highlight. The AFWL organisation used the catwalk to spotlight the hard work of a dozen of men and women – mostly women – helping their community from here in Europe or locally in Africa on various social or health difficult questions through charities or associations. This special moment of the show was called: UK African Community Leaders on the catwalk. The Community Leaders were all wearing a tee-shirt messaging their cause. Each of them had to explain the cause they are fighting for and walk along the catwalk as proper models. As mentioned on their facebook page, the main messaging were:
- No to knife crime
- No to bullying
- No to period poverty
- No to child abuse
- No to domestic violence
- No to social media bullying
- Encourage youth leaders
- Focus on education
- Sickle cell awareness
There were also calls for mental health awareness, autism awareness or epilepsy awareness. I am grateful for these community leaders’ efforts.
The event was not my fav but it did opened my mind on mainstream happenings. And most important, I left with a new brand discovery for you!
You will find some videos of these two days on the AFWL youtube channel.