A few months ago we gave you fab news about a brand new fashion reality show Real Uber Africa which aims to provide a new platform for emerging designers who are influenced and inspired by Africa in their designs. Starting off with 12 contestants and garnering the support of established names in fashion such as Adebayo Jones and Yemi Osunkoya, Real Uber Africa has launched in style on 5 May 2012 at the team’s Cheshunt studios in the UK.
We arrived at Cheshunt studios in good time at 5pm with mentor Yemi Osunkoya who was anticipating the work of his mentee Anthi while the other two mentors Jennifer Hibbert and menswear designer Benjamin Kitoko joined us an hour later. Next to arrive was designer extraordinaire Adebayo Jones in his trademark blingalicious suit and dark shades. After a quick catch up and photo call, an hour and a half after the scheduled start time of 7.30, around 9pm the audience were finally seated, ready for the show to begin.
With Tola Onigbanjo on the mic, the show kicked off with introductions of the judges – designers Jose Hendo and Adebayo Jones, make up artist Eryca Freemantle, DivaScribe editor Adaobi Iwenofu and FAB editor Sinem Bilen-Onabanjo and mentors and a VT broadcast before Yetty D and Jose Hendo’s designs graced the runway building up anticipation for the final collections of the three finalists, Anthi, Obi and Connie.
First up on the runway was Obi followed by Connie and Anthi. While the audience had the chance to have a good look at the designs showcased on the runway the judges had the harder task of commenting on three aspects of voting – presentation, African influence and flair. While admittedly it was a little cumbersome for models to carry quite sizeable moodboards down the runway while keeping their stride, it presented opportunity for the judges to view the thought process behind each collection.
Obi’s inspirations were grandiose, theatrical and scarlet-hued while Anthi used elements of African print and beading interfused with fluid satin and Connie dazzled the audience with her African print Victoriana number accessorised with a cape inspired by Massai beading.
The finalists collections which drew much interest from a vocal audience and the judges was not all that was in store though as the guests were also treated to seeing some of the exquisite Adebayo Jones and Kosibah pieces as well as designs by Jennifer Hibbert and Benjamin Kitoko. While a late start and limited runway time meant some of this established designers were only able to show one or two pieces each, this also ensured that the spotlight remained on the three finalists.
Once the judging and voting was completed, co-producer and our presenter for the evening Rachael Nsofor threw us another curveball: The winner would be announced not at the end of the evening but at a later date.
At the grand finale certificates for the team, all 12 contestants, creatives on board, mentors and judges were presented, thanks given ,farewells said and the runway left to a select few who had the luxury to stay behind in the early hours of the morning to celebrate with the Uber Africa team and contestants.
Exclusively here for the first time, you have seen some pieces from the three finalists, but to find out who the ultimate winner is and get to see the tears, toils and tantrums on and off screen, watch this space for news on Uber Africa – coming to a TV screen near you soon.
Images: Simon Williams / shwphotographer.com
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