As Jumoke Ilori reported last week, “once again, it’s that time of the year when hoards of fashionistas flock to the heart of Sandton to see what FABulous new items their favourite designers have to offer for the coming season…like every fashion week, there were certainly highs and lows, a few (hilarious) model trip ups, late starts, gorgeous outfits and some unfortunately drab shows, too. To counter the bits that lacked, other than just the designers who actually had runway presentations, there were stalls housing some fresh upcoming designers and all sorts of other fashion related services to feed our fashion fascination.”
Here, I take a look at just some of the designers who showcased at Africa Fashion International and who’s behind the label…
Bunmi Koko is an emerging luxury fashion house run by Bunmi Olaye and her partner, Francis Udom and was founded in March 2009. The brand combines both Scottish and Nigerian heritage into both ready-to-wear and high fashion collections. The name, which originates from the designer’s first name and ‘Koko’, a loving nickname: together, the brand means “God gave me my other half”.
Designer Bunmi Olaye, who was born in Nigeria and studied in the UK, then went on to work for world-renowned luxury-brands Anne Fontaine, Harrods and Prada. She currently stocks in South Africa, Brazil, Nigeria and the UK and her clothing has been worn by celebrities Michelle Williams and Mel B, fashion journalist Hilary Alexander and the American First Lady Michelle Obama.
The collection featured a selection of brights carefully put together to look effortlessly tailored and chic in an array of sheen finish fabrics.
Designer Aisha Oboubi founded the Christie Brown label in March 2008, hitting the runway for the first time in Accra, Ghana and has since won multiple awards at various fashion weeks across the globe. The name is is inspired by the memory of Aisha’s grandmother, Christie Brown, a seamstress who introduced the designer to fashion at a young age.
The Christie Brown designs cater to contemporary African women with a distinctive use of colour, all inspired by African culture and art. Her collections range from innovative tailored gowns to beautiful statement pieces and accessories. Erring on the couture side, Christie Brown incorporates both ready-to-wear and couture pieces which is probably why it’s proved a hit with the fashionista crowds.
Currently sold out of the Christie Brown studio in Ghana, in a boutique in Lagos and online, the label is accessible to the African market.
David Tlale is considered a driving force of creativity in the South African fashion industry. Tlale is fixture at South African fashion weeks and earlier this year he launched a new collection on the iconic Nelson Mandela Bridge, at Joburg Fashion Week. The event made history: the 284 metre runway was one of the longest in global history.
David, who began his fashion career as a fashion lecturer, won the Elle New Talent Awards and subsequently launched the David Tlale-brand. As well as being a regular feature at Joburg, Cape Town and Africa Fashion Weeks, David also dresses countless celebrities and media personalities.
2011 has seen him open two stores - one in Cape Town at the Bromwell Boutique Mall and a standalone store at the Michaelangelo Towers in Sandton, Johannesburg.
The sleek designs scream high fashion and the beautiful quality materials used to create each look really reflect David’s passion for the garments he creates.
GloRia WavaMunno launched her eponymous label in 2009 shortly after graduating from art school. The brand’s luxury and eccentric clothing for women has received acclaim in the African World of fashion. Since the founding of GloRia WavaMunno brand, the designer has consistently put out a collection every year.
Her line offers bespoke blazers, tailored dresses, Kitenge accessories including backpacks and high top sneakers. The company is currently based in Kampala, Uganda.
Slight fetish influences verge on soft, floaty materials making this collection an exciting mix of influences.
Creative Director and Founder, Titi Ademola studied fashion at the London College of Fashion and the American Inter-continental University and has worked for internationally renowned labels, Burberry and for Betsey Johnson.
Despite her global experience and training, her primary focus has always been to promote ‘Made in Ghana’ designs. The label manufactures all of its products in Ghana and Ademola is passionate about promoting Africa to the rest of the world through her fashion.
Ademola makes use of African textiles, vibrant colours and Afro-centric prints to create easy and wearable garments. The KIKI Clothing label caters for both adults and children and incorporates a range of items from clothing to footware. Ademola draws her inspiration from everyday people and a variety of different cultures, particularly her own African heritage.
As the description says, Kiki clothing is easy to wear due to the flattering cuts and pretty designs which really show the African infleunce. Brights and patterns make up a pretty, girly collection which would look great on a hot summers day.
Malcolm Klûk and Christiaan Gabriel Du Troit are the driving force that make KlûkCGdT. Klûk (who studied at St Martins College of Fashion in London, and apprenticed under John Galliano) and Gabriel Du Toit (who studied at the Cape Technikon Fashion School) are the team behind the dynamic brand, Klûk CGDT.
Their primary vision has always been to give South Africans an international experience of South African fashion. The close attention to detail and careful consideration of each garment is what distinguishes their clothing as luxury items. Their brand does not focus solely on clothing but rather on a holistic, lifestyle-approach to fashion. They recently launched a homeware and furniture range and also produce six clothing collections a year.
They have a number of celebrity clients that include Beyonce, Rachel Weisz and Charlize Theron. They have showcased their collections at a variety of fashion weeks worldwide, including New York, and have won a number of national and international awards for their contribution to fashion.
KlûkCGdT is one of my favourite collections from the show. Almost etheral, floaty and soft, the colours, finishes and designs of these garments seem to ooze elegance at every turn. Need a dress to impress? KlûkCGdT is the place to go for effortless elegance.
Design duo Olivia Kennaway and Alice Heusser launched Lalesso in 2005 in Cape Town and the brand has grown into an international label with Lalesso being stocked in stores in more than 17 countries. It is also work by international style icons and has been showcase on many local and international runways. In so doing, Lalesso continues to spread its African roots to the global fashion world.
After holidaying in Olivia’s home country, Kenya, the pair began their journey to combine African heritage with modern appeal. The label’s inception was inspired by the vibrant patterns and colours of the traditional “uniform” of the local women in coastal Kenya. It is the transformation of these traditions into stylish, fun and contempory designs that forms the ideology of the Lalesso brand.
Lalesso models were bound to be a hit with the crowds as they sahsayed down the runway showing their beautifully toned bodies. Adding to the theatrical element of this showing was the use of bright yellow eyebrows which the models sported along with a collection of shades adding a little mystery to the wearers.
LaQuan Smith was born in Brooklyn, New York. At the age of thirteen his grandmother gave him an old Singer sewing machine and since then he has not looked back, making sexy and glamourous fashion his focus.LaQuan has a number of high profile, celebrity clients that include, Lady Gaga, Rihanna, Beyonce and Alicia Keys. The designer has showcased his work in both the USA and internationally.LaQuan was inspired through his travels to create a diffusion line called ‘LQS’ for the everyday women he encountered in each city. The line was first introduced at Africa Fashion Week 2010. LaQuan opened his flagship showroom in 2011 in Soho, New York.
What can I say about LaQuan Smith…? Other than that I love the structuring of the below jacket and the lace dress, I’m really not sure. High fashion, high risk, highly glamorous. Dare you wear the lace dress with no slip?
Lola Futaroti inherited her love of fashion and specifically her love of Nigerian clothing from her grandmother, who was a designer of traditional clothing. When other children were playing outside, Lola was helping her grandmother sew.
After studying in London, she moved to New York. Her designs are very unique and are characterised by bold prints, elaborate beadwork and flowing silks. Her designs are simple yet elegant and powerful. This celebrates the confidence and femininity of women. Her latest collection is inspired by the Ndebele tribe of South Africa.
The label is stocked worldwide, in boutiques and department stores in Dubai, Riyadh, Brazil, Italy, Hong Kong and the US.
This collection was not one that particularly inspired me – sure, the designs are lovely and bright but I feel that other designers who showcased seemed to have a little more oomph to their outfits which added a little more excitement than this did. Easy to wear but maybe not as jaw dropping as other designs we have previously seen.
Mary-Ann Kaikai created the name of the label, Madam Wokie, from her maternal grandmother, Madam Wokie Massaquoi.
The label is a fusion of Sierra Leonian aesthetics and elegant, modern designs.
The fashion brand aims to create exclusive and stylish clothing that is durable and affordable and the Madam Wokie brand also includes bags, jewellry, footware and fabrics.
Madam Wokie is great for somebody who loves to go out to parties often and likes to dress up but still be a little conservative in their designs. Elegant, modern and definitely wearable – an array of colourd and fabrics make way to flattering cuts to suit all body shapes.
Maki Oh is a ‘Made in Nigeria’ brand. The brand’s ethos centres around the appreciation of beauty and individuality.
Maki Oh incorporates African culture, traditional structure and creativity to produce stylish and detailed garments.
The label has been a fixture on catwalks for many years and consistently produces rich textures and fabrics and construction that promotes a sense of power, sexuality, tradition and fashion. The brand is influenced by a strong sense of identity and African culture which is the inspiration behind the conversational peices which they create.
Maki Oh are described as making controversial pieces, and if their stock includes the likes of the see-through dress in the picture below, then this definitely stands true. Daring designs make the collection a little harder to wear for shrinking wall-flowers but a definite must for the more extrovert characters.
Marianne Fassler is at once an artist and an entrepreneur; an intuitively feminine designer who keeps one eye on the market trends and the other on her muse. Africa continues to inspire her and is the creative core of everything that she does.
Marianne understands the strength of contemporary South Africa with its mixed cultures and mixed messages and her work exudes an exuberant Africanism that never descends into cliché. Her work has been described as ‘audacious, original and indigenous, maintaining a perfect tension between fun and wearability’.
She’s an award-winning designer, the latest being “An Outstanding Contribution to Fashion in Africa” Award at Africa Fashion Week July 2010. Marianne Fassler operates from Leopard Frock, her couture and ready-to-wear creative workshop in Saxonwold, Joburg.
My favourites from this collection are the sheer dresses featured at the end of the show – elegant, stylish and yet pretty innovative – the dresses showed African influences and were couture yet so easily wearable for a special Summer Ball or Wedding.
Mataano, which translates as ‘twins’, is designed by twin-sisters, Idyl and Ayaan Mohallim. The label, which was started in 2009, is making waves internationally. Rooted in the designers’ multicultural heritage – Idyl and Ayaan have split their lives between the USA and Somalia – the brand pides itslef of using craftsmanship to achieve femininity and elegance.
Their collections are available in the US and Europe at the W Hotel worldwide chain at the at the W Hotel Online store. In Africa, these clothes can be found in Lagos, Nigeria.
The Mataano prints remind me very much of Hawaii which instantly reminds me of sun, holidays, happiness and relaxation. Great clothing line which is easy to wear, especially in the summer time. The array of colours and cuts will surely keep customers coming back for more in years to come.
Hassanali is a well-known Tanzanian brand with a avant-garde, bohemian and contmporary approach to fashion.
Mustafa Hassanali is passionate about the Tanzanian fashion industry and even more so about his label. Mustafa designs four collections a year and also designs for televsion shows and corporate events. He designed clothing for the Miss Tanzania pageant and for Naomi Campbell’s fashion relief 2009. Mustafa creates couture and bridal designs with a twist of Tanzanian culture. The designer also believes in combining fashion with charity. He supports organisations like ‘Fashion 4 health’ and ‘Breast Cancer Awareness’.
This collection definitely shows its bohemian influences – easy on the eye materials mixed with space age metallics create a strange mash-up that somehow seems to just work. I doubt conservative types will frequent this collection due to the statement pieces which will definitely get the wearer noticed, but extroverts and happy hippies will love it.
Soucha Mlihigue is a Tunisian-born designer who has been in the industry for over 12 years. He is now based in Cairo, Egypt but has studied fashion in Florence, Italy at the prestigious Academia Della Moda.
Soucha is especially well known for his creative and innovative designs in Arab countries, however he participates in numerous fahion weeks worlwide and has been featured in a variety of international magazines.
His designs are elegant and he specialises in evening and cocktail wear. Currently, Soucha is stocked in 4 stores in Egypt and the label has plans to expand further into the Middle East.
Soucha…WOW! I LOVE this collection the most out of all I’ve researched for this post. Amazingly theatrical in a John Galliano for Dior meets death Geisha meets Egyptian underworld warrior type of way. See what I mean? My favourite designers always incorporate couture theatrical with beautifully structured cuts and avant garde make-up and hair, and Soucha definitely do all of the above.
I think I’ve found a new designer to fall in love with…
Spokes Apparel is a menswear label created in 2006. The brand is designed and made in Jamaica and has an strong urban style.
The designer is the son of a menswear tailor, At the age of 17, Huxtable studied art and moved to Europe. After returning to Jamaica, he moved to the US where he started his first clothing label, La’tique. In 2005 he returned to his homeland, where Spokes Apparel was formed.
The label incorporates Jamaican panache with classic European style. Huxtable travels extensively to research and incorporates what he experiences into the design of his clothing.
Unfortunately no images were available of the Spokes Apparel collection on the runway, but below are a few taken from their promotional images on their Facebook page which you can find by clicking here.
Information and images taken from the AFI website.