Beautiful mixed bag of Africa fashion

"Culture, designs, aesthetics and classic African silhouette"

ONCE again, Africa will pull out the aces of fashion from designers hailing from more than 10 countries to showcase the spirit of the continent and the diaspora.

Hosted by Doctor Precious Moloi-Motsepe's African Fashion International, the Fashion Week Africa event is aimed at bringing together and honouring designers, also giving them an international platform to express creativity and style influenced by Africa's diversity.

The shows will take place at Melrose Arch from today until Sunday.

The bold and award-winning line-up includes celebrated Tanzanian artist Mustafa Hassanali, whose designs reflect the deeply embedded cultural heritage of Tanzanian society along with hip contemporary styles.

Nigeria stands strong with the Deola Sagoe sisters and their Clan brand that entails a fresh style for edgy, fashion-conscious young women and men who like to stay ahead of the fashion curve.

Ngozi Josephine Ochonogor's fashion will showcase her UMi-1 collection, which bridges the gap between Japan and Nigeria, drawing inspiration from science, art and dance to a love for travelling and learning about new cultures.

Angolans Shunnoz Fiel and Tekasala Ma'at Nzinga of Projecto Mental, who use fashion and art to help reshape Angola's cultural image, will showcase their colourful and bold designs suited for artists, bankers and anyone who cares for style.

International fashion gem and owner of Eboka Design Studio, Fred Eboka, believes Africa has an influence on global fashion and is almost impossible to define.

"It would be presumptuous to categorise (African fashion). In the past you could do that, but now international fashion has African influence," Eboka said.

He said that though such shows are good for up and coming designers, critical issues such as training and understanding fashion still need to be addressed.

"People tend to misunderstand the purpose of fashion week, leaving out the background work. A fashion week should be a chain of work by textile manufacturing, retailers and the designers.

"Why have fashion schools and graduates with an industry that is not ready for them? Yes, the young designers love the (glitz and glam), but after they have showcased, what next?"

This year Eboka expects to see quality and "whatever translation designers have of Africa", pushing global trend without compromising their creativity.

Blogger Marque De Gorgeous said African fashion was a mixed bag of everything. "Culture, designs, aesthetics and classic African silhouette - one cannot describe it in its entirety," he said.

Marque is, however, against African designers being classified by print.

"Some of the greatest artists are from Italy, but that does not mean they did everything Italian. Why should Africans be defined by print?"

Côte D'Ivoire, Morocco, Cameroon, Angola, Nigeria and Ghana are among the countries that will colour ramps with Botswana's Black Trash.

- monnakgotlam@sowetan.co.za

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