JOBURG is bracing itself for a four-day festival of style, elegance and beauty set for June and July when the world's leading African fashion designers from across the continent will gather to showcase the finest contemporary African designs.

Thirty-three designers will feature in 19 runway shows at the second annual Africa Fashion Week from June 30 to July before an influential audience of international buyers, media, World Cup guests, VIPs and celebrities at the Sandton Convention Centre.

According to African Fashion International (AFI) chairperson Precious Moloi-Motsepe, who also spearheads the project, this fashionsummit is a gathering of all the leading voices in African fashion in one place, at one time and in one country.

AFI founded, owns and operates Africa's most highly anticipated fashion events, including the Cape Town Fashion Week, Durban Fashion Week (55 percent ownership), Audi Joburg Fashion Week (Autumn-Winter) and Joburg Fashion Week (Spring-Summer), in addition to other fashion-related strategic marketinginitiatives.

Moloi-Motsepe says AFI provides designers with a voice that gives expression to Africa's fashion future at a two-day seminar that runs alongside the runway shows.

The seminar will also examine ways of strengthening the burgeoning African fashion industry, debating an African aesthetic and building a global network.

"This is potentially the most important platform for the African fashion industry, being perfectly positioned to promote African designers globally," Moloi-Motsepe says.

Moloi-Motsepe adds that for the designers, their collections will not just be confined to the catwalk; they will be available for purchase on site, along with ready-to-wear garments, at the first ever AFI fashion boutique which will be open for the month of June.

On the eve of Africa Fashion Week itself, the AFI boutique will launch online as a permanent shop specialising in African fashion from across the globe, with collections available after their catwalk showing.

And when the talking and viewing is done, acknowledgement will be given to the leading lights of the industry at the second AFI African Fashion Awards on July 5.

Highlighting industry excellence and outstanding contributions by fashion industry members of African descent worldwide, the awards are a platform that will help take African fashion across the continent and to the world.

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