Africa Fashion Week London 2019
Africa Fashion Week London is Europe's largest fashion event promoting and nurturing African and African-inspired design talent. It was founded in 2011 by Ronke Ademiluyi who is a lawyer, fashion expert and entrepreneur born in London but originally from Nigeria. Every year, the event hosts a collaborative catwalk, exhibition and business development program. AFWL has led the way in highlighting Africa’s emerging designers and apparel industry and has been at the forefront of bringing awareness of Africa’s burgeoning fashion industry to the international market. AFWL brings value to designers through, contacts, experience and knowledge within the fashion community. This year, the fashion show featured a range of clothing, from wedding outfits to urban chic.
Lunga Ntuli (one of the designers showcasing) used to be a car guard in South Africa, living off tips from looking after people’s vehicles. Now, he is the brain behind the popular “LN Watches” brand that showcased his designs on the catwalk for the first time. Through his creations, the watchmaker promotes love in African colors and intends to take over the reins of the fashion world. His watches cost between $60 and $75, depending on size and style, and can be made upon request.
Gugu Bhengu, another designer, stole the show with her vibrant creations, especially her unique collection of beaded shoes. “Everyone asks about shoes and I think I’m the only one with them in the whole city of London. These shoes are so beautiful, and the quality is good. These are South African shoes, in fact they are 100% handmade, said founder of Gugu Mobile Boutique, Gugu Bhengu.”
The founder of Africa Fashion Week, Nigerian entrepreneur Princess Ronke Ademiluyi plans to expand the brand, with an Africa Fashion Week Dubai in October and other shows in Atlanta and Kingston, Jamaica in 2020 to give more opportunities to African designers. In addition to the fashion show, Africa Fashion Week London also exhibited a range of jewelry, bags and African clothing from all over the continent.
The show’s founder plans to open an African fashion museum in London. This initiative could take shape next year.
Africa Fashion Week London also has an extension event that happens annually in December in Lagos, Nigeria. The event is titled Africa Fashion week Nigeria and it provides opportunities for designers based in Nigeria and the rest of Africa to showcase their latest collections on the runway, exhibit their designs in an open pop-up market and network with relevant personalities in the fashion industry. This year, Africa Fashion Week Nigeria will be held from the 14th-15th of December. We can’t wait to see what our African designers will have to offer, and we are looking forward to seeing new designers on the runway!
[Picture from YouTube]