by Rachel Ogbu (UK desk)
At least 15 countries were represented on the Africa Fashion Week London (AFWL) catwalk this year. The first show started off with George Adesegun’s immaculate womenswear collection which included fabrics inscribed with the ancient secret symbols of the Nsibidi Secret Sect of South Eastern Nigeria. Structured day suits, evening gowns, silks and velvets all featured in his collection.
We saw Grey on Gray stun with an entire collection of seriously stylish leisure wear – all in shades grey, of course.
Ibrahim Musa brought a collection of menswear that highlighted exaggerated sleeves and tunics reminiscent of ancient Japanese haori and hakama.
Day 2 brought more drama and a larger exhibition hall. 22 more exhibitors set up a one-day market place which saw more gifts, accessories and clothing for the visitors to choose from.
Catwalk highlights of Show 1 included American artist Dario Mohr’s Daft Minerva collection of painted jumpsuits, jaunty hats and New York cool. 2017 Graduate designer Abisola Akanni’s utter ambition featured madly textured trousers, jackets, suits. Print mixed with wool, bowler hats and rubber boots – her menswear collection was a riot of colour and design all inspired by schoolboy uniforms of Nigeria.
Supported by Pak’s Hair & Cosmetics and hosted at the prestigious Freemasons’ Hall; over 5,000 visitors, 42 catwalk designers and 60 exhibitors came to show London what African fashion is really all about. The beautiful marbled hallways and vestibules saw a host of brightly clad visitors browsing for African-made or inspired jewellery, clothing and accessories; escaping the crowds in the VIP Drawing Room; or finding something interesting to eat in the African food court – all while waiting for the main event – The Catwalk Shows.