written by Ada Mbogu
Photography by Brianna Ek
Models. Music. Fashion. Culture.
Fashion is the universal language of all nations and countries around the world. Whether it’s Ralph Lauren, Versace or Chanel, designers have always had an art of drawing inspiration from their respective cultures and creating elaborate garments for everyone to wear.
But America and Europe aren’t the only fashion magnates across the globe. In fact, Africa continues to prove itself a vital component to the fashion world. Despite the single story images of poverty, corruption and war reeking havoc, Africa Fashion Week is a complete embodiment of the other side of the culture that is so easily forgotten.
Since 2010, Africa Fashion Week has paved the way for fashion designers, from Africa and beyond, to celebrate African culture, authentic designs and individuality. During the second day of AFW, viewers sat in NYC’s Broad Street Ballroom to catch a glimpse of Africa’s hottest trends and styles.
Four designers, Aliakim, Ms. Ray Couture, De-Mes’ Tiks New York & Moroccan Caftan NY, each showcased their elaborate collection to the packed and diverse crowd on Friday evening, 7/19.
Aliakim debuted a ravishing collection mixed with bold off the shoulder blouses, ankara print knee length dresses and gowns and one of my favorite looks, a leather jumpsuit complete with a gold chained coverup.
Ms Ray Couture brought sleek silhouettes and decadence to the runway. The models looked like nubian queens as they strutted their stuff in thigh high split dresses, curve hugging midis and intricate flowy gowns that will make any women feel confident and sexy.
De-Mes’ Tiks New York brought a modern twist to the traditional African attire. With ankara print peplum garments, tops, jumpsuits and 1960’s inspired ankle length skirts and dresses, the everyday woman can elevate her style within the workplace and beyond.
Last but certainly not least, we have Moroccan Caftan NY, a Morrocan based label who brought a traditional element to the runway. Models looked elegant and poised as they debuted fabulous and rich caftans of all colors, patterns sizes and embroidery.
With the success of the runway show, African Fashion Week remains the leading contender for showcasing raw talent while giving cultures a chance to shine. Adiree TM, a luxury branding company and one of the hosts of Africa Fashion Week, aims to rebrand Africa as a luxury destination while giving fellow Africans an opportunity a chance to express themselves.