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Africa Fashion Week London brings color, African culture to the runway

African designers from all over the continent are in London this weekend for a stunning showcase of their designs.
Africa Fashion Week London features two days of runway shows and exhibitions from new and emerging designers who are inspired by the rich culture of Africa and incorporate this heritage into their designs.
Europe’s largest African-inspired fashion event debuted in 2011, and in its seventh year, is taking place at Freemasons’ Hall in London, bringing together fashionistas and industry professionals.
Award-winning designer Mary Martin London says the combination of creative minds at the event is an inspiration.
“It’s really nice to know that all the different parts of Africa – the designers have flown in to come and do the show. And it’s great, like, to colloborate, because I find the other designers – they’re so creative that they inspire me when I see the different creative designs that they bring.”
Designer George Adesegun showed a stylish, intricate womenswear collection which drew on his combined Nigerian-British heritage.
“My collection is actually Evolution Primitivism Couture, which is more or less the esthetics of African… my esthetics and my heritage and all that. I’m trying to, like, bring those elements into within my work. That says exactly who I am, because I’m British-born but I was brought up Nigeria; came back here, did all my education here, you know, in fashion.”
The Evolution Primitivism Couture collection’s print inspiration comes from Nsibidi African secret text featuring centuries-old symbols.
Adesegun first showed at Africa Fashion Week London in 2012, and now has greater ambitions:
“Right now I feel is the time for me to actually go to Paris, if anybody is, you know, listens… That is my ultimate dream – to actually be the next Balmain, you know, creative director. You know, to be the first British black one.”
Ibrahim Musa showed a striking, minimalist menswear collection inspired by modern buildings.
African couture draws on many rich seams of culture, according to event organizer Anna Marie Benedict.
“Well, I think Africans like to tell stories and they tell stories in what they wear, and so what you’ll find with some cultures is they’ll wear embellishments, and their embellishments mean something – whatever it is for their tribe or for their culture or for their country,” she said. “They’re bringing their culture into the fashions, whereas Western fashions don’t necessarily do that.”
Africa Fashion Week London continues today (12 AUG. 2017) with shows from Soboye, Mary Martin London and Caesar Couture.

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