Africa's time has come, say Cape Town fashion week organisers

09 April 2019 - 08:15 By Desi LaPoole
I Am Africa and The Nature of Luxury are the themes of the fashion event.
I Am Africa and The Nature of Luxury are the themes of the fashion event.
Image: African Fashion International

Cape Town can look forward to supermodels, bold fashion statements and a celebration of all things African as African Fashion International (AFI) hits the runway on Friday and Saturday.

AFI encourages young African designers to seek inspiration from their roots at this year’s fashion week with its themes #IAmAfrica and The Nature of Luxury.

The organisation encourages young designers to share their own experiences and stories.

According to Thulile Gama of AFI, there has been a surge of interest in African fashion from designers outside the continent.

While they seek inspiration from the communities of Africa, many young designers still believe they have to seek inspiration from abroad before they will receive recognition.

“This is about going back home,” said Gama. “We want [designers] to know they don’t need to go far for inspiration. They can be inspired right here at home — from their own traditions and their own cultures — and let that fuel their creativity.”

Popular designers Imprint ZA, MaXhosa by Laduma, and Marianne Fassler, whose work shows heavy African influences, are set to partner with designers from countries such as Nigeria, Cameroon and Morocco to bring the latest African fashion to the ramp during 11 shows at Cape Town International Convention Centre.

“The African continent holds the world’s largest millennial consumer population and fastest-growing middle class," said AFI CEO Precious Moloi-Motsepe.

"The decision to host this annual conference in Cape Town concedes this abundance of opportunity: Africa represents an enormous commercial opportunity for international luxury brands as a source of homegrown creativity, craftsmanship and luxury materials.

“AFI aims to ensure that our designers have prospects for networking, utilising their home-ground advantage,” she said.

For up-and-coming designers AFI has partnered with the Condé Nast International Luxury Conference, an elite business industry event, for the second theme of the week, “The Nature of Luxury”.

The conference, which will bring luxury business leaders and influencers from more than 30 countries to Cape Town, will provide networking and possible commercial opportunities for designers showcased in this week’s events.

“This collaboration is a wonderful chance for AFI to further advance African designers, and boost the local industry, to the most respected and relevant global platforms,” said Moloi-Motsepe.

Desi LaPoole is on an SIT Study Abroad programme with Round Earth Media