I am not going to down-play my excitement of the upcoming Africa Fashion Week (sans Arise, so please stop calling it Arise Africa... Apparently Arise are planning their own fashion expo to coincide with the world cup - I have my ear on the ground for that one). So June is going to be a fashion-soccer extravaganza and I am glowing!
Naturally I had to find out who was showing and I am so excited that some of my favourites from the continent are back:
Soucha - the Egyptian boys who WOWed me with their unconventional designs. When I saw them buddy-buddying with David Tlale last year, I anticipated an eye-fest as both brand speak couture fluently - and they delivered! Showcasing conceptual pieces accompanied by futuristic heavymetal-type of music which - with all the bells, whistles and fringes - all worked to establish Soucha in South Africa and why they are highly celebrated in Egypt!
Stiaan Louw - Cape Town based designer who needs no introduction! I have not seen his work in a while, other than small exhibitions (including the opening of his Johannesburg store last year) which amaze me, all the the time! Some of his must get items include his deconstructed trench coats which are phenomenal!
Heni - his name started echoing louder in my house after he won the Arise: Most Promising Designer of the Year award and he stepped up and raised the bar further at Audi Fashion Week proving (not that he owed anyone any explanation) that he is not only capable of fulfilling his award's namesake, but that he bags more punches than his seasoned counterparts - a must see. a must own!
Marianne Fassler - a household name! Her brand served as training ground for Suzaan Heyns (who is also showing) and she, in no way, subscribes to convention. The last show I attended, two years ago, left me gobsmacked and Michael Mol, who was seated beside me, also had the same dumbfounded look I had (so I was clearly not alone in this state). Here's the reason for my shock: she went animal prints-and-fur-crazy! As I always descibe it to a friend when her name pops up: animals that attack each other in the jungle, where placed comfortably next to each other in one coat, zebra and leopard prints, cheetah and girrafe... looked like something from Nicci Boutique (in the early 00's); exclusive, luxurious and I actually LOVED it! It may have induced a minor seizure at the moment but I grew fond of her pieces and elevated my respect and admiration of her talent. Whether I am confident to wear such strong pieces ramains the big ques...
Koketso Chiepe - Botswana-born London/USA-based designer who recently partnered with South African TV and Radio Personality, Bonang Matheba, to launch a Bags and Accessories Range under the label Baby Star. She showed a range which had plenty of in-at-the-moment embellishing and sequin at the Arise Fashion Week, styled by Indashio Inspires (stylist to hollywood A-listers such as Vivica A. Fox, winner of an Mtv Style/Design show AND has his own range which showed at New York Fashion week in 2009 AND popular in the fashion circuit of America, yes, he's quite a gun)! I am quite excited to see what she does this year!
South African Sweethearts and Fashion Week Crowd pullers: Kluk CGDT, Thula Sindi and David Tlale who will also showcase their work and those are always worth seeing. They do not need any introduction or me to elaborate, but I will say: get your ticket now!
Errol Arends - a South African Design-legend who was quiet for the longest of time (busy with private clients) until he released his shoe range (available at leading Stuttafords retail stores) which is enjoying being in almost every Elle publication. His Audi Fashion Week collection with strong, bold and luxe-textures which, for a fall collection, was predictable but the construction and execution reiterated why he's a favourite of those with deep pockets. Stunning, stylish and solid!
Nigerian based Ituen Basi, famous for her gorgeous silhouettes using unusual but interesting Ankara material, will be displaying her work on the AFW runway. I got introduced to her work recently (last year) and I was rather impressed by her "Africanized" Western designs. Deola Segoe, another Nigerian Powerhouse, will be gracing our shores and I am looking forward to being acquainted with her work. Read amazing reviews about her !
More designers including Abigail Betz, Carducci Woman (where David Tlale also worked his magic when he consulted for them in, I stand to be corrected, 2004-05?), Stoned Cherrie (who've also graced the New York scene with their amazing pieces), Xuly Bet, Sandra Muendane, Sakina Msa, Qumbespoke, Mataano, Laquan Smith, Korta Momolu, Bunmi Koko, Gloria Wavamunno, Boudoir D'Hautre, Christie Brown (the latter few are unfamiliar to me but I will look into their work later - I have immense faith in Lorato Liphuko's choice of invited designers).
Caught up with Machere at the TopTv launch and she tells me that she will not be showing at the Africa Fashion Week - she will be showcasing at the Berlin Fashion Week. The DeGorgeous Headquarters wish her the best of luck! Show Dem!
So are you also excited?
Getting my kit ready - let's get the ball rolling!
After-thought: if Arise is really showcasing an African Fashion Week during the world cup - who will be showing and when is it taking place?
pics courtesy of Africa Fashion International