AFI Fashion Week officially starts this week and if last year’s runway is anything to go by, vibrant colours and clever plays on fabric and textiles are what we can look forward to by designers Christie Brown (Ghana), Maxhosa (SA), Gavin Rajah (SA), Eric Raisina (Madagascar), Mai Atafo (Nigeria), Kahindo Mateena (DRC/USA), Laurence Airline (Ivory Coast), KLûK CGDT (SA), Moshions (Rwanda) and Neo Serati (SA).
From the myriad of amazing designers who showcased last year there are a few who caught my attention like Nao Serati, Matte Nolim, Irmgard Mkhabela, Orapeleng Modutle Style Avenue, 5Knots and the now broken-up Quiteria and George. Although many of these designers will sadly not be showcasing this year I am waiting on the edge of my front row seat in anticipation of this year’s collections.
Matte’s runway show last year reminded me of the styling in the movie Clueless: miniskirts paired with cropped blazers, pastel coloured ball gowns that give off a very Paris-is-burning feel and 90s style leather trench coats. These designers have very different collections but a parallel love for neon, glossy vinyl, PVC, metallic undertones, and monochrome styling is the commonality. Although, Matte will not be showcasing this year, it will be very interesting to see what Nao Serati brings to the runway this year.
Orapaleng Modutle Style Avenue and La Art Neviole Emporium
Orapeleng’s collection brought Moulin Rouge to Melrose Arch with shimmer, glitter, ruffles and fishnet stockings executed with precision, craftsmanship and impeccable tailoring that oozed class and elegance. It therefore comes as no surprise that his collection will be the showstopper that brings an end to this year’s fashion week. Similarly La Art Neviole’s opulent runway gave major you can’t sit with us energy with signature ruffles, lace and crystals.
Vibrant African textiles and bright colours are what we can expect from these designers if their prior collections are anything to go by. Beachcult in particular runs its own race as there isn’t much swimwear on the runway but for those looking to spot their next swimsuit, this would be the show to watch on Saturday.
I’m also looking forward to seeing Ituen Basi (Nigeria), Laurence Airline (Ivory Coast), Sai Sankoh (Sierra Leone), Taibo Bacar (Mozambique), House of Jahdara (Nigeria) and South African designers PALSE by Paledi Segapo, Masango by Siphosihle, Keletso Moraba and Loin Cloth to name a few, paying homage to this year’s theme which is African Fashion Unites and South African designers.