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12:41Your Weekend Guide through Sustainable Luxury from Africa Fashion Week's Designers
|Africa Fashion Week (AFW in NY), produced by Adirée, took place on Thursday July 18th, Friday July 19th and Saturday July 20th, 2013 in the Broad Street Ballroom located in New York City’s financial district at 41 Broad Street. Adiree hosted 3 days of press conferences and three days of runway events showcasing 16 international designers from the African Diaspora. With this year’s theme of "The Pattern of Sustainable Luxury” adored by Huffington Post, Adiree and it's partners introduced New York to designers that were profitable, luxurious, sustainable, and eco-friendly. |
Adirée TM is a communications and branding firm focused on fashion, home decor and beauty- with the motto: Luxury Brands Focused Globally. Under the auspices of Adiat Disu, AdiréeTM focuses on re-branding Africa, as a destination for luxury brands, and has taken exclusive brands from Africa and placed them on nationally esteemed and recognizable stages via placements. The result: increased awareness of African fashion, generated in financing for African designers and artisans, and a viable platform to showcase in the U.S via media such as CNN International ( CNN Interviews), Los Angeles Times , Destiny Magazine (South Africa), Elle (Bulgaria), Black Enterprise, Washington Post, and Huffington Post thereby exposing emerging luxury brands from Africa.
Through partnerships, quality productions, campaigns, and media placements Adirée is establishing the way consumers should view products from Africa (i.e. Made in Angola, Made in Zimbabwe, or Made in Nigeria). Using communications strategies such as hosting international "Africa fashion Weeks” and igniting a trend via their original idea of establishing and hosting African Fashion Weeks throughout global fashion capitals and thus birthing Africa Fashion Week New York | London | Paris | Milan | Berlin | Tokyo.
After receiving an official proclamation from Mayor Bloomberg in its first year (2010) of producing Africa Fashion Week in New York ( AFWNY ) , it has blossomed into a platform for designers from Africa to be featured in internationally acclaimed print, online media and publications such as Marie Claire Magazine (Netherlands) Elle Magazine (Bulgaria), Bullet Magazine, Huffington Post, Black Enterprise, Magazine, and the Washington Post, to cite a few.
Directed by Nigerian born Adiat Disu, the president of Adiree, a branding and communications firm in New York, providing talented designers from the African Diaspora a platform to showcase their designs, promotes African owned or inspired brands. This year, Sixteen (16) handpicked designers showcased at the event representing various countries in Africa such as Morocco, Uganda, Kenya, Ghana, and the diaspora.
At this year’s AFWNY were designers from Morocco; Khadija Moroccan Caftan NY and Sana Redwani; designers from Kenya, Sara Karay. Uganda had; Kaela Kay by Catherine Addai and Sarfo of Styles. Each designer brought his/her unique aesthetic to the runway giving a combination of unique creativity and passion.
Guests included Tinsel star and celebrity Gbenro, walking as a model for designers such as Bill Witherspoon, Eden Myles, and Sana Redwani; powerful media personalities including Christina Brown, journalist and anchor for Arise TV who was in attendance wearing Ghanaian designer 54 Kingdom’s outfit while sitting front row Thursday – Saturday. Thursday, Naomi Yané journalist and anchor for New York 1 was in attendance and sat front row after she interviewed AFWNY’s Director, Adiat Disu for a segment set to air on New York 1 .Also in attendance was Celebrity stylist, Christian Ruart, as seen on Bravo’s hit show Housewives of Atlanta. He was present front row on Saturday July 20th.
At the commencement of the event on the first day, Thursday, July 18th 2013, Ghanaian designer Sarfo of Styles had his models walk down the runway with elaborate West African head wraps (called geles).
Models walked down the runway wearing a custom made head piece by opening designer Sarfo of Styles, the second designer Bill Witherspoon, Harlem based but globally-minded and inspired designer, also a four time veteran of Africa Fashion week, prepared his male collection for the runway. His designs featured colored infused knits and fall/winter pieces for males. The models were adorned with eccentric gold hair-extensions and gold/royal purple cosmetics that highlighted their masculine features- particularly their jawlines. Following Bill Witherspoon were designs by Khadija Moroccan Caftan NY, Sara Karay, Eaden Myles; showcasing his male collection, featuring fitted blazers and impeccably tailored cropped pants. The designer presented clean cut and high quality designs of clothing with his own original twist of color and Africa-inspired prints.+
Thursday’s closing yet inspired showing had pieces from Kenya’s Liz Ogumbo. Cascades of saris, tulle & Leso with embroidery detail, along with intricate beading accented by the bling factor through the placement of gold and silver sequin, a variety of beaded/sequined-encrusted Bodices, bejeweled beading delicately draping over peep-holes, a few curved graphic hem-lines and some fun A-lines all make this collection one worth looking forward to. Drawing inspiration from as diverse as wise Swahili sayings on the Leso (traditional East African garment) to Bollywood inspired garments coming together in signature pieces, the uniqueness of the SFGK By Liz Ogumbo was evident through each recycled sari that comes in different colors/textures/types e.g. chiffon, Kanchivaram, Benares.
July 19th, Friday’s showcase began with a blend of activism and fashion. It began with Jamaican-born and U.S.-based designer, Mikaila Kim's revolutionary-chic line, Aliakim, which is turning women's wear on its head. Since a percentage of her proceeds are donated to SOS Village, a non-profit in Southern Sudan that works to support child soldiers affected by war, Kim uses her design prowess to raise awareness of global issues afflicting African children.
Ms. Ray Couture by Anthonia Raymond is the mastermind behind the unique concept of interweaving both the European and the African culture together. The Showcase of her "All –White” collection, deservedly received a rousing welcome applause.
Khadija, the Moroccan designer, showed the Islamic fashion perspective, without restrictions. Kaftans with colors and intricate designs cascaded down the runway, highlighting the conservative yet sophisticated trends from the growing popularity of the modest Islamic fashion sensibilities.The Islamic fashion industry is experiencing a boom and Muslim designers are finally starting to get their fair share of recognition in recent years.
On Saturday, the line up started with Sana Redwani and highlights from Admas Mahdere, Farai Simoyi, and Sydney- Davies.
Euphemia Sydney-Davies of Sydney-Davies is a young fashion designer who as a girl was forced to flee the Sierra Leone civil war with her mother. Her new collection is characterized by printed fabric, using illustrations created by her design partner, Gabor Zolyomi, who is based in Hungary.
Shoes by Pikolinos, via their Maasai Project in Kenya escorted designs on the run way.
In three days, AFWNY united buyers, investors, models, designers, entrepreneurs and professionals in one ballroom. The runway shows enthralled the audience who were certainly receptive and appreciative of designers’ collections.
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