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Africa Fashion Week features 30 couturiers

South African designers were found wanting this year at the prestigious African Fashion Awards show, at which London's Ozwald Boateng won the big accolades.

Boateng won the Designer of the Year (International) award, which goes to the designer who has made the biggest global impact.

Accepting the award from the head of Africa Fashion Week, Precious Moloi-Motsepe, in the early hours of yesterday morning, Boateng said that he had never before won an African award.

"That's a special thing. I have been doing this for a while and have never said that Africa is my inspiration."

But, having watched the work of 30 African designers being showcased at the Africa Fashion Week last week, Boateng, who is of Ghanain descent, said: "I feel that this is a great start."

Boateng has for the last two decades worked on Savile Row, in London, reinterpreting quintessential British bespoke tailoring by giving it a contemporary twist.

In recognition of the strong emergence of a global African aesthetic, the Designer of the Year (Africa) award was won by Nigerian Lisa Folwaiyo's label, Jewel by Lisa.

Bethann Hardison, an African-American, who is an editor-at-large for Italian Vogue, won the Outstanding Contribution to African Fashion award, which was announced by last year's winner, designer Marianne Fassler.

Kenyan model Ajuma Nasenyana won the Model of the Year award to loud applause. She said that her delightful runway performance was inspired by "the great talent of Africa".

The ceremony, which started after midnight on Saturday, marked the end of Africa Fashion Week.

Thirty designers showed their work at the Sandton Convention Centre over three days. Highlights were the collections of Nigerian-American Lola Faturoti; Mataano, the label of Somalian-born and New York resident twins Ayaan and Idyl Mohallim; Alexander Koutny, Marianne Fassler and Kluk CGDT.

The last show on Saturday night, David Tlale's special climate change-themed event, scheduled for 8pm, at the SA Mint was controversial. The shows ran late during the day, and those who wanted to attend the Tlale event could not leave for the Centurion venue until after 9pm.

The show itself got mixed reviews. One tweet said: "Even though SA menswear fashion is at a crisis, David Tlale should consider sticking to womenswear ... just saying."

Before the announcements, AFW spokesman Allana Finley explained the stringent criteria of the judges, who included local and international names such as Michael Roberts, Vanity Fair's fashion director; Shaun Borstrock, founding member of Design For Africa; Helen Jennings, editor of ARISE magazine and Adam Levin, South African writer and author.

Source: The Times


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