"The Africa Fashion Awards is always a reflection of the growing excellence of the continent's fashion industry. AFI is proud to continue to recognise the stellar talents that are moving this African fashion forward by providing a platform on which to celebrate them," says AFI Group Marketing Manager, Sizwe Nzimande.
The title of Designer of the Year went to Marianne Fassler (South Africa), for her continued capacity to surprise and delight after over two decades in the industry, whilst Katherine-Mary Pichulik (South Africa) took the title of Accessory Designer of the Year for Pichulik, a bespoke label of hand-crafted neckpieces accessories.
Laduma Ngxokolo (South Africa) received the accolade of Emerging Designer of the Year for his Xhosa heritage-inspired knitwear brand, currently taking international fashion by storm, MaXhosa by Laduma.
From behind the scenes, Gaschette Magazine (South Africa) - a digital fashion publication launched by creative trio Colin O'Mara Davis, Steve Marais and Jessica Lupton - was named Outstanding Trend Communicator; whilst Omoyemi Akerele (Nigeria), founder of Lagos Fashion & Design Week and the founding artistic director of Style House Files, was awarded the title of Outstanding Contribution to African Fashion.
These five winners were selected by a panel of judges including former Elle South Africa Editor and fashion influencer Jackie Burger; UNISA Director of VC Projects and Advisor to the Principal, Professor Puleng LenkaBula; Zambia-born, London-based journalist and Editor of New African Woman magazine, ReGina Jane Jere; Marie Claire South Africa Editor, Aspasia Karras; and top stylist and fashionista, Arieta Mujay
In addition, another three special awards (each judged by their own, separate panel of experts) were made on the night:
Up-and-coming designer, Rich Mnisi, was named AFI Young Designer of the Year, after his capsule collection, Oath, most impressed the judges - Bella Cebekhulu, Hanim Jane, Elihle Mnguni, Caileigh Davis and Ms Tarryn (Elle magazine SA) - at the final showcase for the AFI Fastrack designer incubation programme during MBFWAfrica 2014 on Saturday.
The title of New Face of the Year was bestowed on Nigeria's Next Supermodel 2011, Lucky Favour, by MBFWAfrica 2014 show producers, Deon Redman, Mary Reynolds and Jan Malan, who were best able to make the award, based on their close contact with the models.
Finally, AFI's Executive Chairman, Dr Precious Moloi-Motsepe, personally recognised Vogue Italia editor-in-chief, Franca Sozzani, for her significant involvement in promoting and developing the continent's fashion industry, on the global stage - by spotlighting African designers, models and culture - and presented her with the award for Global Contribution to the Promotion and Development of African Fashion.
Image by Simon Denier SDR Photo