Former Miss Universe Zozibini Tunzi led the pack of fashionistas, and they were not disappointed with what came down the runway as pan-African designers showcased their latest collections.
AFI Fashion Week Joburg kicked off with the first episode of an AFI docu-series documenting 15 years of African fashion. The first episode, which features AFI founder and executive chair, Precious Moloi-Motsepe, was a scene-setter that focuses on the journey from 2007 to now. It was the perfect preview for what was to come on the runway- an update of what constitutes African style.
Day one saw 10 pan-African designers take to the runway, each presenting their six-look collections that featured a variety of styles, including chic dresses, suiting, stylish separates, and trendy accessories. There were bold print dresses, voluminous skirts and blouses, and luxurious fabrics such as silk, satin, linen, cotton, and velvet.
The event started off with the first showcase of Pretoria's House of Stevolution presenting a cocktail-wear collection. The shades of hot pink were a crowd-pleaser, and it was clear from their positive reception that the audience seemed to agree. AFI's in-house brand, House of Nala, received great praise for its Oranges and Olives collection. Additionally, Ascend Label's high-end knitwear collection was well-received at the event.
Botswana's Kaylaamiel Creations made her AFI Fashion Week Joburg debut. Her cotton and viscose collection with giraffe print in pink and blue pastels was a hit. Kidunia also presented a bright cotton and ostrich feather collection that would be great for any vacation. Lebo Merafhe and Nguo by Tumi Mohasa were two other designers who presented solid collections of cotton pieces that are just what you need when you're on vacation.
Woke Studios presented a collection that was both bright and colourful, but also impressive with its use of elegant fabrics. Suitability showed respect for the well-dressed man with their high-quality, luxurious pieces. Taibo Bacar closed off the first night with a collection for both men and women. It was a luxe resort collection featuring denim, linen, and silk garments in the brand’s signature monogram.
An exciting continuation of Day two started off with the amazing AFI Masterclass at The Catalyst Hotel, before fashionistas returned for the final shows at 8pm at The Diamond Walk.
Mzukisi Mbane’s Imprint_ZA opened the final show day with his signature printed garments. It was a kaleidoscope of colour, immediately ushering the eager audience into a vacation mood. Seditsi Collections followed with a solid white and print collection, which he presented with musician, Lady X, serenading the models (including Gigi La Mayne) as they walked the runway.
Anna Ngann Yonn’s Kreyann’ provided a masterclass in the art of presenting an update of how to use traditional wax print. Alia Bare presented an elegant collection that played with volume, layering and sultriness, while Sisters of Afrika brought bold hues, tie-dye, and wedding-season-ready fashion.
Masa Mara’s resort collection celebrated his signature prints, while Eric Raisina showcased his expertise in haute texture, use of colour and getting the most out of simple silhouettes.
Indoni Fashion House and Gvllvnt made their AFI Fashion Week debuts, each making sure they present unforgettable collections. Durban-based Indoni showcased her signature layered print garments which celebrate the woman’s body.
There were loud murmurs of approval as Gvllvnt brought out his menswear range, featuring linen garments, suiting, and understanding of the effectiveness of simplicity. He earned extra points for bringing out The Wife actor, Mondli Makhoba, who closed out his show. Thando Thabethe’s Thabootys swimwear range had pulses racing as models took the runway.
There was a silence as Ave Maria played and models walked out presenting Gavin Rajah’s latest couture collection, which closed off the show. From the beautifully crafted jackets to the exquisite evening gowns, Rajah reminded every attendee why he is regarded as the couture master in the African continent.
The 11 designers scheduled for the final day of AFI Fashion Week Joburg, not only pulled out all the stops but made a statement- that African fashion is here to stay.
There was something for everyone at AFI Fashion Week Joburg, with designers presenting men's and women's wear. The collections were varied, with some designers opting for more traditional African looks while others went for a more modern approach.
AFI Fashion Week Joburg was not only about the clothes on the show but also about the experience. Overall, it was an incredible display of pan-African fashion talent. Each designer brought something unique to the table, and the overall result was a truly stylish extravaganza.