This year Africa Fashion Week London (AFWL) celebrated their fifth anniversary. So we sent our very own, Alexandra Coeln to witness the occasion from 7th – 8th August.
Created by Ronke Ademiluyi in 2011, AFWL is Europe’s largest catwalk event of African fashion and design. The annual event aims to inspire and inform people of the work of African designers in the UK and worldwide, showcasing the work of emerging and established designers.
For emerging designers, AFWL is a golden opportunity to showcase their talent. Designers are able to meet with influential people in the fashion community as well as buyers and customers and receive first-hand feedback from them.
The event was held at Kensington Olympia in London. A central location perfectly suited for the scope of the event. In the middle of the hall was the catwalk, where the designers showcased their work. Surrounding the catwalk on both sides were stalls where the de-signers sold their pieces and were available to talk to. This is a great way for people to engage with the designers and interact with them. There was also a food area that sold delicious African food and beverages. Between the catwalk shows a DJ and singer per-formed and entertained people with lively African music and dance. Many children took part in the dancing to the delight of the guests. There was enough to keep you busy and interested throughout the day. AFWL is a great event for fashion enthusiast and families alike to enjoy a day out where everyone is involved.
On top of hosting this event, AFWL has contributed to many events in London. Lending their expertise on African culture and fashion to other well-known events such as The Mayor of London’s Black History Month.
This year’s theme is apprentice and skill empowerment and is part of the AFWL’s Youth Development Initiative for the Fashion Business Industry. Ademiluyi and her team will be nominating apprentices to be mentored by different fashion designers from around the world. Throughout the year, they will gain vast insight into the world of fashion and what it means to design an entire collection. Based on their performance index a small number of these apprentices will get the rare opportunity to showcase their designs during next year’s AFWL.
It is no secret that African-influenced fashion is taking the fashion capitals by storm. AFWL was the place to be to get a glimpse inside what makes this growing trend so increasingly popular.
Video clips from some of the catwalk presentations are available below to download: