Two of our acclaimed fashion designers staged meaningful shows at the opening night of the spring and summer season of African Fashion International Fashion Week (AFIFashionWeek) . Gavin Rajah presented a special capsule collection titled "Where have all the flowers gone?" paying tribute to women who are victims violence and crime on the continent. Collaborating with floral couturier The Blom Boy, models walked down the runway in beautiful gowns paired with delicate and dramatic net flower headpieces that represented the fragility of life and how many women often feel caged or trapped in situations they can’t get out of.
Rajah’s powerful show was part of AFIFashionWeek pan-African showcase on Thursday evening named ‘African Fashion Unites" that featured designers from around the continent such as Christie Brown (Ghana), Mai Atafo (Nigeria, Eric Raisina (Madagascar) and KLûK CGDT (SA).
Models strutted the runway to the sound of live music acts by Nigerian artist Femi Kuti, Kwesta and The Ndlovu Youth Choir. The choir who recently participated in the reality music show America’s Got Talent is a joy to watch, their talent and energy is magnetic.
Flamboyant designer David Tlale payed homage to his biggest muse and late mother Joyce Tlale, naming his SS20 collection "Joyce" Tlale’s showcase received a standing ovation .
His presentation began with fun and colourful pieces, drawing inspiration from his Heritage Month collaboration with Tastic Rice, as well as the rich and vibrant cultures found in South Africa
I haven’t seen Tlale present a collection with so much colour since his iconic showcase at Bo-Kaap in 2012.
Next was his trademark all-black collection which featured jaw-dropping ready-to-wear and red Red carpet dresses with beautiful detailing and inserts.
Tapping into the Tsonga culture, he did a quirky play on the multi-pleated Xibela skirt worn by Tsonga women. Male models wore the skirt draped as a cape, over pants and other fashionable styles.
Held at the Sandton Convention Centre from Thursday until Saturday, overall, this season of AFIFashinWeek was well produced and organised. I loved the fact that they make promoting pan-African designers a priority and also unearthing young talent.
* For the full gallery visit africanfashioninternational.com
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