Written by Samara Swafford
Photography by Saundra Heath & Samara Swafford
The ambiance at Africa Fashion Week can only be described as electric. Freedom to express one’s creativity appeared to be the main theme of the night. By mixing traditional patterns with contemporary silhouettes, designers: Sana Redwani, Khadija Moroccan, Admas Mahdere, Farai Simoyi, Sydney-Davies, Cinnamon & Pearl, Catherine Addai, and Maze Couture showcased their interpretation of who the modern woman is.
Sana Redwani’s collection De Velasco evoked a feeling of regality and traditionalism. Featuring rich neutrals mixed with different textures; velvet, lace, and sequin were staples throughout the collection. A beautiful floor length rose gold sequin gown glided down the runway, with a black sash accentuating the waist; would make the perfect dress for any formal occasion. De Velasco also, featured a rich black velvet caftan with gold accents cascading down the bust cinched at the waist with a gold tassel, paired with black pants underneath an ethereal, loose fitting, black fabric.
Khadija Moroccan’s collection Moroccan Caftan NY presented the traditional caftans in a new and exciting way. Showcasing a white caftan with black embroidery and sheer black sleeves and a gorgeous green floral, floor length, caftan with gold embroidery and accents.
Admas Mahdere, a fan favorite, mixed contemporary silhouettes with traditional patterns. One of Admas’ most popular, and versatile looks featured an all white mini dress with a woven top that stopped at the midriff and gave way to a controlled flowing white fabric. The dress was also shown with 2 different options- a maxi and wedding dress with a mermaid bottom. Gorgeous. Playing with texture and proportion, an extreme V sleeveless, navy and platinum, tribal print top sashayed down the runway paired with lust-worthy platinum cigarette pants.
Farai Simoyi opened her mesmerizing collection with a black and white tribal print skater dress with a small cutout neck; perfect for hanging out with friends or date night. Interpreting the recurring theme of color blocking, Farai presented, a fuchsia and magenta, color blocked, high waisted pencil skirt with black accents, and a matching color blocked crop top. Creating a colorful illusion, Farai created a multi colored green kaleidoscope pattern that was seen on skinny pants and a matching cutout top with hot pink accents; the perfect attention grabbing outfit for any fun occasion.
Sydney-Davies, another fan favorite, showcased her ability to mix patterns, trends and silhouettes in her brightly colored collection. A color blocked (bright orange and fuchsia) kimono coat, worn with a rust colored tribal print top, paired with camel wide leg high-waisted pants graced the runway. This look would be perfect for either cocktail hour or, if worn with a different top, for the workplace. Another fun look was a color blocked mini dress with orange, pink, blue, and an exciting twistâ€¦ plastic! Sydney-Davies showcased her talent in not only mixing ideas, but also patterns and fabrics.
Cinnamon & Pearl presented their traditional yet flirty collection. A red knee length double peplum strapless dress, a fan favorite, floated down the runway. Evoking the feeling of true elegance and glamor. A fun contemporary look shown was a mustard short sleeve double peplum top with a navy and fuchsia patterned pencil skirt; perfect for the workplace or any occasion.
Catherine Addai’s collection Kaela Kay, commanded the audience’s attention. Also exploring the idea of mixing patterns and textures, Kaela Kay showcased looks that were innovative and expressive. Reinterpreting tradition with contemporary ideas; a 50’s inspired short-sleeved colored pinstriped dress, with African accents (circular designs) around the waist and bottom, put this idea into fruition. Exploring elements of geometry, Kaela Kay featured a geometric African printed top (beige, green, and orange) paired with a peplum patterned skirt. By mixing textures, a yellow pinstriped sleeveless top, was taken to the next level fabulosity, paired with a green tribal African print under a sheer green patterned (circles and yellow flowers) sparkly skirt. This look is perfect any occasion.
Reinterpreting traditional fabrics and textures into modern fashion was taken to the next level during Africa Fashion Week. Creative freedom was seen throughout the show. The clothes evoked a feeling of excitement and exploration, that involved taking the past, and it’s fashion, and turning it into something that the 21st century woman would want to wear. The designers created collections that were not only beautifully executed, but accessible for the everyday woman.