African Fashion International launched its 2021 live collections on October 28th – 30th, 2021, after a depression fell from Covid19. This year’s hybrid showcase of African fashion-themed – Be You, Truly African took us on the path of self-brand consciousness and overall diversity appreciation. Guests rubbed shoulders in Africa’s tallest building on the 41st floor of The Leonardo in Sandton, Johannesburg. The fashion extravaganza was hosted over 3 days with live entertainment, beverages, and tons of fashion-forward guests.
The story of this fashion event began in 2007, as the global fashion Industry began consciously correcting its lack of diversity. A member of the Harvard Kennedy School, Dr. Precious Moloi-Motsepe, founded AFI from her passion and advocacy for instilling a culture of hope amongst Africans. Dr. Precious Moloi-Motsepe is the 2017 winner of the Inaugural Fashion 4 Development Franca Sozzani Award. She won the award at the United Nations in New York because of her empowerment of disadvantaged women and efforts in promoting African fashion designers.
I love how fashion brings us together, but more so I appreciate the economic value and opportunities that this industry has for our women and the youth!– Dr Precious Moloi-Motsepe (AFI 2021 Media briefing)
As a tradition, the shows began with a Master Class by AFI, which explored what it means to be African in the 21st Century. The panel included some African creatives, including Tanzanian Fashion designer Anisa Mpungwe, and South African rapper Ricky Rick. These creatives highlighted the importance of young artists taking pride in being African. The panel discussed and shared their stories about being creatives.
Once live shows were back in action, of course, MEF was invited! The stage belonged to the host of the show, The face of BET Africa – Nomalanga Shozi. Some of the best highlights include K Moraba & Collective’s show which started with a reverse ramp walk by models. The designers definitely came empowered, with collections that showed strength and more awareness than ever before. To honor Breast Cancer month, Senegal Collective’s Fashion Designer So’ Fatoo’s collection raised awareness on the issue.
Lufi D understood the assignment, fusing old versus new as they paid homage to South Africa’s legends – Yvonne Chaka Chaka and Penny Lebyane. Fastrack finalist designer Siyabonga Mtshali brought an eccentric, sexy, and captivating collection to the runway. Renowned designer David Tlale closed-off fashion week with his bold printed and statement pieces collection, which were to die for!
Snapped on the Scene!
Covid-19 has had a huge impact on the nature of many events. As well as the manner in which the world operates lately. Yet, these fashion designers have taken it upon themselves to find ways to adapt, maintain business operations, and have amazing showcases. Credit goes to Publicist – Letlogonolo Ngwato for the amazing work behind the scenes for SA’s biggest fashion week as well as AFI in collaboration with House Of Nala, PlatAfrica, The Leonardo hotel, Royal Flush Gin, and BET Africa, who pulled off all the stops to make this event another unforgettable fashion week!