As a fashion writer it’s always great to get to events but experiencing London’s best cultural fashion week is definitely the highlight of the job.
I took a trip to London’s vibrant Brick Lane at the weekend to see African Fashion Week London at the old Truman Brewery for the final day of this year’s action.
Battling our way through the action thirsty photographers and writers in the press pit I made sure Rianna and I were positioned right at the end of the runway so as not to miss a single shot of the action.
On entering the gates I was bombarded with freebies (that’s why we really attend these events, isn’t it?) and was welcomed by the array of vibrant exhibition stalls that all beamed with vivid colours and sold everything from Ankara style clutch bags to skin care products.
When the show started I had the privilege of viewing an amazing mixed show which put the spotlight on nine designers after opening with a performance from African Singer/Songwriter Debbie Debs (who showed how much her motherland means to her by delivering an inspiring rendition of her own original song I Africa).
The African inspired designers involved in the show were, Kaveke, Sascha, Killian de Burgh, Outedon, Metisse, House of Opiah, Baah by Jessica Baah, AAMAA and Monis Fashion House, however there were three designers who particularly stood out for me.
Baah by Jessica Baah
This designer closed the runway show and, my-oh-my, did her clothing line make an impact.
Showcasing apparel from her Gold Label collection, previously worn by the CEO Dancers, the costume inspired clothing left the audience shocked by its intricate designs and daring ensembles.
Using a mixture of plastic and traditional African fabrics the clothes had a theatrical feel which gave them an edgy contemporary high fashion edge in comparison to a few collections from other designers on the day.
This particular collection was very fashion forward with high street collection capabilities. From the blazers to the racer cut skater dresses and mini skirts, everything within this collection screamed S/S 13 and A/W 14 apparel.
The longer flare skirts had a 1960’s feel which can be found within new collections from various high fashion leaders such as Miu Miu and Gucci.
Personalising the high street favourites with African printed material gave the clothing a unique touch which will attract many young women and career driven women.
Killian de Burgh
Showcasing nearly 20 looks, designer Killian de Burgh executed an amazingly masculine tailored menswear line. This was by far the most unorthodox collection to be showcased at the event.
It felt as if the line had been plucked straight from the runway shows of London Fashion Week and dropped straight on to this ready made runway.
The amazing deep blue and grey hues and sterile whites completed the intricately put together line.
Despite the standard dark colours, the collection strategically placed pops of colour such as orange and turquoise within the printed shorts or patterned inserts in shirts, enabled the clothing to have versatile capabilities. And no doubt the open jackets and shirts exposing delectable abs gave the collection something for the ladies.
But Africa Fashion Week London isn’t just about the designers showcasing their clothes on the runway. I had the opportunity to find some gems amongst the crowds who came to watch and many pulled off perfect street style looks with ease and grace.
I’ve never seen traditional African material look more versatile in ready-to-wear outfits.
African Fashion Week London 2013 showcased a dazzling array of talent and new styles, and it was a pleasure to be able to witness the rise and rise of Africa’s fashion influence on the Western mainstream.
Did you go on any of the days? Share your highlights below and let us know if you have any great pictures.