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Africa Fashion Week London, otherwise known as AFWL, may not exactly be a “new” event – it was founded, in fact, way back in 2011 by Nigerian fashion entrepreneur Queen Ronke Ademiluyi-Ogunwusi – but even so many years on, it retains its ability to surprise and impress.
And of course, that should be the case, given that it is no less than – to use the words of AFWL itself – “Europe’s largest fashion event promoting and nurturing African and African-inspired design talent.”
“A dazzling convergence of culture, style, and innovation”
As reported by the Lagos-based daily business newspaper Business Day, this year’s AFWL catwalk show recently took place at the Institute of Directors in London’s Piccadilly. And the outlet was more than wooed, describing the highly anticipated event as “a dazzling convergence of culture, style, and innovation”.
That’s not an assessment this particular luxury digital marketing consultancy would be inclined to disagree with. It was a weekend event that once again showcased the remarkable talent and diversity of African designers, who drew upon their creativity to put together inspiring designs owing much to the heritage of the continent – but also with no shortage of acknowledgement of recent trends.
Which designers and brands put on a particularly strong show at this year’s event?
Such was the both breadth and depth of inventiveness and quality apparent at AFWL2023, visitors could have been forgiven for refusing to pick out just a few highlights.
Nonetheless, Business Day did reserve particular praise for the likes of award-winning (and Lagos-founded) international premium lifestyle brand David Wej, the Adire Oodua Textile Hub (which was set up in 2021 by AFWL founder Queen Ronke Ademiluyi-Ogunwusi herself), and the globally acclaimed fashion artist Mary Martin London, who is known for her vibrant and bespoke creations.
The outlet also singled out The Pa Musa, the designer and interior decorator from Sierra Leone who uses soft textured fabric and the gara-tie-die technique, along with the fashionably diverse high-end clothing brand Simeogieme, launched in 2010 by Creative Director Osime Saibu.
The latter’s collection, for instance, was hailed by Business Day as “one of the standout collections of the show”, being “deceptively simple, but with extraordinary grace, architectural detail, tightly pleated fabrics and original patterns”.
Those who didn’t make it to the latest African Fashion Week London, then, sure missed an opportunity to immerse themselves in so many of the characteristics that define style on the continent in 2023.
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