African designers will be scoring the winning goal during the upcoming FIFA Confederations Cup in June, when the inaugural Africa Fashion Week takes place in Johannesburg.
African Fashion International (AFI), which runs Cape Town, Joburg and Durban fashion weeks, has announced that the first Africa Fashion Week will be an eight-day showcase of the continentsвЂ™ leading designers from 12 to 19 June 2009 at the Sandton Convention Centre and will replace the more localised Joburg Fashion Week on this yearвЂ™s Spring/Summer calendar.
вЂњWhile the worldвЂ™s eyes are focused firmly on Joburg during the Confederations Cup, Africa Fashion Week will make sure that the beautiful game will also be complemented by beautiful and innovative fashion, and use the opportunity to bring the continentвЂ™s top design talent to the worldвЂ™s attention,вЂќ says Dr Precious Moloi-Motsepe, AFI chairperson.
вЂњConsidering that soccer players such as Cristiano Ronaldo and David Beckham вЂ“ not to mention their wives and girlfriends вЂ“ are often style icons, it is fitting that the new Africa Fashion Week launches into this global spotlight,
вЂњIt is our mission to take African fashion to the world and this Pan-African showcase is a fulfilment of that aspiration,вЂќ she added.
Already African influences are being seen in international collections, a trend, which global fashion consultant Claire Hamilton of WGSN New York believes is only going to grow.
вЂњTribal or ethnic prints have been popular on the runways for several seasons and right now the вЂњAfricanвЂќ aesthetic вЂ“ defined especially by textile patterns, or beadwork вЂ“ is very appealing.вЂќ
The most recent issue of T Magazine, the fashion supplement created by The New York Times, features a fashion shoot that looks at African motifs in design, showing items from Louis Vuitton, Missoni and Oscar de la Renta in this вЂњAfricanвЂќ context.
New York Fashion Week held in February this year hosted an African Fashion Collective featuring designers Xuly Bet (Mali), Stoned Cherrie (SA), Momo, and Tiffany Amber (Nigeria) showing off an array of African inspired collections and presidential prints.
The UK Telegraph reportedвЂ¦ that вЂњThe вЂObama EffectвЂ™ hit New York Fashion Week, resulting in a style and cultural explosion as colourful and diverse as Africa itselfвЂќ.
Examples of African designers who have already made their mark on the world fashion stage are Azzedine Alaia from Tunisia, Oswald Boateng from Ghana, Deola Sagoe from Nigeria and South AfricaвЂ™s Marc Bouwer.
Added Hamilton вЂњNew YorkвЂ™s hippest boutique, Opening Ceremony, which is very influential in the young and trendy designer market, highlights particular countries when stocking its store. Previously it has looked to Sweden and Japan. But for spring 2009, it is stocking African designers. вЂњ
Africa Fashion Week which will feature designers from up to 15 countries is set to become an annual event that will also be held during the FIFA World Cup in 2010. It is envisaged that it will eventually be hosted by different countries on the continent, with organisers confident that it can evolve into one of the worldвЂ™s major fashion weeks.
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