Another successful season of AFI Fashion Week wrapped over the weekend. Designers from from all over the continent (DRC, Cambodia, Rwanda, Cameroon, South Africa) as well as first time attendees all the way from Japan and China showcased their latest collections at Melrose Arch in Johannesburg.
Very noticibly, there was no shortage of welcomed doses of bold print and exciting use of colour. Matte Nolim brightened the runway with flashes of trending lime green mixed with silky dresses, all paired with chunky sneakers. Tuelo Nguyuza Collectiv played with various shades of pink mixed with rainbow-effect prints and stripes. While Marianne Fassler took on the theme of Afro-Asia and presented a cohesive collection of exquisite mixed-print kimonos, sheer appliquéd dresses and cropped tops, a flashy sequined zebra print and waists cinched with bold belts.
Tuelo Nguyuza Collectiv
A show we always look forward to is Maxhosa by Laduma, for the simple reason that there’s always a feeling of pride. Laduma inspires all year with all that he has and continues to achieve locally and globally. His collection was unsurprisingly built on his signature: graphic prints that reference his Xhosa heritage. This time, in addition, he tapped into the rest of the globe specifically looking at Scottish and Japanese culture. Menswear pieces comprised knitted kilts as well as a print that looked like an interpretation of the traditional Japanese sun disc design.
Other designers kept things simple – and by simple we don’t mean mediocre! Orapeleng Modutle‘s monochrome collection went beyond the use of color and print and stood out purely through intricate design of silhouettes and use of texture. Meanwhile, Nao Serati‘s gender-fluid menswear collection had structure and interest in the details: mesh partnered with tassels, asymmetrical shirts, tone on tone and a dose of leopard print and glitter.
One of our favorite shows belonged to that of Cambodian designer, Eric Raisina who displayed a mix of layered textures and materials in looks that felt like a modern yesteryear. A fun addition to the styling were crocheted bucket hats in mustard, navy and off-white.
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The last day saw David Tlale close Fashion Week in a massive production off-site, with a collection comprising 100 looks on 100 models to commemorate 100 years of Nelson Mandela. From OTT flashes of green and metallic to dusty pinks and underwear, it was a great big dose of David at his peak. A moment in his show was the finale – an all-white collection with images of South Africa’s fallen heroes layered with quotes by Madiba. David Tlale displayed the reaffirmation that fashion plays an important role in broadcasting not only a powerful message, but hope and inspiration too.
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