Article by Claudia May
African Fashion Week
New York is known to be a fashion capital of the world which makes it also known for New York fashion week. Many people are unaware that besides New York fashion week, there is African Fashion Week which is held in New York as well. Over the years African fashion has broadcasted its true popularity and potential into a huge force to be reckoned with. This past week was African Fashion Week; BWTV had the amazing opportunity to check out the action packed weekend runway shows, we also covered some inspiring designer interviews. Check out the interviews and some of the pictures from the runway show from Day 1:
Designer Bookey Attollé is originally from Nigeria, West Africa. She specializes in ready-to-wear, custom-made outfits using the finest fabrics from Africa mixed with Italian Linens.
Claudia (BWTV): Did your childhood and growing up in an African community play into any of your ideas for your collection.
Designer: Yes, I am from Nigeria. I like to mix it up for example denim/African prints together. This way I’m not taking out my African roots completely.
Claudia (BWTV): What does Beauty Within mean to you?
Designer: It is a personality or character of a person. The inner personality of who you are.
Three sisters with a passion for fashion introduced Geraldo Fashions; now existing for over 12 successful years. A trendy and vibrant fashion line ranging from formal to Ready to Wear.
Claudia (BWTV): How is it to work with sisters in a business and with creating a collection?
Designers: We are all creative, have different styles and personalities but it all links together in creating our collection and making it what it is.
Claudia (BWTV): I notice you used a lot of sheer, can you elaborate on why?
Designers: Yes, we use a lot of sheer because of the fact that we used a lot of lace last year and we wanted to switch it up that’s why we incorporated a lot of color as well.
Claudia (BWTV): Beauty Within focuses on motivation and inspiring people. What is your Beauty Within or what do you see in a person who has Beauty from Within.
Designers: What I vision Beauty Within is the creativity from within. Using ideas into action, living what inspires you to create. We like to showcase our fashion collection to demonstrate beauty in other people.
Actor: John Dumelo
BWTV had the pleasure of getting to know John Dumelo, tall, dark and handsome African actor not only good looking but a sweet philanthropist.
Claudia (BWTV): What are you doing at Africa Fashion Week?
John: I am here to promote my fashion collection J Melo to raise money for my charity.
Claudia (BWTV): What types of clothing does J Melo include?
John: J Melo includes men clothing, women clothing, shoes, bags, perfumes and jewelry. Claudia (BWTV): Can you elaborate more about your Charity?
John: It was created to help fund for more education in Ghana
Claudia (BWTV) Are you currently filming?
John: I just completed a film this past May in Ghana and I’m working on a few others which are in production.
Claudia (BWTV): What are you attracted to in a woman, not physically but inside (Beauty Within)
John: A woman’s character is what lies within them, so it’s definitely more about their Beauty Within and their character to me
Maat Petrova (model)
Claudia (BWTV): When you’re walking on the runway, what are you thinking?
Maat-I’m thinking that I have to sell these clothes. I walk with passion, power and strength.
Claudia (BWTV): What does Beauty Within mean to you?
Maat-Beauty Within comes from your spirit. Tap into yourself, true beauty resides, inspire other people to do the same.
Kibonen houses an array of unique clothing, accessories, and footwear draped in colorful and exceptionally crafted fusion of Ankara and Toghu geometric illustrations. Kibonen NY products are the most versatile, vibrant, and accessible ready-to-wear-afro-chic collection.
Kibonen: Kirette couture collection was more of traditional African clothing. My partner and I had different views and separated ways. She is now still designing in London.
Claudia (BWTV): I really love your bags. What fabrics did you use?
Kibonen: I use recycled patterns and material scraps that I collect from factories. What they don’t want to use, we can reuse it, it’s not waste to an Eco friendly collection.
Claudia (BWTV): That’s awesome! Are you working on anything currently?
Kibonen: I am a public speaker and leader at various organizations such as Excellence of
Art Cameroonian Society and Think Global Economy Development. It’s important to empower women to create jobs, and provide childcare at working environments. Being a leader is allowing me to travel around the world to teach entrepreneurs (18-40) on the basic skills to start a business. With Africa Fashion Week we were able to help one designer get her Visa to showcase her collection.
Claudia (BWTV): Very Powerful. This links to our last question. What does Beauty Within mean to you?
Kibonen: Beauty Within is when you share to the world, your knowledge, and experiences with people. Let other people see your light, pass it on to allow everyone build from their Beauty Within.www.osisafrica.com/kibonen
Designer, Mesanga choice of mosaic golden lined patterned Ankara sets her work apart from the other designers. The collection consists of colorful, turquoise ready to wear garments, a true representation of loud and vibrant afro-chicness!
We looked for Mesanga all over the ballroom and couldn’t find her anywhere. We went backstage and there she was. We screamed and she screamed. All in enjoyment of good fashion!
Claudia (BWTV): We really enjoyed your collection tonight!
Mesanga: Thanks, so much
Claudia (BWTV): What is the concept of your collection?
Mesanga: I was inspired by nature and a women silhouette. Being creative, lets my imagination run wild.
Claudia (BWTV): What memories do you have as a child that inspired you to become the designer that you are today?
Mesanga: I use to sketch and make paper dolls. My grandmother was a diva. She inspired me to all various textiles and fabrics I incorporate in my collection.
Claudia (BWTV): Who is your favorite designer?
Mesanga: I have many favorite western designers; difficult to choose but my favorite African designer is Christie Brown. If you haven’t heard of her www.christiebrownonline.com
My website is www.Mesangafashionhouse.com
Mafi 22 year old Ethiopian fashion brand Mafi by Mahlet Afework, presents a streetwise, sassy collection of urban sportswear and ready to wear garments.
Claudia (BWTV): How did you incorporate your culture with your collection?
Mafi: All the materials come from Ethiopia and are all hand-woven, no chemicals used in my collection
Claudia (BWTV): Do you live here in the States and if not would you want to?
Mafi: No I live in my country (Ethiopia) because materials used in my collection come from Ethiopia, and I want to continue using my materials and ways to make my clothes.
The African Fashion Show and all the designers in it were incredible. The environment, which was created, was a one of a kind experience that embodied the culture, inspiration, and love of African Fashion and the Fashion world in general. With the way in which African Fashion Week took place it won’t be surprising to see where African Fashion Week goes in the future.
Credit for the photos go to the EVENT: Africa Fashion Week | New York 2012
SPONSORS: Origin Africa, Smart Water, Renarda Joy, Soul Purpose
PRODUCER : Adiree
PHOTOGRAPHER: Avaloni Studios
EXECUTIVE STYLIST : Dupp and Swat
MAKE UP : Renarda Joy
HAIR : Renarda Joy
FOOTWEAR : Susie Sawaya
ACCESSORIES (Assorted) : Donna Dove , Nakate, Winnie Burch, Ill La La , MABM, Nadir Tati, Lisa Keating and Fienes Couture
It was an honor for BWTV to be a part of the Africa Fashion Week, New York 2012 experience