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We are fast approaching the 2017 edition of African Fashion and Design Week, themed ‘Honour the Masters and Celebrate the New’. After five years of hard work and consistency, fashion enthusiasts are looking forward to this sixth edition of AFDW.

As the theme implies, the event aims at celebrating both seasoned and new designers. AFDW 2017 will hold from October 13 to 15, at the Federal Palace Hotel, Lagos.

According to the organisers, African Fashion and Design Week’s primary focus is to provide more retail access for designers to consumers globally, provide platforms for networking and celebrate the African fashion industry. The initiator, Queengold Daniella Sekibo, also added that the fashion show is conceived to unite Africa in style.

“My motivation actually started in year 2009 when I started my fashion brand called QD5. Then, I was trying to build the brand and trying to see how best to network internationally. And while trying to do that in New York, there was always this talk of ‘where are you from?’ and once you say Nigeria, the response is Africa. Then you let them know that Africa is a continent, but they just still tell you it is Africa.”

Sekibo, who is also the Managing Director of BluePearl Services International, said she did a research about African designers and got a lot of inspiration in the process.

 “So, I felt this is an opportunity to show the magnificence of our continent. To show how creative, innovative and talented the designers we have across Africa are. That is what gave birth to African Fashion and Design Week in 2011. We did our first runway in Nigeria in 2012.

“Our aim is to take African fashion global and create a network where designers would know themselves, grow the market and get upcoming designers to join them. We don’t want a system where just one set of people dominate it. We still want to see new talents being celebrated in the industry.”

The event which will showcase 25 designers across Africa, Sekibo said would help to set a fashion agenda across the continent.

“What we have done also is to create a network; a retail access for designers across Africa, reaching out to major stockists in America to come in. For us, it is not a show but a forum where serious business people can grow their brands to another level and make money out of it,” she stated.

Sekibo explained that BluePearl Services International is an advertising firm that is involved in sustainable development consulting.

“We also do events management and it is related to fashion. That is why we have the BluePearl Rising Star competition to align with our vision. It would come to place that we are indeed the continent’s runway showcase. We should have touched a lot of lives and made a huge difference. It would be a situation where you now have lots of designers who have grown to be in sustainable development in each of their respective countries.”

BluePearl Rising Star’s is a part of BSI’s commitment to fostering creative independence amongst new talent in the African fashion and design industry. Winner at the end of the competition not only gets an opportunity to showcase their works during the New York Fashion Week, but gets a scholarship to study Fashion and Design Technology.

Other events that will hold during AFDW 2017 aside the competition include:

  1. Business of Fashion Seminar: Offers the opportunity to young talents to learn the basic foundation of building a fashion brand and earn a sustainable living; and the careers that are available in the fashion industry. These seminars will take place in Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, Liberia, and Togo
  2. African Icon of Hope Awards: Acknowledges designers’ outstanding works that has put the African continent on the global fashion map.
  3. Runway Showcase: Will feature collections from over 30 leading established and emerging African designers from 11 countries.

Photo Credit (for Flyer): Model: Grace Modi (Sudan/USA)
Designer: Londa Msanii (USA)
Makeup Artist: Anyang Bak (USA)
Photographer: Kajuan Lyons (USA)

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