Africa Fashion Week 2012 : African elegance

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Africa Fashion Week New York once again hosted 32 designers presenting collection at the Broad Street Ballroom in Manhattan. Now in it's third year AFWNY is attracting more and more attention from the media and the fashion community. Fashion Institute of Technology hosted a panel discussion on the future of international trade as it relates to the African fashion industry. African patterns and prints continue to be one of the hottest trends in fashion. The event at FIT is recognition of the role that African fashion will play in the global marketplace. This year the events leading up to the viewing of collections included; vendor exhibition,and industry networking events. The idea behind the luxury themed events was to raise awareness of the African Fashion/Entertainment professionals in New York and Tri -State area. The multi-day events were also specifically targeted to buyers, and industry professionals.

Adiat Disu founder of Africa Fashion Week, and the Adiree agency stressed that African fashion should not be stereotyped based in what some people expect African fashion to look like.  The mainstream fashion industry has embraced African prints but have been less receptive to some of the heavier African textiles. The designs sent down the runway at this year's AFWNY evoked style, elegance and luxury.
 
Korto Momolu, Nadir Tati, William Witherspoon, and Kachi Designs were among some of the returning designers. New comers to the show included the Cameroon Collective: Kibonen New York, Mesanga Fashion House, Nakuin , Haby Dialo, and Farai Simoyi. Designer Kibonen Nfi teamed up with her fellow Cameroon designers with the purpose of raising the visibility of the Cameroon fashion industry in New York. another interesting new addition was Bolivian designer Gustavo Garcia. It is important to remember that AFWNY does include a diversity of designers that spans the Diaspora.

The breakdown for the shows are as follows;
Thursday 7/12 - Francis Hendy, Mafi, Kobonen|New York,Geraldo Fashions. Haly Diallo, Bill Witherspoon, Attolle Collection, Nakuin,Henna Flower, Fiens Couture, Mesanga Fashion House.

Friday 7/13 - Farai Simoyi, Shaffa Delince, Vanessa Mukasa, Gustavo Garcia, Lisa Keating, Agama label, Ill La La Designs.

Saturday 7/14 - Korto Momolu, MABM , House of Marie, Fikirte Addis, Allex Kangala, Studio D-Maxsi, Marianne G.G., Afritali, Lenoche, Any Siyah, Peter Walden, Kachi Designs, Nadir Tati.

This show definitely wasn't about pigeonholing African fashion, it was all aout the Elegance of Africa.  The collections were definitely geared to retaining cultural integrity, and having global market appeal. For designers like William Witherspoon the bohemian expression of African cultural roots are some of the elements that influenced  his collection. Francis Hendy's well tailored designs were complemented by a pastel color theme. Nadir Tati's collection featured a variety of elegant prints. Her skillful use of materials produced a seamless harmony of  culture and style. All the designers are to be commended, their dedication and hard work was evident on the runway. 
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