The ninth edition of the African Fashion Week London showcased what the continent has to offer to the world.
The Fashion week is one of the top fashion events in the United Kingdom which provides a vital platform for young African designers to make a name for themselves on the international scene.
The event witnessed many stylists and brand designers, but South Africans took centre stage at the opening of the show with a dazzling array of pearl shoes and watches.
Lunga Ntuli used to be a car guard in South Africa, living off tips from looking after people’s vehicles.
Now, he is the brain behind the popular “LN Watches” brand that showcased his designs on the catwalk for the first time
Through his creations, the watchmaker promotes love in African colours and intends to take over the reins of the fashion world.
His watches cost between $60 and $75, depending on size and style, and can be made upon request.
“This is the best way to symbolize love or to express love, through giving. From where we have in our culture, isiZulu is what we call “utho”. A bracelet that a man gives to a woman to show his eternal love. Thanks to our watches, we are able to speak or communicate this message”.
“We want to dominate Africa, we want to tell African stories. We want to tell the story of humanity, we want to tell the story of love throughout the world. Certainly, we come from a small region called Ethembeni, but we are building a brand that will make us survive, a great brand that will dominate in Africa and throughout the world, said LN watches creator, Lunga Ntuli”.
Gugu Bhengu, another designer, stole the show with her vibrant creations, especially her unique collection of beaded shoes.
“Everyone asks about shoes and I think I’m the only one with them in the whole city of London. These shoes are so beautiful, and the quality is good. These are South African shoes, in fact, they are 100% handmade, said founder of Gugu Mobile Boutique, Gugu Bhengu.”
The founder of Africa Fashion Week, Nigerian entrepreneur Princess Ronke Ademiluyi plans to expand the brand, with an Africa Fashion Week Dubai in October and other shows in Atlanta and Kingston, Jamaica in 2020 to give more opportunities to African designers.
Ademiluyi also wants to see more collaborations between designers from the continent.
“It would be good if there were a pan-African collaboration between different African countries that are meeting. Even the West could take part, especially since some Western designers collaborate with those from Africa. Instead of taking our designs and making it look like they were their own, or saying they are inspired by Africa, they can collaborate with some of the African designers.”
In addition to the fashion show, Africa Fashion Week London also exhibited a range of jewellery, bags and African clothing from all over the continent.
This year, the fashion show featured a range of clothing, from wedding outfits to urban chic.
The show’s founder plans to open an African fashion museum in London. This initiative could take shape next year.