AFWME premieres its first edition of Fashion Week at Gate Village, DIFC, with Africa’s Fashion Creative
- The platform attracts and fosters Africa’s top creative fashion designers to showcase their cutting-edge creations at exhilarating runway shows and activations, in collaboration with strategic partner, Earth of One Eight
- This is the first-ever African Fashion Week with Metaverse showrooms for five designers
Dubai, UAE, 19 March 2023: Fashion enthusiasts, the creative community and the Dubai public gathered to witness and welcome the first edition of Africa Fashion Week Middle East (AFWME) at Gate Village in Dubai International Financial Centre, one of Dubai’s most sought-after lifestyle destinations. The event featured panel discussions, workshops and runway shows.
AFWME provided an opportunity for Africa’s top creative talents to share their latest collections in front of a passionate audience. Established luxury fashion brands included Urban Zulu (Congo-South Africa), Mantsho (South Africa), Ntombi Couture (Zimbabwe), Kiza Bespoke (Nigeria), OMAAD (Senegal), and Caped Coast (Ghana). The designers launched exquisite designs, showcasing the essence of creativity, industrial craft and a unique portrayal of fashion genius through their timeless pieces.
Aser Levron, Co-Founder of AFWME, commented, “We are proud to bring together such a wealth of talent and creativity under one roof and to share with our audiences all the wonderful creations that exist in the African continent. AFWME’s mission is to widen the circle and welcome even more talented individuals to join us season after season. At AFWME, we aim to play a significant role in creating a sense of unity and awareness with art and design, bringing together nations to create a community.”
Ntombi Couture collection displayed its full Zambezi Collection with hues reminiscent of the Zambezi River and its tranquil sunsets, using a blend of light and structured fabrics and modern expression of African opulence in traditional African prints.
Urban Zulu presented its unisex collection, Yulu, which means “up” in Swahili. The essence of the collection symbolised the notion of expressing art as fashion and fashion as art, displaying totally reimagined African prints in the most contemporary format.
Kiza Bespoke’s Creative Director Zak expressed his new collection with the vision “to bridge traditional tailoring with modern fashion-forward thinking”. His collection for the brand symbolises how Kiza Bespoke breathes new life into modern tailoring, while showcasing that the brand is a fashion icon for understated refinement.
OMAAD paid homage to its rich African heritage through creative designs that are urban and chic, with modern look and relaxed silhouette. The Dubai-based fashion label crafts each capsule collection with the intention of exploring traditions and cultures while embracing the modern world.
Mantsho, the vibrant brand known for its distinctive signature prints and carefully curated textiles, echoed a collection that is based on the confident African aesthetics with international sensibility. The collection displayed a mix of earthy tones and bold colours, taking centre stage and dazzling the audience.
Caped Coast embraced their eco-friendly goals and showcased a sustainability-focussed collection. The collection of capes, kaftans and kimonos was made with authentic and sustainable prints that are produced in Ghana and are a true reflection of tomorrow’s fashion thinking.
The event included a workshop with Artist Motaz Khalil (a.k.a mo3ka) Of Lines and Tones. Through his live presentation, he engaged with the crowd in crafting fashion pieces with personalised creativity and painting on different fabrics and materials, such as footwear, jackets and kanduras.
Featuring prominent industry thought-leaders, the panel discussions championed an array of topics that are at the heart of the fashion industry, including technology and innovation, sustainability, and cross-border opportunities, and were moderated by Mucha Hazel Nyandoro, Chief of Professional Tribes.
Saleh Al Akrabi, Chief Real Estate Officer at DIFC, said: “We are thrilled to be the venue partner of AFWME and help build upon its success and vision. Our shared values of sustainability, innovation and technology align, and we are committed to support the wider fashion eco-system. By connecting designers with Gate Avenue as a premier retail destination, and welcoming visitors and residents to a memorable shopping experience at DIFC, we hope to showcase the best in fashion and make a meaningful impact on the industry for years to come. We look forward to welcoming even more local and international designers looking to establish a footprint in Dubai and beyond”.
As AFWME continues its journey into the world of Metaverse, guests were able to share the excitement of discovering different designers in our immersive Metaverse showroom and explore their respective content.
Badrriya Henry, Co-Founder of AFWME and Founder at Fashion Foresight, explained, “Building upon our initial launch of showrooms in the Metaverse last October, we have now taken a step further. We can now provide a complete and immersive experience for African and Middle Eastern brands to explore new opportunities and revenue streams. During the event, guests had the chance to book a time slot to visit the multiple Metaverse showrooms, while enjoying the stunning DIFC rooftop views and listening to our resident DJ from South Africa.”
Adding value to the ambitions of conquering the digital landscapes, AFWME’s Strategic Partner, Earth Of One Eight, which aims to introduce opportunities for brands to connect and immerse them into communities via pod solutions, reaffirms the significance of creating spaces and opportunities that are future driven. Through its mobile, walk-in retail pod space, its vision is to provide market accessibility to brands in a flexible and agile approach that is notably supported by technology solutions.
Fareda Ali, Founder and CEO of Earth of One Eight, said, “We are delighted to partner with AFWME and support their vision as we align with our common values and shared pillars. This partnership has the potential to create a new era of sustainable and immersive fashion experience. Not only can you hire our existing pod, but any brand can now design and construct their own with us in the most sustainable and futuristic manner. We are also offering technology solutions with our partners to allow brands to create touchpoints and memorable experiences in their pods. With the blurred lines between online and offline, the possibilities are endless, and Dubai is the perfect launch pad given its strategic location and the opportunities it provides.”
Africa Fashion Middle East is a Dubai based platform and the brainchild of a group of passionate African female entrepreneurs.
Conceptualized and created in 2020, AFWME’s vision is one that is aimed at breaking barriers to unlock the endless talents of Africa’s best creatives, while highlighting the historic trade connections between Africa and the Gulf Region.
Through innovative, sustainable and technology driven Fashion Week events in the region, AFWME’s mission is to facilitate optimal exposure for African fashion designers and empower them to have access to structured resources that will help them flourish within the Middle Eastern regions and global markets.