African Arts and Fashion on Display in DC

May 26, 2016 § 4 Comments

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AAFWDC Founder Uche Ibezue (l) with Maria, makeup artist.

When Uche Ibezue of Omak Designs started African Arts and Fashion Week DC, her idea was not simply to bring attention to the nation’s capital as a fashion force. Grabbing the attention of the fashion market, both national and global, was an abiding aspiration. Last week, the third annual AAFWDC featured a panel discussion and fashion showcase, and many of the burning issues regarding African fashion were raised.

A few years ago it was nice to see a number of celebrities wearing African print designs to red carpet events worldwide. Famous names like Rihanna, Alicia Keys, Solange Knowles and her sister Beyonce, Angela Simmons, and even Gwen Stefani were all spotted in gowns and complete sets that were made from African prints like Ankara and Kente. The popularity of those designs has since trickled down to the young ones, the rebellious youth that are always finding innovative ways of expressing themselves. In that vein, a young lady “broke the internet” when she created a stunningly beautiful African print gown, posted it on Instagram, and

AA Fashion Showcase_-2

Models wearing Victor Hou Designs

wore it to her high school “prom” (formal, end of year dance).  Kyemah McEntyre ended up with the prom queen crown, and hordes of admirers and followers. A year later, and it’s clear that African fashion is all the rage amongst prom goers, with both boys and girls showing off impressive Ankara, kente and other African designs. Were the celebrity endorsements a representation of a passing trend, or is the growing popularity amongst the youth further proof of African fashion’s increasing acceptance on a global scale?

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Model wearing a jacket from Mavumbini Fashion

Ms. Ibezue assembled a diverse group of fashionistas, models and makeup artists to talk about the issues. America’s Next Top Model fan favorite Midori Amae was on the panel, together with Jeanette Hordge-Smith, whose Dash Marketing company organized the event, and fashion blogger Domeá Gisel. It also included two fashion designers whose clothes were featured in the showcase – Victor Colvin (Victor Hou Collection) and Wambui McKesson (Mavumbini Fashion). Ms. World 2010 1st Runner-Up Emma Wareus hosted the panel. Afrofusion TV got to talk with a few of them about the whole African fashion scene, and the direction it’s heading. Watch the video above and let us know your thoughts!

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