Africa Fashion Week takes London by Storm

Supported by Pak’s Hair & Cosmetics and hosted at the prestigious Freemasons’ Hall; over 5,000 visitors, 42 catwalk designers and 60 exhibitors came to show London what African fashion is really all about.  The beautiful marbled hallways and vestibules saw a host of brightly clad visitors browsing for African-made or inspired jewellery, clothing and accessories; escaping the crowds in the VIP Drawing Room; or finding something interesting to eat in the African foodcourt – all while waiting for the main event – The Catwalk Shows.

At least 15 countries were represented on the AFWL catwalk. The first show started off with George Adesegun’s immaculate womenswear collection which included fabrics inscribed with the ancient secret symbols of the Nsibidi Secret Sect of South Eastern Nigeria.  Structured day suits, evening gowns, silks and velvets all featured in his collection.

We saw Grey on Gray stun with an entire collection of seriously stylish leisurewear – all in shades grey, of course.

Ibrahim Musa brought a collection of menswear that highlighted exaggerated sleeves and tunics reminiscent of ancient Japanese haori and hakama.

Show 2 was dedicated to 7 Nigerian designers sponsored by Tour Nigeria which featured mini collections by Kola Kuddus menswearGodwin Green,RegalliaBijelly, Araewa, Moremi and Maufechi; and showed London than Nigerian design is a serious contender and likely to dominate the fashion world for some time.

Day 2 brought more drama and a larger exhibition hall.  22 more exhibitors set up a one-day market place which saw more gifts, accessories and clothing for the visitors to choose from.

Catwalk highlights of Show 1 included American artist Dario Mohr’s Daft Minerva collection of painted jumpsuits, jaunty hats and New York cool.   2017 Graduate designer Abisola Akanni’s utter ambition featured madly textured trousers, jackets, suits.  Print mixed with wool, bowler hats and rubber boots – her menswear collection was a riot of colour and design all inspired by schoolboy uniforms of Nigeria.

Show 2 brought us highlights of bridal wear in the form of designer Tubo.  Mixing African heritage with princess silhouettes, the collection was a stunning fusion of cultures.  Accessory designer, illicia, brought beautiful Italian leathers and detailed plaited leather interchangeable handles – all edited with Somali understated perfection.  Jumpsuits from Becca Apparel in a sexy off-shoulder dramatic prints playfulness.

AFWL2017 was the best year ever, we really raised the bar – we took to another level and can only go onward and upwards from her. My favourite designer was Stitches – loved the fabric, loved the peplums, the bell sleeves and coats.  The craftsmanship and the originality really had its own signature.

Show 3 was the headliner show.  Notable designers, Mary Martin London,Soboye, Paledi Segapo’s PALSE HOMME and Caesar Couture all featured high drama, more Japanese inspiration, exquisite tailoring mixed with political statements.  Tsitsi Fred was the only designer to bring knitwear.  Amazing, futuristic knitwear.  Who knew knitwear could be transparent!

Mary Martin’s 10-piece collection was named Hidden Queens in homage to African Queens and the plunder of ancient African artefacts. Crinolines, headdresses and crowns, and specially commissioned fabrics featuring African women dominated her collection. There was the Red Queen, The Warrior, The Young Queen and The Dying Queen and the slave girl – each piece told her story.

Samson Soboye’s collection featured men’s kimono and obi belts; mixed with women’s Studio 54 glamour.  Headline designer South African Paledi Segapo’s PALSE HOMME was supported by Caterpillar Shoes and featured African print leggings paired with immaculately tailored tunics and print cloth caps.

The finale featured Caesar Couture.  Fiercely tailored menswear with Nigerian swagger.  Our beautiful male models brought their game to the catwalk in unison and one could only think of #SquadGoals!

Dinner Jackets, lounge suits, 3-piece – all created with the signature Caesar Couture attention to detail.  Caesar introduced onto the catwalk celebrity guests Ill Rhymes and Timi Dakolo.

Africa Fashion Week London goes from strength to strength and continues to shine a light on African designers the world over.  This year’s resounding success shows that a carefully curated 2 day, 5 catwalk showcase can not only inspire the next generation into picking up a needle, but also show London the kind of creativity, colour and swagger that is only found in Africa.


Glamsquad magazine is an independently operated online fashion, beauty, style, entertainment, and health blog. Its features are both inspirational and accessible, giving our followers a scoop on what's trending now in the fashion, beauty, style, and entertainment industry.

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