Show Report: 2011 Africa Fashion Week

On the 20th – 23rd of October we saw Africa Fashion Week (AFW),the premier fashion event in Africa rocking the city of Johannesburg with 18 catwalk shows held at the Sandton Convention Centre. AFW presented the best of African fashion to the world.African Fashion International (AFI) is the premier fashion events and promotions company on the African continent, providing platforms to showcase African creative talent with a mission to take African fashion to the world.AFI presents African fashion and creative talent in a manner that makes local talent globally relevant and ensures that the world has market access to African product and design. Through the organisation’s promotion, curation and support, AFI ensures that the international community responds positively and commercially to African-designed products, which are available, unique and on-trend. Through its numerous Fashion Weeks and initiatives, AFI opens up the continent to commercial projects, both locally and internationally, increasing the geographic spread of Africa’s fashion and the market access to the continent’s apparel.African Fashion International, led by Dr Precious Moloi-Motsepe, firmly believes in using fashion as a communicator for social change.


This year’s fashion week saw a cross-section of African designers from South Africa, Egypt, Ghana, Kenya, London, Mozambique, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Tanzania, Uganda, the United States and Zimbabwe all showcasing their latest collections. Designers included Adama Paris, Bunmi Koko, Christie Brown, David Tlale, Eki Orleans, Kluk CGdT, Laquan Smith, Lola Faturoti, Maki Oh, Mataano, Thula Sindi and many others.


We also saw models such as Nyasha Matonhodze and Millen Migese strut their stuff on the catwalk.

In its usual fashion, the event is drawn to a close with the African Fashion Awards with awards presented to winners in various categories.


Here’s bringing you a full show report. 


Adama Paris

Adama Paris’s swimwear collection was cut out of graphic Ankara wax prints while models strutted down the catwalk in chic pieces accentuated with beaded accessories in bold necklaces. Hair was sleeked tightly in a bun with very subtle rosy makeup.


Adama Amanda Ndiaye, the designer behind the label Adama Paris. Born in Kinshasa, Congo, to Senegalese diplomat parents, the well-travelled young creative embodies the multi-cultural designer of the new millennium. Adama currently shares her time between Dakar, Los Angeles and Paris and it is in these metropolitan cities that Adama finds her inspiration.


Adama Paris also reflects the spirit of young contemporary women and is imbued with a cosmopolitan sensibility. The label carries this global mindset through to its stockists: clothing from the Adama Paris label is available in Senegal, the USA, the UK and France.




Alexander Koutny

The collection was modern and gothic as it mostly featured black pieces. Johannesburg born Alexander Koutny began his career with a Bachelor of Arts degree with a major in philosophy. Whilst working for a large commercial clothing production factory he discovered his love for fashion design and returned to school to study patternmaking. Soon after, Koutny launched a ready-to-wear line of deceptively simple, mostly black menswear to which he later added womenswear. Turned off by the commercialism of South Africa in the late 1990s, Koutny moved to London where he was inspired by the cutting-edge fashion design around him. Whilst working as an assistant to various designers he produced intricate and often elaborate one-off pieces, some of which were sold through private boutiques in London and Paris. With the desire to study further hone his skills and vision, Koutny relocated to London and entered the MA program at Central Saint Martins. Now based in New York Koutny has successfully released his third collection and collaborating in creative projects for British Vogue and other publications



Thula Sindi

Thula Sindi’s collection consisted of bright pieces with clashing sequins, animal prints. Models were spotted with arty Arican looking buns that added a certain va va voom to the ensembles.



Thula Sindi matriculated (2001) from the National School of the Arts in Johannesburg and studied at LISOF (London International School of Fashion).His debut was as head designer at Dutch textile Company, Vlisco, the day after he graduated. He introduced Vlicsos fashion line with a show at South African Fashion Week in 2005, along with fellow designers Malcom Kluk and Palesa Mokobung. In February 2006 Thula started developing his own range, which hit the runway at SAFW 2006 (a year in which he earned a semi-finalist spot at the Nederburg Rare Fashion Finds Contest). He was also nominated as a finalist in the Marie Claire emerging designer contest in 2007 and 2008.


Thula went on to show a successful collection during Couture Fashion Week in Paris with the assistance of SA Tourism and Dr Precious Moloi-Motsepe. This was followed up with a showing at both the Cape Town and Joburg Fashion Weeks. In November he was nominated as top 10 emerging designers in the FIMA: Afrique est la mode pan African fashion contest which was held in Niamey, Niger.


Thulas Winter 08 collection showcased at Audi Fashion Week in March to much critical acclaim and saw him taking the collection to Beijing, Hong Kong, Shanghai and Guangzong in early April of 2008 in association with the Department of Arts and Culture. Thula showcased his recent collection in Luanda, Angola and in Lagos, Nigeria during the Nigeria’s Next Super Model search in September. Thula has created a special collection in association with Vlisco to be shown in Cotonou,Benin in November.


Thula now produces his effortlessly elegant womens wear from his Rosebank Studio in JHB as well as designing at Gavin Rajah in Cape Town on a freelance basis.


The 24 year old designer dresses women on the move like Caprice, Noni Gasa, Busi Lurayi, Penny Lebyane, Bridget Masinga and Dr Precious Moloi-Motsepe





The collection was floty and flirty with pieces in black and romantic prints. Tart was established in 2001 by Cape Town based designer, Cari Stephenson. In 2010, Isabel de Villiers joined the team.  The ‘tart’ brand has grown from the basic tee shirt and now offers leisurewear to a wide and varied market. Aiming to meet the needs of real women who lead busy lives, the brand offers pieces that are simple but still infused with a youthful and energetic spirit.


‘Tart’ is a proudly South African brand and is available from ‘The Space’ and selected boutiques countrywide. The brand continues to deliver fashionable pieces, which are current and can become wardrobe staples for confident, individual women.




Taibo Bacar

The collection was chic and edgy with figure skimming pieces.Taibo Bacaris a young, male Mozambican designer specializing in women&#39s wear, both couture and ready to wear. 

His collections are known for maintaining a strong, sophisticated but yet understated glamour. He is a genius at playing with the different silhouettes of his ideal woman.




Stefania Morland

Mostly characterised by romantic lace, the lady-like collection was floaty and girly.

Stefania Morland is dedicated to personal service and attention to detail. Layering pieces and expertly constructed garments that can be worn in more than one way create a more complex look and allow our customers freedom and creativity of expression is what Stefania’s collections are known for as she uses only the finest hand-selected natural fibres sourced from around the world to produce the best possible end result. Each garment is skillfully crafted with specific attention to construction techniques and accentuated detail, creating truly distinctive clothing for people who respect and celebrate life.





Soucha pieces are exquisite evening and bridal creations. Leading Cairo-based label Soucha Fashion is considered one of the leading fashion trendsetters in the region.  A native of Tunisia, Soucha is a talented young fashion artist and graduate of the famed Academia Della Moda in Florence, Italy. After his schooling, Soucha worked with top Italian fashion houses and eventually settled in Cairo, finding his niche dressing the stars and celebrities of the Egyptian and Arab entertainment world with his unique fashion creations




Mustafa Hassanali

Known for sporting A-list clientele and the crème de la crème of the society. Considered a fashion guru, his designs reflect the deeply embedded cultural heritage of Tanzanian society along with the avant-garde, hip and contemporary styles. Designer Mustafa Hassanali, a celebrated name in Tanzania pursues fashion as a religion. His personable and affable demeanour in parallel with his bohemian work of art has made him amidst the premier and popular designers in Tanzania.


Hassanali&#39s zest for fashion is not only limited at fostering his own collections and offering something new to his target audience, but he also believes in the enhancement of the Tanzanian Fashion Industry on the whole.


Showcasing four collections each year, Mustafa&#39s shows are fashionably action packed and top the list of the awaited events in the country.





Twin sisters Ayaan and Idyl Mohallim share a story that is anything but ordinary. Their 2011 collection was characterised with floral sixties style pieces.


In 2008, the Mohallim sisters took a bold step together, launching their brand, Mataano (translated as “twins” in Somali), and developing a platform from which to express their vision and bring forth their creations to the marketplace.  Mataano’s premier collection, a boutique preview of ten dresses for Spring 2009, launched in New York City and garnered notice throughout the industry.


In October 2008, Oprah Winfrey, the queen of daytime television, invited Ayaan and Idyl to appear via Skype on her show.  Titled “Young Millionaire Moguls”, the show featured the Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen, designers of fashion lines The Row and Elizabeth and James.  Paralleling their success with the Olsen twins, Oprah lauded the duo for their inspiring story and much deserved success, and introduced them to the national stage as an emerging brand with a rich cultural heritage.


Since then, Mataano has released four collections attracting fervent attention from the press, including The New York Times, Vogue Italia, Arise Magazine, Uptown Magazine, Clutch Magazine, Giant Magazine,,, and numerous blog mentions, among others.  Most recently, Ayaan and Idyl were followed by the cameras of CNN International (Inside Africa) and Voice of America as they shot a feature on the designers.




Marianne Fassler

Marianne Fassler’s collections are original and enduring, which is what sets her apart from her peers is that she always kept her eyes wide open to the vibrant, cross-cultural images one sees on the streets of an African city and has the sass and confidence to weave them into couture collections.




Maki Oh

Maki Oh ethos centres around the appreciation of beauty and individuality. The collection incorporates African culture, traditional structure and creativity to produce stylish and detailed garments. The label has been a fixture on catwalks for many years and consistently produces rich textures and fabrics and construction that promotes a sense of power, sexuality, tradition and fashion. The brand is influenced by a strong sense of identity and African culture, which is the inspiration behind the conversational peices which they create.





The collection was a celebration of individualism as Maita believes that each garment she creates is a collectable piece of art. Maita Marimo is a young self taught Zimbabwean-born fashion designer. Marimo has dressed many notable celebrities such as Miss Zimbabwe 2005, Oslie Muringai.




Madam Wokie

The label and its collections is a fusion of Sierra Leonian aesthetics and elegant, modern designs. The fashion brand aims to create exclusive and stylish clothing that is durable and affordable and the Madam Wokie brand also includes bags, jewellry, footware and fabrics.




Lola Faturoti

Her designs are very unique and are characterised by bold prints, elaborate beadwork and flowing silks. Her designs are simple yet elegant and powerful. This celebrates the confidence and femininity of women. This collection is inspired by the Ndebele tribe of South Africa. Lola Futaroti inherited her love of fashion and specifically her love of Nigerian clothing from her grandmother, who was a designer of traditional clothing. After studying in London, she moved to New York.




LaQuan Smith

LaQuan was inspired for this collection through his travels to create a diffusion line called ‘LQS’ for the everyday women he encountered in each city. Born in Brooklyn, New York. At the age of thirteen his grandmother gave him an old Singer sewing machine and since then he has not looked back, making sexy and glamourous fashion his focus.

LaQuan has a number of high profile, celebrity clients that include, Lady Gaga, Rihanna, Beyonce and Alicia Keys. The designer has showcased his work in both the USA and internationally.





Design duo Olivia Kennaway and Alice Heusser. Their collection is a journey to combine African heritage with modern appeal. The label’s inception was inspired by the vibrant patterns and colours of the traditional “uniform” of the local women in coastal Kenya. It is the transformation of these traditions into stylish, fun and contemporary designs that forms the ideology of the Lalesso brand.




Kluk CGdT

Klûk (who studied at St Martins College of Fashion in London, and apprenticed under John Galliano) and Gabriel Du Toit (who studied at the Cape Technikon Fashion School) are the team behind the dynamic brand, Klûk CGDT.

Their collections are known for the close attention to detail and careful consideration of each garment is which distinguishes their clothing as luxury items. Their brand does not focus solely on clothing but rather on a holistic, lifestyle-approach to fashion. They have a number of celebrity clients that include Beyonce, Rachel Weisz and Charlize Theron.




Kiki Clothing

The collection makes use of African textiles, vibrant colours and Afro-centric prints to create easy and wearable garments. Creative Director and Founder, Titi Ademola draws her inspiration from everyday people and a variety of different cultures, particularly her own African heritage.


Ademola studied fashion at the London College of Fashion and the American Inter-continental University and has worked for internationally renowned labels, Burberry and for Betsey Johnson.Despite her global experience and training, her primary focus has always been to promote ‘Made in Ghana’ designs.  The label manufactures all of its products in Ghana and Ademola is passionate about promoting Africa to the rest of the world through her fashion.




Jacob Kimmie

The collection is driven by anger and injustice as the designer pushes his work to embody an ideal of absolute, perfect and eternal beauty – like an antidote. The pieces are both sentimental and subversive, romantic and aggressive.


Jacob Kimmie work is very influenced by his upbringing during apartheid.

Kimmie has no formal qualifications and designs by sheer experimentation. 




Intisaar isinfluenced by African tribes and uses indigenous fabrics like Zimbabwean Batique and African Java. Her designs are known for creating textures that come away from the body. Besides striving to create pieces that are intensely unique, the most important element in her designs is comfort.  



Gloria Wavamunno

Known for collections of bespoke blazers, tailored dresses, Kitenge accessories including backpacks and high top sneakers, the brand’s luxury and eccentric clothing for women.




Eki Orleans

Hazel infuses bold, vibrant colours and prints within soft silhouettes. Hazel’s design process usually starts with the fabric design after which all the other elements fall into place. Orleans latest collection, entitled ‘Nature’s Serenity’, is inspired by her love of nature. While reminisicing about the lake of Abraka, from her childhood, she translated the awe-inspiring sunsets in her collection. Hazel also makes reference to the grace and intricate patterns of a peacock.

Hazel Aggrey-Orleans is the young designer behind the Eki Orleans label. Born in Germany, raised in Nigeria and educated in the UK, she uses her multi-cultural roots as inspiration for her label.




Duaba Serwa

The collection tagged  “Five Notes in Moments” aims to play on several different style notes: bold colours, African prints, futuristic structures, timeless glamour and masterful tailoring.

Nelly Aboagye studied graphic design, textiles and art, before changing to nursing. As a designer, she has adopted the saying “La mode se de’ mode” by Jean Paul Gaultier, meaning “Fashion goes out of Fashion”. The comment represents her desire to be versatile and innovative as a designer.




Dax Martin

Dax Martin swimwear collection is very graphic as well as ethereal. The line creates niche market products in an effort to create employment and high-end fashion product.

The brand’s team manages all areas of the business and promotes social development alongside providing stylish pieces. After developing a keen interest in fashion, the designer started the label with no formal qualification; rather, learning through experience the brand has continued to be inventive and innovative by working with the latest technology developing new techniques.




David Tlale

David Tlale collection is simply a work of art and shows in depth creativity. David is considered a driving force of creativity in the South African fashion industry. Tlale is fixture at South African fashion weeks and earlier this year he launched a new collection on the iconic Nelson Mandela Bridge, at Joburg Fashion Week.




Colin Ratisai

Ratisai has an eye for the elaborate and the extravagant and his designs depict a diverse mix of colour and texture. He is inspired by the culture and traditions of Africa but his work is also interspersed with a modern twist. Colin Ratisai specialises in African couture and designs pieces for theatre, musicians, celebrities and dancers. The Zimababwean designer studied fashion design in Cape Town and since then has showcased his work in Swaziland, South Africa and Zimababwe.




Christie Brown

The Christie Brown designs cater to contemporary African women with a distinctive use of colour, all inspired by African culture and art.  Her collections range from innovative tailored gowns to beautiful statement pieces and accessories. Aisha Oboubi’s passion for fashion started at an early age. The brand was founded in March 2008, hitting the runway for the first time in Accra, Ghana.




Bunmi Koko

The brand combines both Scottish and Nigerian heritage into both ready-to-wear and high fashion collections. Bunmi Koko, an emerging luxury fashion house run by Bunmi Olaye and her partner, Francis Udom, was founded in March 2009.  

Designer Bunmi Olaye, who was born in Nigeria and studied in the UK, then went on to work for world-renowned luxury-brands Anne Fontaine, Harrods and Prada. Her clothing has been worn by celebrities Michelle Williams and Mel B, fashion journalist Hilary Alexander.





Bisma’s collection reflects her personality which is energetic and vibrant. Her designs reflect an elegant and independent woman.


Bisma Ahmed is a young Zimababwean designer who is currently based in Dubai. Her creativity is inspired by her multi-cultural background and her willingness to experiment is what makes her designs so unique.





To view full collections log on to Afi

Photo Credit

Simon Deiner / SDR Phot-

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