I know a lot of you don't like to read nowadays, so I will attempt to keep it short and do it in chapters for you, so that you can take your time and read chapter at a time.
I was recently informed by someone that the publicity for Africa Fashion Week London (AFWL) was not very good as lots of people had not heard about it, so just in case you are one of them I thought it best to let you know what AFWL is. However if you are of African descent, love fashion and live in the UK and have not heard of AFWL – you need to get out more and get some friends.
I have no intention of writing something from my head about what AFWL is about, so being honest I just went to the website and copied what AFWL is about – "Africa Fashion Week London (AFWL) is the biggest African event of its kind in Africa. A collaborative fashion exhibition, highlighting the industry's established and emerging African designers, AFWL is at the forefront of capturing the surge of the African inspired trends in the fashion industry. Our annual event aims to celebrate the work of African and African inspired designers in the UK and worldwide". In short, it is a fashion week and exhibition that showcases African or African inspired designers/exhibitors – the last bit was written by me – not a bad summation, even if I say so myself.
Now let's get to the juicy bits.
Chapter One - Fittings
I arrived in the UK about a week before the show, "hold on wait a minute" (not sure if you know that phrase in a famous song – you need to say it like that if you know the song – I am not telling you what it is, go figure it out), I am sure you do not think that I just started work on the show a week before the event, trust me I have been working on the event for the past 9 months.
Normally I would be in town much earlier but there is just so much going on in Nigeria that I could not leave any earlier, so I get straight into town and start the fittings. We had two very intensive days of fittings. Let me break it down for you 40 plus models, 20 plus styling team, and over 65 designers to fit in two days that is a lot of work. Now I am not really talking about the actual fittings I am talking about it is a lot of work to deal with sooooooo many women. Thank you Lord for patience, by his grace I got through it - JUST!
Before I go on, to all the men that are reading this and are envious of me that I am around all these women and you have the wrong kind of thoughts going through your one track mind – behave - but more importantly you need to bear two things in mind –
One, for me it's like being a doctor – no big deal (stop calling me a liar) and two, most of you men as bad as you think you are, you know you can't handle two women at the same time, so imagine me having to deal with over 100 different women and every single one of them thinks she is something special (before I get into any trouble, ladies you were all very special – hopefully by saying this I have escaped with my life).
We had a few drama's but we got it done. Before I go onto chapter two I must talk about my fantastic Nigerian designers, i am referring to those that came from Nigeria not Nigerian designers that live in the UK. We are in season 3 of AFWL, so I now know the score, so when I was scheduling the fittings I moved most of the Nigerian designers that were coming from Nigeria all to the same day and I warned the team of what to expect and they did not disappoint me.
Despite them being sent the model board and them picking their models in advance, they arrived on the day and completely changed all of their models, I should ask for money back for my ink and all the wasted paper from printing off their model lists. it does not stop there, I had some designer that were given a fitting slot for Tuesday afternoon and they arrived on Wednesday evening – I am not joking I had a few like that. I had one designer who called me at 10am and said she would be there in the hour and she arrived at 7.30pm – for those of you that know me well – you already know what happened, before I even say it. I said sorry I can't do your fitting you need to come back the following morning at 8am and if you are late I won't fit you and you won't do the show.
Thats right, yes she was on time the next morning. Some of the designers were extremely rude, but I do understand why they were so and that cos they were trained by Alexander McQueen and are making millions of pounds every month. I say no more. As expected the second day of fittings was extremely more stressful. as i say this i must also be fair and say not all the designers took 2 hours to fit when they were only alloted 30 minutes and a number of them were on time, extremely professional and very well prepared.
It would not be fair to only say the designers were divas, as some of the models were no better and I had to ask a few to leave and the number one reason is this - you are booked to do a job and you take it voluntarily, no one held a gun to your head and then you arrive at the fitting and tell me that you want to leave by 3pm (we were to finish by 6pm), so that you can go to another casting – it's a bit like you being at work and telling your boss that instead of leaving work at 6pm you want to leave at 3pm so that you can start your other job early but you still expect your boss to pay you for the 3 hours that you are working somewhere else – I don't think so. The good thing is after sending a couple of models home we were left with the best and the two days of fittings went smoothly.
Chapter Two – Backstage
On the Thursday the day started very early for everyone as we had to be at the Old Truman Brewery (the venue) by 8.30am. The day started with some fittings for the designers that missed their fitting slot earlier in the week, then onto hair and makeup. As for me I was putting the final touches to the set design, sound and lighting working with the technical team and making sure everything was on point. I also did a walk through with the models and ensured they knew their routines and would walk like top models, we also did some filming for Arise TV which went out live. Hair was done by Mizani (L'Oreal – I know some of you would know that name better) and makeup was by Fashion Fair which was led by my main man Mr Gorgeous. So I had a great team behind me.
Throughout the entire 3 days of shows we had numerous film crews doing interviews and it seemed like 100's of photographers were always backstage taking pictures. Backstage this year was great as we had plenty of space so it was far easier to work and Malaika Mwaniki our head stylist was super well organised and ran it like a military camp.
Chapter Three – The Show
Our first show was at 4pm on the Thursday and the last show was at 8.30pm on the Saturday, throughout the 3 days we had 10 different shows and showcased over 60 plus designers. The range of designers was vast and the catwalk was an array of colours and styles ranged from street, to swimwear, to couture and was a mixture of student, new, aspiring and established designers. the youngest designer being 14 year old Tumisola Ladega, designers came from across the world including Switzerland, Zambia, Ghana, USA, Nigeria, the UK and South Africa. South Africa sent over a fantastic delegation of 9 of their best designers and in addition AFWL was privileged to have the phenomenal Thula Sindi showcase and it was nice working with one of Nigeria's hottest designers Zizi Cardow. I try not to mention designers individually but I loved working with Didi Creations, Moofa and Steve Mandy Designs who actually created a hand painted dress live on the catwalk whilst his collection was being showcased.
However in terms of producing a show, for me the one that I had most fun with and the designer that took it to another level in terms of the production of her designs, the thought behind her original music and me putting the finishing touches to her show was Elegante by tiannahstyling. It was one of the best shows I produced throughout AFWL and based on feedback, those that saw the show were blown away.
AFWL received press from across the world and was featured on the BBC, CNN, Bloomberg, Arise TV, the Flyer Newspaper, Naija Swagger and so many more media outlets, way too many to mention.
I must briefly talk about the music which was produced by AFWL music director Dj Homeboy of Homdiggy Muzik one of the top music production companies in the country, he had people on their feet throughout the whole show and people did not want the after party to end.
Chapter Four – What Else?
There was just so much going on, in terms of the exhibition – I managed to go round the exhibition area on the Saturday and I was amazed at the array of clothes, bags, shoes, food and services that were on display. The exhibition area was lively and vibrant, with music being played by DJ Abass. The women (and men) were dressed to kill and made sure that they would be noticed and they were. I saw men suffering from double vision as they did not know where to look when it came to the women that were at AFWL and those attending with their wives were being slapped around the head for comitting lookery.
This was generally a stress free show (not that any show can really be stress free) but I did not shout much and I think we had it locked down in terms of producing the show.
Chapter Five - The Dorchester
I bet some of you thought that it ended at the Old Turman Brewery on the Saturday, it did not as on the Sunday we had the African Arts & Fashion Exhibition which was a prestigious gala event hosted by AFWL life patron Princess Fifi Ejindu. The stars were out in force with the likes of Alexandra Burke, Bianca Jagger, June Sarpong, Nadia Buari, super model Noella Musunka, Singer Shingai Shoniwa, Misha B and was hosted by Sky TV presenter Lukwesa Burak and a great performance by the CEO Dancers, everyone seems to love them.
The event could not be complete without a fashion show which featured 8 of Africa's hottest designers – Zizi Cardow, Thula Sindi, Adebayo Jones, Sally Itiego, Moofa, Ella & Gabby, Gisella Boutique and Kitiko.
It was a very glamorous affair with a sumptuous three course dinner, I can only say that it looked sumptuous as I didn't get to eat any of it, but it looked good and it definitely made me hungry. I cant believe I did an event at the Dorchester and did not get to eat – Ronke I am upset oh.
Overall AFWL was amongst the best events I have produced in recent times and I must commend Ronke Ademiluyi the founder of AFWL and her team for a fantastic job that they did. More importantly she must be given credit for assisting designers that would not normally be given the chance to showcase at an international standard fashion week and she was able to bring the eyes of the world to the event.
Check out the album below as well as the different pictures and comments on my FACEBOOK PAGE – feel free to leave your comments.
It's enough now, go and do something else I am tired.
FashionCamp is an annual event promoting emerging designers, fashion bloggers and new technologies in fashion. This year's edition took place on 7 and 8 June at the historic Steam Factory (La Fabbrica del Vapore) in Milan.
Highlights of the event included handmade glass jewelry by Contessa Rosafosca, unique dresses by a Bolognese artist Antonella Cinelli and circus-inspired artwork by Patrizia Fratus.
The industrial area around Via Procaccini, which has been now refurbished and utilized for a new purpose, makes an interesting destination itself. So don't forget to put it on your Milan itinerary next time!
Photo by Eva Fydrych / Fashion Studio Magazine
Find a stylish hotel in Milan: www.fashionstudiomagazine.com
Dior showed a strong Autumn/Winter 2013 collection on the second day of Paris Haute Couture.
Creative director Raf Simons was inspired by 'women from different continents and cultures who wear couture'.
'My aim has been to bring a sense of reality back to haute couture,' explained Simons. 'And this collection is about focusing on the reality of the woman herself, including her culture and personality; how she chooses to wear them.'
19th edition of Amsterdam Fashion Week was dedicated to talent and innovation. Many young Dutch designers and established labels showed their collections to international fashion professionals.
Rebecca Ward presented unconventional shapes and a toned colour pallette, while Winde Rienstra opted for structural elegance and futuristic touch. My favourite designs included white minimalist pieces by Claes Iversen and a fresh and edgy collection by iNDiViDUALS. All in all, this year's edition was a great showcase of a new generation of creative fashion designers.
Backstage at iNDiViDUALS Photo Peter Stigter
Rebecca Ward Photo Peter Stigter
Shoes at Winde Rienstra show Photo Peter Stigter
On the first day of Hong Kong Fashion Week for Spring/Summer, Hong Kong Trade Development Council invited Catriona MacNab, Chief Creative Officer of WGSN, to host a seminar titled "Fall/Winter 2014/15 Macro Trends, Design Directions and Beyond", giving industry players a glimpse into the upcoming fashion revolution.
Modern Myth will be one of the major trends for Fall/Winter 2014/15. The style uses fashion to convey a future folklore narrative, with creative styling, regal designs and cultural colours stitching it all together. Dark red, indigo blue and gold will form the key palette. For women's wear, jacquards from the 70s will project a tough, masculine look. Patterns could also be combined with bold, folklore-inspired patterns to add a layer of cosmic mythology to the clothing.
Modern Myth (Photo courtesy of WGSN)
To view Fall/Winter 2013 macro trends, please visit Fashion Studio Magazine www.fashionstudiomagazine.com
080 Barcelona Fashion took place from 8 - 12 July 2013 at the ultra modern Disseny Hub Barcelona (DHUB) building. The event, which aims to promote Catalan fashion on the international scene, featured over thirty runway shows and presentations.
Both established and emerging fashion designers showed their Spring/Summer 2014 collections over the five-day fun-filled event. My favourite collections included colourful designs by Escorpion and stylish swimwear by Guillermina Baeza.
Escorpion Spring/Summer 2014 (Photo courtesy of 080 Barcelona Fashion)
Mara Hoffman presented a colourful Resort 2014 collection on the third day of Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Swim. Exotic prints and patterns took us on an inspirational trip to India. Once again, Mara Hoffman managed to cause astonishment with the wide variety of her sensational swimsuits, cover-ups and accessories.
ABOUT THE DESIGNER
Mara Hoffman, born in Buffalo, NY is a New York City based fashion designer. She graduated from Parsons School of Design in New York City and studied at Central Saint Martins College of Arts and Design in London before launching her first ready-to-wear collection in 2000.
Photo by Randy Brooke
This collection explores the connection between fashion and technology. Borrowing shape and form from architecture along with integrated electronics.
Drawing inspiration from looking at how technology and fashion have become one, and how fashion has taken different routes due to the technology now available. The collection concentrated on how every social space is designed to suit a user's needs. I wanted my garments to adorn the body, while also reacting to the wearer's needs and requirements, for example altering in shape and form to cool the wearer down through moving flaps. Also the use of neon lighting tubes sewn into seams to emphasise and aluminate certain aspects of the garments.
About Matthew O'Brien
Entering fashion at the young age of 15 Matthew O'Brien started his first clothing label. Focusing on menswear he was able to develop his design aesthetic leading him into womenswear where he was able to excel. His passion and determination has landed him many accolades most recently Britain's Top Designer. Matthew has a strong eye for detail and focuses on structure and shape, along with the use of unconventional fabrics. Matthew has a great ability to produce contemporary aesthetics, whilst somehow using historical referencing. Amalgamating both electronics with fashion, Borrowing shape and form from architecture along with integrated electronics. Taking a keen interest in print design his latest collection exhibits sharp monochrome prints with highlights of colour. Against the sharp angular forms created on the body.
The show was streamed live for the first time which proved to be a huge success with over 20,000 people tuning in from over 77 countries. This year there was a strong emphasis on showing the world that as much as Australia still produces what its known best for; its laid back easy going fashion and sexy swimwear, designers have turned up the edge to show they are also influencer and inspirer of cutting edge world fashion.
The move to the disused rail yard saw designers sending there models down catwalks surrounded by concrete walls, air-conditioning ducts, scaffolding and floor grills, giving this year's fashion week a much different vibe to that of the previous location at Sydney Harbour.
Here are some highlights from the week featuring top designers and up and coming starts to look out for.
My favourite show was definitely that of Camilla Franks, who decided to step away from the new location and show her latest collection in Sydney's Centennial Park. With the models walking bare foot under teepee tents surrounded by beautiful flowers, a bonfire and even a lama it was the perfect setting for her bohemian, tribal inspired collection of floaty dresses, kaftans and swimwear. Model of the moment Georgia May Jagger also made a rear catwalk appearance adding a youthful rock spirit to the line. The collection was a feast for the eyes with bold brightly coloured patterns, statement jewellery and unique hats and headpieces.
This show was set in a storage warehouse which added a raw edge to the line. The clothes were minimalist with clean crisp lines and Esber stuck to his normal palette of monochrome with a splash of blue and grey. While choosing not to experiment with colour, you can see his love of different textures, working with textile weaving specialists to create futuristic fabric mash-ups like invisible mesh panelling.
Photograpger Brendon Thorne
Camilla & Marc
Celebrating their tenth anniversary at Australia Fashion week brother and sister duo Camilla & Marc put on a lively show with amazing music and a great set. The show was full of their trademark suits and sports luxe separates featuring beautiful silk blouses, sexy pencil skirts and striking sleeveless jackets. Camilla & Marc stuck mainly to the monochrome trend but added colour with some stunning gold pieces, adding edge with some daring designs including a completely see through lace dress.
Photographer Brendon Thorne
We Are Handsome
A favourite swimwear brand of Rihanna, We are Handsome brought us their new highly anticipated collection and it wasn't a disappointment. If you love bright fun prints then this line is definitely for you. With themes such as lions, giraffes, foxes and shrubbery it was a visual feast for the eyes and will definitely get you noticed at the beach. Adding a fun flair to the show some models took to bicycles to make their way down the runway!
Photographer Lucas Dawson
Photographer Lucas Dawson
I loved the Aje show which saw models emerging from smoke on a pitch black runway with overhanging branches. A great contract to the mainly white collection of sexy short dresses perfect to bring you from day to night in summer. There were also some beautiful little jackets perfect for the chilly spring evenings (yes they even get them in Australia!) and stunning floaty maxi dresses just perfect for covering up in the hot sun.
Photographer Brendon Thorne
Written by Rose Humble
Nuno Baltazar AW 2013 (ModaLisboa / Photography: Rui Vasco)
After spending three wonderful days in Lisbon, watching the shows and getting familiar with the Portugese fashion industry, I can say that Portuguese designers are not only extremely talented, but also not appreciated enough on the European fashion scene!
One of my favourite shows during ModaLisboa Trust was Nuno Baltazar's show (see picture above). The designer proved that his high position in Portuguese fashion is well-deserved. Excellent tailoring and attention to detail make this collection stand out from the others. Strong, confident look and timeless elegance - fashion at its best!
Valentim Quaresma AW 2013 (ModaLisboa / Photography: Rui Vasco)
Valentim Quaresma is a jewellery designer based in Lisbon. After 20 years of collaborating with an avant-garde fashion designer Ana Salazar, he started his own line in 2005. His futuristic and innovative style quickly brought him a lot of popularity and recognition.
In 2008, Valentim won "Accessories Collection of the Year " award at ITS competition in Italy. He is currently considered as one of the top jewellery designers in Portugal.
Valentin's creative process concentrates on the specific function of the objects he works with, which, once transformed, are given a new functionality and meaning. His conceptual art has been exhibited in many cities including Lisbon, Porto, and Barcelona, as well as in international galleries and art biennales.
Ricardo Dourado AW 2013 (ModaLisboa / Photography: Rui Vasco)
Born in Portugal in 1980, Ricardo Dourado finished his education at CITEX Porto in 2003. Since 2004, Ricardo presents his work at Lisbon Fashion Week. He is also part of the design team at Polopique, a fashion company with studios in Portugal, Spain and Brazil.
The collection, inspired by the daily life of Soweto, featured colourful African prints combined with black and white elements. Skirts and dresses had interesting cuts and were accompanied by asymmetrical tops and coats with oversized shoulders.
Ricardo presented looks that were uncomplicated and versatile enough to last several seasons. His show was one of the highlights of Lisbon Fashion Week and proved that the Portuguese designer has a great potential and doesn't blend in with the crowd.
Pedro Pedro AW 2013 (ModaLisboa / Photography: Rui Vasco)
Pedro Pedro presented stylish collection featuring oversized coats and longer skirts inspired by Indian and North American portraits of families. The designs are strongly rooted in nature - the colour palette is toned and all details are kept to a basic minimum. Our prediction: fur handbags will be a big hit next season!
Luis Buchinho AW 2013 (ModaLisboa / Photography: Rui Vasco)
Luis Buchinho, an established Portuguese designer with over 20 years of fashion experience, opened the second day of Lisbon Fashion Week. The show took place under the historic arcades of Pátio da Galé and attracted a lot of people.
Luís Buchinho is one of the most respected names in Portuguese fashion. He has been designing for the past 20 years and has participated in several international fashion shows such as São Paulo Fashion Week and the official calendar of Paris Fashion Week. His clothes are modern and
cosmopolitan, featuring feminine silhouettes and structural forms.
The designer, inspired by the Portuguese revolution in the 70's, presented strong graphic lines and geometric shapes. Bold colour combinations (black-white-red) gave the collection a characteristic touch. The designs were accompanied by over-the-knee boots and long leather gloves.
Alaxandar Protic AW 2013 (ModaLisboa / Photography: Rui Vasco)
Simplicity, lean silhouettes, and strict colour palette - the key elements of Alaxandar Protic' style - were all present in his latest collection. The result is magnificent: modern and wearable designs suitable for every occasion.
As we can see, Autumn/Winter 2013 will be mainly black and white with occasional colour combinations of browns, reds, and greens. Plain, simple fabrics are definitely dominating the next season's look. The silhouette is changing – winter coats and jackets have broad, oversized shoulders. Invest in key accessories such as long leather gloves, round sunglasses, and stylish handbags – they will make your look complete!
It's 6 am in the morning and I have just got back to my hotel after 20 hours of non stop waiting around, fashion shows and parties. I was fortunate enough to be asked by Fashions Finest to travel to Lagos, Nigeria to report on the Arise Magazine Fashion Week.
I arrived bright and early on the Thursday morning, rushed to the hotel dropped my luggage and headed straight for Federal Palace Hotel where the Arise Magazine Fashion Week was taking place and to my great surprise I was informed that all the shows scheduled for the Thursday had been cancelled, was I upset or what, but I quickly put that aside as I decided that I might as well use the time wisely and sort out my press accreditation. After waiting around for a couple of hours waiting for something to happen and nothing did, I decided that it might be best that I do something else with my time. To be fair though whilst hanging around at the Hotel I spent a useful two hours talking to the likes of Tewa (CEO Exquisite Magazine) and her Sister Tayo (CEO World PR), Ola Shobowale (Creative Director), Crystal (stylist), a number of international and Nigerian based designers and models (way to many to mention) and a whole lot of old friends. It was like one big massive reunion, for me that is as I seemed to know a lot of people there.
Back to my story, I decided to leave and I thought I would be smart and told a few people to call me when they started doing the press registration and I would rush back. 6 hours later no call and no registration, I was just so happy that I had decided to leave to go and do other things. I eventually came back to Federal Palace Hotel (FPH for short I can't keep typing out this long name) just in time to go for the after party. As you can see the concept of time means very little in Lagos.Anyways (as we say in Nigeria), I was hanging out with some Sierra Leonean designers and we left for the party, unfortunately way to early as when we got there nobody was there (yes I know you can tell that we are English), fortunately it was not too early that we were helping them set up. About 90 minutes later people started drifting in and we had a great evening with Dr Sid performing and doing a great set.
People I am leaving out a lot here otherwise you will be reading this blog for a week, so this is the extremely short version. The next day I did my English thing and arrived bright and early expecting the first show to start on time or at least only a little bit late. The little bit late happened to be 3 hours late. When the first show eventually kicked off I must say that besides my seating problem (which the Arise team eventually sorted out for me) the shows were very good. Going back to the seating issue, can you imagine there was no dedicated seat reserved for Fashions Finest, so you guys know me I had to make my point about this. After a very nice discussion they decided that it was a good idea to sort out seating for me. I have no idea why I am even telling this story especially when I am not giving the full details. Once again moving on, spent the whole day at FPH watching the different shows and I must be honest besides the enormous gaps between shows and them not sticking to the schedule of which I must say there is nothing wrong with that as even for our show coming up, Africa Fashion Week London it is in the terms and conditions that we can change the schedule without notice.
It really seems as if everyone travelled to Lagos for AMFW, some of the guests included ex models like Nigerian Supermodel Oluchi Onweagba (former Victoria Secrets Angel), Uti Nwachukwu (Big Brother Africa Winner), Genevieve Nnaji (Nollywood Actress), numerous socialites and celebrities and people from all over the world including a strong representation from London including designers such as Nkwo, Samantha Cole & Alexander Amosu. The international model contingent was strong and Aminat Ayinde (yes she is Nigerian) cycle 12 winner of Americas Next Top Model killed the catwalk, alongside Darego Agbani (first Black African to win Miss World) and they were backed up South African and other international models as well as our very own Uju Nwabodo, (runner up at Top Model of Colour UK 2011), she was one only two models chosen to walk at the big shows with the international models & even though Makida Moka (Face of Sleek Nigeria) is one of the shorter models – I apologise to anyone of any note that I have missed out.
I must tell you what happened when I watching my good friend Ituen Basi showing off an original collection and my phone started going non stop, now I am trying to be discreet and not look as if I was not interested in Ituen's show by looking at the phone but in the end I had no choice as it would not stop vibrating and I didn't want people to get the wrong idea about a vibrating phone and a man with a smile on his face (come on people get your mind out of the gutter, if you didn't get it then you need to get your mind in the gutter).
Finally I looked at the phone and I am getting BBM (black berry messenger) and texts from people in the UK saying that they just saw me on London ITV News as Ronke Phillips who is in Nigeria covering AMFW for London Tonight did a quick review of the show and yours truly somehow was shown. I can't believe that people were able to spot in this quick clip.
The final show finished at about 12 midnight, this is not a typo yes it did finish at that time with Tiffany Amber closing the show. It was a crazy first day which ended with me heading off to the after party at JJ Okocha's Club (former premiership footballer).
As usual you can see I did not do a review of the clothes and the designers as you will be seeing pictures of the show on Fashions Finest over the next few days.
Sorry but I have to rub it in, the weather here is fantastic and I off to bed to get ready for another day of great shows and parties – what a hard life I live.