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Announcing Some Of Our Designers For AFWLondon 2017

The best African fashion designers spearhead Africa Fashion Week London 2017
Tsitsi Fred Knitwear is an emerging knitwear brand founded in 2016 by a Zimbabwean born London based textile designer Tsitsi Fred who is well known for her signature artisanal knits. As a young girl she grew up with her auntie who owned a knitwear studio.  This is where she got her inspiration from as she used to knit alongside the workers, learning simple knit techniques.

Tsitsi Fred studied Fashion Textiles (Knitwear) at University of Arts London (London College of Fashion).   Her first collection ‘Knowing Dylan’ was inspired by her son who is diagnosed autistic and presents social and communication deficits from a very young age.  Through research she integrated her findings into fashion where materials, colour, texture, functionality and practicalities of the garments are all taken into consideration to suit the needs of the autistic as well as the non-autistic, aim being to break the boundaries of a neurotypical culture and raise a neurodevelopmental awareness to the society.

Since her first collection, she has participated in community autism awareness projects in Greenwich Borough.  She will be showcasing her new collection ‘miles apart’ at Africa Fashion Week London 2017 and this collection is also inspired by her autistic son and her immediate family.
Oreva Okowa is the founder/Creative Director Signature Secret. She is the Founder/National President (FADEA) Fashion Designers and Exhibitors Association International

Signature secret was established 2007 with the total back up of the Federal Government Registration body of Nigeria, Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC).   Signature Secret has over 40,000 creative designs, also has raised over 500 fashion designers around the globe.
The brand concentrates on bringing out future fashion designers.

In the past years, Signature secret has been nominated and awarded over 35 awards and the Creative Director made a personal presentation of the brand to the president of Kenya, Uhuru Kenyatta, at the ACTIF programme.

Based in New York, Dario Mohr is Daft Minerva’s driving force.  Hand painted, hand illustrated and hand embellished Fine Art Fashion series pulls inspiration from numerous sources, including Aboriginal and Tribal art, sacred geometry and fractals and African Masks.

Dario’s fashion alias has showcased in numerous runway shows, most notably during Paris Fashion Week, several New York Fashion Week shows, Fashion Week Brooklyn, Philadelphia Mens Style Week, and many more.  Additionally, Daft Minerva has been featured in various publications including Lucky Magazine, AfroPunk, I-Fashon Magazine, Sain-City Magazine, Style Equation Magazine, Black WNY Magazine 2014, Thus In! Newspaper, Gorgeous Freaks, Solis Magazine, and The Beacon NY Newspaper.

Dario hails from New York and Grenada and has roots in Ghana and the Ivory Coast.

Head Stylist, Samson Soboye, is also a stalwart on the African design scene in London.  

A very much in demand menswear designer and stylist, Samson has had 20 years’ experience in the creative industries and is the British Nigerian creative behind the successful Soboye brand that has been in existence for an impressive 15 years.

Samson graduated from Central St. Martin’s 1994 where he rapidly established himself as fashion stylist working initially with Lucinda Chambers at British Vogue, then worked as a Freelance Stylist for publications such as The Guardian, The Times, ES magazine.

“Seeing the designs that are coming out of Africa is always inspiring.  In the past 20 years, I’ve seen a steady increase  in the quality and craftsmanship – and to be honest – the utter creativity these young Africans bring.  Africa Fashion Week London is the only show of at least 40 individual designers that we can see that without travelling out of London!  I’m really looking forward to August to see what new trends Africans are bringing to the catwalk.”

Head Curator, Caroline Chi-Chi Chinakwe is a stylist, graphic artist, creative Consultant and Designer for her own bespoke label Chinakwe. A 1994 graduate of London College of Fashion, Caroline first got her foot in the industry working as a garment technologist with high end brand Nicole Farhi, where she developed her love for garment construction and production and for over 7 years worked in garment manufacturing for high street labels including, Top Shop, French Connection and Karen Millen.Caroline is currently working on her latest collection that combines fashion and art celebrating her African and British influences whilst showcasing her many talents and skills.

With a passion for supporting African and African inspired designers, it is her job to make sure the designers are showing their best on the catwalk.  She is also producing a specially curated catwalk show of the best talented designers that are showcasing this year.

“This year, I have been mentoring the designers through the process of applying for Africa Fashion Week London.  Some designers have needed guidance with the direction of their collections, and some designers are just outstandingly talented.  We are going to have a ‘Best in Show’ catwalk where you’ll be able to see what these novice designers are capable of.

I can’t wait to meet them all and see who has taken my advice and brought their collections up to an international showcasing standard.  It is going to be tough competition for these designers to get that special catwalk place!”

Meet our Official Casting Director, Hassan ReeSe, CEO of DAM Model Management.  Hassan has been a veteran of the AFWL catwalks and now has started his own male model agency.  Hassan knows what it takes to be an Africa Fashion Week London model.

“I can’t think of another catwalk show of this size and importance that specifically wants Black and Ethnic minority model to be the stars of the show.  Africa Fashion Week London has been close to my heart since 2012, and now I’m in a position to manage the stable of over 40 models from the backstage; mentor them and make sure they look their best, feel their best and walk their best.  Black and African models don’t get a better chance to be in front of the international media than this show.

We are also on the look out for rising stars.  The Africa-based models who are coming in to walk for the show are another level altogether – watch out for them!”

Save the Date
11-12 August 2017
Freemasons’ Hall
60 Great Queen Street
London WC2B 5AZ

Doors open from 1pm for Exhibition browsing and entertainment

Friday Catwalk Shows: 5pm & 7pm
Saturday Catwalk Shows: 3pm, 5pm & 7pm
Buy Tickets for Friday 11 August 2017
Buy Tickets for Saturday 12 August 2017
The Venue
The classic Freemasons’ Hall will be the backdrop of Africa Fashion Week London 2017.  Built between 1927 and 1933, it is an homage to the Art Deco era.

Freemason’s Hall is already venue to LFW’s off schedule shows, Fashion Scout; but set against the ornate interior, AFWL will be at home inside the the stunning style of the Grand Temple space, the Vestibules and Foyers.

Expect to see Designer Exhibitions offering ‘straight off the catwalk’ bargains, jewellery, accessories and footwear.

Our Past Catwalks
Our 2016 catwalk at London Olympia hosted 36 catwalk designers from 20 different countries.
2015 catwalk shows featured a record of over 50 catwalk designers over 5 shows including the South African Kwa-Zulu Natal Fashion Council.
2014 catwalk shows featured ‘from the catwalk to the shopping bag’ facility for the audience.
2013 at Old Trumans was 3 days of catwalk, showcasing 52 designers and included a celebrity gala night at the Dorchester.
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