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Lerato Scribess Sibanda - Power.Passion. Purpose - I am a writer, academic and spoken word artist -- http://beautybeginswithbe.blogspot.com/

African Fashion Arising

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For fashion or for soccer? I found myself asking this rather inane question while counting the cents of my nearly pauperish purse, because, while Sandton Convention Centre was about to host one of mzansi’s most talked about events in fashion circles by the name of the Africa Fashion Week, I was also thinking of how far (or even how near) my budget could be stretched to attend one of the shows as well as the soccer stadiums for the 2010 FIFA World Cup tournament which was to commence in just a few days. So with my back up against the wall while being seduced by “Phillip” (i.e. ‘Feel it!’) in a game of foreplay I had to decide whether I was for the fashion or for the play…that is, the beautiful game!

To my dismay I was faced with the reality that I would not be able to afford a ticket to the fashion show and so for a day or two before the eve of the Africa Fashion week I bemoaned my financial dilemma hoping with all my heart that a ticket would fall from the sky. The thought of not be able to mingle with famous designers like Marianne Fassler, Laquan Smith,  Xuly Bët and avid fashion lovers had me down in the dumps for quite a while…well until Phillip soothed my pain away. Never being one to miss out on the latest fashion trends I kept my ear to the ground as to what went down at the Sandton Convention Centre and got so inspired that on the day of the opening match I was not about to go out in one of those petrifyingly neon yellow Bafana Bafana jersey’s! Before you call me unpatriotic I’ll have you know that  I did wear the cutest yellow and green tee which had me feeling like a Khanyi Mbau because it has ‘South Africa’ printed across it in bling gold.  As retribution I cheekily tied a multi-coloured check scarf around my neck in Bohemian style and finished off my outfit with classic black knee -high cowboy boots. As I strutted out my flat on the  11 of June  to catch the opening match at the Square in Hatfield  I couldn’t help feeling like a sexy soccer WAG whose hustle had made sure that she got it all…the fashion and the soccer.

True to the spirit of the African continent and in allegiance to the World Cup this year’s Africa Fashion Week played against the theme of ‘Africa Rising’. Each designer had a unique interpretation to the theme and not all confined themselves to being wholly Afrocentric in their aesthetic but were flexible enough to toy with Eurocentric style and form as well. Ultimately it is Black Coffee a South African design house which clinched the Designer of the Year award and not without much acclaim. To truly appreciate Black Coffee’s designs and those of most of the designers it would do to understand the basic idea of ‘haute couture’. For many this vainglorious title expresses the equally vain clothes to which the name refers. And let’s face it those clothes are – most of the time anyway- outrageously complex and totally impractical for everyday wear!  The collective definition of the word is in reference to the creation of exclusive custom-fitted clothing usually made from high-quality, expensive fabric and sewn with extreme attention to detail and finish by the most experienced and capable seamstresses who often using time-consuming, hand-executed techniques. Now please don’t say that Consciousness does not go out to conscientize you, not only do we want you to be fashionable and delicious but we also want you to be informed at that. Word!

Check out the full list of this year’s winners and find your inspiration:

Designer of the Year (Africa): Black Coffee (South Africa)
Designer of the Year (International): Duro Olowu (Nigeria/British)
Emerging Designer of the Year – Africa: Ituen Basi (Nigeria)
Emerging Designer of the Year – International: Bunmi Koko (Nigeria/British)
Retailer of the Year: www.Africhic.com
Model of the Year: Sesilee Lopez
Top Makeup Artist: Pat McGrath
Stylist of the Year: Edward Enniful (Ghana)
Accessories Designer of the Year: Albertus Swanepoel (South Africa)
Menswear Designer of the Year – Africa: Stiaan Louw (South AFrica)
Menswear Designer of the Year – International: Ozwald Boateng (Ghana/British)
Male Style Influencer: Michael Jackson
Female Style Icon: Grace Jones
Outstanding Contribution in Photography: Koto Bofolo
Outstanding Contribution to Fashion Communications: Bella Naija (Nigeria)
Outstanding Contribution for Hair Direction: Saadique Ryklief
Most Outstanding Fashion Contribution: Marianne Fassler (South Africa)
Lifetime Achievement Award: Yves Saint Laurent, Azzedine Alaïa and Joseph Ettedgui

Here some dresses that were showcased at the 2010 ‘Africa Arising’ fashion show  which caught my fancy and are designed by some prominent names in the fashion world both locally and abroad:

Abigail Betz at Fashion Week

Thula Sindi at Fashion Week

Kluk CGDT at Fashion Week

Marianne Fassler at Fashion Week

Mustafa Hassanali at Fashion Week

Ithuen Bassi at Fashion Week

Introducing Black Coffee:

Join the South African Fashion Week group on Facebook!

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