African Fashion Week London is one of the best fashion events in the United Kingdom. It offers a significant opportunity for young African designers to showcase their work in the international fashion scene. The ninth edition of the fashion week, which was held on the 10th of August 2019 at Freemasons’ Hall in London, England, was certainly another one of those chances to showcase to the world how talented the African designers are.
In the event, several stylists and brand designers were in attendance. However, South Africans grabbed the attention of many. At the opening of the show, they showcased a stunning collection of shoes and watches.
One of the people who made a mark in the prestigious event is Lunga Ntuli. The designer was previously a car guard in South Africa. He is now credited for being the brain behind the popular ‘LN Watches’ brand. It was the first time that he showcased his designs on the catwalk. Ntuli promotes love in African colors through his designs. To get a piece from his creations, it may cost between $60 and $75. It all depends on size and style. The designs can also be customized to the customers’ liking.
Ntuli expressed his inspiration and aim.
“This is the best way to symbolize love or to express love, through giving. From where we have in our culture, isiZulu is what we call “utho”. A bracelet that a man gives to a woman to show his eternal love. Thanks to our watches, we are able to speak or communicate this message.”
“We want to dominate Africa, we want to tell African stories. We want to tell the story of humanity, we want to tell the story of love throughout the world. Certainly we come from a small region called Ethembeni, but we are building a brand that will make us survive, a great brand that will dominate in Africa and throughout the world.”
Gugu Bhengu is yet another South African designer who dazzled many with her creations. Her collection consisted of uniquely-designed beaded shoes. The Gugu Mobile Boutique founder spoke of how everyone asked about the shoes in London when she wore them.
“Everyone asks about shoes and I think I’m the only one with them in the whole city of London. These shoes are so beautiful, and the quality is good. These are South African shoes, in fact they are 100% handmade.”
Nigerian entrepreneur Princess Ronke Ademiluyi, who is the founder of Africa Fashion week now has plans of expanding the brand to Dubai, Atlanta and Kingston in Jamaica. The aim of doing this is to offer more opportunities to African designers. The Africa Fashion Week founder also hopes to see more collaborations from African designers.
“It would be good if there were a pan-African collaboration between different African countries that are meeting. Even the West could take part, especially since some Western designers collaborate with those from Africa. Instead of taking our designs and making it look like they were their own, or saying they are inspired by Africa, they can collaborate with some of the African designers.”