68 designers to feature at AFWN 2016
In its tradition of promoting African fashion, fabrics and designers, the 2016 African Fashion Week Nigeria (AFWN) is set to hold from July 1 to July 3 with 68 designers showcasing men, women and children’s attires and accessories. Speaking at a press conference to announce the 2016 edition of the AFWN, Creative Director of Africa Fashion Week London and Nigeria, Mr. Sola Oyebade, said that with 68 designers expected to showcase in two days, it should have taken between four to five days normally, but then the event has been designed in a way that there would be four shows with 13 designers on each show to last for approximately 60 minutes.
“With the theme, ‘Connecting Africa’, we are attracting designers from across the continent including Kenya, Morocco, Uganda, Cameroun, Ghana and of course Nigeria. What makes this show exciting for me is that I get to work with new and aspiring designers; over the years, we have seen designers attend our shows and nobody knew who they were and have grown to be popular designers who attend top shows around the world, owning their stores. This is because we know how difficult it is for new designers to become big.”
Mr. Oyebade also noted that AFWN brand ambassador, talented Nigerian act, Yemi Alade, would be releasing her theme collection during the show. “Our headline designer will be Ade Bakare, and why we don’t have a lot of headline designers this time is because we are particular about new and emerging designers; giving new people the opportunity to reveal their creativity.”
According to the Founder/ Chief Executive Officer AFWN, Ms. Ronke Ademiluyi: “I expect more creativity on the runway and attention to details because a lot of designers have upped their game; they no longer put clothes on the runway for the sake of it. They ensure that no thread is hanging or buttons are being ripped apart.”
She said that even though the Nigerian economy has not been so blissful, the textile and manufacturing conference in partnership with the Bank of Industry (BOI) and the Nigerian Export Promotion Council would give hope to designers. “For the BOI they have a fashion fund and they will like some of the young brands and fashion entrepreneurs to access a loan and pay back over a period of time with very little interest rate. So, if the designers have cash available, they can put it into their brand, and then concentrate on their creativity because they have adequate funding.
“For the export council, we all know what the oil situation in the country is now, so we are trying to promote the non-oil export; we had a concession store on Oxford Street, London in 2015 were we had most of the top brands, including Ankara, Adire and Aso-oke, we sold out and I can tell you that 90 per cent of our customers were foreigners, which tells you that African fashion is unique.”