When revelers flock, the media is hardly ever far behind. Recently a plethora of cool kids, celebrities, fashionistas and members of the media converged in Melrose Arch, Johannesburg for Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Africa (MBFWAfrica) 2014, the continent’s premier, annual, trans-seasonal sartorial showcase, which featured the very best and latest of African fashion over four days.
MBFWAfrica 2014 saw more than 100 models walk the runway wearing the latest collections from over 30 of the continent’s foremost established & emerging designers – in addition to the finales of both the AFI Fastrack™ designer incubation programme and the ELLE Rising Star competition – for an audience of buyers, fashion entrepreneurs, fashionistas, celebrities, and local & international media.
Stand-out shows from among the event’s recognised labels came from David Tlale (South Africa), Taibo Bacar (Mozambique), Mai Atafu (Nigeria), and & MaXhosa by Laduma (South Africa) – all of whom received standing ovations from enthralled audiences.
Meanwhile, Rich Mnisi’s capsule collection, OATH (a line inspired by the American film, “Dark Shadows”) wowed the judges and the crowd when he presented it in the AFI Fastrack™ showcase on Saturday during MBFWAfrica 2014, earning himself the coveted title of AFI Young Designer of the Year 2014.
MBFWAfrica also attracted celebrities and social butterflies and, spotted alongside the runway, were musician Da L.E.S., DJ Dimplez,5FM presenter, Poppy Ntshongwana, socialite and TV personality, Bonang Matheba and actress, model & TV presenter, Lalla Hirayama along with her boyfriend, club manager, Chris Nkosi. Actress, model and all around superwoman Pearl Thusi was also in attendance along with the gorgeous Nomuzi Mabena.
Emphasising MBFWAfrica’s global importance, international media attending included Glamour France and the UK Guardian as well as renowned American fashion bloggers Dani and Aimee Song.
Concurrent to MBFWAfrica, the Africa Fashion Trade Expo 2014 featured 25 exhibitors who unveiled the latest in African fashion and accessories while also presenting a matchless buying, networking and collaborative opportunity for creatives and other industry players.
Concluding Africa’s most important fashion happening, on Sunday, 2 November, 2014’s brightest sartorial stars were recognised in a glittering ceremony for the prestigious annual African Fashion Awards (AFAs). This year’s coveted titles accolades were taken by Marianne Fassler (Designer of the Year); Laduma Ngxokolo (Emerging Designer of the Year); Katherine-Mary Pichulik (Accessory Designer of the Year); Gaschette Magazine (Outstanding Trend Communicator); Lucky Favour (New Face of the Year); Omoyemi Akerele (Outstanding Contribution to African Fashion); Franca Sozzani (Global Contribution to the Promotion and Development of African Fashion); and, as mentioned, Rich Mnisi (AFI Young Designer of the Year).