Over the past few decades, there have been some significant developments in the African fashion industry which has seen a steady growth of the presence of African fashion designs and models on the global circuit, a pleasing progress to Fa254 which works fervidly in promoting African fashion internationally. Whether one is reading a fashion magazine or scrolling down the social media pages, it has become quite the norm to come across images of African models or young people dressed in garments made from African fabrics, a clear indication of the shifting perception of African Fashion.

Celebrities like Beyonce, Gwen Stefani and Rihanna have also been spotted rocking African designs and when former US first lady Michelle Obama wore a top by Nigerian designer Maki Oh during her Africa tour in 2013, the world’s eyes were finally on the continent as a serious contender for fashion’s emerging markets.

Paradise Fashion at Hub Africa.

Africa’s fashion talents are striving to compete with the runways of Milan, New York and Paris and through events like Addis Ababa’s Hub of Africa which works in collaboration with Fa254 and has become one of the major fashion events on the continent. African designers are given a platform that enables them to showcase their creativity not only to the local market but to international buyers as well.

Leading African designers like David Tlale, Kahindo Mateene and Sophie Zinga have also had their collections showcased on the catwalks of New York Fashion Week while in Europe, Italy’s famous Men’s Fashion Show Pitti Uomo held in Florence has had fashion shows titled Generation Africa and Constellation Africa whereby African brands like Orange Culture by Adebayo Oke-Lawal (Nigeria), Dent de Man by Alexis Temomanin (Ivory Coast), Projecto Mental by Shunnoz Fiel and Tekasala Ma’at Nzinga (Angola) and Maxhosa by Laduma Ngxokolo (South Africa) were spotlighted.

David Tlale Runway Show

FA254’s latest collaboration with Africa Sourcing and Fashion Week (ASFW) to promote Walk for Business (WFB), a platform which brings professional fashion designers together with international buyers is among the many initiatives being put forth by African Fashion leaders in a mission to provide a sustainable offering to the global fashion industry. Ensuring business growth, Walk for business supports African Fashion designers and their business ventures by providing assistance with the development of systems for billing, shipping, manufacturing, and production timelines.

The project also assists with preparing marketing campaigns for successful promotion of brands, as well as providing support to designers so they are able to recognize which retailers to target in this way ensuring they match their brand aesthetic with the concept of the stores they are presenting to. Walk for Business which will be held in Addis Ababa from 3rd to 6th of October, 2017 is still up for registration and more information can be found here. 

Walk for Business via asfw-online.com

These various actions being implemented by African fashion firms including Fa254 are ensuring the promotion of African Fashion designers and the resulting growth of African Fashion businesses on the international map. From design to retail, the skills that are shared through these projects are enriching the ingenuity of the fashion industry in Africa and exposing the abounding talent that is visible across the continent to the whole world.

Written by Faith Katunga

Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Berlin was held from July 4 to July 7 with numerous fashion enthusiasts gathering in the German capital to see labels such as Dorothee Schumacher, Malaikaraiss, Marina Hoermanseder, Dawid Tomaszewski, William Fan and Vladimir Karaleev present their spring/summer collections 2018 collections. International fashion insiders were also present at the fashion show among them being award winning Kenyan stylist Connie Aluoch who as a testament to FA254’S commitment to the discovering and training of African fashion talent and promoting them in Europe, patroned the fashion week with FA254 CEO Waridi Schrobsdorff.

Connie Aluoch & Waridi Schrobsdorff – Premium Trade Fair July 2017

The event provided a podium for Connie to access many international and professional platforms of the fashion week ultimately bridging the gap between African and European talents. Among the many programs that Connie accessed was the Premium International Fashion Trade show, a major trade show for Advanced Contemporary Fashion which features around 1,000 brands and 1,800 collections and is the only trade show in the world that presents fashion and lifestyle at this magnitude and quality.

At this event which defines the key trends each season, the latest lifestyle fashions, trends and global market developments; Connie’s highlights were witnessing the pioneering collections, innovative concepts and relevant trend themes.

Analysing such an important event as the Premium Trade Fair Show is vital for the growth of African fashion industry as design concepts and marketing endeavors are relayed between Africa and Europe bringing forth the internationalisation of African fashion talents, a concept FA254 continues to work staunchly on.

Premium Trade Fair July 2017

Connie who has gained international recognition for her work as a fashion stylist was very thrilled to attend the Sleek Trade Show which is Berlin’s most progressive contemporary fashion trade show and presents more than 250 brands across the segment of modern menswear, new classics, upper streetwear, selected womenswear, authentic designer collections and lifestyle products. At this show, Connie appreciated the variety of brands which influence street culture and are shaped by subcultures, music, art and design.

Opening up African Fashion to global markets is paramount to FA254 and Connie Aluoch’s presence at the aforementioned events; being an accomplished African stylist, as well as getting to meet Vogue Germany Editor- in-Chief Christiane Arp has beena progressive move in the right direction of African Fashion globalisation and bringing together creative leaders who will change the perceptions and influence growth of African Fashion.

Vogue Salon Berlin July 2017

Vogue Salon Berlin July 2017


”I love the fact that there is so much activity during the Fashion Week. Shows are scheduled everyday (Including Ethical Fashion Shows) but there is so much more Trade Fairs, Fashion Conferences. Fashion Parties etc so one is able to get access to at least one of the events happening and learn and be exposed to the trends for the next season and network with industry peers” Connie commented on the organisation of Berlin Fashion Week.

Written by Faith Katunga
All pictures by Connie Alouch

Talking to internationally renowned Kenyan fashion stylist Connie Aluoch is one of those moments one takes to heart for a long time. The Kenyan fashion guru not only has a welcoming personality but getting to know her life story and accomplishments leaves you fueled up with an ‘I can do it’ attitude. A true passionate achiever, Connie’s fashion career as a stylist has seen her backstage at the glamorous events of New York, London and Milan Fashion Weeks. She has also styled many Africa-based celebrities and is the official stylist for the KTN (Kenya Television Network). FA254 had a talk with Connie about her career and how it all begun.

Tell us a bit about your background, your childhood and how it all played a role in your love for Fashion.

I come from a family of fashion enthusiasts. My parents love to dress up for various occasions and they are both notably known for their style. My two elder sisters who are not in the fashion industry also have great taste for fashion and interior lifestyles. My late grandmother Mama Tabitha Aluoch loved crafts and was a creative so definitely the Fashion Flair runs in the family.

How old were you when you realized that you wanted to pursue a career in the fashion industry?

By my mid teens I knew I definitely wanted to work in the Fashion Industry. Growing up I used to watch a show on CNN called Style With “Elsa Klensch” she used to interview Fashion Personalities. I dreamt of one day working in the Fashion Industry and becoming a recognizable name.

What was the reaction like from your family with regards to you wanting to study and work in the field of fashion?

My parents and general family have always been and still are very supportive about my fashion career.

Your schooling is quite impressive. You studied at FIT in New York, Polimoda and Istituto Marangoni in Italy, as well as Evelyn College of Design in Kenya, can you briefly share your journey through these schools.

What made you to enroll in their programs and what was your experience as a student at all three?

I started off at Evelyn College of Design doing a diploma because I needed to understand the basics of Fashion. I moved on to FIT in New York for my Associates and Bachelors Degree in Fashion Design. During that time I enrolled in a “One Year Study Abroad Program” in Florence, Italy. That was one of the best experiences of my life to date. Understanding the Italian Culture, Fashion and Language, which I still speak to date.

I am very blessed in the sense that I have gone to school in 2 Major Fashion Capitals. New York and Milan in Italy.

Tell us a bit about your work as a stylist, who have you styled and what it is like to be a fashion stylist in Kenya and around Africa.

My styling work can be seen on all the Celebrities who have appeared on True Love East Africa Magazine- Auma Obama who is a germanist, socialogist, journalist, author and member of the Barack Obama family, Betty Kyallo, Janet Mbugua Ndichu, Caroline Mutoko, Julie Gichuru who are all public figures and many more.

I am also the official stylist for the KTN’s (Kenya Television Network) News Anchors for the last 4 years. KTN Network is part of the Standard Group which is the leading media station in the East African Region.

My team and I are in charge of managing their image, creating a Styling Guide, and providing personal shopping services for them.

I also have a weekly column in the Nairobian Newspaper which is a product of Standard Group.

Its great being a Stylist in Kenya/Africa currently as there are still so many untapped opportunities and the general public are now appreciating and understanding the importance of a Stylist.

You are a Fashion lecturer at the University of Nairobi, School of Arts and Design, what skills and knowledge do you think young people in Kenya and Africa as a whole, aspiring to work in the fashion industry need to gain?

Fashion Designers need to perfect the art of good quality finishings on their garments, Fashion Players must also learn that Teamwork is very important- Designers, Stylists, Makeup Artists etc. all form part of the Fashion System so we must learn to work together.

What do you think of the current state of the African Fashion Industry?

The African Fashion Industry is rising and gaining recognition in the International Arena. This is great for cross collaborations across the continent.

How can the fashion industry in Africa and promotion of designers be improved? The government needs to enhance the funding for creatives, modernize production, strengthen distribution networks and assist in marketing designers on the international platforms.

You are the first Kenyan in the East and Central African region to obtain a Master’s Degree in Fashion Styling and be awarded, what advice can you give to a young African student with dreams of studying fashion and pursuing a career in the industry.

Fashion is a great fulfilling career but involves a lot of dedication, sacrifice and hard work, Network and attend Many Fashion Events, intern and learn from those experienced in the Fashion Industry. Stay focused and humble.

Taking her styling prowess to Germany, Connie Aluoch will be the international guest of FA254 at the book presentation MTINDO on Wednesday 6 July at the Soho House in Berlin. Thank You Connie!

Written by Faith Katunga

AF Vandevorst is the Belgian fashion label started by An Vandevorst (born 1968) and Filip Arikcx (born 1971), a married couple who met at Antwerp’s Royal Academy in 1987 before setting up together in 1997. After their second collection, AF Vandevorst were awarded the Venus de la Mode, a prestigious prize given to young designers at Paris Fashion Week. One year later they were invited to design the Ruffo Research collection for Spring-Summer and Autumn-Winter 2000, an accolade bestowed on young designers by the luxury Italian leather company Ruffo.

image source: vogue.com

The duo have come to be known for their deft contrasts in fabrics, textures, and colors, often layering silky lingerie- inspired pieces with tailored jackets, reworked white cotton button-downs, or dramatic capes. They have also produced a number of aptly tailored draped clothes with an excessive amount of fabric cut on the bias and placed over the body in a certain area. The styling which causes the fabric to create a slightly ruched effect is magnificent and is then usually tucked into place or pinned, usually crossing over the body and accessorised with a belt or broach. Check out some of their best draped creations below for inspiration on how to create a perfect draped garment.

Join our draping workshop now!

image source: vogue.com

From their Fall 2016 runway show the designers rolled out designs that gave a whole new outlook to denim and shirt dresses. Roughly layered denim and shirt fabric complimented with a corset belt delivered trendy draped looks for the closet.

A.F. Vandevorst signature styles of frogging, tailoring, leanness, sculpted and draped volume for effect recurred in this Spring 2016 collection most strongly on a set of navy blue dresses that had an otherworldly glow.

Only three weeks left to join us: register now!

image source: vogue.com

For the Spring 2013 Ready to Wear collection, models shed their many layers and their dark colours at the end of the show and they were wearing summer whites, including a couple of the crisp shirts that have long been a trademark for the duo in draped styles accessories with belts and transparent huts.

image source: vogue.com

For Spring 2014 Ready to Wear Collection, they imagined a girl on some sort of trip either through the desert or on the beach and one side of each model’s outfit and half of her hairdo were plastered in sand. The dresses were clingy in back and draped asymmetrically from squares of fabric in front. Click here to join us!

Written by: Faith Katunga

    Image source: zenmagazineafrica.com

Fashion designing is an interesting and creative career option where you can showcase your eye for detail. The Fashion design industry has always been highly competitive and if you want to pursue a career in this industry, you will have to work hard and develop several skills including attending several design classes, one of which is the forthcoming draping class. The UPCOMING DRAPING WORKSHOP  will provide the required skills that will help aspiring fashion designers excel in the industry. As a source of inspiration of what good design skills can lead one to achieve, we have listed below some of our favorite African fashion designers, who have managed to take their talents beyond borders.

Christie Brown

Image source: christiebrownonline.com

Christie Brown is a Ghanaian based luxury women’s fashion brand that aims to satisfy the stylish urge of the woman seeking a true taste of neo-African culture.


image source: zenmagazineafrica.com

Alphadi is a Tuareg fashion designer often known as the “Magician of the Desert”. He is responsible for bringing the traditional attire of the Tuareg and Dogon ethnic groups to the ramps. He incorporates his heritage by pairing the cloth with linen textured block-print fabric. It is this intermixing of fabric, and essentially culture, that has paved the way for many other African designers. Alphadi pioneered the first ever International Festival in Africa.

Mimi Plange

image source: mimiplange.com

Guided by the principle she refers to as “The Democratization of Luxury”, Mimi Plange creates clothes that are very much inspired by the modern American luxury sportswear tradition, with an infusion of dark romance and aimed at the new, international and democratically-minded consumer. Africa remains a limitless font of inspiration for the Ghanaian-born designer.

Taibo Bacar

image source: taibobacar.com

Taibo Bacar is a brand known for its fusion of high fashion and ready to wear, created in 2008 by the designer Taibo Bacar. Today Taibo Bacar is considered one of the leading brands in Africa. It is determined, delicate, classic and an instantaneous burst of wholesome energy for all women who identify themselves with eclectic style where the silhouette plays a central role.

Doreen Mashika

image source: doreenmashika.com

Doreen Mashika was born and raised in Tanzania and after studying and working in Switzerland, she is now one of Africa’s rising fashion designers.

Adama Paris

Adama Amanda Ndiaye is the woman behind the brand Adama Paris. Of Senegalese origin, Adama perfectly embodies the multicultural stylist of the new millennium. Adama who lives between Paris and Dakar is very much influenced by urban fashion.

image source: adamaparis.com

Bobby Kolade

image source: bobbykolade.com

Bobby Kolade is constantly upping efforts to reduce the environmental impact of creating and consuming in the fashion industry. All his products are locally produced in Germany and fabric sourcing is handled with care. With a strict no-leather and no-fur policy, the search for comparable alternatives is an integral part of Bobby Kolade’s design process. Some of the brands cloths are sourced from eco-friendly farms in Uganda, or are hand-woven, chemical-free cotton from Ethiopia.

Mustafa Hassanali

image source: mustafahassanali.net

Designer Mustafa Hassanali, a celebrated name in Tanzania pursues fashion as a religion. Considered a fashion guru, his designs reflect the deeply embedded cultural heritage of Tanzanian society along with the avant-garde, Couture and contemporary styles.

Written by: Faith Katunga

Image source: Jezebel.com

The creation of fashion products demands, every time a larger involvement from the designers in all stages of the fashion chain, from the analysis of markets, to the spinning, weaving, production and distribution. Over the past years, the technique of draping has grown in popularity in the fashion design industry and we have seen an increasing number of images circulating online of designers and students who are using draping techniques.

The technique, which is used by designers to create garments by draping fabric on dress form after which the pattern is then cut from the draped segments and made into designer’s sample garment is recommended by fashion design experts worldwide. The draping technique opens a very vast field of possibilities in the creation of new products, with totally innovative and differentiated modeling.

Draped gown source: fitinline.com

One of the advantages of using draping as a technique is that you can very quickly mock up different ideas on a mannequin to experiment with different silhouettes before committing to the construction of a single idea. For example, draping can be used to enhance the female form as was seen in the Spring/Summer 2010 collection by Lanvin. Most of the clothes are tailored garments in this collection, but Alber Elbaz, who was Lanvin’s head designer at the time, shows some draped details that elevate the femininity of a woman’s body.

Through the effective usage of the technique the fashion designer is able to develop completely innovative pieces, with few seems, that are comfortable, with high quality and aesthetically appealing, that will result in the consumer satisfaction as well as in the satisfaction of the people involved in its production. Clothing items that have all the characteristics mentioned above consequently do well on the market leading to an increase in sales and daily production.

Lanvin Spring/Summer 2010 source: Squa.re

The draping technique was also used by the late great Alexander McQueen who was a trained Savile Row tailor and is regarded as one of the greatest fashion designers that ever lived. Alexander McQueen remains a force to be reckoned with and learning about the extraordinary creative process that went into his creations, among them including draping, allows designers to attain the level of design mastery that leads to successful careers and ground breaking clothes.

Considering how the world of fashion is constantly evolving, new style trends are coming into play and most people are wearing the same mass produced fashion apparels that are available in the retail stores, Custom clothing on the other hand allows a person to be creative with his or her clothes. Knowing how to effectively use draping presents you with a wide range of fabrics, colors, styles and design options which allows more design ingenuity so that the final products have a touch of originality and rareness and are appreciated by the custom designs loving consumer.

Alexander MacQueen Spring/ Summer 2010 source: therosenrot.com

Fashion designers need to be ever more creative to develop clothes with more innovation, with reduced production time, resulting in differentiated clothing items with low production cost and high profit edge for the companies. Draping helps as the process in its entirety is fast and time saving.

Join our draping workshop and enhance your creativity!

Written By: Faith Katunga

Russian stylist Natasha Goldenberg during Paris Fashion Week. Source: Refinery29.com

Corsets are often and correctly associated with Victorian dressing, a time when corset-wearing was common across Europe and across different socioeconomic classes. During the 18th and 19th centuries, women wore corsets to shape their bodies away from nature and toward a more ‘civilized’ ideal form and a woman would wear her corset for almost her entire life.

It was only in early 20th century that fashion started changing, thanks to designers like Paul Poiret, and later Chanel, who started imagining dresses made of flowing lines, that followed the body’s curves, without constraining it to change its shape. Over the years however, corsets have refused to be a fad that succumbed to time’s defeat. The tightly fitting undergarment stayed in the lingerie department for the longest time, triumphing in the closets of all the women who wanted to express their femininity more audaciously.

Moschino Fall/Winter ’16 Collection. Source: Theblondesalad.com

That was the case until the past few years, when corsets moved out of the undergarment section and made their debut on the catwalk, reinterpreted in a completely different perspective, and most recently on the instagram models and their obsession with bodycon and waist trainers. For avid ‘instagrammers’ with a keen eye on the #OOTDs of social media’s leading style stars, it is impossible not to notice quite a number of looks styled with wide waist belts or laced bodices signaling the rebirth of the iconic fashion accessory.

This rise in popularity especially with the latter, of course, meant it was only a matter of time until the trend seeped into the mainstream. And sure enough, a selection of corset belts begun showing up in the “New Arrivals” section at ASOS, shortly thereafter, it emerged as one of the most spotted pieces from the most recent Fashion Month, a not so surprising turn of events since the accessory featured quite prominently on the catwalks.

Jonathan Anderson’s spring ’17 Loewe collection. Source: Refinery29.com

Basically the corset has withstood the test of time and has landed in the closets of the modern day fashionista. However unlike the Victorian corset, the 21st century corsets are being worn over clothing, to mark the waist, just like during the Belle Epoque, albeit in a much more relaxed manner. The key to making corsets contemporary is layering: choosing the right model, from the ones that cover the whole upper body, or those that just cover the waist and wear it on top of shirts, sweaters, even overcoat.

Prada, Victoria Beckham and Balmain are a few of the key labels championing corsets with Prada’s corsets being minimal, rather than sexy, and worn as an accessory, layered over coats and suits, with the laces left loose and half-tied. At Balmain they are powerful and body conscious, aimed to mimic the Kardashian’s love of shapewear, while at Victoria Beckham they are sleek, classic and minimal. Rihanna who is always the first to leap to a new trend, has been spotted wearing corsets in the style of Prada, layering a lavender corset belt over a loose shirt dress while Gigi Hadid and Amy Schumer have worn sculpted corsets with black suit trousers. Instead of shapewear meant to create an ideal body form, this new wave of corsetry is designed to be worn by women on their own terms.

Written by: Faith Katunga

FA254’s ‘’African Designers For Tomorrow’’ alumni and African fashion prodigy Anyango Mpinga continues to make power moves after being selected in 2014 as one of the top contestants of the competition. A few years after her stint on the FA254 organized event, Anyango has seen her work featured in several regional and international media namely Almanach, the official magazine for Berlin fashion week as well as in Vogue Italia.

Anyango Mpinga. Source: Vogue.it

Her work has also been featured in the coffee table book “Mtindo- style movers rebranding Africa”, photographed by award winning photographer Daniele Tamagni and edited by founder of FA254 Waridi Schrobsdorff; and coffee table book “Not African enough”- a fashion book by the nest collective.

Having been nominated in 2015 for the designer of the year award at the Kenya Fashion awards, Anyango Marango received in 2016 the She Trades Collective (ITC Geneva) international design award by Luxe Usa, a global retail platform for international luxury brands, founded by Denise Bradley-Tyson.
A true style mover, Anyango describes her work as a testament of her love for art in motion while creating sustainable incomes for the artisans she works with across the globe.

Anyango Mpinga The Proverbial Dreamer Collection. Source: anyangompinga.com

Born and raised in Nairobi, Anyango Mpinga graduated with a bachelor of arts degree in social communication with a major in radio production after which she worked in the media industry as an event and public relations manager, a product development and branding consultant and also as an on-air radio presenter. Her fashion-calling came around the time she served as project director for the first edition of Hub of Africa Fashion Week in Addis Ababa in 2010 during which she was inspired to take her love for fashion beyond a hobby which she enjoyed. Soon after her return to Nairobi, Anyango made her dream a reality by starting her own clothing line Kipusa in 2011. Her vision was to create a brand that is synonymous with elegance, authenticity and style.

Anyango Mpinga The Proverbial Dreamer Collection.
Source: anyangompinga.com

Speaking about her new collection The Proverbial Dreamer, to Vogue Italia she highlights how her love for Africa and her desire to get people to understand and fall in love with it manifests through the garments of the collection. She mentions how the prints from this collection are adapted from actual scarification patterns from various tribes across Africa such as the Akan people of the Congo Basin in West Africa, the Toposa people from South Sudan and the Bodi from the Omo Valley in Ethiopia; and how the collection in a way is a defiance of a society that teaches us that we should be ashamed of our scars. The collection embraces pride rather than shame as practised by the tribes that went through the Scarification ritual. Anyango’s designs and specifically The Proverbial Dreamer collection seek to explore various ways of promoting a positive body image for all women.

Drawing inspiration from people around her, the designer was also influenced by her favorite childhood dress which found its marking in her latest collection as well as Lake Elementaita Serena Camp located within the Soysambu conservancy.

‘’It has the perfect balance between nature and wildlife so it was only natural that I would go back there to shoot my Campaign for The Proverbial Dreamer there as it offered me the much-needed inspiration to create in a calm, peaceful environment. I also love the fact that it is by the lake. I love being anywhere near water”, she adds during her Vogue interview.

Anyango Mpinga’s vision which sees African brands having an opportunity to create unique collections that compete with other global brands on the same playing field laid basis to her collaboration with FA254. Creating an unforgettable global movement by investing and creating African Fashion brands that can stand and sell next to leading international brands in the same store with there being no difference in the quality and mastery of the product.

Written by: Faith Katunga

FA254 involvement with Creative Futures Contest, Talented Ethiopian Designers go International, organised by the British Council, Goethe-Institut and iceaddis has finally announced is winner. Creative Futures which is a two year programme aimed at strengthening and growing the creative sectors in Ethiopia was open to all Ethiopian designers based in Ethiopia with the competition being a unique opportunity for talented Ethiopian fashion designers to take showcase their creations to an international audience of consumers and investors.

Creative Futures Contest Finalists Presentation at Goethe-Institut in Addis Ababa

Through the International Networking program, workshops across the fashion sectors were held to help identify specific areas for potential development and international engagement. They were also held as a way to help artists take a more business-like approach to the management of their talent through the provision of Business and Marketing trainings with follow up clinics sessions where participants got support with regards to overcoming the challenges they faced in the application of their learning. The participants also attended an international networking program which was put in place to conduct workshops across the photography, film, gaming & design and fashion sectors to help identify specific areas for potential development and international engagement. On the business front, participants attended a series of business breakfast meetings which begun the program of engagement with business leaders. The series included talks from representatives of the business or arts sectors, with case study examples of successful businesses.

The 8 finalists of the Creative Futures Contest namely Kasahun Heilu, Tigist Seife, Elizabeth Moges, Selam Negash, Aida Tadesse, Aron Senay, Azariah Mengistu and Mahlet Afework were judged by an international jury made respectively by Sara Maino (Senior Editor of Vogue Italia and Head of Vogue Talents), Waridi Schrobsdorff (Founder and CEO of FA254) and Julia Sattler (Director of Goethe-Institut Addis Ababa). Mahlet Afework, the Founder and Creative Director of the fashion brand Mafi was eventually chosen as the competition’s winner.

Mahlet Afework

“Mafi proves using traditional material keeping in mind modern girl/woman with global vision. And already has developed a signature of her identity as today’s designer” said Waridi Schrobsdorff on Mafi’s work.

“Mafi interpretation of African tradition and colors is transformed in a modern vision that can be worn daily”

added Sara Maino.

Mahlet Afework Mafi Fashion Show at Hub of Africa 2015: Source FashionGhana.com

Together with the other finalists, Mahlet will also showcase her collection at the Hub of Africa Fashion Show in October this year in the presence of an international buyer. The contest has been quite a success and has shown that the efforts and investments being made by Ethiopian Fashion designers in collaboration with international organisations like the British Council, Goethe-Institut and FA254 to promote local creativity and Made in Africa on an international level are coming into fruition.

Written by: Faith Katunga


The creative futures contest finale is approaching and as part of the international jury, Waridi Schrobsdorff travelled to Addis Ababa to meet the finalists at Goethe Institute. The trip also played a fundamental role in discovering and promoting talent which are core ethics of FA254. Working on this mantra and being in a country that is fast becoming Africa’s biggest apparel and footwear manufacturing hub, supplying to international brands like Primark, Levi’s Strauss, Tesco as well as Asos with streamlined manufacturing and domestically sourced cotton; Waridi took her time to explore Ethiopia’s creativity, by visiting one of the nation’s prominent production companies, Sabahar.

Working with Abury, an organization that is pioneering fashion by combining traditional, old world crafts with avant garde design to create a new luxury style that fosters intercultural exchange and preserves world crafts, Waridi’s Sabahar visit was awe inspiring. Being an Ethiopian company that produces uniquely designed, handmade cotton and silk textiles, Sabahar also makes scarves, shawls, linens, cushions, throws and towels with all their products being made entirely in Ethiopia by hand from natural fibers.

Founded by Kate Marshall in 2004, Sabahar supports and trains artisans to apply their ancient skills to modern, fresh designs and provides a bridge between the artisan and the global market. It is this vision and goal that brings FA254, Abury and Sabahar together as they work on promoting African craftsmanship on a global scale through their various initiatives.

A perfect example of this superior craftsmanship is seen though the products by ARkies, one of the local Ethiopian brands specializing in Leather goods. ARKies Leather, was first conceptualized on campus and has now grown to produce a variety of creative designs. Their products range from key chains, wallets, belts, purses laptop bags, travel bags and promotional leather items for different corporate companies, events and conferences. The company’s vision is to be a leading leather manufacturing company on the continent and worldwide producing innovative and creative designs.

Evidently Ethiopia is bursting with creativity and vision and FA254 is working on promoting these talented emerging designers as seen through the Creative Feature’s Contest implemented by British Council, Goethe- Institut and Iceaddis. The contest aims to facilitate collaborations, innovation, learning and networking between the Ethiopian creatives and the global market. The winner who will be selected by an international jury in the next coming weeks will travel to Europe to showcase his collection to the international market as part of the discovering and training of talents that FA254 and the organisations mentioned are very much invested in.

Written by Faith Katunga

The Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week 2017 resumed on Friday 7th at Salt River Studios in Cape Town. The prestigious event brought by luxury vehicle brand Mercedes Benz and African Fashion International (AFI) showcased some of Africa’s best fashion talents.

The closing of The Intern by David Tlale at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Cape Town 2017″. Picture: @AFI_sa

The show kicked off with a bang we have some of the highlights from the stylish event.  Setting trends and creating opportunites was the driving force behind The Intern by David Tlale which opened the first day of the fashion week. A design competition that trained five designers under Tlale’s tutorship, The Intern was a successful route taken to promote Africa’s new generation of designers. At the end of the show, Ntando Ngwenya was announced the winner and Tlale’s new assistant designer for a year.

Day one successfully continued with collections from Mille Collines whose Swahili inspired black girl magic collection known as “ We become one” featured models donned in white, sheer, and sneakers. The everyday wear collection showed a skillful mixture of African, Persian and Arab cultures which where articulated with kanga wear and hand-woven hats.

Ituen Basi Show Picture: africanfashioninternational.com

Nigerian designer Ituen Basi who is well known for her use of the popular African print wowed the crowed with her usage of strong structured palettes with hues of Nigerian accented fabric.

Making quite an impression on the audience was Fashion Revolution, an ethical group fashion show from local designers, who made their debut at the MBFWCT. The designs featured white fabric T-shirts with the words “ PLASTIC IS NOT TRASH” written on them, clearly communicating the message of social responsibility, and that waste can be recycled and reused even in the fashion industry.

Ituen Basi Show Picture: africanfashioninternational.com

A force of African fashion, Mozambican designer Taibo Bacar’s Muthiana orera collection, which means Made in Mozambique was simply stunning. Made entirely in Mozambique by Mozambicans, the collection was a perfect embodiment of the theme of the night which was The African Renaissance of young black African designers whose take on fashion successfully incorporates the engineering of high fashion but maintains the authentic wealth of African design, color, culture, identity, and complex character. All of which were perfectly delivered in Bacar’s presentation.

A success all around, the annual event continues to showcase the craftsmanship of African fashion designers as well as supporting aspiring young designers as a way of promoting the beauty of African Fashion.

Written by: Faith Katunga

As we patiently wait for the upcoming South African Fashion Week and the street style in all its sunny trendy glory, we have taken some time to appreciate some of spring 2017’s style trends hitting the European streets right now. Check them out below.


The Winter to Spring Turtle Neck

Transitioning from Winter to spring can be a bit of a tricky process. However instead of rushingly retiring the winter-friendly turtlenecks in spring, fashionistas are wearing them in tissue-cotton textile and layering them under a denim shirt.

image source: www.elle.com


Shrugging Jacket

Forget about wearing your jacket the usual way. One of spring’s latest street style trends involves wearing jackets way below the shoulders. Yes, shrugging your jacket is a street style craze in Europe right now.

image source: www.elle.com


Undercorset Over Shirt

An undercorset worn over a basic stripped shirt with flare pants is an ‘it’ look this spring around the streets of Europe’s style capitals.

image source: www.elle.com

Satin Blazer

A colourful satin blazer with touches of flower power and paired with denim is a dream casual-chic attire.

image source: www.elle.com

Bright coloured Suits

One of the good things about Spring is the freedom of wearing minis without fear of freezing the legs and a colorful suit with a short skirt looks best without tights.

image source: www.vogue.co.uk


The term “athleisure” has now been officially added to the dictionary. The true beauty of athleisure is that it is both practical and completely fashionable. The relaxed and cool style blends sportswear with ready-to-wear to create styles that are chic and comfortable like this way to elevate track pants by styling them with heels.

image source: www.elle.com


Metallics are in right now and combining them with tie-dye equals winning looks being displayed along the streets of the stylish cities of Europe.

image source: www.glamour.com

Dress over jeans

Wearing dresses over jeans has never looked good as it does this spring. From lace dresses to floral printed ones, fashionistas have taken the dress + denim look to a whole new level.

image source: www.glamour.com

Bell Sleeved Tops

Bell sleeves are in the spotlight right now. Known to be dramatic, cool, stylish and effortless they are a current hit with the stylish ladies of Europe and are being paired with everything from skirts to shorts to jeans.

image source: www.streetmeetsme.com

Gold Goddess Gowns

Fashionistas are stand tall and majestic in gold dresses and gowns in fabrics that perfectly highlight their féminine forms this spring.

image source: www.glamour.com

Written by: Faith Katunga