By Yemisi Suleiman
As part of exclusive moments from the recently held Africa Fashion Week London (AFWL) 2018, we asked some designers to share with us, life as a designer and expectations from a fashion show.
This was what they said.
A show needs promotion
Jite Newton….. Creative head, Tobams Colour
I think it has been interesting but, the African market in terms of designing is very fierce.
We want our clothing to be recognized around the world but the perception is not there because there is no sustainability. And that is where it gets difficult.
You have to keep going, identity your market. We want to create an identity with African Prints, want to be like the Burberry of Africa, where people can identity that this is an African label and it is here to stay.
From a show like this, I expect that it should be promoted more. The promotion is needed because it is a great show and it’s expanding. I think we need to move around a bit and push around.
Fashion show gives opportunity to network
Samson Soboye—-Head Designer, Soboye
It’s been good. It’s been busy, but I’m loving the new lease of life and inspiration from Africa. I’m using my cultural heritage in what I do, but in a more modern and creative way. Platforms like the African Fashion Week London, is a great platform for me to launch designs and discover new talents. So, I am loving what they do in focusing and refocusing the creative industry in London.
I expect more exposure. People that didn’t know about me now know me. It gives a chance to present new ideas in a new and fresh way, and also to network and meet new people, and to showcase what I do.
Life as a designer has been amazing
Van Else—–Creative Head, Van Else
Life as a designer has been a Life roller coaster. I started the brand in 2012 but after my mother suffered a stroke, I took a break and started again in 2014. My first official collection showcased at the Africa Fashion Week London. In 2016, I was recognized by British Vogue and Elle UK as interesting new brand. Now, there are lots of magazines from the US who want my story. I have been invited to the African diaspora in the United States as well, the African studies in Arizona, and I have been to fashion weeks in Barcelona, Geneva and now, I have been invited to Dublin, Liverpool, the Caribbean and Istanbul. So it’s really amazing for me what happened in just four years.
Most people think I only do African print, but I do everything. So fashion shows give me opportunity to showcase what I do and help me get connected again.
I look forward to bulk buyers
Oreva Okowa ….. Head Designer, Signature Secret
Life as a designer has not been very easy. It has been challenging but worth it. The challenges involve production, coming over to London from Nigeria and putting things together for the show. Generally, production is hectic because as a designer, you have to be creative, bringing up new ideas and designs. People don’t like to see old designs. So you have to come up with new designs. But I enjoy it all, it’s my passion, my life and I love it.
For every fashion show, as usual, we are looking out for buyers, bulk buyers, people who buy for industries and countries. That is what we expect. And for me, I have ready to wear in all kinds, so it is very easy for me to break into the market.
I expect more people to know me from a show
Mary Martins —-Creative Head, Mary Martins London
Life has been amazing. Two weeks ago, I was in Accra. I went for a fashion week in Accra where I showcased my “Article 10 the royal collection”. Article 10, meaning by law, freedom of creative expression. It is a royal collection inspired by Meghan Markle,
From a show, I expect to get more people to know me. I am an international fashion designer. Africa Fashion Week London has created a lot of buzz for me. It does a lot for African designers and basically it has let more people in the world know who I am. I have been invited to headline the Canada Africa Fashion Week. Like they say, if God opens the door, no man can close it.