Africa Fashion Week London 2022 to hold October 8 & 9 – Meet the Designers
By Yemisi Suleiman
After 2 years of Covid lockdown, Africa Fashion Week London AFWL returns for a spectacular show this year. Featuring new practices, recycling, and sustainability ethics, and a return to heritage fabrics and textiles, AFWL2022 is shaping up to be a historic outing with some outstanding designers. A large number of them are using their platforms as socially conscious enterprises.
Billed to hold for two days- October 8-9, at the Freemasons Hall, Great Queens Street London, AFWL 2022 is dedicated to pushing the boundaries on heritage textiles. This year Ecobank, the Pan African Bank, is sponsoring The Adire Pavillion which will feature different Adire designers from Nigeria exhibiting various handmade authentic Adire heritage textiles.
The entrance of Freemasons’ Hall will be dedicated to the fabric. Expect to see 20ft high draping of the latest wax-resist, tie-dye, and indigo fabrics with the storytelling behind each design.
As usual, some of our favourite designers including Mary Martin London and Soboye will be returning to the AFWL catwalk with an amazing collection.
Below is a list of participating designers at this year’s event and all you need to know about them and their brands.
Hertunba is a sustainable fashion and lifestyle brand delivering classy, ready-to-wear clothes for ambitious women.
Understanding that every woman’s body is different, they also produce custom and regular sizes to ensure that every piece fits its owner perfectly.
Every year, 13 million tons of textiles go to waste. 95% of these textiles can be reused or recycled. Hertunba reduces landfill waste by up-cycling waste generated during production, 90% of our excesses become either a form of wearable art or hand-crafted interior decor art pieces such as rugs and throw pillows.
Also, 10% of all their net profit goes to a project that provides adult education for less privileged Nigerian women. They believe that to protect the girl child, her mother must be empowered with education.
A beautiful ethic to live by – protect the earth and support women.
Toomey & Koko is a London-based brand that embraces difference. Their distinctive prints are bold, colourful and full of life – and they’re committed to impactful easy-to-wear outfits.
Their designs are brought to life in vivid Adire fabrics, which use a resist-dyeing technique involving indigo and other natural dyes to create bold, eye-catching patterns.
They carefully sourced Adire textiles and are passionate about incorporating traditional techniques into truly modern designs.
One of Nigeria’s most celebrated designers, Ade Bakare is showcasing his latest collection at AFWL2022. The “Ayinla” collection has been inspired by Adire cloth and the film Ayinla.
Adire originated in Abeokuta in the southwestern part of Nigeria and is unique for its water which has a high alkaline content and is ideal for adire production.
Adire means tie-and-dye in the Yoruba dialect and has been produced there for decades. Historically, people came from different parts of Africa to buy this beautiful cloth which uses indigo dye to give it its rich navy blue patina to trade in rich fabrics but gradually due to colonialism and borders that sprang up dividing these regions the trade declined. However, it was still being used and gradually became a staple textile used – especially for funerals.
Ade Bakare Couture started using adire in 2006, after being captivated by the cloth and started experimenting with the process on silks to give it a richer feel and look. it is now a mainstay of annual collections.
With more research on the different patterns, Ade Bakare Couture started to introduce some old patterns which were popular in the 1940s and 1950s such as the ‘ilari’ (comb), ‘ila’ (lines), ‘ododo’ (flowers) and a modern ‘cocoa’ featured in the image above.
An advocate in the 3 “Rs” – Reduce, Reuse & Recycle – this independent
self-confessed knitting addict and brand creates limited run, unique and genderless pieces using natural and recycled fibres.
After being taught by her grandmother and dabbling with knitting throughout childhood, Kireen fell in love with the amazing art and knits pretty much everywhere she goes – on the street, in parks, on doorsteps! We call it guerilla knitting!
She is an advocate of the slow fashion movement with an aim to create affordable handmade fashion accessories, using natural sustainable materials from suppliers that align with the fairer treatment of workers who are integral to its production.
It’s time to modernise your wardrobe with ethical and sustainable slow fashion. Each piece is a unique hand-knitted item crafted using her own patterns and made using the finest quality natural fibres, like merino and alpaca wool as well as cotton, hemp and bamboo.
Aquarius B is a fashion brand inspired by vibrant African textile patterns and prints.
They offer high-quality, exclusive products that are ethically sourced and produced in Ghana & London. All products are 100% handcrafted with pride by individual Artisans.
As part of their effort to give back, they currently use a portion of our sales in sponsoring one child in Ghana and aim to sponsor more as the brand grows.
Since 1961, Mumini Fashion has been a household name in Sierra Leone.
The brand collects Sierra Leonean heritage textiles like Gara, Ronko, laypee and Country Cloth to pay homage and to give a facelift to the fashion industry in Africa.
Its mission is to elevate textile artisans in economically marginalized communities to world-renowned status. The brand is known for its favorite traditional Agbada and Danshiki, which are sewn with “Aku Lappa and Ronko “. These textiles are centuries-old and are traditionally woven on a drop spindle, using locally sourced raw cotton and ink from tree bark. These outfits were the traditional garb of paramount chiefs and were worn by mainly the Aku, Limba, and Creoles of Sierra Leone and the Yoruba of Nigeria
Many of the brand’s designs are influenced by the geometrical thinking and creations of the Aku, Madingo and Fullah weavers and the aim is to elevate the craft to a place where innovation and skill are perfected to the finest level.
Mumini also explores new forms of craftsmanship to make couture a source of innovation. They go back to forgotten craftsmanship and the love for handwork, and at the same time embed new technologies and seek out collaborations with artists, and architects. They intentionally stretch the edges of the medium; some partnerships are like extensions of their atelier, taking them out of their realms of knowledge and experience and creating collective intelligence and innovation.
Gill Quarcoopome established Sole Inspiration Ltd in 1999 in Accra to continue her work with leather that had begun in the UK many years before.
Sole Inspiration produces a distinctive, fashionable yet timeless range of accessories including bags, belts neckpieces, and jewelry as well as interior design pieces.
They use high-quality vegetable-tanned cowhide combined with colourful softer skins and tie-dyed leathers from Burkina Faso. For decoration and fastenings, the brand selects from the vibrant choice of recycled Ghanaian glass, brass and cow horn beads, intricate rings, and fittings.
They also like to experiment with the best skins and discarded offcuts. The traditional leatherworking skills of hand cutting, stitching, dyeing, and finishing are still used in creating the signature, custom-made pieces seen in their collection.
Rufina Designs is an African-inspired fashion and accessories and home decor brand that produces a range of statement-making & eco-friendly products. The brand aims to bring a piece of creativity & sustainability from Africa to every home.
Their online store offers a range of clothing, shoes, and accessories inspired by traditional African styles fused with contemporary western trends. Print dresses, maxi skirts, shoes, and accessories all feature this multi-dimensional designer.
Confirmed Exhibitor, Sanyan is a UK-based fashion brand that believes luxury doesn’t have to cost a fortune. The brand creates high-quality clothing for women and men who know who they are and what they love to wear.
For Sanyan, African print fabric is a piece of art – simple and stylish designs create a frame to showcase the beautiful prints curated to be part of their collection. Their designs are made from 100% cotton sourced from West Africa.
“I loved what I saw online but I loved it, even more, when I saw it in person and even more when I wore it”.
Afro Couture London
Afro Couture London is an Afro-Eurocentric design house that works to infuse African concepts into European silhouettes. Their aim is to take their client’s confidence up a notch with their excellent use of style and fabrics.
My name is Oluwole Allen Babajide I was born in Lagos, Nigeria from Ogun state my designer name is ALLENZO.
We are an international bespoke Tailor, we redefine men’s clothing in African concepts, and we work hand in hand to bring out the best in African creation.
Our designs are exclusive, we make African attire to another level of creation with a hint of modern existence.
The distinctive part of our innovation is to bring out the confidence in you….
FreshbyDotun by Adeyeye Adedotun Augustine was created in 2010 but officially launched in 2012.
Adedotun Adeyeye, by profession, is an Architect with a bachelor’s degree from Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ago-Iwoye, Ogun State, and also a master’s degree in Environmental Design in Architecture from the University of Lagos, Akoka, Lagos. However, by passion, he is a creative fashion designer and style connoisseur that blends excellent design skills, strong technical background, and solid fashion sense to create innovative designs.
I believe fashion and architecture have always been tightly welded as they originate from the same root Art. Fashion is a wearable art while architecture is an inhabitable art. According to Rashi Jain, “Architects and fashion designers follow similar work principles, geometry, and balance to create form, structure, and design lines. This admiration flows both ways. Sophisticated structures have been the muse for various fashion designers.”
Apart from the fact that both professions are closely knitted, one of the many reasons that I choose to do fashion designing was my love for Fashion, which grew as I grew older. Colour, shapes, and styles always intrigued me and fashion designing also had a way to satisfy my creative fancies and imagination, and the one very important to me was self-employment.
FreshbyDotun “FBD” is a bespoke menswear brand that specializes in contemporary traditional outfits, and casuals, and cooperates wear for men. Clothes from “FBD” are carefully tailored to the client’s specifications, and attention to detail is key. FBD aims at putting African fashion on the map and competing with international brands and also promoting our culture while providing jobs for our citizens.
We have created a number of the collection which was released globally. This collection includes kaftans, unisex pieces, suits, and agbada. FBD only source for high-quality textiles used in creating our pieces, which are often soft and elegantly masculine. They include wool, crepe, print, cotton, silk, denim, and more. These fabrics play host to a stunning display of artistic designs and masterpieces created by us. And most of our extraordinary collections are modeled by celebrity muses in Nigeria. All FBD collections embody creativity, quality, and excellence with proper attention to detail. We create pieces for every stylish man regardless of age.
In 2020, we launched a pret-a-porter brand which added a wide range of products such as shirts, polos, tees, shoes, and lots more.
The brand over the years has clothed many public figures, celebrities, and brands, among others. FreshbyDotun brand was recently recognized for its numerous contribution to fashion and style. I was recently given a United Nations honorary award as Nigerian ambassador for peace. We are seeking to expand our brand out of the shores of Nigeria and have stores in Europe and the US in the coming future.