Africa Fashion Week London Returns for its 13th Edition
By Yemisi Suleiman
After 12 years of supporting and promoting African designers, fabric and culture on the global stage, Africa Fashion Week London, the biggest annual fashion exhibition and catwalk show in the UK, returns for its 13th edition with a bigger and better package.
The AFWL 2023 is aimed at celebrating Uk’s Black History Month in October. It is billed to hold from October 27th to 29th at the London Olympia, Kensington, with 50 designer catwalk shows, and 30 digital designers fashion films, closing with a VIP grand finale show slated for Sunday the 29th evening.
For over a decade, the event has been a significant platform for showcasing African and African-inspired fashion and design, attracting participants from various countries across Europe, Africa, and North and South America.
Over the years the event has hosted over 1200 designers and exhibitors, with an estimated audience of 80,000, including industry professionals, buyers, retailers, and global media.
It was founded in 2011 by Queen Ronke Ademiluyi-Ogunwusi, wife of the Ooni of Ife, with the aim of increasing the exposure and recognition of African designers by providing them with a cost-effective global platform to showcase their work. The primary focus Queen Ronke says is on emerging African heritage designers and SMEs who are often overlooked by major fashion events or are only given token representation. “At AFWL, we ensure that our designers receive equal opportunities for promotion, access to buyers, and a chance to display their work in a world-class venue. We are dedicated to supporting and nurturing the sustainable design and apparel manufacturing industry.
“Our ultimate objective is to make African-inspired fashion not only a popular choice but also a formidable competitor to established fashion houses.”
A feat which Olori Ronke Ademiluyi-Ogunwusi has achieved over the years via the AFWL, the Africa Fashion Week Nigeria – the sister’s platform, and most recently the AFWBrazil, where the indegenous Adire Oodua fabric shone brightly on the runway.
In addition, the AFWL is committed to promoting diversity and inclusion by providing opportunities for fashion students, POC, and marginalized communities. “We strive to ensure that at least 90% of our workforce represents these groups, providing them with valuable experience working for a major fashion showcase event” says Olori Ronke Ogunwusi.
The event has represented 26 African countries and 70 nationalities. As preparations for this year’s edition begins, we are excited to see what the world is fashionably looking like, and with AFWL robust exhibitions, and runway shows, we are definitely looking to breaking new grounds for the African market.