Pinaman Owusu, founder of Africa Fashion Festival. Image supplied.
Africa Fashion Festival is returning for 2017 after a successful sold-out show last year which saw talented African designers showcase their designs to an admiring crowd in Wellington. This year the event stays in Wellington and will be hosted over two nights, Thursday 21 July & Friday 22 July, at a secret location in the capital’s CBD. The Africa Fashion Festival aims to promote, provide brand visibility, and connect emerging and established African designers with a passion for creating sustainable products and the popular event is the only one of its kind here in New Zealand. It also celebrates the revitalisation of traditional manufacturing techniques and job creation in the continent of Africa. African New Zealander, Pinaman Owusu-Banahene, founded the event through her Social Impact Enterprise, ADJOAA and Africa Fashion Festival is one of three platforms from ADJOAA that provides opportunities for emerging and established African fashion designers and artists in Australasia.
“I believe fashion, music and dance are great art forms that enrich our experiences and challenge our deep-seated assumptions”, says Pinaman Owusu-Banahene. ”I hope Africa Fashion Festival provides an outlet for all New Zealanders to experience the cultural richness and incredible artistic talent from the diverse and vibrant continent of Africa”.
This year’s international guest designer is Milan-based Ghanaian designer Nana Brenu who is a graduate of renowned international fashion schools Istituto Maragoni and Parsons School of Design. This year’s full lineup includes; Akosua Afriyie-Kumi – AAKS (Kumasi, Ghana), Evlyn Kyegombe – EMBODY Accessories (Nairobi, Kenya), Laurence Bathaud-Chauvin – LaurenceAirline (Cote D’Ivorie/France), Chale Socks (United Kingdom), Nana & Afua Dabanka – MONAA (Ghana/USA/Germany), Chido Dimairo (Zimbabwe/New Zealand), Vincent Urban & Jessika – Project Dyad (Cape Town, South Africa). Bubu Ogisi’s label, I.AM.ISIGO (Lagos, Nigeria) will also be showcased thanks to the generous contribution of Untamed Empire who stock the label online. This talented group of designers will be giving New Zealanders a taste of luxury ethical African fashion and social good.
Ethical and sustainable practices are an important part of Africa Fashion Festival and that extends beyond the runway with some of New Zealand’s leading sustainable businesses lending their support to the festival. The Body Shop, The Bolton Hotel, Karen Murrell, QT Museum, Karma Cola, People’s Coffee, Almighty Juice, Wiki Skincare, Yvette Edwards, GoodBuzz, Ritual Tea Company, Hema Water, Garage Project are among the brands involved in this year’s event.
Aside from the excitement on the runway, Owusu-Banahene is a step closer to creating the first hub for African fashion in the Asia-Pacific region with the recent launch of A-Collective, which is the online retail arm of the ADJOAA. The store will feature products from the designers showing at the festival and at a pop-up store will run from 24 July – 6 August. 10% of the proceeds from the Africa Fashion Festival will be invested into their Social Impact Fund to support education, mentoring and internships.
Tickets for Africa Fashion Festival 2017 range from $79 – $179 and are available online now.
Aku+Vi (left) and Chido (right).
1981 (left) and Nana Brenu (right).