The Nivea Accra Fashion Week Summer/Harmattan 2019 (AFWK) came off from the 2nd to the 6th of October. Witnessing three years of consistency and innovativeness in showcasing Ghanaian fashion styles and the designers behind the creativity, this year’s event was themed “the year of return 2019.”
The event took to a good start with the Gala Night event at the CFAO motors premise. The Gala Night event is the first of its kind in the AFWK celebration since it started in 2016. It is the showcase of Avant Garde dressing in the form of costume and elaborate dressing. The Gala night was a closed event that required a VIP ticket, and it was a spectacular opening to the weeklong celebration as people showcased locally designed avant-garde clothes accompanied by locally made accessories.
The theme of the Avant Garde dressing was “African Wow” explained to mean African inspired creative costumes that generate amazement among the crowd. Many designers did justice to this by combining fabrics and concepts to create innovative designs that speak to the culture of Ghanaians. In attendance were designers—local, continental and international—movie and music celebrities, and social elites. Aside from serving as the opening event for the weeklong celebration, the Gala Night also formally welcomed foreign designers to the event and to Ghana.
Designers present were from diverse countries including Namibia, Angola, France, Nigeria, and the USA. Though a closed group event, the programme was streamed online in thirty-two, mostly African, countries. The rational was to expose fashion in Ghana to a wider audience who might have heard of the creativity of Ghanaian designers but not had the chance to experience it first-hand. The livestream also helped to create an international platform for the Accra Fashion Week events.
In the subsequent days, the event rolled off with programmes such as a fashion seminar, which existed as a forum for discussing Africa’s place in international fashion and how to expose the fashion business beyond the borders of Ghana. The Face of AFWK is an avenue for training and exposing fashion models and is an integral part of the fashion week celebration. Models showcase their talent and skill out of which the Face of AFWK will be selected. She would then represent the AFWK brand for the year and potentially work with international modelling agencies. Modelling agencies attend to scout for talents. Therefore, the AFWK seeks to promote fashion designs by Africans while also harnessing the potential of African models whose work is directly linked to fashion exposition.
Another creative feature of the year’s event is the “SHOPTHERUNWAY” concept. SHOPTHERUNWAY is an online shop created for designers participating in the show to showcase their products online to audience across the globe, and these products can be purchased and delivered to the buyer. This concept was introduced the previous year, and according to organisers, they have seen its replication at other fashion events across the globe. The AFWK is a big platform and the event attracts fashion lovers from all over the world, therefore an online exhibition exposes designers to potential customers around the world. As designs hit the runway, they are made available online for customers to shop.
The last two nights featured runway shows at Tang Palace Hotel. The colourful and awesome event witnessed the showcasing of designs by over thirty designers. Although two-thirds of the designers were Ghanaians, African designers from both the continent and abroad also showcased their creativity. Audience were dazzled with designs that suit every aspect of our daily lives from the bathroom to the bedroom, casual wears, office wears, social events and couture.
Fabrics for designs were sourced from far and wide, in designers’ localities and abroad, from manually woven cloths to industrially produced fabrics. Most designers mixed locally produced fabrics with industrially produced fabrics. One fabric that stood out for me was bogolanfini pattern made with silk fabric by Kiaraafrika. Designers’ creativity ranged from designs to fabrics to accessories and none fell short of thrilling the audience.
The AFWK 2019 was an eventful and well-attended programme. Organisers lived up to the year-round hype and publicity!
By Adwoa Owusuaa Bobie