Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Africa is over and it’s nice to see that industry bible WWD is featuring the event as one of their stories of the day. Coverage in a publication as prestigious as WWD is essential if Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Africa wants to gain global recognition.
African designers such as South Africa’s well known David Tlale, Thula Sindi, Gavin Rajah, Marianne Fassler and Kluk CGDT were joined by rising stars like Nigeria’s Ituen Basi, Ghanaian-American Mimi Plange, Mozambican Taibo Bacar and the Paris-based, Ivory Coast-born Laurence Chauvin Buthaud.
Ituen Basi, who has been called the African Missoni, was named Designer of the Year and Mimi Plange, who has dressed Michelle Obama, won International Designer of the Year.
Mozambican Taibo Bacar, who has previously shown in Milan, was named Emerging Designer of the Year and WWD say he “uses traditional African prints and details in fresh and striking ways.”
Other award winners included South African Candice Swanepoel as Model of the Year, Ethiopian Liya Kebede as Female Style Icon of the Year, South African Khaya Dludla as Male Style Icon of the Year and GQ South Africa’s Arthur Malan-Murison as Stylist of the Year.
Mimi Plange said: “For us, it was the first time we won the [International) Designer of the Year Award], and what we gain from that is that we get to show our collection during Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in any country that we choose to that Mercedes-Benz is hosting. It can be Berlin, Tokyo or Sydney, for instance. That will also allow our brand to just grow more globally and to be able to be seen by more people.”
Having a sponsor like Mercedes-Benz is essential if African designers want to launch themselves outside of their home country; Mercedes Benz and Africa Fashion International underwrite the costs involved in showing in another city so designers don’t have to finance flying the models in and out or pay for airfare. According to Mimi Plange this type of support takes care of the whole showing process which, for a young designer, is priceless.
Do you like the winning designs?