Saturday, 5 November 2016

African Fashion & Culture Extravaganza 2016- Photo Blog

I loved this event and really wish to share the latest fashion that reaches our shores from the Hebrew/African community in Israel. Featured designers have chosen to build upon their heritage and culture as opposed to incorporating Western fashion ideas into their garments. The outfits are stunning and one noticeable difference in the public presentation is the lack of accessories and high heels! Models undertaking the African 'Lioness Walk' do so far more naturally, exchanging inner pride for the commercial swag of our more familiar 'Catwalks.'

With designer Irit Gordon
Late October, award winning designers Irit Gordon and Heletiyah Mercer recently flew to London from Israel along with fellow designers Zahaveya, Autura and Sureyah. It is evident that these gifted young people have transformed African fashion into a product that, in my view, is internationally appealing.

Simply stylish in beautiful turquoise

All of the collections are founded on traditional African fabrics to suit purpose, and cultural traits are combined with exciting forward looking concepts creating everyday designs and special occasion wear. Menswear is generally slick and frequently embellished with quality details. Women's wear is far more flambouyant and colourful.

I have to say that it was very refreshing to see both designers and everyday people modelling the clothing as opposed to specially chosen models. This fitted in well with the ethical style of the whole event, the aim of which was to share fashion and educate people in the Afro-Israeli community's holistic approach to life; We watched a video outlining the importance of African hair and the progression of natural hair designs from slavery, following through with popular afro's and leading on to intricate plaits and designs. We were also informed about the need for natural fabric underwear- yes I get it but am not a convert!

Family Time!
Most cultures enjoy dressing mother and daughter alike however this is a great tradition within the Worldwide African community, especially at weddings when selected reams of material are used by the entire family, being styled individually. Above, we have a very feminine, modern look whereby mother and daughter have little half skirts adding a cute touch to their outfits. Once again the material is simply gorgeous.

Now it's the guys turn to strike a pose! First up we have the mature men who come with flair and experience-
Sheer Elegance!

Sports Outfit- intricately grand
This particular sports outfit is definitely best displayed by the more robust model, enabling us to appreciate the complexity of the design.

As beautiful as a butterfly! This dress has great appeal- a beautifully detailed bodice and very full skirt displaying an eye-catching geometric design set against a soft russet shade. Definitely adore this garment and one for the wardrobe.

Cheeky angel!
We were informed that white is a very popular colour and, as in the West, it is often used for special occasions. Whereas the second design is more classically oriented, the top design receives kudo's for invetiveness- who would have expected a pop  out African woman on a trouser leg! Fabulous fabric and fashion concept.

With award winning designer Heletiyah Mercer 
We'll progress to a few more ladies wear designs, definitely elegant and stunningly beautiful. Some great occasion wear here and Irit looks amazing modelling here evening wear design, set to flatter tall, shapely women.


And to finish off with, some male detail which will appeal to many of my Facebook friends! When you are speaking status, Africa and Lions are a must. Here we have two outfits designed to make an absolute staement and create impact. Simple from the front, but once their backs are turned you know the models enjoyed harbouring that element of surprise!

I really hope you have enjoyed viewing these designs through my less than brilliant camera lens, and this occasion was definitely a great addition to the British Black History Month. In fact, the African Fashion Show and Cultural extravaganza was listed amongst the top 50 events to attend at Black History Month this year! I hope that the work of these talented designers will make its mark on the ethnic fashion scene and beyond. You can find more of the designers work here: Irit Gordon Designs

Jaz McKenzie~ The Word Magician Contact:

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