Friday, October 3, 2014


By Stephenie Adubato Burke

Africa Fashion Week New York
5 - 7 September 2014

Photos courtesy of Trendy Africa and

NEW YORK - Held at The Gallery at Metropolitan Pavilion, Africa Fashion Week New York started fashion month with a bang. Founded in 2009 by Adiree, an Africa-focused PR firm in New York, AFW seeks to highlight African designers on a global scale while also attempting to organize the African fashion industry and attract international investors.

The pristine venue, marked by stark white walls, overhead LED lights and the shiniest of hard wood floors had a distinct loft-like feel. The white runway was lined on both sides with ivory chairs and walls separating the guests from the chaos backstage. Models walked to the beat of distinctly African music, heart-pounding and heavy on percussion. The eclectic cast of characters in attendance were dressed to impress and I spied everything from a stunning cobalt blue mermaid gown with a plumed bodice to a gilded ring-leader-esque look (glittering top hat included!). But the main focus, as it should be, was on the clothes themselves. With seven designers showing, the event was a constant barrage of vibrance and print, texture and color, detail and ingenuity. 

Anaba Wisdom Chidiebube (Nigeria)

Anaba Wisdom Chidiebube (Photo courtesy of Trendy Africa)

The designer showed first with a collection of mainly black and white dresses detailed with tiny red x’s. Standouts were an oversized flutter-sleeve miniskirt with a black ladder detail down the front and a finale gown in muted neutrals with a huge tulle skirt and ornate bodice. My personal favorite was an crop top/skirt set topped off with a sleek floral lined white coat.

Eki Orleans (Germany/Nigeria)

Eki Orleans (Photo courtesy of Trendy Africa)

Eki Orleans (Photo courtesy of

Showing a colorful swimsuit/casual dress collection these designs had me wishing I was on a Carribean island somewhere sipping a piña colada. Pink, blue and green were the focus as they flowed across the clothing in wave-like details. 

Tiagbe of Kososhi’s

Tiagbe of Kososhi’s (Photo courtesy of

Tiagbe of Kososhi’s (Photo courtesy of

Bold, printed, lady-like dresses marked Tiagbe of Kososhi’s collection. She showcased classic prints (leaves, plaid), tribal patterns and some other, very unique, designs. I was instantly drawn to one of these more unique prints, which, when observed with a critical eye, looked quite a bit like a koosh ball with eyes. But when highlighted by the designers color choices (orange and blue), the pattern made for quite an eye-catching and chic look. Any one of these stylish, versatile dresses could be worn to work and to happy hour right after. 

Igwedenma Rodney Emeka of McMeka (Nigeria)

Igwedenma Rodney Emeka (Photo courtesy of

Igwedenma Rodney Emeka (Photo courtesy of

Following a procession of all female looks, Igwedenma Rodney Emeka showed a menswear suit collection in a rainbow of colors and prints. Strongly featuring red and green, the collection showcased multiple monochromatic looks (in varied materials) as well as heavily printed jackets and pants. A barbershop quartet hat also made a memorable appearance, topping off an all-red suit. 

Khadijah Mouh (Morocco)

Khadijah Mouh (Photo courtesy of

Khadijah Mouh (Photo courtesy of Trendy Africa)

The designer showcased both men’s and women’s caftans in bright colors and traditional moroccan designs and transitioned into a number of elegant evening looks, culminating in what appeared to be a bridal gown. One of my favorite looks of the night was a white and lime green tunic over second-skin black pants and sky-scraper black strappy heels. 

Sally Karago (Kenya) 

Sally Karago (Photos courtesy of

Sally Karago (Photos courtesy of

A parade of neutral suede and leather patchwork looks, with pops of green and orange, the clothes ranged from casual (think bermuda shorts) to evening (think full-length gowns). The undoubted highlight being a dress with an entirely wood-beaded train which the model painstakingly walked down the runway. Most noteworthy however, was the attention to detail. From tiny shells swinging from a skirt to buttons sewn inconspicuously into the garments, there were unexpected details everywhere if you were observant enough to notice. 

Hilda Mauya (Kenya)

Hilda Mauya (Photo courtesy of

Hilda Mauya (Photo courtesy of Trendy Africa)

The final showcase was a spectacle of color, texture and style. From short dresses, to floor-length gowns, to two-peice looks to a diaphanous maroon gown, Mauya’s designs were striking and bold. The standout for me was a beautifully structured, strong-shouldered, lime green peplum top with a printed skinny pant. I’ve been trying to re-create it in my closet since then to no avail. 

*Photos courtesy of Trendy Africa and Text by S. Adubato Burke / Fashion Studio Magazine.


  1. Wow! The writer really drew me in with her vivid descriptions of the venue and fashion.

  2. There's something immediately dignified about this venue - it is beautifully designed, tasteful, and understated. Went to these comfy sweet 16 venues nyc recently, just the right temperature, good food and great experience.


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