LOOK: African designers make their mark at AFI Joburg Fashion Week

A look from Alia Bare designs. Picture: Supplied.

A look from Alia Bare designs. Picture: Supplied.

Published Nov 10, 2023


The past few weeks have seen African designers exhibit their latest collections at various fashion weeks, with African Fashion International (AFI) Joburg Fashion Week marking the final one this season.

On Thursday night, lovers of fine garments gathered at The Forum Campus in Bryanston to experience day one of the AFI Joburg Fashion Week Spring/ Summer 23/24 collections.

Some of the prominent figures who graced the front row included Dr Precious Moloi Motsepe, founder of AFI and her husband Patrice Motsepe, media mogul Basetsana Kumalo.

Meanwhile, radio personality and businessman Tbo Touch, lifestyle influencer Sarah Langa and Durban musician DJ Tira were also seated in the front row of the fashion spectacle.

Guests were in awe as veteran designer Gavin Rajah broke the ice this season and opened the fashion event with his stunning collection featuring Zanele Muholi x Somnyama Ngonyama.

Apart from the monochromatic range of dresses, as well as floral frocks and head-turning accessories like turbans and hats made of hair extensions, Rajah also included a denim range to this collection.

Model dressed in Gavin Rajah designs struts the AFI catwalk. Picture: Supplied.

For the second show, Nigerian fashion designer Alia Bare kept AFI guests intrigued.

She unveiled a whimsical collection titled “DNA” and some of the statement pieces included a black and white satin two-piece, orange kimonos, matching summer dresses and a blue and white chiffon dress and jumpsuit with bold patterns.

A look from Alia Bare. Picture: Supplied.

Meanwhile, Tumi Nakedi of Tumi Captivating Fashion made her AFI debut which did not disappoint. She showcased a trendy womenswear range of fashion-forward dresses in rich reds, bright yellows and daring greens.

The last two designers to showcase were Kaylaamiel Creations and Bongiwe Walaza.

This season, Kaylaamiel went for a simple range of flowing dresses, with blue and red being the main colours.

Meanwhile, Walaza, known for her bold Xhosa-inspired garments, impressed AFI attendees with a jaw-dropping range of African print dresses inspired by Indian ornaments.

A look from Kaylaamiel Creations. Picture: Supplied.

Walaza said, with this collection, she wanted to do something different as African print is widely used not only in the continent, but also globally. She added that while she still loves this print, she was determined to be more innovative.

A look from the Bongiwe Walaza collection. Picture: Supplied.

AFI Joburg Fashion Week started on November 9 and will run until November 11. The designers showcasing on November 10 are Bathini, Urban Zulu, Nguo, Indoni Fashion House and Masango.