Yesterday I attended Africa Fashion Week London, which took place at London’s iconic venue, Olympia. This marked my second visit to AFWL, the first one I attended was in Spitalfields market in 2012, which was quite a different experience to what I encountered yesterday. First of all, this event felt a lot more corporate. Olympia is renowned for being a space that houses trade type shows, so when I entered the venue the first thing I noted was the characterless neutral walls and slate grey floor, which seemed quite at odds with the dynamic African fashion extravaganza that showcases designers from around the Diaspora. Also, because the space was so huge and with stalls all placed around the outskirts of the hall, the venue looked half empty. Needless to say I wasn’t a huge fan of it being held at Olympia, I can understand the need for a bigger space because the event has undoubtedly grown over the years, but I’m not convinced this was the best option.
Anyhoo, despite my dissatisfaction about the location, the most important thing was of course, the fashion, and it has to be said AFWL 2014 DELIVERED. My favourite shows came courtesy of ALABI Couture, Kass Couture and Dearcurves (where I spotted at least three pieces that I have to have in my possession). African fabrics came in an assortment of colours, which we’ve come to expect of course, but was often paired with neutral shades or presented in blocks of colour. Traditional cloth was mixed with textured fabrics like distressed denim, sheer panels and lace.
In terms of hair and beauty, the dominant theme for the hair was big, badass and audacious, which was just up my street. There was a lot of dual textured ‘dos – hair slicked back at the front, and backcombed into a Afro at the back. I also adored the curly Afro high tops, think: a modern day, uber stylish version of Arnold from Different Strokes, sounds wrong, but it looked awesome. I couldn’t make it down to Saturday’s show but from what I’ve seen on Instagram the shows are equally phenomenal, marking another successful year for AFWL. If you didn’t make it down there this year, make sure you book your tickets in advance next year. Special thanks to Emerzy Corbin for the images