15 Years of AFI- Looking at the AFI Fashion Week shows over the years

AFI Fashion Week Joburg 2022

The most iconic AFI Fashion Week Joburg fashion shows

From African Fashion Unites, to the AFI Fashion Film, AFI Fashion Week Joburg has produced iconic fashion shows

There was a time when the world thought that animal and traditional prints were the only aesthetics that African fashion designers brought to the global fashion industry. But that is an old and uninformed way of looking at what’s happening in the African fashion scene.

While prints are a major part of our identity, there’s to the African design identity. There are 54 countries in the African continent, each with its distinct style. The continent has a rich culture and history that is reflected in the fashion. Second, Africans have a strong sense of identity and pride in their appearance. Few would deny that Africans have a unique style that is unlike any other in the world.

It is that unique style that has made the African fashion industry different from the rest. This has always been what African Fashion International has wanted to show to the global fashion industry.

Since the beginning of the AFI Fashion Weeks, AFI has steadily changed how African designers and their work is viewed around the world.

As AFI celebrates its 15th year anniversary, we look back at some of the most memorable AFI Fashion Weeks hosted in Joburg since 2007.

AFI Fashion Week Africa 2014

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Africa Fashion Week is one of the biggest achievements for African Fashion International and the 2014 AFI Africa Fashion Week will go down as one of the biggest highlights. Themed Our Heritage Re-imagined’, the show was hosted in Melrose Arch and featured the talents of Pan-African designers, including Taibo Bacar, MaXhosa Africa, SCALO, Jenevieve Lyons, Laurence Airline, and Mille Collines.

AFI Fashion Week Joburg 2019

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African Fashion Unites. This was not just a celebration of African fashion and what it means in the global industry, but also a statement on the importance of a united Africa. After the xenophobic attacks in South Africa in July/August 2019, there was a need to respond and AFI organised what many regard as one of the best showcases of African fashion. The special showcase was presented by the Motsepe Foundation and included a fashion show of the greatest African fashion designers, including Taibo Bacar, Gavin Rajah, Eric Raisina, Marianne Fassler and Mai Atafo. There were performances from Femi Kuti, the Ndlovu Youth Choir and Kwesta.

AFI Fashion Week Joburg AW 2011

AFI Fashion Week Joburg 2011 was all about celebrating Johannesburg as a fashion capital. Shows were held in different parts of the city, including landmarks like Constitution Hill, Nelson Mandela Bridge and The Bus Factory. But the show that is still memorable is David Tlale’s Nelson Mandela Tribute. 92 models for 92 years of Nelson Mandela’s life at the Nelson Mandela Bridge in downtown Johannesburg? Talk about iconic. Sure, the show started late, but perfection takes time, no? The show featured celebrities on the ramp, including the stars of The Bold and the Beautiful. It’s still one of the biggest and most famous fashion shows in South Africa and the continent.

AFI Fashion Week Joburg 2018

2018’s Afro-Asia theme was all about exploring the relationship between Africa and Asia. As relations between the two continents grow, so must the conversations. AFI managed to produce a thrilling fashion and cultural fusion at African Fashion International (AFI) Joburg Fashion Week 2018 at Melrose Arch.  The fashion week featured designers like AntiArch (China) and 5-knot, who hails from Tokyo, showcasing alongside leading African brands like Maxhosa by Laduma, Kreyann, Ruff Tung, Tuelo Nguyuza, Marianne Fassler, Eric Raisina and Scalo.

AFI Fashion Week Joburg 2020

In the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, everyone was doing things differently. As the world embraced a new reality and did everything via the screen, it was a no-brainer for AFI to produce a showcase that was themed RESET! REIMAGINE! REINVENT! It featured hybrid shows which were part digital and part physical, with restricted seating capacity to observe strict Covid-19 protocol. And this ended up with the SAFTA Award nominated AFI Fashion Film. The fashion film reset the runway, offering a reinvented platform for Africa’s talented designers, including Scalo, Urban Zulu, Imprint, Seditsi Collection, Taku Dlamini, and K Moraba and Collective, to showcase their garments, which reimagined contemporary African lifestyles through the context of our present-day challenges.  AFI took cameras to locations around the country, each of which added additional storytelling elements to the collections on show. These backdrops included the Johannesburg Lion Park, the Lesedi Cultural Village, and most notable the Constitutional Hill Museum.

AFI Fashion Week Joburg is on November 17-19 November at The Diamond Walk in Sandton City. Click here (link: https://africanfashioninternational.com/joburg-fashion-week/)  to register to watch the shows online.

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