AFI Showcase Stuns at Forbes 30/50 Summit
African Fashion International (AFI) continued its commitment to elevate African fashion firmly onto the world stage, with a spectacular showcase at the inaugural Forbes 30/50 summit held in Abu Dhabi.
Held at the Saadiyat Rotana on Saadiyat Island, Abu Dhabi provided the perfect backdrop of sun, sea, art and architecture, where some of Africa’s leading design talent showed alongside designers from the United Arab Emirates.
The cultural exchange through fashion represented the east, west, north and south of Africa. The live stream of the runway, which was the only segment of the summit open to the public, reshaped stories of Africa through a digital narrative.
Showing six pieces each, designers included Christie Brown from Ghana, Marie Louis Bishara from Egypt, Eric Raisina from Madagascar, Sober from South Africa, as well as Iranian-born Sima Collezione from the USA.
In line with uplifting emerging talent, the sustainable collection by AFI Fastrack Young Designer of the year, Shamyra Moodley, told a powerful story of a child of Africa and her Indian heritage.
With a delegation of 250 of some of the most influential women, AFI’s pan-African designers were afforded the opportunity to multiply their market share through runway and showroom presentations of bespoke luxury items to a new high-end clientele. Speakers included Hillary Rodham Clinton, Her Royal Highness Princess Lamia Bint Majed Saud Al Saud, supermodel Paulina Porizkova, Tyra Bank, and AFI Founder and CEO Dr Precious Moloi Motsepe.
In a deal brokered by Dr Moloi-Motsepe between Forbes and AFI, designers were able to not only promote African fashion but also create business opportunities that promoted continental trade to new to global markets.
As an interlude to the runway, Dr Moloi-Motsepe engaged in a fireside chat with Forbes’ Chief Content Editor, Randall Lane. In her powerful message, she highlighted the importance of diversity on global fashion platforms and challenged the audience to recognise the industry’s unsustainable status-quo. “It’s not just about the product, it’s also about how we treat people and the planet,” she said.
The showcase by the Womenswear Fashion Collective contributed to the overarching women empowerment theme of the summit through displays of diverse womanhood. The Louvre Museum provided an apt setting for a cultural experience that bridged the eastern and western art worlds. The collaboration with AFI broadened this bridge to Africa.
AFI, being a fully-fledged retail business, was able to offer both an online and dedicated showroom experience where delegates were able to touch feel and familiarise themselves with the quality of the runway garments, as well as other unique pieces. This included PlatAfrica jewellery created by students, apprentices, and professional South African designers for their annual flagship platinum jewellery market development initiative.
As AFI seeks to promote its e-commerce boutique, House of Nala, to international markets, the interest in African fashion from the guests representing 37 countries culminated into a flurry of physical sales over the two days, together with thousands of additional online demand with AFI’s easily accessible international shipping options.
For the opportunity to get your hands on the exclusive pieces, shop the looks via AFI’s app or website visit www.africanfashioninternational.com
To watch the global showcase, tune into AFI’s YouTube channel.