Dr. Precious Moloi-Motsepe

THE FOUNDER

“African fashion is a bold political statement. It embraces our history of colour, texture and symbolism in an amalgamation of modern trends”

Dr. Precious Moloi-Motsepe

OUR STORY

African Fashion International (AFI) delivers on providing our discerning customers good quality, affordable, and authentic African clothing and accessories. AFI achieves this through live and online platforms, training platforms, convening platforms and omni-channel offerings for sales.
The story of AFI begins in 2007, as the global fashion industry began consciously correcting it’s lack of diversity. AFI entered the scene with a clear vision to create a platform where the best, most globally relevant and contemporary African designers will be discovered. AFI has since groomed and propelled local designers into global household names.

the founder

At the heart of AFI is Dr Precious-Moloi-Motsepe. From the beginning of her career she has been an advocate for instilling a culture of hope and shared prosperity amongst African people. As a long-standing member of the Harvard Kennedy School and the World Economic Forum, amongst many other international platforms, Dr Moloi-Motsepe leverages these globally renowned stages to share Africa’s perceptions with the world. In 2017, Dr Moloi-Motsepe won the inaugural Fashion 4 Development Franca Sozzani Award at the United Nations in New York, for her efforts in promoting African fashion designers and supporting the empowerment of disadvantaged women.

the beginning

The first international showcase arranged by AFI was in 2008 in Paris, with designers David Tlale, Thula Sindi and Craig Jacobs showing alongside the more established designer Gavin Rajah. In 2009, in partnership with ARISE, AFI elevated local designers to runways at NYFW. Since then, designers and brands, including globally acclaimed Laduma Ngxokolo, have expanded their reach by thrilling audiences at Joburg Fashion Week while consistently showcasing at AFI Fashion Weeks and pop up stores.

international recognition

AFI invests in building a beneficial ecosystem for the African fashion industry. To achieve this, AFI partners with leading organisations in the industry and has hosted world class fashion events and shows together with Mercedes Benz, Ms World and Condé Nast International. Leaders in fashion, including the likes of Suzy Menkes, the former editor of Vogue International, and Edward Enninful, the editor-in-chief of British Vogue, have attended AFI Fashion Week.

AFI Brand story

The story begins in 2007…

Dr Precious Moloi-Motsepe understood that clothing is a silent statement of who we are. Wearing multiple figurative hats in her life; her medical scrubs signified healing, her pantsuits represented her business-mindedness, and her colourful dresses conveyed her playful spirit as a mother and wife.

In search of style that could convey this multi-faceted identity, African Fashion International was brought to life as a fashion and lifestyle brand curated for the exceptional and sophisticated woman – or man.

The story before the story…

It’s the turn of the 21st century and fashion weeks of New York, Paris and Milan are a celebration of Masaai and Ankara inspired aesthetics. Yet, African designers are disconnected from sharing in this success and too few reach international acclaim.

A Black Model Reaches the Top, A Lonely Spot,” was the title of an article in the New York Times in April 2003. Five years later the industry remained unchanged, “Ignoring Diversity, Runways Fade to White” read the New York Times in October 2007.

In her hat as a businesswoman and philanthropist, Dr Precious Moloi-Motsepe was concerned that without social capital Africa would remain a territory in need of aid instead of a prosperous land for investment. The fashion industry, with its vast art and design capital, offered an opportunity to create economic opportunity for local artisans and elevate stories of Africa into the mainstream – not the familiar stories of despair but the stories of cosmopolitan realities.

As Africa’s people began to realise their aspirations, this socioeconomic shift needed to be acknowledged in a global industry known for appropriating African culture.

AFI burst onto the fashion scene to propel Afro-centric fashion and stories of Africa’s extraordinary people. By February 2009 the New York Times ran the article, “Revealing New Layers of African Fashion” and the world began to take notice of Africa’s multi-dimensional creativity.

“Does Africa have any Fashion?” Yes, it does and AFI is challenging this narrative of Africa as the land of inspiration by building a central market for unique Made-In-Africa luxury goods, lifestyle and experiences.

Did you know, designers Yves Saint Laurent and Azzadine Alaia are originally from Africa?

Naturally open and inclusive, AFI platforms give a voice to African women and youth, while discovering talent in spaces the world does not think to look. AFI is able to do this because it is upheld by a community of discerning and exclusive individuals who are in search of collectible, one-of-a-kind pieces of wearable art.

AFI’s global audience is playing the role of identifying and investing in the legacy of African fashion, by sharing their tastes to shift the current industry status-quo toward diverse, symbolic and bold aesthetics.

Unlike the ship of Theseus, AFI remains true to its original mission. Remodelled and reshaped by designers and customers over time, AFI is still envisioned as a thriving ecosystem for Africa’s creative and crafts community.

Injecting multi-faceted and multi-cultural identities into the fashion world, AFI is the place for African excellence to coincide with African heritage; where lovers of Africa can invest in an original piece of natural beauty.

SUPPORTING THE YOUTH

Through AFI’s For Youth By Youth initiative, the annual Xperience AFI (XAFI) event brings together young creatives to emphasise the careers and entrepreneurship opportunities available within the African creative and digital landscape XAFI builds on the Fastrack platform, which invests in the pipeline of Africa’s next generation designers. Fastrack offers training and mentorship in the business of fashion, with notable designers including Rich Mnisi, Thebe Magagu and Khotatso Tsotetsi starting their careers through this platform.

AFI 4.0

In 2019 AFI pivoted to a new strategy, transforming access to AFI services by incorporating several additional digital platforms. AFI customers now have unlimited access to curated products and personalised offerings, which are presented through bespoke hybrid fashion events, an e-commerce platform and a news aggregator site. The retail store House of Nala, located at the Leonardo in Sandton, supports AFI’s e-commerce capabilities by providing a seamless shopping experience and tailored services for luxury customers. Add your voice to the AFI story by joining our community of Africa and fashion enthusiasts. Shape your experience of Africa and fashion by giving us your feedback.

EXCLUSIVE POSITIONING

AFI has established itself as an all-encompassing home for African creatives

THE CONSUMER

THE DESIGNER

guaranteed quality

Assurance of excellence on all products.

guaranteed quality

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premium selection

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affordable luxury

.

convenient shopping

.

THE DESIGNER

support designers

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promote african brands

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influence Industry Standards

.

Invest in african fashion

.

support designers

Support emerging designers and elevate established designers to new heights.

AIM

A pioneer of accessible African luxury fashion, AFI aims to:

grow

Grow Africa’s contributions in the global fashion and lifestyle marketplace through partnerships and the construction of world-class platforms.

INVIGORATE

Invigorate a passion for Africa by promoting unique and diverse contemporary perceptions of African heritage and culture.

CHAMPION

Champion a sustainable development agenda with a collective of creatives, customers and partners who aim to preserve the planet and invest in people.

Together with the Motsepe Foundation, AFI assisted in coordinating the Global Citizen movement into South Africa to create opportunities for local design talent on a global platform. The fashion ecosystem is powered by the work of women along the value chain and it is impossible to grow African fashion without empowering women and African youth. Other campaigns driven by AFI includes the Design for Life breast cancer campaign and African Fashion Unites.

To actively respond to eco-conscious efforts within the industry, AFI promotes the sustainable and slow fashion agenda. Through a partnership with the Global Fashion Agenda, and their annual Copenhagen Fashion Summit, AFI highlights the perspectives of Africa amongst global efforts to improve sustainability. Through AFI’s training programme Fastrack, emerging designers participate in challenges that include the use of recycled and repurposed materials in the design of their collections.
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