African-Made Luxury Fashion Takes Centre Stage at Unstoppable Africa Gala
AFI Highlights African Fashion at Unstoppable Africa Gala
Ranji Mangcu (New York)
African Fashion International took centre stage at the Global African Business Initiative (GABI) Gala in New York City, presenting an African Fashion Unites themed fashion show. It was a show that proudly embodied a Pan-African vision of Africa’s fashion.
Picture this: models gracefully gliding down a makeshift runway at the Cipriani Wall Street, captivating the entire room. With every step, they unveil the sheer magnificence of world-class designs, each detail a testament to the unrivalled craftsmanship of African fashion designers.
Designs by Eric Raisina, Masa Mara and Taibo Bacar at AFI's 'African Fashion Unites' fashion show at the Unstoppable Africa Gala Dinner in New York City during the 2023 United Nations General Assembly.
This gala showcased designer garments hailing from the African continent, a dazzling fusion of diverse casting and ingenious styling. The stage was set for a mesmerising fashion journey.
The showcase was curated with garments and accessories by some of the most interesting African fashion designers. Designer brands that were featured in the show were Taibo Bacar (Mozambique), Eric Raisina (Madagascar) Adele Dejak (Kenya), Enjipai Jewellery (Tanzania) House of Nala by AFI (South Africa), Jeyna A (Senegal), Masa Mara (Rwanda) Scalo (South Africa) and Bathini Designs (South Africa).
It was a show that presented an update on Africa’s fashion industry, telling a story of the ingenuity of designers, the modern representation of African fashion and the remarkable craftsmanship that’s available on the continent.
Designs by Bathini Designs, House of Nala by AFI and Taibo at AFI's 'African Fashion Unites' fashion show at the Unstoppable Africa Gala Dinner in New York City during the 2023 United Nations General Assembly.
It was the perfect way to whet the appetite ahead of the upcoming African fashion weeks that will take place in the latter part of the year, including Joburg Fashion Week 2023.
The second annual GABI summit brought together Africa's brightest minds and business leaders under a single roof. Under the banner of "Unstoppable Africa," they explored transformation, unity, and innovation.
The summit pulled the focus on Africa’s strides in industry, innovation and endless pool of creative resources. Speakers at the summit stressed how it was important to recognize that we live in a time of great transformation. Connecting the global community are widespread generational culture-shifts, driven in no small part by an unprecedented age of technological advancement and existential concerns about the future of our planet and humanity’s role in determining it.
Designs by Taibo Bacar, Jeyna A and Scalo at AFI's 'African Fashion Unites' fashion show at the Unstoppable Africa Gala Dinner in New York City during the 2023 United Nations General Assembly.
Despite the commonly misplaced focus on the infrastructural impediments that disrupt the business landscape on the African continent, it is less often acknowledged that despite their perceived fledgling status, the continuous growth of industries on the African continent means opportunities to build its infrastructure anew, in ways that match our ideals of the future and challenge the order that has led to the current climate and economic crises.
The gala featured a brief discussion exploring the above. Included in the discussion were AFI’s founder and executive chair, Dr Precious Moloi-Motsepe; leader of the Africa Center in Harlem, New York, Uzodinma Iweala; and chairman of Style House Files Limited, Tokunbo Akerele.
Dr Precious Moloi-Motsepe speaking at the GABI- Unstoppable Africa Gala Dinner in New York City.
The emphasis was placed on envisioning a new world built on African solutions. Dr Moloi-Motsepe emphasized the strength of Africa’s creative economy, and the key role played by the youth in building and sustaining it.
Closing out an evening of information, networking and entertainment, Deputy Secretary General of the United Nations, Amina Mohammed, emphasized the mutual investment that underpins GABI’s drive towards bringing an “unstoppable” Africa to fruition.
Amina Mohammed, Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations at the GABI Unstoppable Africa Gala Dinner in New York City.
The defining theme of the evening was, as Mohammed put it, embracing opportunities to “envision” the continent differently:
“Charity no more… eyeball to eyeball, this is what we want to invest in”