The African Fashion Show: Young Visionaries Design a Diverse Future

Words // Caley Berg and Fiona Balleret

“Sometimes it falls upon a generation to be great. You can be that great generation. Let your greatness blossom.” - Nelson Mandela

In modern fashion, Africans designs and forms are more and more present. During this last fashion week only, brands such as Valentino, Versace and Balmain harbored the glow of African inspiration and design.

Yet in fashion, African designers from sub-saharan or North African regions have little say in today’s design, regardless of their brilliance.

Young visionaries— namely, Caroline Ikpea, Marie-Dominique Kassi and Ibrahim Yaro— are working toward breaking the barriers between regional industries and establishing a place for African fashion in the global fashion landscape, one local show at a time.

A still image does not fully encapsulate the movement and personality of these pieces.

You could hear the crowd in the ballroom roaring across the entire third floor. The crowd’s lively energy matched the zeal of the designers Ikpea, Kassi and Yaro, who all showcased their work in the African Fashion Show.

Fashion show attendees watched in a trance as a flurry of color and innovative patterns whirled by. Many African designers do not shy away from luminous color— contrasting warm and cool tones intertwine in patterns to create bold dimension.

All the designers were African students at St. Edward’s University. The brands featured include MKassi, Maison Gaynde and Caro.

The event was hosted by the African Student Organization (ASO), which has a strong, positive, and active presence on campus.  ASO encourages all students to attend meetings in which they celebrate each other’s unique cultures as well as discuss cultural issues.

What is truly extraordinary is the way in which these young minds have developed pieces that are both beautiful and meaningful. All three designers built their creations intending to represent a part of themselves and their history.

Enjoy the show!

 

 

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