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Berlinale hosts first ever Africa Fashion Day

posted 16 Jan 2013, 13:07 by Mpelembe   [ updated 16 Jan 2013, 13:08 ]

A new show brings some African flair to the German capital as Berlin fashion week gets a new jewel in its crown.

BERLINGERMANY (JANUARY 15, 2013) (REUTERS) -  Berlin Fashion Week has added a new jewel to its crown, introducing the first Africa Fashion Day to its programme and bringing 'Urban Fashion Night' to the Mercedes-Benz event.

The goal is to bring African fashion into the existing fold and to create a platform for African, Afro-Caribbean and African Americans living in Europe.

Founder of the event, Beatrice Angut Oola is herself German-born with Ugandan parents, and says the time is right for the fashion world to embrace design that is a combination of the European and African influences.

"We are becoming global. Everything is international and I think African fashion has a place. In Germany it shouldn't be absent. In LondonParis it goes without saying and here we are still a bit behind, but I think With Africa FAshion Day Berlin we are opening doors and it offers another way of looking at things. To see that African fashion is not just about reggae colours, or wax print but African fashion can be modern, can be luxurious, can be stylish, can be urban," Oola told Reuters TV from the foyer of Berlin's landmarkAdlon hotel, transformed into a catwalk for the evening.

"Mercedes-Benz fashion week is happening and fashion is here and we want to be part of it. We want designers to develop business contacts and contacts in general, that they are able to network. It is about creating a give a take, that global partnerships are created and this can all happen at the Mercedes-Benz fashion week," she added.

Lulu Kumani Inaya, of Congolese-Angolan roots, brings downsized African Jewellery to the stage to match the colours Europeans are drawn to, but in smaller sizes.

"It is African inspired but with an African touch. For example I have created button earrings because Europeans like African design, but don't like it to be so big, so, not all of them, but some of the jewellery pieces are smaller, and these are for Europeans," 23-year old Inaya said.

Her Makeda collection by Inaya takes its name from the Ethiopian word for 'the beauty.'

Born in Congo, Inaya grew up in German and after training in cosmetics started her label in 2010 using African textiles and materials and a European design touch.

Womenswear designer Nkwoh Onwuka, presented her eponymous label at the Urban Fashion Night, describing her style as spiritual, a little bit nomadic and totally African with clear lines and a natural feel.

London-born to Nigerian parents, Onwuka studied psychology before taking the fashion route giving a debut show in 2007 where she won the Phoenix Award.

Although she has already featured at events all over the world, Onwuka said the chance to come together at Berlin Fashion Week was a good networking opportunity.

"I think it is because it is a place where you have got a lot of designers in one space, you have buyers coming, you have press coming and all the attention is on the fashion week and I think that it is a good place to come to expose your brand," she said.

Naomi, Romero Bryan and Adama Amanda Ndiaye brought an array of sleek cuts and mixed fabrics onto the catwalk to bring Urban Fashion Night to a glitzy end.