Fourteen designers from across Africa and around the world showcased their collections on the runways of Kenya Fashion Week. Organizers of the event say they hope to make Kenya a fashion hub for Africa.
NAIROBI KENYA (AUGUST 24, 2013) (REUTERS) - The debut of a name, but not the an idea - designers from Africa and other parts of the world showcased their clothes and accessories at the 4th edition of an annual fshion event that was previously referred to as trends of Kenya fashion festival.
The designers hope to position Kenya as a fashion hub in Africa, where Nigeriaand South Africa have already led the way.
African fashion is growing bigger and bolder at home, and starting to register on the radar of design houses and style magazines abroad.
"You see more and more African designers being invited to fashion weeks inEurope and America and that's very exciting that just shows you that we are getting noticed, the work we do is noticeable, its worth it, and it's definitely on international levels, so I am quite excited to grow with fashion and with Africa and to just be on par with the rest of the world," said South African designer, Ruald Rheeder.
Designers also displayed outfits and accessories at the event's one-day exhibition. It was an opportunity for designers to make some sales and to promote themselves to visiting investors as well as buyers.
While many welcome the idea that modern African fashion designers are getting noticed at fashion fests from Dakar to Lagos and Johannesburg, the industry, like others on the continent, languishes largely in the informal and suffers from the lack of financing, access to markets and, many say, it is not taken seriously enough.
Nigerian accessories designer Tina Ndidi Ugo says African fashion has come a long way.
"Yes we have been in the fashion business but it used to be seen around the globe like we are jokers that didn't know what we are doing but of recent you can see that in the UK, if you go to some high street shops say for example To Shop in River Island, you will find pieces that actually have been influenced by African fashion
Organisers believe the fashion industry could take its place on the continent as an engine of growth and employment, if fashion designers would take the business side more seriously.
"People who are coming into the industry we always advice and I will always say that you know you may have talent but you need to know what to do with it so, fashion is a mix of good business and amazing talent," said Indian designer Dev N Ril.