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Swahili fashion week puts spotlight on East African designers

posted 12 Dec 2012, 18:45 by Mpelembe Admin   [ updated 12 Dec 2012, 18:45 ]

The 5th edition of the Swahili Fashion week brings a fusion of different influences of East African culture.

 DAR-ES-SALAAM, TANZANIA  (REUTERS) -  Fashion designers from across East Africa gathered in in Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania to showcase their work at the fifth annual "Swahili Fashion Week."

The three-day event, which ran from December 6 to 8 is fast becoming a staple in the region's burgeoning design calendar.

The brainchild behind the show is Tanzanian designer Mustafa Hassanali, who created it with the aim to boost interest in East Africa's fashion designers who have less exposure than their western and southern counterparts on the world stage.

"As we celebrate five years of Swahili Fashion Week because we are fast tracking in the region integration of East Africa, we have decided to take the product made in Tanzania to Kenya. So last year we launched Swahili Fashion Week Media in Kenya and this year officially we had the first Swahili Week showcasing in Kenya," said Hassanali.

This year saw more than 49 designers from the East African region as well as Zambia and South Africa, who showcased a range of fashion lines including clothes, shoes, jewellery and handbags.

For Ugandan fashion designer, Martha Jabo, Swahili Fashion Week has given up and coming designers from the region a platform to gain more exposure.

"Right now the fashion industry in Uganda is slowly picking up taking baby steps, but East Africa as a whole I believe is picking up especially with Fashion Week which gives young designers and talented designers as me," said Jabo.

Designers dazzled the crowd and keen to flaunt their African roots, they showcased collections that were inspired by African colourful prints.

"Designers are trying to bring exposure, it's all about the wax and African print now days, so even European designers are copying the African print, so that's great for me," said Joyce, an audience member.

A Swahili Fashion Week Shopping Festival also ran alongside the main event where buyers could get the latest style in shoes, jewellery and handbags from more than 40 exhibitors.


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