Quantity instead of Quality at Africa Fashion Week London (AFWL)

Trainers by Gnostic Jungle: The coolest discovery at AFWL

London is always worth a trip in my book and I hadn’t been back for ages. So I was looking forward to attending AFWL. While preparing for the trip and scheduling meetings with industry stakeholders, I noticed that most of the people I was trying to meet before/during/after the show, did not really intend to visit AFWL. That made me suspicious, but I was determined to go and form my own opinion.

It first dawned on me that I probably wasn’t in for a treat after I received the schedule for AFWL: 30 designers per day and I hadn’t heard of any of them – except 2. I checked with some other bloggers to see if it was just me but no – they didn’t know most of the listed designers either.

One of the vendors selling alongside AFWL

So long story short: If you expected fashion forward designs and the latest trends in Africa-inspired Fashion and a show of the most successful and hottest African Designers to date – that wasn’t what AFWL delivered. It was more a mixture of young designers presenting their first collection, ready-to-wear mixed with some party and evening outfits. Besides some small highlights – dare I say – it was overall just mediocre.
At a time where African Fashion is trending and almost every city is coming up with its own Africa Fashion Week I was expecting more from AFWL. The event didn’t foreshadow the next trends and designers or even presented current London-based African designers that already are or will be rocking the fashion world. After seeing the shows of Beat of Africa in Rome and the report about Africa Fashion Day Berlin – AFWL just didn’t live-up to my expectations.

L – Kiyanawraps / R –Moonlook

Moving forward I believe that the concepts of Africa Fashion Day Berlin as well as Beat of Africa – that were part of the infrastructure and took place during the actual fashion weeks in Rome and Berlin are more successful concepts and will ensure quality as well as give African Designers the necessary visibility, exposure and opportunity within the industry.

This is my reflection on AFWL – what are your thoughts?

1 Comment
  1. Well said. We all need constructive negative criticism to improve. If the organisers are clever, they'll take heed.

    There's lots of support for this event, but it keep going down if the organisers don't raise the bar. Great brands get lumped together with poor ones on the runway – is there any selection criteria at all? More quality over quantity please AFWL!