September 19th, 2011
Fashion Show, Fashion Week, Show Review
Show Review: Arise Magazine “Made in Africa” Designer Collective
By The Fashion Bomb Staff


A look from Momo by Asibelua

Every year Arise Magazine‘s “Made in Africa” show strives to shine a spotlight on a well edited group of African designers.  Top models of color like Sessilee Lopez, Rose Cordero, and Jeneil Williams walked in the show. Noted attendees included Miss Jay Alexander, Omarion, Essence magazine Editor-in-Chief Constance White, and stylist June Ambrose.

from Klûk CGDT

Seven designers participated in the showcase: KLuK CGDTJewel by LisaTsemaye BinitiePierre-Antoine Vettorello, Momo by AsibeluaLanre da Silva Ajayi and Bunmi Koko. While their respective cultural influences proudly came through in their work, each designer offered modern, wearable pieces with impeccable tailoring and genius use of color.

Designer Fati Asibelua opened the show with a collection aptly named “African Kaleidescope.” Bright tartans, plaids, demure checks, and tie-dye patterns meshed symbiotically with ankara and tie-dye prints. From pencil skirts to dramatic caftans, decidedly western silhouettes were shown alongside pieces in more traditional African cuts, in a collection reflecting Africa’s cultural history with the west in a way that is not so painful as it usually is.

Lanre DaSilva-Ajayi showed her “Labour of Love,” a brilliantly textured and colorful collection inspired by butterfly wings. Lace overlays in rich jewel tones and glittery tweeds were the foundation for many standout looks. This collection was definitely my favorite. The designer stole the show when she took her bow, accidentally stepping out onto the wrong part of the stage and falling clear through! With assistance from the show’s staff, Ms. DaSilva-Ajayi, ever the trooper, picked up and walked the stage, obviously bemused by her clumsiness.

Bunmi Koko’s “Allure of the Sirens” captured the dreaminess of the mythical creatures with flowy, romantic looks. Sailing rope accessories and accents in the pieces buttressed the overall mood of the seafaring version of the  femme fatale.

Clinically clean whites, shimmery neutrals, icy greys, and sheer blacks rounded out Tsemaye Binitie‘s offering of looks taking you from the boardroom to the ballroom. Smartly tailored pieces acted as the perfect foils for frothy frocks, and tassels playfully shimmied, accenting blouses and one particularly dramatic floor-length gown. A lone fuchsia and red dress added a welcome injection of color to the collection.

A playful cornucopia of multi textured and tonal prints was the name of the game for Jewel by Lisa’s “Vintage Love” collection. Keeping in the tradition of the line’s namesake, jewel toned patterns and glittery geometric prints dominated the looks, along with designer Lisa Folawiyo‘s famed wax prints, topped off by charming fila hats.

In what was probably the most interesting use of material, Pierre-Antoine Vettorello uses metal jaws as the narrative thread for his collection. The jaws, worn as jewelry or set directly into blouses were anchored by luxe silks in rich burgundies, cool silvers, and navy blues, giving ladylike silhouettes an aggressive edge.

South African designers Malcolm Kluk and Christiaan Gabriel Du Toit of KLûK CGDT offer an emphatically ethereal collection. But the billowing chiffon looks were certainly not for the shrinking violet. High-waisted knickers showed underneath sheer skirts. Large floral applique’s and jewelry emboldened soft, elegant looks, giving them a playful, feminine sauciness. KlûK CGDT gives us a number of red-carpet worthy looks not for the faint of heart.

Overall, it was a wonderful show with many enviable pieces. Still, I couldn’t help but wonder why I’d never heard of these designers before. What a shame that people are missing out on such wonderful work! Hopefully showcases like this will push these designers’ work into the mainstream! I look forward to seeing more from them in the future.


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5 Responses to “Show Review: Arise Magazine “Made in Africa” Designer Collective”

  1. Kev says:

    All the designers above are regularly showcased on blogs like Bella Naija, One Nigerian Boy, Shop Liquorice, Style House Files, Ciaafrique, Shadders, Haute Fashion Africa and more! Definitely add them to your reading list to feel the pulse of fashion coming from the African continent.

  2. Anonymous says:

    LOVING these designs! Claire (forgive me if this is a dumb question), but is there any way that a person can get into fashion shows without being in the industry? Like is there any way that a regular person could just buy fashion show tickets?

  3. I was at this show last Friday and it was beautiful! Aside from the gorgeous designs on the runway, the fashion crowd was also a yummy sight to see :o)

  4. Roco-Coco says:

    I really wanted to attend. Judging from the few pics provided, it looks like it was a wonderful show with some great collections. Love what Im seeing.

  5. [...] Georgie nearly knocked me down when I saw how gorgeous she was during the Arise fashion show… why don’t you read my review please and thank you) photographed by Itaysha Jordan. Nothing like a little colorblocking to start [...]

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