With African Fashion Week just a week ahead, East London’s Calvert Avenue was getting into the spirit of things with an all day African art and Fashion pop up event. Taking place on Sunday 28th August, it was a true celebration of African culture and style, through traditional food, dance and fashion, with live shows from emerging designers.
I was particularly excited to see that Amine Bendriouch and Hassan Hajjaj’s designs (which I’d written about previously here), would be shown, along with Chichia London – a newly established ethical African label I’ve had my eye on.
Showcasing their new aw13 collection, Chichia London brought traditional African prints, contemporary clean-cut silhouettes and sharp tailoring. Hair was styled into a Mohawk ponytail, for a slick urban finish thanks to the skills from L’oreal hairdressers backstage.
It was great seeing Hassan Hajjaj & Amine’s collection up close, which they debuted at Tunisia Fashion Week. The statement blazers were my favourite, and even the rain couldn’t dampen spirits with African print umbrellas on hand.
The atmosphere and buzz created around this event has hopefully helped bring some genuine talent to the forefront of urban design. The community spirit was at a full time high, and everyone was dressed to impress hoping to get snapped up by local street style blogs.
Later I stopped by Morrocan artist Hassan Hajjaj’s shop Larache, which was just around the corner from the event. Inside is full of upcycled and reworked designs with heavy cultural influences. I love the picture frames below, which are produced using recycled car tyres.
I’m looking forward to seeing more from these labels, who ultimately strive to promote innovation and creativity through traditional craftsmanship and artisanal work. The African fashion industry has always been a significant influence in western fashion, and to see this being celebrated in such a creative, inspiration way was a joy to see. I’m even more ready than ever now to see what African Fashion Week has in store, in just a few days time.