By Kalungi Kabuye
Four days, 30 of the top African designers from more than 15 countries; and 20 fashion shows – that is what is on the card as the Mercedes-Benz sponsored Africa Fashion Week kicked off in gear in the South African city of Pretoria on Wednesday.
First off was a collection by Indian designer Garvin Rajah hosted at his parents’ house in Pretoria. It was held in the afternoon and featured both indoors and outdoors runways.
Action then shifted to the Tshwane City hall, the main venue where most of the shows will be held. That evening featured the Amaze Africa Show, sponsored by Samsung, and featuring collections by, among others, Marianne Fassler South Africa), Projecto Mentale (Angola), Nana Brenu (Ghana), and Rift Valley Leather from Kenya.
Models featuring included Uganda’s Cape Town-based Patricia Laloyo and 2004 Face of Africa winner Kaone.
The last show of the night was held at a railway station, and featured a collection by David Tlale, one of South Africa’s most celebrated designers. The actual runway was a concrete strip between rail road tracks and was around 200 meters long. He also used more than 100 models in a show that featured ballet dancers and lasted almost two hours.
Thursday will feature designers from Cameroon, India, Tanzania’s Sheria Ngowi and Mille Collines from Rwanda.