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African Fashions and Designers Win World Acclaim
By Muguette Goufrani

Africans are painting the world in a kaleidoscope of bold, vibrant color combinations and dazzling patterns. The rich fabrics and virtually unlimited selection of turbans and other festive headgear, bright scarves, colorful wraps, wearable art and elegant gowns that brightened our days and lit up our evenings in Morocco, Kenya, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Cameroon, Cote d'Ivoire Uganda, Benin, Ghana, Zambia, South Africa, Tanzania, Guinea and other African destinations, were simply outstanding. What's more, so were the creators. During the past decade as publishers, we've had the privilege of meeting several of the brightest stars in Africa's fashion galaxy, and thanks to the magic of serendipity, more will surely appear in the near future.

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GHANAIAN MODELES FEATURED ON VOGUE'S WEBSITE

Ralph Tetteh and Stephen Owusu 
Two award winning Ghanaian male models, Ralph Tetteh and Stephen Owusu, have been featured on the online version of globally acclaimed fashion and lifestyle magazine, Vogue .

This follows their recent participation in this year's ECOWAS Fashion Week in Nigeria.

The two models seem to have their careers soaring high this year, having walked the runways for awhile.

Earlier, they picked nominations at the last Ghana Models Awards. Ralph also won Ghana's Male Model of the Year at the 2014 edition of Fashion Icon Award.

Their Vogue feature was courtesy their participation in the 2014 edition of ECOWAS Fashion Week, which was held at Oriental hotel in Victoria Island, Lagos State, Nigeria, in August.

The event was put together by Joan Okorodudu, CEO of Isis Models Africa & Arik air, to project Africa's fashion industry globally.

It featured great models from around the continent. Ghana's Ralph Tetteh and Stephen Owusu got the opportunity to be part of the ceremony due to the participation of their agency, Sparkzuta International.

In all, fifteen (15) African fashion craze countries participated in the ECOWAS Fashion Week. They included Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Cote d'Ivoire, The Gambia, Ghana (represented by Sparkzuta International Models), Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone and Togo

UGANDA: KAMPALA FASHION INTRO 2014 A ROARING SUCCESS

By Elijah Chemobo
 

East African fashion scene is becoming more vibrant and dynamic. The Kampala Fashion Intro 2014 took it a notch higher recently. There was a big treat for fashion lovers as exquisite designs from some of the top creative names in the region were showcased. The aim of the event was to promote fashion and the arts as a serious business, while promoting unity in the region.

The event at Kampala Serena Hotel was the precursor to this year's regional fashion weeks to be held in August in Burundi and Rwanda in early November. This will be followed by Uganda’s Kampala Fashion Week slated for NovemberThe events will provide networking opportunities for those in the fashion industry.

Featured on the runway were glitzy catwalk collections by international fashion labels from the East Africa region. They included Gloria Wavamunno, Anna-Clare Lukoma of Lulu, Balungi, Isabella Asiimwe and Xenson representing Uganda; Cynthia Rupari, Kelvin Kagirimpundu and Patrick Muhire representing Rwanda; Sheria Ngowi from Tanzania; and Cynthia Munwangari and Krystal Bell from Burundi.

"This festival obviously incorporates all aspects of the fashion industry; the cultural, the modern, the hippy and trendy. Our anticipation is that this will be a trend-setter for the local and regional fashion industry as well," Joel Kanyamunyu, director at Great Lakes Arts Association told the Star.

Kanyamunyu said that fashion need not be limited to expensive designer brands, left-of-the-mainstream labels and trendy statements.

In addition to the runway shows highlighting avant-garde lines of casual wear, evening gowns, wedding fashion and cocktail dresses, the two-day-long soiree also hosted discussions aimed at promoting and supporting the creative talents in Eastern African region.

"We need to embrace our Ugandanness and love Made in Uganda products," said Anna-Clare Lukoma, 35, who teamed parachute hem dresses with kooky glasses, turbans and statement jewellery from local brand Balungi. Balungi's creations were made from horn, banana fibre and paper sourced in Uganda.

Lukoma drew inspiration for her Lulu label collection from local culture, using a palette of earthy oranges and browns, and black and blue.

"Kampala is so chaotic that we need to create our own Zen moments, and what better way to do that than drape ourselves in calm, luxurious fabrics that are comfortable and easy to wear," she said.

Lukoma launched Lulu in 2011, but now wants her involvement in the industry to stretch into making a positive impact on development and social consciousness in Africa. "We have more than 80 per cent of our able-bodied youths unemployed in Uganda," said the designer, whose clothes were part of a United States Urban Outfitters African Bazaar pop-up shop last year.

"In our jaajas' (grandmothers) times, most people knew how to sew and took pride in creating replicas of high-quality foreign garments. These skills were not transferred to the next generation because academic skills became more revered."

The fashion do was jointly hosted by the Great Lakes Arts Association, an organisation run by the famous fashion industry bigwigs of Burundi, Uganda, Rwanda, Kenya and Tanzania, as well as LDJ productions -- prime organisers of the New York Fashion Week and Kigali Fashion Week. RwandAir, Kampala Serena Hotel and Mashanyu Media were the main sponsors of the event.