The African Fashion International 2020 edition goes digital

MPHO RANTAO

THE 2020 edition of The African Fashion International’s (AFI) showcase has hit the digital sphere, with the showcases by African designers exploring their relationship with sustainable fashion in their collections. 

Under the theme, “Reset, Reimagine, Reinvent!”, the AFI’s selections were displayed via virtual shows due to the Covid-19 pandemic, giving viewers a front-row experience of some of Africa’s well-known, as well as up and coming designers with their latest collections inspired by the events of 2020 and the multi-faceted identities of South Africa.

Instead of using catwalks or fashion studios, the collective’s brands made use of South Africa’s landscape as their show locations. 

Day one saw veteran designer Gavin Rajah by the riverside, starting the show off with a collection that served as a tribute to the women who had been victims of gender-based violence. 

Gavin Rajah for AFI 2020. Picture: Instagram/afi

“My collection is about bringing a sense of strong versatility around gender-based violence and domestic violence and women who have been victims of sexual abuse”, Rajah explained. “More than anything, we’ve seen the transformative power of what fashion can be, and we are using that hope to make a difference in the country”.

Futuristic brands Urban Zulu followed with their own collection that was inspired by South Africa going under lockdown earlier in the year, creating a loungewear collection that would be suited for both indoors and outdoors. 

The collection involved motives that were symbolic of Urban Zulu’s prints, but also paid tribute to late South African singer Busi Mhlongo, who was known as the first urban Zulu woman. 

Day two of AFI saw designers David Tlale, Scalo, Taku Dlamini and duo Malcolm and Christiaan of KLÛK CGDT preview their latest designs. 

Scalo director Sello Medupe went to the wild with his collection, describing it as inspiration to the luxury, couture aesthetic with large sun hats and streamline dresses. Medupe added that the collection’s colour palette served as a tribute to breast cancer awareness – with its soft, pastel colours – and the brand’s work to educate people on breast cancer. 

David Tlale told viewers that his latest collection for AFI 2020 was inspired by the history of South Africa, specifically the history of Constitutional Hill (the location of his show), and how the events that occurred there inspired the country and himself to be a better South African. 

Picture: Instagram/afi 

All collections from selected designers for  AFI 2020 are available for viewing and purchase on the AFI website.

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