Aki­ima on a fast cat­walk to star­dom

The Australian - - THE NATION - GLY­NIS TRAILL-NASH FASH­ION ED­I­TOR Gly­nis Traill-Nash trav­elled to Ade­laide as a guest of the Ade­laide Fash­ion Fes­ti­val.

The view is pretty good from where Aki­ima is stand­ing.

It was only five months ago that the Ade­laide-based South Su­danese model made her cat­walk de­but in Syd­ney at Aus­tralian Fash­ion Week, but she has just re­turned home from tak­ing the in­ter­na­tional cat­walks of Mi­lan and Paris by storm, ap­pear- ing for la­bels in­clud­ing Prada and Valentino.

“Every place is so dif­fer­ent — I’m just happy that I can adapt to any place,” she told The Aus­tralian. “Go­ing to Mi­lan to walk for Prada would have to be the high­light. (De­signer) Mi­uc­cia (Prada) was dress­ing me as well. She looked so stylish, so good.”

Aki­ima, who was born in Kenya, moved to Can­berra when she was 10, and then to Ade­laide at the be­gin­ning of this year.

Brigette Mitchell of Fi­nesse Mod­els Aus­tralia signed her in Ade­laide as soon as she was brought in by an­other model on their books. She is now rep­re­sented world­wide by IMG. “The minute she walked in I just knew,” said Mitchell. “She was so beau­ti­ful and just had a glow about her.”

Vogue Aus­tralia ed­i­tor Ed­wina McCann has just re­turned from the in­ter­na­tional shows, where an­other Ade­laide-based Su­danese model Adut Akech was also walk­ing. “We saw them on the run­way so of­ten in Mi­lan and Paris, they were just ev­ery­where,” McCann told The Aus­tralian.

“I think they’re just ex­cep­tional beau­ties and they clearly hold them­selves well and wear clothes very well.”

While she thinks their ca­reers are go­ing from strength to strength quickly, McCann be­lieves this story has a rip­ple ef­fect well be­yond fash­ion.

“It’s so won­der­ful for the com- mu­ni­ties in Aus­tralia; it’s such a great, pos­i­tive im­mi­grant story. They are beau­ti­ful women and we’re so proud to be able to call them Aus­tralians on the run­way.”

Aki­ima is back in her home­town as the face of this week’s Ade­laide Fash­ion Fes­ti­val, where she opened the first show for de­signer Tiff Manuell on Wed­nes­day.

PIC­TURE: KELLY BARNES

Model Aki­ima, wear­ing a Cristina Tri­dent gown, looks over her home­town Ade­laide from the he­li­copter pad on Royal Ade­laide Hos­pi­tal

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