Altaroma is in its 25th year. The venerable event is more than a fashion week, it fuses high quality artists (this year US street artist DAIN headed up a substantial list), fashion (from Italian couture houses to African designers), launches new talent ( Who Is On Next and A View On Talents - both in partnership with Vogue Italia) and pairs artists with designers (A.I - Artisanal Intelligence) among many more events, exhibitions and shows. Beat of Africa was the ITC Ethical Fashion Initiative’s opportunity to showcase not only the increasingly fabulous work of Stella Jean but three of Africa’s rising stars in Nelly Hagan Aboagye (duaba serwa) of Ghana, Nigeria’s Lisa Folawiyo and Mina Evans, also of Ghana. A shared vision between all of the designers at Beat of Africa emerged; a colour palette of earthy, yet vivid hues; fantastic prints that often verged on pictorial;andanabsolutesenseoftheinfusion of culture into garments, accessorising and even styling. Nelly Hagan Aboagye has designed from an early age when she began resizing her mother’s clothes to fit herself and despite studing in the medical field at the Universityofghanainlegonshereturnedto her first passion, fashion, in 2007 when she launched a jewellery line. She named it duaba serwa (Serwa, the daughter of a tree) and by 2011 had expanded into making dresses and that year won the British Council’s Young Creative Entrepreneur Award. This year’s Altaroma marked her 6th international fashion week. Mina Evans graduated from the London Centre for Fashion Studies at Johannesburg Design School in South Africa before working under the premier fashion designer in Ghana, Mr Kofi Ansah to learn her craft. Mina Evans-ansform describes her styleasaloveof“fusingluxuriousfabricswith Ankara to produce feminine, stylish pieces that are wearable time after time.” Ankara is often called African print, was originally a Dutch wax print but now very clearly gives the impression of African culture. Mina Evans also has a range of menswear dress shirts which she says are “carefree and cool with a hint of afrocentricity.” In addition to Altaroma, Mina has just shown at Glitz Africa Fashion Week held in Accra, Ghana. Lisa Folawiyo launched her first label, Jewel By Lisa in 2005. Like Mina Evans she had always had a love of Ankara but felt it had been worn and used for ever. She decided to create something new by embellishing the fabric with Swarovski crystals, sequins and beads and Jewel By Lisa was born. More recently the label became the eponymous Lisa Folawiyo and has enjoyed considerable success, not just in Nigeria but further afield. Showsatlagosfashion&designweekhave been joined by Johannesburg, London, Paris, Milan ( Vogue talent) and New York Fashion Week (twice). She retails online through Moda Operandi, has collaborated with Blackberry and L’oreal and has even sold her line in a pop-up store inside Selfridges. All three designers already have solid local and international followings and like Stella Jean are making their mark in many places. The Beat of Africa show itself was fantastic. Held in the Sala Lancisi, a hall inside the magnificent Complesso Monumentale, Santo Spirito in Sassia, a stones throw from the Vatican, attendees included Suzy Menkes - Vogue’s International Fashion Editor, Altaroma’s Simonetta Gianfeleci and movie star Rosario Dawson who is co-designer with Abrima Erwiah of Studio One Eighty Nine. It is pertinent that seven of the ten fastest growingeconomiesintheworldareinafrica, these designers are well poised to grow their businesses. The exciting thing is that, with supporters like the ITC Ethical Fashion Initiative, they are also growing the chance to incorporate and spread their cultures to the world.
duaba serwa website Minaevans website Lisa Foliwayo website