On February 12th 2022, I had the pleasure of attending the first ever London Fashion Week, hosted by Africa Fashion Collective London. I wouldn’t say I have a burning passion for fashion, however when given the opportunity I will support my culture.
When I arrived at the venue the first thing that struck me was the diversity of the people attending. There were people from all walks of life, as well as all the different ethnicities. It was fascinating to see that all these people, like me, had an interest in African fashion and culture. I even learnt about a pageantry competition that I would potentially like to participate in.
Eventually we were introduced to the event by the CEO of ISIS Models Africa, Joan Okorodudu. She spoke about her work in the fashion industry, for decades she has scouted for black models in Africa, giving them opportunities they may not have had. What stood out to me was her optimism for the future, she mentioned that she has booked black models for all the major luxury fashion lines; Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Prada, you name it she’s booked it. In her speech she expressed her excitement about the new wave of fashion, more luxury lines want black models and more and more of her models were getting booked.
Afterwards we entered the hall where the event was to take place, once we were all seated the event began. The fashion show only showcased African designers, which I loved. It was inspiring to see the art that these designers had created. On top of that all the models looked fabulous, I felt like I was experiencing Haute Couture. There was one model who stood out to me the most, her name is Ngozi Arimoku, hearing her story was amazing. Ngozi had been working as a plantain farmer when she was discovered, she soon found herself on Nigeria’s Next Super Model and has gone on to do top shows like Arise, Lagos Fashion and Design week. After the show had finished every attendee received a goodie bag consisting of numerous black magazines and a free hair care product.
What I loved most about Africa Fashion Collective London is the excitement that the founders held. More and more black models are getting booked, and because the industry is becoming more diverse, plus size models are also getting a chance too. I’m looking forward to seeing even more models who look like me, not to mention the impact the representation can have on young black girls who may feel unsure about their colour.