One of the most looked-forward-to events in the fashion industry is Fashion Week. Milan, Paris, New York City, and London are the Big Four of fashion weeks, and determine what’s new and what needs to go in the upcoming season in the fashion world.
The buzz, frenzy, glitz and glam, dramatic runway struts, coupled with a whole galore of street style fashion spectacles and photos, with celebrities lining front row seats set the tone of a fashion week.
With fashion week nearly upon us, let’s have a quick read on what fashion week is about and why it is such an important event not only as a fashion event but as a business..
Fashion Week is typically used to initiate the two major seasons – fall and spring. It determines the trends for the following seasons and advises retailers on what to stock up on in anticipation of the trends of the upcoming seasons.
Fashion weeks are typically a weeklong event that presents various designers, fashion brands, and fashion houses the platforms to outdoor their newest collections, and creative, and artistic fashion ideas in a series of runway shows. This is done with a live audience including retail buyers, fashion press, critics, and other influences in the fashion world. However, rather than going for the regular showcasing of lines, some designers opt to go purely for aesthetics by showcasing concept pieces with the intention of impressing the audience.
Shows in Fashion Week could be attended by literally anyone. You just must have an invitation or a purchased ticket. Fashion editors, bloggers, industry influencers, clients and friends of designers, other designers, and of course celebrities are usually there to support a designer friend or promote a brand.
Fashion shows do not last for quite long, however, they start rather late on average. A show starts once models hit the runway and paparazzi are in a frenzy taking pictures. Models are likely to walk between 10 – 40 outfits depending on the designer.
There are a ton of designers with amazing talent and potential. Fashion Weeks provide the platform for these designers to showcase and gain the needed recognition for their works. The runway provides these designers the perfect opportunity to showcase their designs to the gathered mass made up of high-end brands and buyers. We all can agree that designs look even better when they are worn by models as they strut the runway.
It also provides the perfect opportunity to spotlight and unearth new and upcoming talents in the fashion industry.
Fashion Weeks around the world have initiatives – mostly financial and mentorship, put in place for unearthing and supporting these fashion talents. The Copenhagen Fashion Week (CPHFW) NEWTALENT, New Talent in Focus at South African Fashion Week, and Emerging Talents Milan Fashion Week are some fashion week initiatives designed to support new talents by providing them with the needed platform as well as funding and mentorship.
Fashion Week also provides brands with the perfect opportunity to sell themselves and their services or products, and to also affiliate themselves with organizers of the fashion week events, and sometimes the designers. By providing funds for the event through sponsorships, or endorsing a designer of the event, they are able to generate revenue and gain the much-needed publicity that the brand needs.
Fashion week presents the opportunity to creatively showcase and highlight the diverse, rich, and ever-evolving culture of Africa through fashion. With the discovery of remarkable talents from the continent, many African designers are now partaking in international fashion shows, gradually increasing the global footprint of the African fashion industry.
Although there is no actual Fashion Week calendar in Africa, fashion events are popular and are regularly hosted to enable fashion designers to exhibit their creativity.
Major Fashion Weeks in Africa
Here are some well-known African Fashion Weeks to look forward to this year
The Johannesburg Fashion Week (JFW) comprises two official fashion weeks in the South African capital – The African Fashion International (AFI) and South African Fashion Week (SAFW). AFI focuses on supporting new designers through their fast-track incubator programme whilst SAFW is the main fashion week of the Johannesburg fashion week.
The SAFW provides all African fashion designers with a business-to-business platform through pop-ups and a trade show where buyers are able to purchase designers’ collections.
Both the JFW and SAFW run bi-annually.
Lagos Fashion Week (LFW) is one of the most popular fashion weeks in Africa. It seeks to promote and strengthen the Nigerian fashion industry through collaborations, community, and co-creation with designers and stakeholders to identify and bridge gaps to grow the Nigerian fashion industry.
LFW happens October 26 – 29 this year.
Dar es Salaam, the largest city (and financial hub) of Tanzania hosts the biggest and largest annual fashion event, the Swahili Fashion Week, in the whole of East and Central Africa for fashion and accessory designers to showcase and market their creativity.
This year’s event is scheduled for December 2 – 4.
The Glitz Africa Fashion Week (GAFW) is Ghana’s leading annual fashion event that focuses on sustainable fashion, businesses of fashion, runway shows, and presentations for both established and budding fashion designers. GAFW provides a platform for Ghanaian fashion designers as well as designers from across Africa. The GAFW is set to happen from October 21 – 23, 2022.
Aside from GAFW, there are other fashion events in Ghana. A notable one is the Accra Fashion Week, which is set to take place from December 7 – 11. The Accra Fashion Week Fashion students are also given the opportunity to participate in the event (Imperial Fashion Design School and Riohs Originate).
The Dakar Fashion Week is one of the longest-running fashion weeks in Africa and has seen numerous designers from over 10 African countries participate. A day from the week is set aside for street fashion which is open to the general public for free.