What you need to know:
- As the models strut down the runway, in the February 3, event, there was more that met the eye other than the usually bright and colourful African print.
- We were at the event, and if you want to breathe some fresh air into your African wear, here are some inspirational designs for you.
In a night of flair and flamboyance, fashion lovers flocked to Tribe Hotel for the annual Tribal Chic fashion show. This year’s theme was set as African Royalty, guests arrived in tailor-made Ankara and Kitenge with some even donning traditional attire with a modern flair.
A total of 14 designers showcased their work on the runway set in the middle of the hotel’s lobby. Afrowema, Aulgah Nato, 1407 Style, Studio Namnyak, Bana the Brand, Safarrah and Nashipai are some of the few designer brands that showed the versatility of the African culture and how it is easily portrayed through fashion.
As the models strut down the runway, in the February 3, event, there was more that met the eye other than the usually bright and colourful African print. After all, what is the point of having a fashion show if nothing stands out? Right?
We were at the event, and if you want to breathe some fresh air into your African wear, here are some inspirational designs for you.
Emerging trends from Tribal Chic 2024:
1. Feather Collars
Charity Kiarie’s story behind the creation of Kiarie Afrika is one about hope and the fear of letting go. After a terrible childbirth experience and suffering from a rare kind of fistula, she wanted to create pieces that would make her feel beautiful again.
That is how she came up with her famous feathered collection. Her coloured feather collars and earrings were paired with designers such as Bana the Brand. The feathers come in a variety of vibrant colours and are attached to either brass or beadwork.
2. Hide coats
Cindy Kwak of Nashipai Leather showcased the idea of upscaling animal hide skin.
The designer courageously put together a daring look by making long half-coats made of hide with cow hair still attached to it. The male model flaunting the coat managed to make it regal, fit to be worn by those daring to make a bold fashion statement.
3. Comfortable fashion
Gone are the days when runways were meant for unorthodox styles that are unwearable in real life.
The pieces that most designers showed were stunning but still comfortable enough for one to wear as a casual outfit. Designers such as Priyanka Shah (Safarrah), Tatiana Teixeira (Afrowema) and Namnyak Odupoy (Studio Namnyak) were great examples of how one can be fashionable and stylish but comfortable at the same time.
For a continent known for its curvaceous women, it is motivating to see how designers are more mindful of our varied body shapes. For instance, Ilhan Dahir (Aert Fashion) takes into consideration the plus size community with her wrap dress collection.
Wrap dresses are common but what makes hers special is the voice of fabric that is playful and creates optical illusions. Also, check out Aulgah Nato's designs that showed one can be curvy and smashing at the same time.
5. Less African Print Patterns
For an African fashion show, most would expect Ankara and Kitenge fabric to take center stage. This was not the case as some of the designers took a different approach.
Namnyak Odupoy (Studio Namnyak) for instance took the contemporary route by using neutral and earthy colours such as nude. Ilhan Dahir (Aert Fashion) also opted to use more artistic patterns while Priyanka Shah (Safarrah) used bright colours such as pink and yellow together which are simple but ‘happy’ colours to look at.
This year’s Tribal Chic show marked the 13th show since Tribe Hotel Group Director Shamim Ehsani came up with the idea to host a fashion show that showcases upcoming talent in Africa - this year also featured a Nigerian designer, Ugochukwu Onukwobiri of 1407 Style.
Seven designers were selected for the Creative DNA program courtesy of the British Council. The initiative helps designers discover alternative and innovative approaches within the global fashion system. The designers got what they learnt through the fashion accelerator program at Tribal Chic as part of the 14. They included Okana, Itikadi, Reina Gowns, Wakianda, Aert Fashion, Ankole Luxury and Kiarie Afrika.