By Ester Onyebgula
All is now set for the African Fashion Week London 2023, as the organisers have announced its collaboration with the Black History and Lifestyle Awards for its 13th edition.
Billed to be held from October 27th – 29th at the prestigious Institute of Directors, 116 Pall Mall in the heart of London, the event will be promoting the continent’s culture, clothing, and music among others in the diaspora.
October, being Black History Month in London, these two brands have lined up a series of activities to mark the 13th year of Africa Fashion Week London and also hold the Black History and Lifestyle Awards.
Speaking on the collaboration, Olori Aderonke Ademiluyi-Ogunwusi the founder of Africa Fashion Week London, said that this year’s event is going to be massive, with the two brands coming together to further showcase Africa to the world in a greater perspective, in this 13th year of the prestigious fashion show.
“I was privileged to attend the Black History and Lifestyle event in Nigeria last year and that was where the conversation started. She wanted to have an event in London celebrating Black History Month and we had an ongoing event already.
“We both decided that, rather than her, doing her show independently, we could come together, bring our forces together, bring our energy and network opportunity to showcase Africa to the world in a spectacular way.” Olori Ademiluyi Ogunwusi noted that in addition to that, they will be launching the first UK trade expo this year. “Why we decided to do that, is that we’ve noticed that, over the years, fashion is beyond just showcasing designs on the runway. There are many black-owned businesses that have always wanted to be part of the Fashion Week but are not really showcasing on the runway. So that’s why we introduced the Beyond Fashion Trade Expo, to showcase the entire value chain of the industry.” said Ogunwusi
According to her, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi, the Ooni of Ife, will be speaking about commerce and culture as the keynote speaker for the Trade and Investment Expo.
Olori Ademiluyi Ogunwusi noted that the Expo will be highlighting the textile and garment industry, music, entertainment, hair, beauty, and makeup and how they all influence Fashion because one cannot work without the other.
On her part, initiation of the Black History and Lifestyle Awards Eziada Folashade Balogun, founder of House of Sota, a prominent fashion house in Ikeja, Lagos, stated that the aim of the event was to showcase Africa in a brighter light “We are trying to change the narrative of the black slavery stint and showcase our heritage, our culture, and let people know that black-owned businesses have come to stay.
“House of Sota will be on the runway and on the exhibition ground to showcase our new collection, tagged, Ijinle. We would also have celebrities walk the runway wearing collections of different designers.” She emphasized.
Eziada Balogun noted that holding this event in the month of October is very strategic to what they want to achieve. Adding that Black History Month is an opportunity to understand Black histories, going beyond stories of racism and slavery to spotlight Black achievements. “For us, Black History Month is a way of appreciating and celebrating black achievement and African heritage.
“We will be showcasing black-owned businesses, made-in-Nigeria brands, and African creativity globally. There is also an awards night where we will be giving awards to celebrate outstanding people and brands who have impacted the industry in different capacities” she said.
Founded in 2011 by Olori Ronke Ademiluyi-Ogunwusi, AFWL is Europe’s largest fashion event, promoting and nurturing African and African-inspired design talent.
With a collaborative catwalk, exhibition, and business development program, AFWL has led the way in highlighting Africa’s emerging designers and apparel industry and has been at the forefront of bringing awareness of Africa’s burgeoning fashion industry to the international market.