Fashion enthusiasts, the creative community and wider audiences gathered to welcome the first fashion week edition of Africa Fashion Week Middle East (AFWME) that showcased for three days all Africa’s creatives. The event in partnership with Dubai Tourism expanded across multiple activations from panel discussions, workshop activities and runway shows. Guests witnessed designers debut an array of exquisite designs, showcasing the essence of creativity, industrial craft and a unique portrayal of fashion genius through timeless pieces at the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), one of Dubai’s most sought-after lifestyle destinations.
South Africa’s very own Palesa Mokubung, the founder and designer behind the South African brand, Mantsho, H&M’s first African collaboration displayed her vibrant brand known for its distinctive signature prints and carefully curated textiles, echoed a collection that is based on confident African aesthetics with an international sensibility. The collection displayed a mix of earthy tones and bold colours, taking centre stage and dazzling us all.
Mantsho designs have appeared on runways in Nigeria, Botswana, Senegal, the United States, Greece, India and Jamaica and Mokubung has dressed a variety of public figures including Bonang, Lira, Somi, Thandiswa Mazwai and D.r Same Mdluli. She made her debut at the Stoned Cherrie brand in 2004 when she was in her first year of studying fashion. “Stoned Cherrie was blowing up. It was revolutionary and I needed to be present, so I dropped out of school,” she said.
At first, Mokubung didn’t see this as a setback because her job at Stoned Cherrie was giving her hands-on insight. The skills included private client service, running a studio, the full retail experience where garments go from a sketch to a client’s shopping bag as well fashion week readiness. Three years at Stoned Cherrie were enough for Mokubung so she left to start her own fashion house, Mantsho. But, a few years later she decided to take an academic sabbatical from 2011 to 2013.
Aser Levron, Co-Founder at AFWMEW commented “We are proud to bring together such a wealth of talent and creativity under one roof and to share with our audiences all the wonderful creations that exist in the African continent. AFWME’s mission is to widen the circle and welcome even more talented individuals to join us season after season. At AFWME we aim to play a significant role in creating a sense of unity and awareness with Design and Art, allowing several customs to come together and create a community”.