In May 2015, Wellington, New Zealand will be home to the country’s first-ever Africa Fashion Festival, pioneered by Ghana-born Pinaman Owusu-Banahene. Pinaman Owusu-Banahene, who originally wanted to be a doctor and studied health science at Auckland University, accidentally attended a lecture whilst studying that changed her perspective on her ambitions.
She turned her skills to fashion and textiles instead. Interested mainly in public policy, philanthropy and fashion, she combined her three passions to form ADJOAA (Africa Design Journey through Australasia) Fashion Ltd, which works to promote and help established and emerging African designers and Artists in the Australasian Region. Owusu-Banahene has lived in New Zealand for the past 11 years – and now hopes to celebrate her African roots in a festival created specifically for African textiles and fashion.
African Fashion Designers Worth Noting
Six international African designers: Nelly Aboagye, Taibo Bacar, Sophie Zinga, Laduma Ngxokolo of MaXhosa; Adebayo Oke-Lawal of Orange Culture; and Gloria Wavamunno helped to pre-launch the festival back in August, along with the South African and Egyptian High Commissioners, and the Wellington Mayor. The festival was initially due to take place in November 2014, but was postponed due to lack of funding.
Now set to take place in May, Owusu-Banahene hopes to showcase acclaimed African designers, with all proceeds going towards funding for upcoming creative talent. For young Africans in New Zealand, the Festival is full of potential, with the organisers aiming to fund three key social initiatives: a mentoring programme; a three-month internship programme; and a book club initiative.
More Than Just Fashion
Not only will the festival help support the African community in New Zealand, but it will also hopefully encourage Kiwis to learn more about the African culture that is prevalent in their country. There will be art, dance, and music being showcased at the event alongside the fashion and textiles, with Owusu-Banahene stating: “I believe fashion, music and dance are great art forms that enrich our experiences and challenge our deep-seated assumptions. I hope Africa Fashion Festival provides an outlet for all New Zealanders to experience the cultural richness and incredible artistic talent from the diverse and vibrant continent of Africa”.
Here at Empire Textiles, we always delighted to see people taking the initiative and having the drive to turn a passion into something truly creative and beneficial for the African fashion scene. It’s the same passion that built our business and the passion we have to this day!
West African Fashion truly is a worldwide phenomenon that expands to every corner of the globe and whilst many of the bigger festivals see a lot of media attention and showcasing, this festival really represents what African fashion is all about: The love for Africa’s rich culture and heritage through the vibrant fashion, music, dance and art.
You can show them some support by visiting them here: www.africafashionfestival.com