The first Africa Fashion Day Berlin, taking place as part of this season's Fashion Week, highlights cultural diversity in design. The label Bijou Makeda run by Lulu Kumani Inaya Iman specializes in earrings, necklaces, rings and hair bands. Iman was born in the Democratic Republic of Congo and grew up in Germany. The term "makeda," however, comes from Ethiopia and means "the beautiful one."
Hunadi Bespoke Couture's flagship store is located in a suburb of Johannesburg. The label celebrates the individuality and bold colors of the African continent. Designers Mabothokgong Mathole and Chantel Fourie get their inspiration from the women who work at the markets all over Africa, from Lagos to Nairobi, Casablanca to Maputo.
Hunadi Bespoke Couture has rediscovered screen printing techniques. For Hunadi, it's not just a fleeting fashion trend, but something that African clothing makers have been doing for decades. For many years, such prints were only seen at special events like weddings, but print is now making its way back to everyday designs.
Designer Jennifer Naomi Spieker, who grew up in Amsterdam, is behind the label Nomi by Naomi. Her cool creations are particularly popular in West Africa. The label mixes African textiles with denim, tweed and cotton for a colorful, eclectic look.
Senegalese designer Adama Amanda Ndiaye, who founded the label Adama Paris, now lives and works in Dakar, New York and Paris. She grew up as the daughter of a diplomat and now spends her time at the biggest African and European fashion events, embodying the essence of modern, multicultural design.
Black and white are a safe recipe, but these designs also throw in an unabashed mix of elegance and naughtiness. They were created by London designer Romero Bryan, whose family roots are in Jamaica. Celebrities like Alicia Keys, Cameron Diaz and Usher are among his high-profile clientele.
Imagine Bob Marley playing soccer is how Algerian designer Mehdi describes his label, Sawa. Despite their intentionally worn look, Mehdi wants to avoid being seen as a fair trade label or social project. "We're just a normal label that does business with Africa," he says.
This handbag can hold quite a few pairs of sunglasses. The label Malaika Designs is run by Adwoa Ode-Dombrowe and Rosemary Dede of Ghana. Both live in Berlin and work together with a social center that helps unemployed seamstresses find jobs.
The first Africa Fashion Day Berlin at this season's Fashion Week highlights diversity of design, from jewelry to sneakers, from dresses to handbags.