Africa Fashion Week New York 2011

By Tracy Kebatta

With Kikoromeo taking the stage, a true African inspired ready-to-wear collection was realized.  In true spirit of her theme, “I pray to the one of many colors” this collection had no intention of being ignored.  With the opening piece of a Maasai plaid-print outerwear trench you realized the pieces to follow would be nothing short of bold and brazen. Blending bold different sized plaids, chunky wool sweaters paired with flirty plaid- high-waist skirts brought a collection together that could have easily gone awry.  The menswear element too was triumphant in appeal. The subtle detailing of beading insignia that lined the bold jackets, plaid sport-coats paired with well-tailored men’s pants definitely made both audience and press alike take note. Regardless of the bold prints this was truly “believable menswear”. Each piece flowed into the next illustrating that Ann McCreath has an in-depth understanding of how to build a cohesive collection and a great respect for the ready-to-wear market. In summation, feed your audience and they will hunger for more.  And all I have to say is “please Anne-may I have some more”.

Additionally, Kenyan duo team Blackbird Jeans broke every fashion rule known to mankind.  Kitenge printed men’s jackets paired with Maasai plaid-print pants, and yes my personal favorite-“the ninja wool half-vest sport-coat” paired with kitenge-print pants.  The women’s bold plaid cropped blazers paired with sari kitenge-print pants was an indication that this collection is certainly not intended for the wallflower.  It is bold; it is brazen but most importantly it’s ahead of its time.  Never has an African inspired contemporary collection been so risky yet left such an indelible impression.  This is a collection you won’t easily forget but more importantly it’s a collection that deserves its rightful place in fashion.  They say style is a matter of instinct; a motto these two young men live by and I trust my instincts that we will soon be seeing them again.

If Africa Fashion Week New York continues to showcase this level of talent it is bound to create waves that will resonate with the fashion world.  After all, if Africa is the source of life, it can then most certainly stake its claim as the originator of fashion inspiration. I look forward to AFWNY creating a swag and flow that will be speaking to real fashionistas across the globe!

Click HERE to view more AFWNY photos

Tracy Kebatta is a Kenyan living and working in fashion in New York City.  Living in such a fast paced city but worse yet, working in a career that requires constant change and prompt reactions her outlook on life revolves around  four basic principles: work your ass off, love without question, DRESS TO PERFECTION, and pray like whatever you need depends on it!


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