Model Al Copeland wears The House of Nahdra. PHOTO: PHOTO BASH
For the first time since 2016, Africa Fashion Week will showcase vibrant prints and innovative silhouettes on the Boston catwalk. This three-day festival taking place on June 24 features fashion designers and culture from the African diaspora, an art gallery, cultural performances, panel discussions and an African market, all at The Guild Works in Dorchester .
Creation of designer Nahdra Ra Kiros African Fashion Week in 2016 to fill a void in local fashion. One of the things that I felt needed more nourishment was the representation of Africa, of African culture, on the catwalks during Boston fashion season, Ra Kiros says. We have a lot of people from a lot of places and such a great art scene here.
The 2016 event was hugely popular, garnering feedback from designers in New York and Senegal, but life obligations and later the pandemic postponed another show. This year, African Fashion Week will be the second official African Fashion Week here in Boston. Tickets can be purchased for the whole wweekend or for individual days. Highlights include a Q&A panel on mental wellbeing in the African Diaspora, the fashion show and a gala and awards ceremony, but many more events are on the schedule.
The fashion show will feature local designers representative of the African Diaspora.
RK Houston of New Urban Designs, a longtime designer, retired two years ago and designed pieces inspired by African textiles. Jahzara Africa from Jahzara Fashion House creates bespoke clothing and accessories like scarves, jewelry and handbags, often using recycled materials. The two designers will be presented during African Fashion Week and Ra Kiros will present his Afro-futuristic creations.
Houston says, “It’s not just about serving the people who create this stuff. Were connecting with others, connecting with the community and getting people to embrace the creativity that exists in our communities and often goes unnoticed due to societal issues.
While fashion is at the heart of this festival, other art forms and community members will also be featured and honored. At the African Fashion Week Gala on Sunday June 4, awards will be presented to local visual artists such as Ekua Holmes, Stephen Hamilton and Rob ProBlak Gibbs as well as influential members of the community such as the educator and high school basketball coach John Rice.
There is a lot to take away from the action-packed itinerary of African Fashion Week, but above all, says Ra Kiros, I hope people will remember the essence of love, our divinity together and how we can create greatness in everything we do.
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