Text by Marino Bombini
It’s about a decade since Africa has started its adventure as the most innovating continent in design. Always split by controversies about considering it either as the sum of more countries or a whole single one, Africa has month after month, year after year, built its solid reputation of a place where to look up in the present to imagine the future.
At last Pitti Uomo 89, the event GENERATION AFRICA, the second step of a platform brought by Fondazione Pitti Discovery along with Itc Ethical Fashion Initiative, promoted young and talented fashion designers from the continent, and showed the energy of today’s African creative scene.
Four Africa based brands took the stage, and presented amazing shows where to appreciate not just design per se, but also the incredible craftmanship and materials.
AKJP, Ikiré Jones, Lukhanyo Mdinigi x Nicholas Coutts and U.Mi-1 presented their Men’s FW16 shows at the Dogana, in via Valfonda.
Backed by traditional Zulu music post-modernized by synthesizers and nature sounds, the AKJP collection from the African duo Adriaan Kuiters and Jody Paulsen combine elements of dressing for the wilderness with sophisticated urban sportswear, with an effortless ability to make one feel calm, centered and grounded.
On travels and epic of crossed oceans is Ikiré Jones’ collection. A subject definitely relevant nowadays is translated in the most exquisite and elegant vision of fabrics and colors. With the hope to show what beauty strangers from a foreign land can introduce to our lives, if we just let them in.
The collaboration between Nicholas Coutts’ distinct weaving techniques and Lukhanyo Mdingi’s traditionalist approach to minimalism and basics, took the form of Africa’s natural landscape to conceptualize the overall aesthetic of the collection full of contemporary design pieces which exude timeless elegance and sophistication with a flare of African heritage and culture.
Inspired by her Nigerian roots Gozi Ochonogor showed U.Mi-1 collection as the most multifaceted blend of cultures, mixing British tailoring with Japanese artisanship and African spirit.
Thanks to the support from Lai-momo association, Generation Africa represents the most innovative and powerful room in fashion where to meet in all in one the most crucial aspects of fashion, highlighting on sustainability and cultures which we must learn to live with.
Catwalk images © Giovanni-Giannoni / Backstage images by Trevor Stuurman ©