Tolulope Olabisi OMoyele
Africa Fashion Week London: An Exploration of Contemporary Cultural Identities
London College of Fashion
The study examines the emergence and significance of Africa Fashion Week London (AFWL), following the initial conception of Africa Fashion Week New York in 2010, which emerged partly in response to fashion media representations and exclusion of black bodies in mainstream fashion week events, and the narrow definitions of African fashion cultures and systems.
AFWL held for the first time in 2011, co-founded by British-Nigerian siblings Ronke and Kamari Ademiluyi. The organisers describe the event as "Europe's largest catwalk event.... a global platform for African inspired designers".
The study will focus on dress and design practices of British-Nigerian fashion practitioners in London. I examine the construction, negotiation and articulation of Nigerian diasporic fashion cultures and intersecting identities, and explore whether AFWL's intervention interrupts fashion media's hegemonic discourses, representations and definitions of African cultural identities in 21st century Britain, and Whether AFWL plays a pivotal role in shaping the ways in which African Diaspora cultures construct and express cultural identities through their design and dress practices in the UK?
These aims are pursued through a critical analysis of fashion media representations, as well as analysis of 'Aso Ebi' the Nigerian-influenced dress practices at selected social events including birthday and wedding parties. The study will contribute to the growing literature on diaspora fashion cultures, African fashions and the globalisation of Nigerian fashions.