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Africa meets the runway [Video]

Friday nights took on a whole different meaning as Ankara Miami 2017 made part of one of the most important events to attend in celebration of Black History Month.

Ankara Miami, Florida’s premier African fashion week, made its designers debut last Friday at Macaya Gallery in Wynwood.

The event, which ran from Feb. 16-19, was hosted by Black Entertainment Television’s Marcellus Davis, the art gallery was transformed into a runway and was filled with a diversified audience wearing bright colors and dancing to upbeat music by performers like Ayanbinrin.

By Andrea Franco and Nyamekye Daniel
Diario for Cuba
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“This is my first time coming to their fashion show, and I absolutely love it. What I love about it is that it’s wearable fashion that you don’t see everywhere so it’s unique.” said Lidia Tai, whose friend was showcasing her designs for the first time.

Ankara Miami has been gaining immense popularity with its sixth annual production that provides a glance into the African culture by showcasing both emerging and established designers from Africa and the African diaspora, and redefining African cultural trends.

Former Miss Nigeria Florida Evelyn Onyejuruwa started the fashion week in 2011, hoping to continue her work as a cultural ambassador.

“There isn’t a large focus in fashion on African culture. I created a platform for artists that aren’t normally incorporated in other events,” she said. “There is a lot of beauty in African culture and we are not credited for it.”

The show featured emerging designers such as Stacy-Ann Samuels, who built her brand on purposeful design enhancing daily life through custom apparel and vibrancy.

Samuels, who created her line in two weeks with the help of her mother, says that this was one of her New Year’s resolutions. Her designs inspire beauty beyond objects, “my complete inspiration is from Ghana, traditionally what people practice and the energies of the mother.”

Samuels’ line, “Sankofa Legacy,” is also influenced by the West African Yoruba religion. She took interest in the religion on a recent vacation to Cuba, where she became fascinated with the practices, clothing associated with the religion.

 

Model Herine Baron talks about design by JD Edmond. Also a makeup artist, Edmond combined her love for art and fashion to create pieces using newspaper and fabric. Edmond describes the pieces as “mixtures of modern African designs with an artistic fusion twist. (Video by Nyamekye Daniel)

Established designers rip the runway

Ankara Miami’s established designer’s runway show was an explosion of fashion, culture and art starting off with a knock-down performance by the Young Contemporary Dance Theatre.

The display of African fashion was on Saturday night at Florida International University’s Roz and Cal Kovens Conference Center.

The crowd clapped as Dabota Godswill Jumbo, from Nigeria, showcased her handmade rhinestone-embellished Afrocentric designs. Jean Carlos Quijano, from Panama also wowed the crowd with his hand painted pieces including a flowing, mermaid style gown modeled after a peacock.

 

#AnkaraMiami2017 Established Designers ROCKED last night! Pictured: Jean DeCort 507 (Panama)… https://www.instagram.com/p/BQsx5CAFz0_/ (Image via Storify)

#AnkaraMiami2017 Established Designers ROCKED last night! Pictured: Jean DeCort 507 (Panama)… https://www.instagram.com/p/BQsx5CAFz0_/ (Image via Storify)

Local designer Adjanie Muller was a fan favorite as well with her “High-Low” collection featuring abstract colors and circular prints. Muller said she was inspired by Michelle Obama’s speech during the recent presidential election.

“The collection was geared to me through my whole time designing. I’ve had ups and downs throughout the time,” said the designer of five years. “The patterns represent the high and lows in life and the circles represent the circle of life.”

Muller started preparing for the show last June when she started purchasing fabric and starting carving out the details.

Designer Monique Sunshine said she started planning for the event from the night of the last Ankara show. Sunshine’s collection, which is considered everyday Afrocentric wear, was inspired by her bike trip in a scenic part of Houston.

“My designs are based on me and what I would wear, but I did have to go out of town this year to regroup,” she said.

Along with fashion on and off the stage. The event also included a performance by soul and funk recording artist April RaQuel and natural hair exhibit by Natural Trend Setters.  

During the closing of the show, Felicia Robinson, councilwoman for Miami Gardens honored Francesca Onyejuruwa, an assistant coordinator of the show for her participation in the community.

Dabota Godswill Jumbo dazzles the runway. (Video by Nyamekye Daniel @nyamsayso)

Diario for Cuba published this piece on Feb. 24, 2017. Interested in having low-cost, timely and professionally edited work for your news organization? Read about us here and contact News Director Dan Evans at daniel.evans@fiu.edu.

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