BY ELi CHEP & EVE CHEGE
The fifth edition of one of Kenya’s biggest fashion shows and popularized by a catchy hashtag #MeetMeAtFAFA, made its land mark as a successful event.
Saturday evening was filled with fabulosity, glamour and dazzle at the 2014 Festival for African Fashion and Arts (FAFA) gala. The gala show hosted a great set of Kenya’s finest designers exhibiting on the runway ranging from couture designs, to casual, to extraordinary jewelry enhancing a celebration of cultural diversity in a fashion show to celebrate peace for South Sudan dubbed “Fashion for Peace for South Sudan”. The fashion show organized by FAFA took place at the prime and panoramic landmark within Westlands hub, The Oval on Ring Rd Parklands.
The brainchild of FAFA – MD, KikoRomeo & founder Fashion for Peace/FAFA – Ann McCreath – whose FAFA’s Fashion for Peace ensemble has tremendously grown in recent years to become the biggest fashion event in Kenya’s society calendar.
Speaking at the gala event, Ann McCreath said that arts form a very strong bond that can unite the nation for peace. “We must believe that we can bring change, without resorting to violence,” she said. She also emphasized the need to use fashion and arts to bring people together in a common place to enjoy the spectacle and then discuss divergent issues.
Renowned African fashion designers and models graced the catwalk within the beautiful confines of the Oval, in this one of a kind fashion show. The event aimed to draw attention to the immense creativity and sophistication, which exists in Kenya and on the African continent, while portraying the wonderful richness that exists in cultural diversity and fashion as well.
The event also brought together a wide range of participants including visual artists, designers, musicians, writers, sportsmen, professionals in the corporate sector, media personalities and business gurus.
“Safaricom believes in the potential to bring change to its people. Thus, change brings development and is the springboard of the economy. Safaricom has been in the market to support the Kenyan market through sports, nurturing talent and boosting the economy. Therefore, events such as FAFA, Safaricom Groove Awards, Safaricom Sevens, and Safaricom Lewa Marathon just to mention but a few have helped reward outstanding citizens and appreciate diverse cultures,” said Mrs.Yoga.
FAFA 2014 had all the components of a glamorous event and a grand opportunity to present Kenya not only as a modern, vibrant destination but as a fashion hub as well within East Africa.As many countries throughout the region continue to know human rights abuse, civil unrest and war, FAFA’s aim is to continuously change perceptions of other communities, one mind at a time, by exploring and bridging cultures through fashion, art and music.
Major sponsors for this year’s 5th edition Gala event were Jameson, Safaricom, CBA and Sarova Stanley. CBA as FAFA’s banking partner also signed a 3 year agreement with FAFA to grow the local Fashion Industry. Beauty partners included City Models Africa, Shair Academy and Suzie Beauty as beauty partners. Silver partners included Ipsos Research and Securex.
Deborah Kimathi, the Field Director for Vision Africa, said that “Seed of Hope” initiative has been one of the beneficiaries of FAFA Fashion to help, equip and empower disadvantaged teenagers to be self-sufficient and independent living; through vocational training, business training and teaching life skills.
Ajuma Nasenyana, one of the top models in Africa and beyond said his agency in France, helps models develop and market themselves in foreign countries through fashion and designer clothes. She also appreciates the level of how FAFA has grown to help spread the message of peace.
In total, the 2014 Gala event saw an impressive 18 Kenyan fashion houses and designers showcase their unique designs within the magnificent marquee, models strutted down the long catwalk in designs from leading fashion houses and designers alongside a few other continental designers showcase their work on the runway heaven such as Deepa Dosaja, Niku Singh(London-based brand showcased jewellery made of brass, aluminium and semi-precious stone), Wambui Kibue (Angelsmile House of Design known for its glamorous designs), Aryam, Ankara Vintage (Bespoke tailoring by Nick Ondu), Kikoti (An affordable line for youth, whose proceeds go to anti-poaching awareness by Iona McCreath), Shenu Hooda, KikoRomeo(Award winning sustainable and ethical fashion brand developed by Ann McCreath), Kooroo, Muna Yemane(up and coming Kenyan designer with an ultra-feminine flair), Anna Adero, Jamil Walji, Azra Walji, Waithira Kibuchi, Riri Jewellery(by Njuhi Chege – influenced by the Kenyan landscape and culture. All handmade by local artisans), Le Collane di Betta by Elisabetta Caplolino, Ami Doshi and Manciny Migwi.
Featuring were also 2 designers from Botswana and a collection by a collective of South Sudanese designers. Also strutting down the catwalk were selected few of Kenya’s top CEOs and athletes, including those from the National Rugby team, hockey and volleyball teams too such as Jeff Koinange, Janet Wanja, Martin Keino, Lilian Muli, Suzie Wokabi, and Wambui Thimba.
Emcees & media personalities respectively, Maqbul Mohammed of Capital FM and Kiss TV’s, Grace Msalame were the fine hosts of the FAFA evening & did a wonderful job of keeping the guests engaged that featured celebrity DJ, DJ Zelalem entertained the fashion crowd with some amazing tunes on the decks.