The first-ever African-designer showcase took place at New York Fashion Week where THIS DAY/ARISE
Magazine presented the African Collective 2009 featuring designers Xuly Bet, Nkhensani Nkosi, Fati Asibelua, and Tiffany Amber. The eventâ€™s tented village in mid-town Bryant Park was the setting on Friday night for the first African Fashion Collective, 2009, starring the singer, Grace Jones, and featuring the collections of four designers: Xuly Bet from Mali; Nkhensani Nkosi who designs Stoned Cherrie, the South African label; Fati Asibelua of Momo, and Tiffany Amber, both from Nigeria.
The show opened with the voice of Jones intoning â€˜Man-Eating Machineâ€™, as a giant, black and white video of the singer â€“ digitally-distorted and manipulated in the manner of â€˜The Terminatorâ€™ â€“ unfolded on a screen at the back of the stage.
The designs were modelled by a United Nations roll-call of girls from more than a dozen countries, including Ethiopia, Namibia, Burkina Faso, Senegal, Russia, China and the Netherlands, along with Tyson Beckford, and African catwalk superstars, Alek Wek and Liya Kebede.
Xuly Bet showed contemporary sportswear in denim and corduroy and T-shirt dresses printed with President Obamaâ€™s face.
Tiffany Amberâ€™s collection featured silk shantung and traditional â€˜Ankaraâ€™ fabrics, with intricate shell and bead embroidery.
Alek Wek closed Nkosiâ€™s Stoned Cherrie collection in a shadow-dyed, burnt orange-to-earth toned, silk chiffon gown with an elaborate, jewelled collar, while zebra, leopard, giraffe and snake patterns, printed on hand-woven taffeta, cashmere and metallic silk, in shades of pewter and gold, were the feature of Asibeluaâ€™s Momo collection.
The African Fashion Collective was jointly sponsored by ThisDay, one of Africaâ€™s largest daily news outlets, and Arise, the glossy style magazine devoted to African global achievement. It was timed to mark the election of Barack Obama as President, and First Lady, Michelle Obamaâ€™s championing of young, culturally diverse designers.