On the 4th of September, Africa Fashion Week New York 2014 kicked off with a fashion star-studded masterclass titled “Off the Runway,” held in association with the United Nation Foundation – and we at SPICE were there to soak up the wise words the events’ special guests had to offer.
Set at The United Nations Foundation offices, NY, speakers for the night included top South African designer David Tlale, celebrity stylist Kithe Brewster, former editor at Paper Magazine and current managing partner at BDM, Zandile Blay, and PR and media relations manager for Jewel by Lisa, Zara Okpara, who all had insightful perspectives to share about African fashion and business.
Zara explained that budding fashion entrepreneurs should remember that “everyone is important” – from clients to professionals and the general audience – advising those that wish to be successful in the industry should keep contacts in every role within a business or brand.
David Tlale spoke on his journey as a fashion brand owner and how he has honoured his vision by being authentic – starting small and trading under his own name to build his brand and his name. The designer told his audience of bloggers, fashion lovers and business professionals not to be afraid to “trade with your name.”
As a creative who’s worked with a range of celebrities, including Beyonce and Tyra Banks, stylist Kithe Brewster touched on the discrimination he faced in the past while trying to feature African designers in some publications, advising people not to compromise on the hard work they put into their career or vision.
Zandile Blay stressed the importance of structure in a story – stressing that those looking to follow in her footsteps should think editorially, digitally and experimentally to tell their audience the story of their brand in a strategic way.
Woman of the night, Africa Fashion Week New York founder, Adiat Disu, talked economics at the event, explaining in her speech;
“New York, the epi-center of the fashion world, is home to some of the most innovative and creative designers – especially up-and-comers. From the catwalks to the sidewalks, it is a well-known fact that if you can make it here, you’ll succeed anywhere.
Fashion is vital to New York and in many fashion capitals. More than 800 fashion companies are located in New York, supporting more than 175,000 jobs and generating billions of dollars in revenue.”
Team SPICE was also on hand to talk to the event’s speakers and guests about the night, as well as their thoughts on African fashion and business, which you can catch soon on Urban SPICE, on DSTV Channel 192.
For now see some pictures of the event, below;
Image source: Robert Cooper