Paris, 6th October 2022: Five African designers, Lukhanyo Mdingi, Jiamini, Margaux Wong, Suave and Hamaji, opened Paris Fashion Week this season after participating in a world class mentoring programme facilitated by the Ethical Fashion Initiative to prepare the designers for the international market. Resulting in five stunning SS22 collections, focused on artisanal and ancient techniques fused with contemporary artistry, the designers redefine ‘Made in Africa’.
Spanning accessories to ready-to-wear, the designers are all recipients of the prestigious Ethical Fashion Initiative (EFI) Designer Accelerator programme, supported by the EU. With each creative having spent between 1-2 years being mentored by top industry executives, including EFI Head and Founder Simone Cipriani, co-founder of United Arrows, Hirofumi Kurino and actress and humanitarian Dakore Egbuson-Akande, in preparation for this moment.
Following the success of the two-year programme, the brands are now out in the world leaving their unique marks and paving the way for a more sustainable future in fashion, one that celebrates and champions African crafts, methods and designs.
Hamaji SS22 Collection
Designer Lukhanyo Mdingi, who has achieved global recognition after being additionally selected as a finalist in this year’s LVMH Prize 2021, says: “Being part of the [EFI] Accelerator programme has brought a positive contribution to our label and we believe that we will harness the networks and relationships formed over these last two years. It’s the human networks more than anything else. Our label is reliant on collaborations, so being part of the Accelerator Programme has allowed our label to be in the presence of those that believe in this spirit.”
Lukhanyo Mdingi SS22 Collection
Whilst Jennifer Mulli, founder of Jiamini notes, “The Accelerator has left me feeling more confident and competitive in the global fashion market and provided me with additional value in what I’m doing.
JIAMINI SS22 Collection
Designer Margaux Wong says of her experience: “The Accelerator programme has encouraged me as a designer to consider the origins, current path and future destinations of the brand. Before the Accelerator programme, there was so much about my personal identity and journey which I took for granted. I now embrace it all and am very excited to share our brand with the world.”
Margaux Wong SS22 Collection
African talent is receiving a spotlight this season with designers Kenneth Ize and Thebe Magugu, who have both previously participated in EFI presentations internationally, opening Paris Fashion Week, Monday and Tuesday respectively. Illustrating the power of the EFI platform to propel designers onto the world fashion stage.
Simone Cipriani says: “We see the huge potential in design talent from across the African continent. With the right support, tools and access to international markets, these designers can compete with the best in the world. Since launching the African Designer Accelerator we have supported over 15 designers to fulfil their ambitions and to see the designers go on to achieve such success is fantastic.”
Suave SS22 Collection