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AFI rocked with a Selection of Unmistakably Africa-Inspired Prints and Silhouettes. Bold Beauty Met Forward-Thinking Innovation on the Runway in Johannesburg’s Sandton.


Image Credit AFI Fashion Week, House Of Nala and AFI Instagram



Sunshine yellow silk, tangerine prints and black tulle – at Urban Zulu

Johannesburg’s ultra-fashionable suburb of Sandton hosted a week of exceptional offerings from stalwart as well as new designers in a combination of in-person and virtual shows. The theme this year, BE YOU. BE TRULY AFRICAN! built on the previous campaign I AM AFRICA to encourage connection and openness throughout the continent. And the contributing designers did just that: each interpreted the theme in their own individual way in an ode to the motto: ‘Express your creative self and find peace in your individuality.’

Celebrities included the newly crowned Ms South Africa Lalela Mswane and South African fashion legend Thebe Magugu. The gap between Fashion Weeks from March 2020 to October 2021 was relayed through an ethereal showcase of visionary African femininity, with unique takes on hot pink fabrics, menswear skirts and wispy silhouettes. The playlist gestured this cultural swing, with designers moving away from the fast-paced beats of hip-hop toward the classics by Boom Shaka and Yvonne Chaka Chaka. Chaka herself co-starred on the runway for Lufi D, with reality TV star Nonkanyiso Conco, in a plus-size celebration of African forms, colours and prints.

AFI Fashion week 2021 was an uber glamorous affair and drew the regular audience of fashion and arts enthusiasts but also brought new audiences who were looking for a sense of inspiration and escapism after months of lockdowns. The message from the founder of AFI was one of healing; “We are dedicating this fashion week to healing. In the strange, challenging time we continue to find ourselves in, imagination and creativity are so important. It helps us cope with what confronts us.”

As for the collections, they were predictably vibrant, bright, bold, cheery and inclusive of gender and body shape. Fabrics were inspired – from the sheerest translucent tulle and chiffon to luxe satins and silks, from indigenous prints to tartans and plaids. It was an awesome, varied and inclusive visual feast as only an African show can offer.

Believe me, words simply don’t do it justice, it’s best to experience these incredible collections for yourself!

And should you be itching to lay your hands on these goodies, shop the collections for a limited time only on


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Twenties luxe: beaded tulle and maribou feathers are draped over a trademark print – at David Tlale


Image Credit AFI Instagram
The delightful host of the shows: Nomalanga


Fashionistas at the shows


Bright and bold prints at the shows


Image Credit AFI Instagram
Crisp white and classic black – at Fastrack Finalist Keneuoe Mhletswa


Pre-show glamour

David Tlale is a beloved, ultra-glamorous household name in South Africa (and greater Africa) and needs no introduction. The brand is famous for its dramatic and daring unconventionality, its unique prints, its luxurious and voluminous shapes, its uncanny use of colour and inspired combinations of textures. Amen’s clothing reflects the journey of sharing between Africa and the world and this journey includes many style stories and experiences. It also is a journey of exploration of contemporary African identities, including gender identities. Fabrosanz seduced with their glamorous shocking pink and purple silhouettes – asymmetrical designs, feathers, flairs, frills, tartans and exotic prints were all on offer in this spectacular collection.


Yellow ruffles and a unique print – unmistakably David Tlale!

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Embroidery embellishment and fringed moccasins ooze pure luxury – at David Tlale

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Luxurious electric blue flairs over a printed bodysuit – at David Tlale

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Feathers for sheer indulgence – at David Tlale

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A printed bolero and full skirt – at Amen

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Glamourous animal prints and diagonals – at Amen

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Clashing prints and a shoulder bag – at Amen

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Regal prints – at Amen


A floor-sweeping skirt and cropped leather top – at Amen


On the runway – at Amen

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Streetwear with attitude – at Amen

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Colour and monochromatic prints – at Amen

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A Sixties twist to this ensemble – at Amen

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Asymmetry and fabulous feathers – at Fabrosanz

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A gorgeous babydoll dress and cheeky pillar box hat – at Fabrosanz

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Psychedelic flairs – at Fabrosanz

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A corset and frilled slacks – at Fabrosanz

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A touch of tartan – at Fabrosanz

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Elegance and glamour – at at Fabrosanz

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One of our favourite collections of 2021 – at Fabrosanz

Gorgeous prints were to be seen in many of the collections, some bespoke to the designer and others an example of the African geographical region they originate from. Various designers included stunning prints into their collection. Here’s a selection of some of the best: Imprint ZA is inspired by all things African – ‘Our roots, who we are as Africans, where we are from and where we going – through the avenues of our music, our people and the places we dwell in throughout our beautiful, mysterious, and complex continent.’ Love Jane and Lufi D also wowed with spectacular prints, and so did the Sisters Of Africa who formed part of the Senegal Collection. All these brands featured magical prints, and/or a mix of prints and plains combined in wonderfully elegant and innovative ways, showcasing traditional African techniques and styles in refreshingly contemporary ways.

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Beadwork add to the drama – at Imprint ZA

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Asymmetry in this maxi dress – at Imprint ZA

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Off-the-shoulder glamour – at Imprint ZA

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Printed piping add elegance – at Imprint ZA


A symphony of prints – at Imprint ZA


Earthy tones – at Love Jane


Geometric prints work well together – at Love Jane


A tulle and printed textiles frou-frou – at Lufi D


Image Credit AFI Instagram
Legend Yvonne Chakachaka on the runway for Lufi D


Bold piping adds oomph – at Lufi D


Elegance personified – at Lufi D


A glamorous tulle wrap – at Lufi D


Yellow tulle and shoes – at Lufi D


Puff sleeves and batik print – at Senegal Collection: Sisters Of Africa


Image Credit AFU Instagram
Kaftan elegance – at Senegal Collection: Sisters Of Africa


Exquisite colours and shapes – at Senegal Collection: Sisters Of Africa

Seditsi is a South African ready-to-wear womenswear line famous for its story African spiritual telling through design, textiles and shades. We adored the sparkly, fuzzy surface textiles in this 2021 range. K. Moraba & Collective’s designs focus on the high-end fashion market and are inspired by a variety of things that evoke feminine, wistful and bold silhouettes – it could be the curl of a leaf on the mealie cob or the shape of a cloud on a warm South African summer day or just the lyrics of an Afro-jazz song. Beautifully constructed and elegant, we particularly loved the puff sleeved lavender blue cocktail dress!

Alia Bare of the Senegal Collection showcased beautiful corseted ensembles that were as elegant as they were luxurious and Sofatso of the Senegal Collection’s peachy pastel satin ensembles were endearingly beautiful and fit for a romantic cruise down the Nile!


Sparkly fuzz in this Fifties style dress – at Seditsi Collection


Menswear can sparkle too! – at Seditsi Collection


A rhinestone- encrusted bodysuit – at Seditsi Collection


A floor-sweeping, full skirted maxi dress – at Seditsi Collection


A beautifully elegant maxi dress – at K. Moraba & Collective


A frilly tailored blouse – at K. Moraba & Collective


A puff sleeve sweetheart neckline dress in lavender – at K. Moraba & Collective


Image Credit AFI Instagram
A statement white shirt – at K. Moraba & Collective


Asymmetrical lines in this yellow brocade dress – at K. Moraba & Collective


Delft blue stripes – at Senegal Collection: Alia Bare


A midriff-exposing satin dress – Senegal Collection: Alia Bare


A pointy-hem skirt and corset top – at Senegal Collection: Alia Bar


A floaty pastel trouser suit – at Sofatso at Senegal Collection


A romantic peach maxi dress – at Sofatso at Senegal Collection

Urban Zulu stays true to the brand’s African identity by creating clothes that are unmistakably African, yet functional and relevant in contemporary society. We thought we were in urban heaven in amongst all these exquisite prints! Fastrack young designers Shamira Moodley, Cheron Dreyer and Siyabonga Mtshali also pulled out all the stops, showcasing inspired streetwear and bespoke textile embellishments.


Mom and baby show off stunning prints – at Urban Zulu


Image Credit AFI Instagram
Regal garb – at Urban Zulu


Peplums and piping – at Urban Zulu


Leg of Mutton sleeves and cutouts – at Urban Zulu


Fringing and skirted slacks – at Urban Zulu


Beautiful strelizia prints in black and white – at Cheron Dreyer, Fastrack designer


Padded couture streetwear – at Cheron Dreyer, Fastrack designer


Exquisite embellishments – at Shamira Moodley, Fastrack designer


Bespoke applique –at Shamira Moodley, Fastrack designer


Glamorous prints – at Siyabonga Mtshali, Fastrack designer


Glitter and piping – at Siyabonga Mtshali, Fastrack designer


An ensemble fit for an African Queen – at Siyabonga Mtshali, Fastrack designer


Cecile Paul

Author at Pynck

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