Africa Fashion International (AFI) reflects on the last 15 years through a digi-series that will feature different guests every week.
Africa Fashion International(AFI) premiered its #15yearsofAFI Digi-series with the first episode featuring its founder Dr. Precious Moloi-Motsepe.
The Livestream aired on AFI’s YouTube channel with Moloi-Motsepe reflecting on the past 15 years of AFI’s existence, touching on the brand’s success story.
The series aired after a two-day event hosted at Sandton City’s Diamond Walk in celebrating its 15th anniversary, where different designers showcased African fashion.
AFRICAN FASHION GOES INTERNATIONAL
Coming from a medical and philanthropic background, Dr. Moloi-Motsepe wanted to try something she is passionate about with the objective of changing people’s lives. Propelled by her passion, she noticed a strong cultural influence in the South African fashion industry with a huge economic impact.
She wanted to establish a place where creatives could come together and dream up amazing things in order to create jobs for the unemployed. From that vision, Moloi-Motsepe asserts that AFI has progressed over the last 15 years.
“We now know of a number of African designers who are household names, who dress global celebrities, who are spotted by some big companies, and department stores,” she said.
AN AFRICAN STORY TO TELL
Dr. Moloi-Motsepe realized that there was a story to tell when she attended a show in Paris showcasing John Galliano’s work.
“I could relate our culture Kings & Queens and the beautiful crafts that we also produce…. There was so much content around culture coming from Africa which we were not owning and I felt we needed to tell our own stories.”
These stories made AFI to bring the culture with its diversity to the global fashion dialogue.
AFI AN AGGREGATOR PLATFORM
AFI then switched from hosting fashion week platform to an aggregator platform through a collective dialogue with the designers as well as the consumers, since showcasing alone was not enough, as the product needed to reach the consumer markets.In ensuring that the product reaches the market, Moloi-Motsepe explains that before Covid hit they were in the process of going digital with what she calls AFI 4.0.
“The idea was to ensure that the channels for distribution are not only physical stores…We also wanted to reach the global consumer. Our E-commerce platform was really born out of the needs to create a platform, where designers as well as consumers could discover each other,” she said.
The success of local designers making it globally is something Dr Moloi-Motsepe is proud of. Designers such as Thebe Magugu who won the Louis Vuitton prize amongst many designers who competed globally, also the success of designers such as David Tlale and Gavin Rajah who went to Paris.