Celebrating culture and couture: Highlights from African bridal fashion week

THE climax maiden edition of the African  Bridal Fashion Week (ABFW), was held on Sunday, August 27, in Abuja.

The three-day event started Friday, August 25 and had the theme ‘Afrocentric Edition’, which focused on exploring and promoting African bridal fashion cultures and brands.  

During the fashion runway show on the last day, Sunday, August 27, the convener, Famous Isaacs, said, “as an Afrocentric bridal fashion, this maiden edition featured designers who understood contemporary fashion and how it translates and relates to African bridal lifestyle. So, it’s a blend of the cultural and the contemporary.”

The first two days of the programme featured a masterclass and panel sessions around the bridal fashion industry. The masterclass centred around “the business law of fashion” while featuring fashion industry experts discussing various topics such as Modeling as a Business, Personal Branding, Marketing and Sales as Tools for Success.

It also had an African bridal exhibition, which saw different vendors display an array of African cultural and bridal attires. This is in addition to a bridal styling competition.

The panel discussion revolved around wedding events navigating the challenges of meeting clients’ needs the role of the media in the advancement of the African Fashion industry.

African Bridal Fashion Show
African Bridal Fashion Show

Speaking with The ICIR, the event’s convener Isaacs explained that the purpose of the event was to promote African culture through bridal fashion.

He said, “The inspiration behind ABFW is actually a desire to cause a change in the way fashion shows are organised and run. African Bridal Fashion Week was started to serve as a platform for the global promotion of African bridal fashion cultures, the people and brands behind it”.

    “African culture is mostly not documented even in 2023. ABFW is that platform that people turn to when they want to learn more about African culture-particularly African bridal fashion cultures because fashion is quite the go-to way to understand people’s cultures.

    He added that “African Bridal Fashion has come a long way, based on the collections displayed and will gain global acceptance to the level in that other cultures will adopt the designs, styling, and even fabrics used in the making of the fashion pieces”. 

    One of the designers, Mendie Funmilayo of Sparkle by Cahmen Couture told The ICIR when creating bridal pieces, she starts by gathering inspiration from historical research, ethnicity, fabric choices, body shapes and the preferences of the clients so as to strike a balance between tradition and innovation in her designs.

    “Ethnicity plays a big role in determining the creative process to adopt and this informs what concept to infuse into our wedding attires. Even our creative process involves different stages. After getting the right inspiration, we balance detailing, sophistication, elegance and budget in showcasing culture and contemporary representation”, she noted.

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