Internationally-renowned designer Ozwald Boateng OBE curated a stunning fashion show featuring four designers from Africa or its diaspora communities, wowing guests at his Gala event Celebrating Africa’s Progress, in collaboration with the IC Publications Africa Bankers Awards, in Marrakech, Morocco. The thrilling designs of Amine Bendriouich (Tunisian), Pierre Antoine Vettorello (French Ivoirian), Samantha Cole (British-Nigerian), and Mimi Plange (Ghanaian-born Californian) were brought together for the show, featuring 30 models, including Sessilee Lopez and Sonja Wanda, by Mr Boateng as his Made in Africa Foundation celebrated the enormous positivity coursing through the African continent and its diaspora in terms of creativity and commerce.
In addition to the Fashion Show, the Gala event also featured electrifying musical performances by John Legend and Youssou N’Dour, with the after-show featuring Yasiin Bey (formerly Mos Def) and Akon as DJ’s. Earlier in the day, the Made In Africa’s principle of bringing together the continent’s skillsets to co-operate towards progress bore significant fruit with the signing of the Marrakech Undertaking by the Olusegun Obasanjo Foundation – a recognition of the foundations’ mutual obligations to assist in the development of the continent, focusing on transformational infrastructure projects
The event was attended by 400 leaders of the world’s banking and investment community, gathering in Marrakech for the African Development Bank’s annual
summit, concentrating on creating progress and investment across Africa. Ozwald Boateng commented: “Africa has been the inspiration of all great artists such as Picasso and designers like Yves Saint Laurent. As Africa rises and we see the African century our creativity in all the arts will be clear.”
Notes to Editors – The Made in Africa Foundation
The Made In Africa Foundation is a charitable organisation, established to support strategic infrastructure projects and create sustainable solutions to some of Africa’s most pressing problems. It works to support technical feasibility studies, to kick start key infrastructure developments like road, rail, ports, and refineries, and to engage the African diaspora in innovative fund-raising activities. The Foundation was founded in 2011 by international designer Ozwald Boateng MBE, and Nigerian businessman Kola Aluko, and is supported by Atlantic Energy.
The Designers Amine Bendriouich – After earning a degree in fashion design at ESMOD Tunis, Casablanca-based Amine Bendriouich created his eponymous label, a cheeky and nonchalant reflection on fashion and society. Amine was inspired by the mid-80’s look and fuses pop authenticity, androgyny and urban aesthetics. He designs his collections like a storyteller: each season has a spontaneous theme symbolizing his twisted perception. His edgy, unisex collections soon became iconic to the younger Moroccan generation while still managing to appeal to fashion-conscious Europe and North America. Fashion Daily News, France24 and The Standard have praised his unbridled creative energy, which has also seen him featured at Createurope (Berlin, 2009) and earned him the Best Menswear award at the Arise Magazine Fashion Week (Lagos, 2011). Bendriouich launched the “Contemporary Moroccan Roots” festival, a cultural event that just celebrated its 4th anniversary in 2012 and mingles street and visual arts with experimental music and fashion, inviting artists from all over the world to redefine Casablanca’s artistic identity.
Pierre Antoine Vettorello – Born in Bordeaux of French-Ivorian heritage, Pierre Antoine Vettorello designs highly conceptual silhouettes representing a woman’s struggle for freedom. He does research on textile design and develops highly original and striking and techniques in embroidery and textile development. His collections are sold in the concept stores RA Antwerp and RA Paris. Vettorello began his study of textile design in Paris at the age of 22 and his interest in the work of Dries Van Noten and Martin Margiela led him to their alma mater, the prestigious Royal Academy in Antwerp. He has focused on developing African fabrics, creating original and indomitable pieces that challenge and redefine traditional silhouettes, and sees himself as an Artistic Director with an interest in a variety of subjects and media: from the design of clothing to websites, from brand-building to the establishment of workshops for developing artists and discovering fresh talent. He lives and works from Brussels.
Samantha Cole – British-Nigerian designer Samantha Cole launched her label in 2008 and debuted her collection on the runway at London Fashion Week with Vauxhall Fashion Scout in February 2011, garnering praise from the likes of WGSN and Vogue. Her collections have since been shown in London and New York, finding favor among fashion cognoscenti and in prominent fashion editorials around the world. Cole is inspired by art, technology and structure, with ‘female empowerment’ and indifference to convention serving as consistent themes in her work. She pushes the boundaries of the textiles she works with, destroying, distressing and breaking them down, before rebuilding them to new purposes, and her fascination with light and shadow has lead her to develop an ext often monochrome palettes. Mark Holgate acknowledged the Cole’s label as one of Britain’s “Fashion Forward Designers” in American Vogue, and her designs were featured in Vogue Italia’s “Talents”.
Mimi Plange – Mimi Plange began her eponymous, ready-to-wear brand in 2010 with a desire to create a womenswear label combining a traditional Victorian aesthetic and her African heritage. Born in Ghana and raised in Southern California, Plange graduated from the University of California, Berkeley with a BA in Architecture and minor in Dramatic Art but soon shifted her focus from buildings to clothes, graduating from San Francisco’s Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising in 2001. She worked as a designer for various New York-based sportswear brands for more than a decade before establishing her own fashion consulting firm ‘SB&P Designs, LLC,’ the parent company of Mimi Plange. Her designs have been featured in The New York Times, Vogue, Harper’s Bazar, Marie Claire, Glamour, and Cosmopolitan, and her creations have been worn by First Lady, Michelle Obama, Rihanna, Shenae Grimes, Jennifer Missoni, Janelle Monae, Michelle Trachtenberg, Katrina Graham, Regina King, and Estelle.