Leading Nigerian luxury clothing designer to showcase at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Africa
The African fashion community is a-buzz with the news that acclaimed Nigerian designer of luxury clothing, Mai Atafo, will be showcasing for the first time ever at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Africa (MBFWAfrica) 2014 at Melrose Arch, 29 October – 1 November.
Organiser and leading fashion authority, African Fashion International (AFI) has announced that the multi-award-winning designer – best known for his couturier suits – will present a ladies’ and menswear collection for Mai Atafo Inspired (MAI), his premium African fashion clothier brand.
“Designers like Mai epitomise the coming together of the African aesthetic and global trends that has characterised the evolution of local fashion since the first MBFWAfrica five years ago. His many awards and accolades are testament to the great heights to which African fashion can and has ascended” says AFI Group Marketing Manager, Sizwe Nzimande.
True to Mai’s roots as a suit tailor, the MAI ladies’ wear collection for MBFWAfrica, entitled “Etibor”, will bring an androgynous line, inspired by the traditional attire of the men of Nigeria’s South-South region, to the runway. This will be strongly communicated via the fabrics and silhouettes of the designs, which will be given a colourful edge with bright aspects of western Nigeria’s Yoruba style.
Alongside their female counterparts, the male models donning the MAI MBFWAfrica 2014 collection will present “Jungle Gentleman”, a line inspired by the African man’s interpretation of what it means to be a gentleman who is stylish and sophisticated, yet does not impose boundaries on himself. This will be expressed with soft, pastel colours instead of Africa’s signature bold hues. An interesting twist will be the inclusion of denim elements in formal wear, with straight lines and sharp tailoring.
“I am really looking forward to bringing the new MAI collections to MBFWAfrica 2014. Sharing the runway with such a stellar line-up of African designers is sure to be an unforgettable experience” says Mai, who has nearly 20 prestigious accolades – including 2014 Man of the Year (Ebony Life TV Sisterhood Awards) and 2013 Nigerian Designer of the year (Sideview Magazine) – to his name.
One of three divisions of Mai Atafo’s designs, MAI is the designer’s focus on well-tailored, functional clothes for special occasions. The brand is known for its clean-cut aesthetics and fashion-forward designs as well as its contemporary approach to classic styles.
MAI will take to the runway at 21:30 on Thursday, 30 October, at Melrose Arch Johannesburg for Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Africa, which will feature outstanding collections from over 30 of the continent’s leading emerging and established designers, including MaXhosa by Laduma (South Africa), Sheria Ngowi (Tanzania) and Laurence Airline (Cote d’Ivoire), to name but a few.
About Mai Atafo
Mai Atafo Inspired aspires to be globally recognised as Africa’s leader in the design, manufacture and sale of luxury clothing for everyday and ceremonial occasions. With an African heart and an international perspective, the brand has showcased at fashion platforms around the world. Recently, Mai Atafo designed the inaugural Johnnie Walker Blue Label Golf Challenge Winner’s Blazer.
Among others, Mai Atafo has received the following awards:
• 2014 – Man of the Year (Ebonylife TV Sisterhood Awards)
• 2013 – Bridal Fashion Designer of the Year (WED Magazine)
• 2013 – Nigerian Designer of the Year (Sideview Magazine)
• 2013 – Menswear Designer of the Year (City People Fashion and Beauty Awards)
• 2013 – Bridal Designer of the Year (City People Fashion and Beauty Awards)
• 2012 – Designer of the Year (Glitz African Fashion Week Ghana)
• 2010, 2012 – Fashion Brand of the Year (FAB Magazine)
• 2010 – Fashion Designer of the Year (Mode Men Magazine)
• 2010 – The Redefinition Contribution to Fashion (Covenant University)
• 2009 – Hottest New Male Designer (City People Fashion and Style)
African Fashion International (AFI) presents African fashion and creative talent in a manner that makes fashion from the continent globally relevant and ensures that the world has market access to African product and design. Through the organisation’s promotion, curation and support services, AFI ensures that the international community responds positively and commercially to African-designed products that are readily available, unique and on-trend.
Through its Fashion Weeks, namely Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Joburg A/W, Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Cape Town S/S and Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Africa (trans-seasonal), AFI showcases the best designers from the continent, offering them access to the domestic and international markets, while also growing a platform meant to support the sustainability of the African fashion industry through job creation. AFI also remains committed to growing a new legion of designers through the AFI Fastrack™ programme.