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New Afro-centric fashion show launched in London

Breaking new ground ... Siobhan Benita, Viola Ncube and Caroline Marsh

06/02/2012 00:00:00
by Henry Makiwa
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AN AFRO-CENTRIC alternative to global fashion showcase has been officially launched in London.
Organisers of the Tribes of Africa (TOA) say it is the new platform for African haute couture.

The UK-based charitable social enterprise iRock!, which advocates for the social empowerment of women, on Saturday unveiled plans of the fundraising fashion show which will feature the works of eight top African designers in London.

iRock! UK founder and director, Zimbabwe-born Viola Ncube, said: “We are calling our initiative ‘fashion with a mission’. We are aware of how fashion influences and inspires our society today and we know it can be instrumental to foster positive change for many young women whom we are working with and are in desperate need of opportunities to make something of their lives.

“Tribes of Africa fashion show will bring together an amazing set of unique designers and stylists with diverse creative visions to celebrate African culture and heritage.

“We are excited about this journey we are starting today and we look to make a positive impact to communities and individuals through our work from here on.”

Coming in the Spring to coincide with the Africa Day celebrations On May 25, the TOA fashion show is certain to offer an option in largely unexplored couture territory.

Among the top designers showcasing their work at the TOA debut event will be Nigeria’s Kemkem Studios, Chichia London from Tanzania, Ghanaian Beatrice K Newman, Tina Lobondi (Congo) and Stacey Kidega from Uganda.

Caroline Marsh, who featured in the TV show ‘Secret Millionaire’, 2009 CNN Hero award winner Betty Makoni and London 2012 mayoral candidate, Siobhan Benita, all gave TOA a resounding thumbs up and pledged to support iRock’s programmes.

Siobhan said: “As a devoted mother I spend a lot of time looking at ways see how children, especially girls can have better opportunities than I had growing up.

“We need to make more chance in improving the diversity situation and, in particular, gender equality, in the workplace and in society in general.


“I am excited of what iRock! UK has started and urge the corporate world and individuals to support this worthy cause.”

iRock! UK lists amongst its aims a dedication to see the healthy development of black women in the fields of business, art and education.

"I think this project is really relevant," said Caroline. "Being in business, I know that financial success needs to be sown back into communities. As things are, there is also no denying that there is a disparity to be addressed on young women’s issues whether they're linked to education, business, careers and governance. iRock! UK and TOA will in a way kick-start that process.”

The media and guests to the event held at London’s Grange Tower Bridge Hotel, were treated to an eclectic performance of Zulu Traditional dancers to capture the mood of TOA, while several mentees of iRock’s programmes were dressed in vibrant diverse African attire.

The evening ended with guests walking away with special gift packs packaged in African material containing a variety of African delicacies, courtesy of Savanah South African Foods.

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