EDA INCEKARA/Photography Staff
Students modeled clothing from five Maryland designers last Friday.
The African Students Association (ASA) held Flavors of Africa: A Fashion Show, on the evening of Friday, April 13. Showcasing Maryland designers representing countries from across the African continent, the fashion show filled the Glass Pavilion with students eager to see their friends walk the runway in African-inspired clothing.
The event is ASA’s first fashion show event and was directed by sophomore Edo Ighodaro, sophomore Keisha Aboagye and senior ASA President Kelechi Basil. The inspiration for this fashion show came from Ighodaro, who discussed her vision for the show in an email to The News-Letter.
“I have always been really proud of my African culture, so when I came to Hopkins I wanted to share why I loved it so much with other students,” she wrote. “The fashion show was the best outlet because it combined our traditional fabrics, food, dance and music all while bringing the Hopkins community together for an enjoyable night.”
The event featured five designers from the Maryland area who produce African-inspired fashions, including Obioma Fashion, la Belle Ivoire Création, Sankofa, East Habesha, Fatima Kamara and Izu and Vash. Each brand produces clothing items inspired by patterns and designs from different African nations and represents the richness and diversity of African fashion.
The first brand presented at the show was Obioma Fashion. The evening’s two emcees, junior ASA Secretary Karima Kallon and junior Chelsea Egbuna introduced Emeka Anyadiegwu, of the Laurel, Md.-based brand. Obioma utilizes bold prints in innovative ways that combine authentic Nigerian patterns with silhouettes drawn from American fashion.
Every piece of Obioma’s clothing is made in Nigeria and produced using fair trade processes. Next, VIVAZ, the Caribbean dance troop at Hopkins, performed for the audience.
The next designer introduced was Cindy Kolade of la Belle Ivoire Création. This brand is based in Baltimore and is inspired by the textile prints and bold accessories of Kolade’s Ivorian heritage. A performance of an original song by Tony Omani followed this presentation.
Next was the presentation of Baltimore-based Sankofa, which sells handmade clothing and accessories from African textile artisans. A selection of male models showed off the colorful designs from this local brand.
Following the Sankofa display was the intermission, during which both African specialties and other snacks were offered to the audience.
After the intermission was the presentation of designs from East Habesha. This brand celebrates the complex and beautiful Ethiopian culture and offers clothing for both formal and informal occasions.
Next was a display of clothing designed by Hopkins sophomore Fatima Kamara, a fashion designer who was also a model in the show.
Last but not least were designs from Izu and Vash, a Nigerian-based brand that offers traditional pieces with a contemporary twist. Following this last presentation, the models and organizers of the event held a spontaneous dance competition. Ighodaro and Basil both thanked the audience for attending this inaugural fashion show.
Ighodaro spoke about the hard work that ASA put towards hosting this event.
“It was definitely a stressful and long process, but with the hard work of ASA executive board and all the participants, we were able to bring together a great show,” Ighodaro wrote. “The most important thing I learned from this show is that great things can happen when everyone puts forward their best effort.”
Photographers snapped pictures of all the fierce looks that the student models showed off on the runway.
Basil discussed the goals of the event in an email to The News-Letter.
“Flavors of Africa: A Fashion Show is an evening of fun and entertainment for the Hopkins community. More importantly though, ASA wants the show to be an engaging way of sharing/celebrating African artistic culture and the diverse heritage that spans the continent with the Hopkins community,” he wrote. “By showcasing this niche aspect of African culture we hope to initiate conversation and broaden the perspective people have of Africa.”
Flavors of Africa showcased local fashion designers inspired by African fashion and presented the modeling talents of the Hopkins student body. While it is the first such fashion show held by ASA, the Homewood Campus should look forward to more colorful and creative events like these.