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African Fashion Week flourishes in the Lowcountry

By Finesse’

Africa Fashion Week, which was the brainchild of Adiat Disu, began in New York, and has become the premiere international event celebrated across the globe showcasing African designers, African inspired designers, clothing, and textiles which connect the undeniable influence of African culture on the world’s runway!

Pictured from left to right are Donellia Chives, Cynthia Stewart, and Mahoganee Amiger. Photo by Desmond Jackson of 2Nineteen.
Pictured from left to right are Donellia Chives, Cynthia Stewart, and Mahoganee Amiger. Photo by Desmond Jackson of 2Nineteen.

Africa Fashion Week of the Lowcountry (AFWLC) used its’ New York counterpart as inspiration and was presented by Stylistic Cafe & the Ngome Collective, a clothing line and contemporary Africana Vintage Boutique located at ARTworks.

Donellia Chives, Mahoganee Amiger and Cynthia Stewart are the driving forces behind African Fashion Week in the Lowcountry. Without question it is these three who had the vision and drive to make these multiple events such a success. All three creative entrepreneurs took their running start with ARTworks in Beaufort. Starting with the Ngome Collective Boutique housed at ARTworks, is Mahoganee a music artist known for her soulful sounds. Cynthia and Donellia are mothers with stylistic ambitions. They huddled and used their wits to create the organizational backbone for a week of daily community events taking place each evening. During African Fashion Week attendees didn’t just see fashionable clothing and beautiful models walking the runway. Depending on the event, they heard health and beauty tips, found a comfortable atmosphere to enjoy live music in and much more to stimulate their sense of fashion, art and Gullah heritage.

Arianne King Comer at SALT Gallery. Photo by Desmond Jackson of 2Nineteen.
Arianne King Comer at SALT Gallery. Photo by Desmond Jackson of 2Nineteen.

The weeklong event began with a Royal Tea at ARTworks. The gallery was packed with people who were vibrant and exciting. Select artists, including Jan Spencer, and Amiri Farris were in attendance at this and other various events during the week.

The skillful Amiri Farris demonstrated his brilliant mind as he showed the audience how he creates his art at the SALT Gallery on Tuesday night. Hank Herring, owner of SALT, provided a beautiful backdrop to enjoy a large collection of artwork in the midst of beautiful, creative art-appreciating people.

Wednesday, Nina Simone performed with Mahoganee and Jan Spencer adding their vocals to the mix and all three sang their hearts out in Frissell Hall. This was followed on Thursday by a panel of knowledgeable and fashionable women teaching the need for early detection of breast cancer, what makes for a healthy diet, and recommending new and interesting hair and personal care products.

The highlight of the week for many was the runway show on Friday night featuring Charleston model Alison Salters. This Penn Center fundraiser was a fabulous climax to a great week. And it all ended with a youth event at ARTworks, where young children modeled clothing by CATO. It was clear that right here, at the SALT Gallery, ARTworks, and the Penn Center, African Fashion Week of the Lowcountry enhanced both old and young alike in their love of fashion, textiles, art, music and all things Gullah! Thank you everyone. It was a great week!

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