It was a mix of colours, gorgeous fashion and delicious food as the Ankara Festival Los Angeles was held in the United States over the weekend.
Started six years ago with the aim of increasing the visibility of African culture and heritage through fashion, music, dance and food, the festival saw the diaspora from across the continent coming together to celebrate modern African designs, and new young designers looking for a stage to showcase their talent and develop their entrepreneurial ambition in the fashion arena.
This year, the Ankara Festival was held at the historic Avalon Theater in Hollywood, the entertainment headquarters of the world and the country’s most diverse and multicultural arena.
Every year the Ankara festival is graced with the presence of AHF Foundation which is an Aids healthcare organisation, whose aim is to raise awareness of HIV/Aids around the world.
Carlos Canton, from the AHF Foundation, said that their purpose was to ensure that quality healthcare was available to people with the virus from around the world. Famous faces, such as Vannesa Williams from Soul food and Uti – the Big Brother Africa all-star winner – were present.
The event was inspired by the bold prints of Africa’s Ankara fashion. The type of fabric mainly used is cotton – which is brought from countries such as Ghana and Nigeria and fabrics like kente, which is also a bold colour with prints.
The whole idea of the show was to celebrate African designers and also get the chance to wear African attire proudly.
But what does this mean for Africans attending the event, who have left their home countries in search of the American dream.
As Paapy J, a designer from Ghanain clothing label Tinz, said: “The Ankara festival means so much. It’s an honour to be here. I’m so happy.”
Next year’s Ankara festival will take place on the east coast, New York. The organisers are hoping that more countries, such as South Africa, will participate.
The organiser of the AFLA, Jagaban Lentinithe, from Nigeria. Picture: Lebogang Kekana
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