This weekend, the Royal Ontario Museum hosted a fashion-themed pre-party to #FNLROM celebrating African Fashion Week. #FNLROM, short for “Friday Night Live at the Royal Ontario Museum”, is a urban soiree within the museum that occurs every Friday night in the Spring and Fall. It’s a must-try experience for sure.
At the African Fashion Week pre-party, guests were able to preview the works of local designers from African Fashion Week. In true ROM-style, every event contains a learning opportunity and this pre-party was no different. We were invited to examine the collections with each designer, who walked us through their design processes and inspirations with us. Below are some highlights from each designer:
Winner of African Fashion Week 2014, Layla, designer of Miss Beida, draws her inspiration from African culture. “I love the look of the dashiki. When you see someone that is wearing the dashiki, you automatically know that they are aware of African culture.” Inspired by the lifestyle and culture in Africa, Miss Beida’s AFW 2014 winning collection depicted the life of a girl growing up in Africa from childhood to motherhood.
“This is piece was worn by the bride in my runway show.” Explains Layla
Inspired by colourful African prints, Zeena Kay has been designing and making clothes since she was a little girl. She is drawn to vibrant prints and bright colour palettes. When coming up with designs, Zeena likes to frequent fabric shops and let the fabrics speak to her. “I knew the moment I saw this print that it would be a trench. I could just see a trench coat from this fabric.”
One particular dress displayed was from her Cinderella collection. When asked jokingly how the dress should be worn as the bodice was made of transparent material, Zeena laughs and responds “Bras are highly recommended.” “In my culture, it is a no-no to go outside in a dress like that with nothing on underneath.”
“She’s my favourite” says Zeena as she adjusts the collar on the mannequin “I love the mix of print with denim.”
Unique for her matching printed blue outfits layered with black tulle, Tehilah Ekemini has loved fashion since she was a little girl.
#FNLROM will be taking place from now until November 27, 2016. African Fashion Week 2017 will take place in Summer 2017. Special thank you to Marilynne from the Royal Ontario Museum for your hospitality.