FestAfrica is a FREE cultural festival hosted by Non-Profit Afropolitan Youth Association. Afropolitan Youth Association (AYA) is a registered 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. The primary purpose of FestAfrica is to celebrate African culture and heritage in Maryland through authentic music, dance, arts and crafts, food, and fashion.”
This year FESTAFRICA celebrated its 15th Anniversary, it has grown to become DMV’s largest African Festival with over 8,000 attendees. The 15th FESTAFRICA 2017 Anniversary – was held on Saturday, August 12th and Sunday, August 13th in Downtown Silver Spring. The festival featured music by amazing Local and International African Artists; Lorraine Klassen, Jay Cube, Tolumide, Mr.TZ, G SUAVE, OWO just to name a few, the festival also featured dance performances from; Jollof Boys, Trybe Dancerz, Skelewu Boyz, AIRF/Tribal Dancers, African cuisines, clothes vendors, games for children, and my personal favorite a fashion show directed and hosted by Jacqueline Lumax along with her Co-host; Willie Ebo, and Model Coordinators; Yasmin Curley, and Nadia Jalloh (Me). This year we featured designers from Uganda, Burkina Faso, Nigeria, Ghana, and Republic Democratic of Congo. It was truly an honor to have been one of the Model Coordinators for FESTAFRICA third (3rd) year in a row. The experience has taught me more than I could have ever imagined. The designers and models were all amazing, I can’t wait to see what next year will bring. If you would like to learn more about FESTAFRICAUSA
AnnaTeiko Designs is a contemporary clothing line that fuses the eccentric pattern of West Africa with the contemporary flair of American culture. The line is known for its use of rich, vibrant fabrics and the highest level of hand-sewn quality. Anna aims to bring the rich and colorful regalia of the African culture into the western world by exposing this generation to comfortable and modernized African print at an affordable price. Most pieces are hand sewn right here in the USA, while others are made back home, in Ghana. Each custom piece designed in Ghana creates training and employment opportunities for at least fifteen young women in the country. By purchasing an item of clothing from AnnaTeiko designs, seamstresses and designers in Ghana also reap the benefits.
Rosemary Orok Oyo, Founder and Creative Director of Teddies Afrique, an upcoming Nigerian fashion brand for unique men and women clothing. Rosemary has great leadership, marketing, and communication skills which have helped her brand to grow. She is a Christian, writer and a motivational speaker who takes pride in inspiring the youths in her community.
Jeanne Oti, CEO of OJeanne, is a Ghanaian based designer which seeks to push the African fashion industry forward to the international market. This year, she uses the “Everyday Africa” theme to create a special Woodin collection that exhibits smart casual pieces that allow you to dress it up or down to suit the different occasions – even in the same day! It’s fun, practical, you will feel both sexy and sophisticated in her garments. So, if you want to stand out, feel comfortable and mix and match pieces, look out for OJeanne Clothing.
LavieByCk founder Claude Kameni was raised in Cameroon where her passion for fashion was cultivated. As a child, she was extremely creative with clothing and art. After relocating to the United State, she was blessed to have the opportunity to mold and enhance her skills. Her personal dedication rubs off in her creations and the smiles they create. For Claude, creating and designing clothing is an intimate process. She is mindful of the theme, style, and environment where her items will be worn. When she is ready to cut cloth, she treats it as important as her own skin. From her inner inspiration, she creates clothing that brings a new idea of life to this generation. Lavie means “life” in French.
Through years of practice, Claude has been able to create dresses, gowns, skirts, shirts for both women and men respectively. Her curiosity in style allows her to bridge different ideas into brand new creations. She has studied various techniques and designs that give her the international style that is extremely eye-catching. Her unique sense of urgency creates a compassionate relationship between her and her clients. At the age of 21, Claude has been able to design attire for A-List celebrities across the globe.
Justus, CEO of Twins Fashion International, a clothing retail company that specializes in acquiring and developing international fashion. They acquire their garments from various countries such as Dubai, India, China, Ghana, and Senegal. Justus discussed “In the above countries we work with designer and manufactures to either create our store’s custom design or purchase ready-made items. To keep items exclusive, we tend not restock the same items from our last inventory.” Twins fashion International number #1 priority is to enhance customer satisfaction. “From the moment, a customer enters our store we greet them properly with a welcoming vibe. We constantly engage and interact with them so the same welcoming and family-friendly energy are kept until they leave the store. This is essential because due to the variety of our products customers tend to have many questions.” Justus mentioned. Twins Fashions has just about everything for anyone, you will surely walk away with a smile.
Loy Bogerabatyo, Ugandan designer, the passion she has for her clothing line inspired her to name it, LoyWithLove. Everything she makes is truly made with love. Every design is well thought out and made to perfection. LoyWithLove mission is to continue to spread African fashion with modern styles to all cultures and people all over the world. Whether you are African or not you will have the confidence to rock any piece in this collection like it’s your own.
Sandy Ouedraogo, founder and creative director of Sandy Chic Couture, represents Burkina Faso fashion. Her mission is to bring back traditional African wear with a chic twist, “I want to represent Burkina Faso in the different light. The most important thing to me is showing our young girls and boys that THEY CAN DO IT TOO!” Sandy mentions. She was inspired by her grandmother who was a seamstress and Aunty (Hortensia) who is also a designer, and her parents. She believes that we are all gifted and have a limited time on earth. Before I ended the interview, Sandy stated, “Your passions and dreams are not by mistake, tap into them and push forward. If you don’t, who will?
SL Fashion Design by Sifa Love is a USA based fashion designer that has been designing for more than 10 years. Her line is inspired with all women in mind. She believes that no matter what shape, size or age every woman deserves to look and feel beautiful. “We give women opportunity to look fashionable. Sifa Love emphasized, “My goal is with every dress I design is to make that woman feel good about herself.” She sponsors many organizations which support breast cancers, children with disabilities, educations and beauty pageants like Miss African USA, Miss Congo USA, Miss Guinea USA, Miss Tanzania USA and much more.