Earlier this year, Kaz'O'zah Art, and our executive director, Ange, were privileged to be selected to represent Burundi at the Africa Fashion Reception, a pan-African initiative organized by Legendary Gold Ltd in collaboration with the African Union.
The Reception has been running since 2013 and now includes 30 African nations. However, this year was the first that Burundi was included. With only one designer chosen from each country it was a huge honor for Kaz'O'zah to be selected, and as the Reception's organizer, the wonderfully named, Lexy Mojo-Eyes, stated it was because of our "very enviable and impressive profile."
The Reception brings together fashion designers, fashion icons, Ambassadors, Ministers and media in a celebration of cultural diversity expressed through the artistic fashion discipline. The theme for the event this year was ‘Africa is the new inspiration for global fashion.’ A glance at catwalks and fashion publications around the world shows that this is really becoming the case. African styles from head wraps to bead work are working their way in to mainstream, Western fashion designs. It is an exciting time for African fashion on the world stage.
And Kaz'O'zah Art was there!
Promoting certain fashion trends is not the only aim of the Reception however. The organizers and those involved are driven to expand the potential power of fashion as a tool for fighting poverty in Africa. Through the industry, economic and social opportunities, particularly for women, are created. The increase in skills, small medium enterprises and export channels that the fashion industry offers African nations is promising. This drive is certainly once the Kaz'O'zah Art stands firmly behind.
The Reception encompasses two events, this year held at the African Union headquarters in Addis Ababa in September, and the UNESCO headquarters in Paris in October. Exhibitions of each country's designs were held in addition the gala event - a catwalk fashion show.
This marks the first time Kaz'O'zah Art designs have been showcased on the catwalk outside Burundi.
For the Addis Ababa show, Ange specifically designed outfits that drew on Kaz'O'zah's goal to create modern, contemporary fashion using traditional techniques and local Burundian materials. The melding of traditional with contemporary produced a collection of sleek lines that utilised Burundian Kitenge, crocheting and bead work.
For the Paris event, Ange decided it was time to showcase Burundian traditional attire to the world. The imvutano, a long wrapped skirt with a sash was showcased in non-traditional fabric such as velvet, and in heavy European fall colors.
The Reception was such an exciting opportunity for Kaz'O'zah Art to showcase Burundian fashion design to the world, and be inspiring by other designers in Africa.
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More photos from the Addis Ababa show can be seen here.