The Paris Fashion Week women’s calendar has been released — with African talent front and center.
Nigerian designer Kenneth Ize will make his Paris runway debut on Feb. 24, kicking off a week that also has South African designer and LVMH Prize winner Thebe Magugu on the presentation schedule.
The fashion world is abuzz that Naomi Campbell might once again lend her support to the Lagos-based Ize, who tapped her to appear during his Arise Fashion Week runway show in April.
For that outing, he also secured model-performer Alton Mason, the first black model to walk for Chanel, who has since starred in a Louis Vuitton campaign and, last year, performed on Virgil Abloh’s Vuitton runway.
Ize, who launched in 2016 with menswear, now designs dual-gender collections. The move came after 70% of his men’s pieces were actually being bought by women.
The designer grew up between Vienna and Lagos, where he supports the local economy by using local weavers to make the traditional Aso Oke textile that features strongly in his clothes. He studied in Vienna and interned in New York with Bono and Ali Hewson’s label, Edun, which helped promote trade with Africa.
Magugu, who is based in Johannesburg, said he planned to spend his LVMH Prize money on solidifying the foundations of his three-year-old label, renting a new studio and expanding his previous staff of three. Unlike many designers, he doesn’t shy away from politics, and a recent collection referenced the Black Sash women’s resistance movement during the apartheid era in South Africa.
Elsewhere, the ready-to-wear schedule, which will run from February 24 to March 3, also features the return of Kenzo on Feb. 26, under new creative director Felipe Oliveira Baptista.