27 March, 2015 marks the beginning of a new dawn in African fashion as Afriblossom champions the new wave of African renaissance with a show titled ‘Home Run” which is a sporting reference in relation to the “athlete of life” theme at Mercedes Benz African Fashion Festival in Accra, Ghana.
In an industry that is dominated by well established fashion powerhouses, Afriblossom stands its own ground with a label that caters to urban Africa and tells the story of a more cosmopolitan African woman.
Johannesburg-born Bonolo Mataboge, the creative design genius behind Afriblossom is at the helm of this new revolution, creating designs that humbly show an intrinsic understanding of an African woman. As a child Bonolo was diagnosed with Blounts Disease; a debilitating disorder that affects the bones of the lower leg, causing them to bow outward causing deformity if not treated. Bonolo managed to achieve six distinctions and achieve her dream of attending Lisof Fashion Design School.
Unfortunately for Bonolo, three months into first year of fashion design school, she developed a pin tract infection on her leg, which forced her to leave school cutting short her studies to receive treatment at home. However, not even disease could put Lady Bonolo down; after two weeks of being at home she decided to continue to pursue her fashion design dream and started working on her first fashion range.
When quizzed about her range Bonolo muses; “We always take the female body and specifically the fuller figure into consideration when creating our garments. Our style may not follow what is in vogue but we keep on trend with our colour palette and details thus giving our woman a current look but keeping it timeless enough that she can wear it for many seasons to come. Our position is that the Afriblossom range is heaven for the big and curvy girl.”
Bonolo admits that her own weight was a “catapult’ to her decision to go into fashion. This became clear to her after being an exchange student in America when she was 16 and finding flattering stylish clothes easily; she wanted to come back and give that experience to other big girls here at home.
Bonolo’s South African background, matched with her global travels and studies in fashion design, puts a stamp of authenticity to her use and understanding of fabrics and qualifies her pride as a world designer.
For this year Afriblossom Winter/Autumn collection, the brand brings a fresh taste of exotic colors into the palette. The inspiration for last year’s collection ‘the Ndebele woman’ is carried over this year in Afriblossom’s bold colour blocking and use of shapes in the construction of the garments. The collection is split into two parts the first parts inspiration is the athletic/sports luxe trend as this collection’s young woman is an “athlete of life” she is always on the go and striving to reach her goals. The second part is inspired by the military trend because the older lady of this collection has earned her “rank” and commands respect and authority and wears her stripes proudly.
As for the garments, Afriblossom always follows the same concept of elegance, sophistication and simplicity and a little bit of geometrical forms but always respecting the shape of a woman’s body and keeping the whole collection very feminine.
Afriblossom showcases the “Home Run” collection at the Mercedes Benz African Fashion Festival in Accra, Ghana on 25 May 2015.