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Africa inspires student fashion

Africa has inspired the latest collection from young fashion designers at City of Oxford College.

The students have created garments using African fabrics and influenced by African style to feature on the catwalks of the city’s first AFROShow.

The African Fashion Roots Oxford Show will take place on Saturday 30 April at Tingewick Hall, part of the John Radcliffe Hospital.

The initiative is the brainchild of events organiser Laure Loutala Mpolo, who approached City of Oxford College to encourage young designers to get involved.

Laure said: “The purpose of this initiative is to celebrate African fashion and enable the local community to connect with African culture through design. The project will support the sharing of fashion knowledge as well as celebrate the rich diversity that is so much a part of Oxford.

“I am delighted that the students have taken on the assignment with such enthusiasm and have created fashion pieces that will be seen alongside global designers and brands. I hope that it will give them an experience and platform from which to build their future careers.”

The students’ work will be seen alongside collections from fashion graduates and established African designers and artists.

Vanessa Esposito, who teaches the extended diploma in fashion, said: “This sort of project gives our students an excellent opportunity to work to a live brief and to follow the design and making process from start to finish.

“Having designed and constructed their garments they will be able to showcase their work, which also builds confidence and enables them to start making important contacts in the industry.”

Twelve students have completed outfits for the show, a mixture of menswear and womenswear.

Katrina Stewart, aged 19, a student on the Level 3 Extended Diploma in Fashion course said: “This was a really interesting project to take part in. We were given four different materials to choose from and then had to create a garment of our choice. I learnt a range of new skills and the project has also taught me some valuable lessons that will prepare me well for further study and work in the fashion industry.”

The AFROShow takes place on Saturday 30 April at Tingewick Hall. An exhibition shop is open 1.30-5pm with the fashion runway and entertainment running 6.30-9pm. Tickets cost from £10 with 10 per cent of money raised going to Enough is Enough, a charity supporting new sustainable businesses for people in need in Kampala . For more information visit the African Fashion Roots Oxford page on Facebook or follow @AFROShow2016 on twitter.