African Fashion Market: A Brief Guide on Fashion Weeks in Africa
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African Fashion Market: A Brief Guide on Fashion Weeks in Africa

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The Africa Fashion Week (AFW) is a major annual event to showcase the best of African fashion from talented brands and manufacturers. It was initially launched in 2009 to target Africa's potentially untapped fashion market. The AFW's central focus in on fashion from sub-Saharan countries like Ghana, Senegal, Nigeria, Angola, Cameroon, Nigeria, etc.

The purpose of this event was to:

  1. Allow global leaders in fashion to tap into the potential market this enterprise had to offer
  2. Allow a focused group of individuals to develop their brands and intentional client-partner relationships

The event attracts thousands of industry insiders, intending to educate, promote and inspire potential brands to develop their infrastructure and networks within the industry. The movement gained even more traction when local policy backed up the idea with the intent to boost the tourism industry.

African fashion weeks are held worldwide. However, 14 African countries currently host some fashion events each year. Unlike the New York fashion week, there are no fixed schedules. Though different from its inspiration, the African fashion week has taken the world by storm. 

African countries have gradually seen a rise in their GDPs, with more stable economies, education, and connectivity. This has given birth to an African middle class with a growing disposable income. The fashion industry has emerged in sub-Saharan African countries, culminating in the fashion week event. The event helps set the stage for upcoming fashion industry workers and gives the designers and models international exposure to display their talents to the world.

African Fashion Calendar

Although there is no fixed schedule for fashion weeks in Africa, several countries hold the events in some form every year. Africa has a growing fashion market, featuring unique designs and attire every year. African fashion trends are becoming more popular, and their fashion weeks rival the traditional counterparts held in New York or Paris.

Nigerian Fashion Week

The NFW is scheduled for December 14-15, 2022. It is hosted in and around the city of Lagos. The show will focus exclusively on featuring and promoting Nigerian talent (that said, fashion styles and collections from other countries will also be on display).

The ethnic attires and the indigenous models are marvelous and rival those in New York, Toronto, or Paris. The icing on the cake is the fabulous parties and nightlife that accompany these shows.

Senegalese Fashion Week

The Senegalese Fashion Week (SFW) is scheduled around December 17-18, 2022. Senegal is known for its lovely beaches and fantastic music, and SFW now adorns this list. 

The event has helped propagate young and promising Senegalese designers. International exposure to their work has helped these individuals and boosted the country’s reputation within the fashion world.

South African Fashion Week

The South African Fashion week here is much anticipated compared to other sub-Saharan countries. Held every year on May 1-2, the expo features footwear, designer accessories, clothing, and jewelry. This expo is notable as it offers a platform for SMEs to bulk buy products for their markets. 

The South African fashion week is also famous for its talented independent designers and market boosters roster. They help connect businesses to allow more minor players a level playing field in the fashion market.

Swahili Fashion Week

The Tanzanian fashion week is held from 2nd to 4th December each year. The SFW deserves a special mention as it is the largest annual fashion event in East and Central Africa. 

The SFW allows Swahili fashion and accessory designers to showcase their talents internationally. It also features a one-day pop-up show for collections displayed on the runway. A week-long bazaar follows this event. African fashion enthusiasts, SMEs, and local fashion brands attend this expo to find the right design and prices for their local markets.

Addis Ababa Fashion Week

The Ethiopian fashion week is one of the largest trade fairs in the African fashion industry. It attracts SMEs, designers, and some of the more prominent players in the industry. Held every year in the last week of January (from 22nd to 26th), the AAFW is one of the fashion events worth attending for any fashion enthusiast.


The Africa Fashion Week and related events across African countries serve as a major economic boost to the people of the continent. On the global stage, such events serve as a platform for promoting local designers to the global market. Greater investment in the African market--one of the fastest growing regions in the global fashion industry--offers a great source of revenue for multinational brands and manufacturers.

Since the 2020 pandemic, many global fashion brands have retooled their supply chains and sourcing strategies, shifting their focus toward African fashion markets. The unique design of African apparel and lower shipping costs makes Africa the next viable source of both unique fashion designs as well as sourcing for textiles.Head on to Fashinza, the tech-enabled apparel manufacturing platform, for more information on everything surrounding fashion or your bulk apparel manufacturing and sourcing needs. Follow Fashinza on Instagram, LinkedIn, and Facebook to stay connected as we change the future of fashion manufacturing!


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