Africa Fashion Festival : A Styled Shoot

A few years ago, while attending a Christmas function, I met the African Fashion Festival event director, Pinaman Owusu.  She and I got talking, as you do, and she told me all about her vision for bringing an African fashion festival to Wellington, and I thought it sounded fabulous.  We arranged a meeting at the beginning of 2016 and she told me all about what she had and hadn’t sorted and it was obvious there was some work to be done on the logistics of the event to pull it off in time.  So, Mr. Edwards and I both stepped up and joined the AFF family!  We got to work sorting the venue, seating, lighting, food, wine, etc.  It’s a huge project and I still feel enormously proud of what we all did in such a short space of time.  It wasn’t a perfect production, but then nothing ever is and I am looking forward to smoothing out some of the bumps for the next one.


For this recent shoot, we used some of the fashion from the inaugural 2016 show while also creating strong imagery to promote the 2017 festival and its events.  We wanted a campaign that was cool, colourful, fashionable and fabulous.


I think the Wellington wind added our fabulous touch to the shoot.  I also think you have to give the people what they want and who wouldn’t think of anything from Africa as anything other than colourful and vibrant?


The models’ hair and the lighter garments blowing in the wind looked stunning!  This was probably my favourite part along with the coloured palms that I painted, they came out just as I had wanted them … well, with about ten coats of paint.  


My favourite shot is the model with the palms coming out like wings and the blush suited outfit.  I love the position of the palms in the first shot and I love the wind in the second.  I do also like the models in both the similar outfits – the opposing outfits are really striking.


On the shoot day, the wind was its usual challenge, even though we made it work.  Just having any sort of business in Wellington you get used to doing everything in the blasted wind.  Loading the van, unloading the van, opening doors and carrying loose items … even getting a parking ticket from the machine on a windy day is an art form.


Sally, the photographer, is someone I have worked with before and I really enjoy it.  She is fun, full of energy and I love her photography.  She had the funniest directing phrases for the models – my favourite was “stand like you are waiting for your mate” which was hilarious but the perfect description of how we wanted the model to pose.


The inspirations for this shoot came from the garments and the fabrics each designer has worked with to create the collections.  I love Pinaman’s fashion styling and I enjoyed taking a role in the artistic direction to complement her vision and produce the contemporary style images.  I am looking forward to being a part of the 2017 African Fashion Festival this year and hope I get to work with Pinaman on her dream for many years to come.

  • Photography:  Sally Young
  • Fashion stylist:  Pinaman Owusu
  • Make up:  Lana Daly
  • Hair stylist:  Willis York
  • Models:  Ethan Aupapa & Jess Raniera
  • Shoes:  Mischief Shoes

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