Africa Fashion Week: The chaos behind perfection

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Backstage at Africa Fashion Week Johannesburg, South Africa (photo Susan Wong 2011) 20

With thirty designers showcasing their Spring and Summer 2012 collections in a flurry of activity over three days, it may not be visible at first glance or even during the twenty-or-so-minute shows, but there is definitely much chaos behind the perfection.

The award-winning Kenyan model Ajuma Nasenyana shared with Capital Lifestyle backstage during the Africa Fashion Week in Johannesburg, South Africa that backstage is often never as glamorous as people may think.

BACKSTAGE REALITY

As I struggled to push through towering models, petite but creatively dolled-up makeup artists, production assistants, and random friends of the famed models whom were taking up valuable backstage space; I finally managed to give a big hug to the striking Ajuma as she perched up on a director’s canvas chair waiting to be re-powdered and preened to perfection.

It was often difficult to hear even ourselves speak as our voices trailed off into the pounding DJ mixes playing in the adjacent venue, strikingly beautiful models shouting that they needed their faces done, hairdryers blowing away and big security men harassing curious onlookers – all crammed in a small room with electrical cables lying strewn on the floor.

Not only an award-winning model, but also one of the preferred models to many big fashion names such as the quirky Vivienne Westwood, Ajuma is known for being able to tackle glaring spotlights and rows upon rows of easy-to-criticize spectators down the catwalk all whilst looking effortlessly hot.

“I am so proud to be wearing these [designer’s] clothes on the runway. Their [the designer’s] clothes and collections are of international standards! I’m so proud of the talent in Africa!” Ajuma explained as an army of makeup brushes, tissue papers and palettes of eye shadow imminently headed towards her face.

As Ajuma was busy being prepped for her next show, which was in only fifteen minutes, I couldn’t help but notice how some of the model’s had swollen feet, and upon closer examination, bandages and bruises. As the models nursed their fatigued feet with glue in their haird and their faces painted with shimmer from a previous show, the backstage team hurried to clean them up so that the girls would be ready for prep for the next show.

It was pandemonium.

PHOTOBLOG: Photo Credits Susan Wong © All rights reserved.

Backstage at Africa Fashion Week Johannesburg, South Africa (photo Susan Wong 2011) 1
some dramatic incenses before the Soucha show!

Backstage at Africa Fashion Week Johannesburg, South Africa (photo Susan Wong 2011) 3
All hands on deck!

Backstage at Africa Fashion Week Johannesburg, South Africa (photo Susan Wong 2011) 11
this guys was in charge of the line up…stressful

Backstage at Africa Fashion Week Johannesburg, South Africa (photo Susan Wong 2011) 4

Backstage at Africa Fashion Week Johannesburg, South Africa (photo Susan Wong 2011) 5
so your shoes don’t fit…OH WELL!

Backstage at Africa Fashion Week Johannesburg, South Africa (photo Susan Wong 2011) 6
last minute paint job

Backstage at Africa Fashion Week Johannesburg, South Africa (photo Susan Wong 2011) 8
line them up!

Backstage at Africa Fashion Week Johannesburg, South Africa (photo Susan Wong 2011) 22

Backstage at Africa Fashion Week Johannesburg, South Africa (photo Susan Wong 2011) 2

Backstage at Africa Fashion Week Johannesburg, South Africa (photo Susan Wong 2011) 10
There’s always time to pose! Designer Mustafa Hassanali backstage with PAs and models!

Backstage at Africa Fashion Week Johannesburg, South Africa (photo Susan Wong 2011) 9

Backstage at Africa Fashion Week Johannesburg, South Africa (photo Susan Wong 2011) 12

Backstage at Africa Fashion Week Johannesburg, South Africa (photo Susan Wong 2011) 13

Backstage at Africa Fashion Week Johannesburg, South Africa (photo Susan Wong 2011) 14

Backstage at Africa Fashion Week Johannesburg, South Africa (photo Susan Wong 2011) 19

Backstage at Africa Fashion Week Johannesburg, South Africa (photo Susan Wong 2011) 15

Backstage at Africa Fashion Week Johannesburg, South Africa (photo Susan Wong 2011) 16

Backstage at Africa Fashion Week Johannesburg, South Africa (photo Susan Wong 2011) 17

Backstage at Africa Fashion Week Johannesburg, South Africa (photo Susan Wong 2011) 18

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SUSAN WONG

Susan Wong is the Editor of Capital Lifestyle, a resident photographer, an award-winning journalist, radio presenter, full-time adventurer, long-time admirer of anything edible, and a spicy food athlete at Capital FM.

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