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Avaloni Studios/Africa Fashion Week in New York
African-inspired fashion is all the rage these days, as evidenced by the number of high-end designers creating clothing with hints of exoticism for the 2012 spring/summer season, including Michael Kors, who described his collection as “safari-chic,” and Burberry, which featured earth-toned geometric patterns and woven-effect clutches in its collection. 
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Avaloni Studios/Africa Fashion Week in New York
But these clichéd fashions don’t reflect the realities of Africa today, says Adiat Disu, the 25-year-old Nigerian-American creator of New York’s Africa Fashion Week, which takes place July 12–18 in Manhattan’s Financial District. Now in its third year, the event was created by Disu (who produces AFW through her New York–based PR firm, Adirée) to show people that there’s more to the continent’s fashion than just “oversized prints and big head wraps” and to reinvent African fashion.

The 35-plus designers featured in this year’s Africa Fashion Week will draw from their experiences with culture, language and travel in order to interpret and express what it’s like to be a modern-day Senegalese, Ghanaian or Nigerian person living in the world. For them, African fashion is not just a trend, it is embedded, says Disu, “sewn into the fiber of the designers’ clothes.”