2021 was greeted with many uncertainties, which many are still wondering when will the global pandemic cease to exist now that we are entering a third year with cases on the rise.

But in the midst of the uncertainties, Runway Bay decided to hold a second edition of the Zanzibar International Fashion Festival to cheer people up going together with Christmas and New Year celebrations.

Zanzibar International Fashion Festival as part of the Runway Bay Fashion Week took place from December 26 to December 29 in Tanzania’s Archipelago Island of Zanzibar.

The Runway Bay Fashion Week brought together fashion enthusiasts to celebrate and embrace different cultures, music and arts of the spice island. It was a hyper efficient and awesome week in the Isles that not only illuminated the dashing creative and dynamic maelstrom of Zanzibaris culture but gave wings to the unique homegrown fashion designers.

“It was very inclusive! I haven’t been to many fashion shows but I was happy to see models of all ages walking down the runway,” shares Irene Isaya, one of the fashion week attendees.

Runway was performed in different locations around Stone Town including a large-scale indoor and outdoor fashion show in the Old Fort and Forodhani food garden and the road.

Guests were enjoying the sound of water waves and nicely brown wind while also paying a closer look to designers’ creative collection showcased by the models.

The founder of the Runwaybay Fashion Week Festival and organizer of the Zanzibar International Fashion Festival, Waiz Shelukindo, said brilliant fashion and business experts from Zanzibar dedicated to create an unparalleled weekend showcase magnificent fete.

“Creation does not exist without freedom. We all have the chance to do what we want; we must not lose sight of the emotion that fashion provides. Designers who often owe much to those who, in the shade, accompany them, like the hairdresser or makeup or stylist … “says Shelukindo.

He adds that since there were already an established shared ambition, the only objective was ‘the know-how’ part

“We realize unique pieces, made to measure, original…. It is to share our craft know-how and our culture. I wanted to continue the artistic dialogue through the creation of an international fashion festival. It is not only a fashion festival but a festival on art, dance, music, African culture, and creation in general. The whole point is to create bridges between all these disciplines,” he says.

The International Fashion Festival in Zanzibar showcased amazing designs ‘kanga’ and other African-made materials designed to promote Zanzibar and its culture specific the island’s tourism industry, which Zanzibar’s economy largely depends on.

Both local and international models from different countries such as Botswana, Eswat, the US and the UK attended the festival.

However, due to the global pandemic other designers from Togo, Ghana, Madagascar, Nigeria, and Mozambique were unable to participate.

Leaving only 12 designers in the festival, eight of them from within the country.

The Runway Bay Fashion Week had other activities during the week including fashion carnival, Fashion Market Place dubbed ‘Christmas fashion market’, live music, workshops and fashion tour.

John Coaster says he was surprised to see Islanders conduct such events, “Not just me! Most of us were even surprised to see Zanzibaris get involved in things like this but as the festival’s theme say truly culture and fashion are not outdated,”

It created a platform for a variety of different audiences to engage in global fashion cultures, including fashion professionals, local audiences in Tanzania, children and youth.



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