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African fashion brought to the heart of Leeds

CELEBRATION OF CULTURE: Guests at last year’s event helped support good causes

STUDENT DESIGNERS around the nation will present the best runway looks from their own collections at a fashion show in Leeds this month.

Tribal is the Leeds East African Society’s annual fashion gala and students from all over the UK come to Leeds to take part in this celebration of culture.

Both African and non-African designers will be showcasing their latest designs using experienced and amateur models to walk in the show.

This year’s designers are Ethiopian-born Ruth Woldeselasie, owner of the Urban Roots Eco brand; Kenya’s Setutsi Kwami, founder of Setutsi, a modern African clothing line; and Judy and Roy Kirui, two Kenyans who formed clothing company Rowamy.

African jewellery designer Petra Kuria, of UzuriwaSala, will also be showcasing her brand.

The night-time event, now in its ninth year, will take place at Leeds’ largest nightclub, Pryzm, and will feature performances from local artists including a saxophonist, rapper, poet, singer-songwriter and Bollywood dancer.

Following the show will be an after party and tickets, which are available on Eventbrite, range from standard to VIP.

In keeping with the theme of this year’s event – female empowerment – all funds
raised will be donated to the charity Irise International, which aims to ensure East African girls are able to reach their full potential by combating the stigma associated with men- struation through education and training.

Leeds East African Society president Sifuma Wekesa said: “In previous years we have raised funds for organisations such as Ket Wangi Orphanage in Kenya and the Stand Up Shout Out Movement.

AWARENESS

“This year’s cause grew out of the growing discourse on the challenges many women face in regard to menstrual health. Around the university, there has been a movement to spread awareness on the issue of period poverty and in East Africa. There has been a growing discussion on the quality of menstrual health products.

“We chose to back Irise International as it is an organisation working to provide education on menstrual hygiene and to tackle period poverty in communities in East Africa.”

Leeds East African Society is a university-based organisation and exists to provide a space for East Africans to meet, socialise and build connections in the UK.

In addition to their social ventures, it also provides a forum for the discussion of issues affecting black students in general and a means to address them.

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