Africa Fashion Week command of the catwalk

During one of my many wanders through East London, I noticed Samson Soboye’s store and got intrigued by the colorful clothes in the window. I walked into the store and Samson started telling me about his collection. Behind him, I noticed a book by Jimmy Nelson, a photographer who’s travelled to all continents to take portraits of indigenous communities. That book was signed, and so was another by Tim Walker, one of my favorite photographers whose work was influenced by Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Like me, both of them once walked into Samson’s store, curious about the world he’d created.

After a few minutes, Samson mentioned he was getting prepared for the Africa Fashion Week and asked if I want to come and photograph the show. I immediately said “yes”.

I’m not a fashion photographer, but this was going to be my second catwalk. Mythical Creatures by Joshua Kane in 2019 had catapulted me into a world I knew nothing about — the language, the codes and the atmosphere were all foreign to me. It was a new playground where I didn’t know how my photography style would work out. Anecdotally, I was the only photographer who showed up without a flash, which created challenges of its own, but also made my work stand out from the crowd… I think?

Two years later, here I was again, a foreigner in a world of designers and models, photographing the Africa Fashion Week. Here’s my outsider take.

And that’s it! Head over to the African Fashion Week’s website to get a ticket for next year’s show — you won’t regret it!

Until next time 👋

Emmanuel Nataf

I'm a founder at Reedsy ( and a street photographer in my spare time.

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