By Patience Loum
This year’s Fashion Weekend Gambia (FWG) will feature plus size top models, a new inclusion different from previous years’ modelling trends which featured traditional slim models at the newly renovated Kombo Beach Resort on 15th and 16th December 2023. This, according to the co-founders of the show, Lena Nian, will help raise awareness of body positivity, Post Ovary Syndrome (PCOS), and inclusive fashion, thereby changing the narratives on modelling and fashion.
Lena Nian was proud to introduce her fellow co-producers, Ms Soma Njie, Adi Conteh, Annie Achieng and their latest collaborator, former face of FWG and international model, entrepreneur and model trainer Fatou Sanneh.
The Fashion Weekend Gambia brand is an annual celebration of creativity in the arts and fashion industry in the Gambia featuring top designers and fashion creatives from sub-Saharan Africa. The FWG Team has groomed the Gambia’s top models many of whom now enjoy being seen and selected by international fashion shows, pageants, agencies and editorials.
Soma Njie, FWG’s head of training, development and legal and one of the four co-producers, revealed the driving force for this year’s inspiration stems from a profound dedication to diversity, inclusivity and empowerment.
“By featuring thick models, we challenge conventional beauty standards and celebrate the beauty of all body types. Fashion is a strong communicator. Through our platform, we aim to spark conversations, break stigmas, and foster understanding about Polycystic Ovary Syndrome. Fashion becomes a vehicle for education, advocacy, and fostering a sense of unity among diverse individuals”, said Ms Njie.
The show will feature 20 top designers from Africa focusing on the theme of sustainability.
“The choice of sustainability as this year’s FWG theme is deeply rooted in our commitment to the planet and future generations,” said Soma Njie.
Ms Njie believes that fashion can be a catalyst for positive change, and embracing the 5 Rs of sustainability; reduce, reuse, recycle, repurpose, and respect, we aim to inspire a fashion revolution that minimizes environmental impact while maximizing style and innovation.
Anzy’s Design, who has been a consistent designer at the FWG will be featured at the show. Anzy’s usual focus is street playful wear however, in this year’s show, he will be showcasing African wear in a fun and playful display.
“When anticipating a clothing collection that draws inspiration from traditional and cultural masquerades, one can expect a captivating fusion of heritage and contemporary fashion. Envision garments that intricately weave together vibrant colours, symbolic motifs, and meticulous craftsmanship, paying homage to the rich tapestry of diverse masquerade traditions,” said Anzy as he espoused the concept behind his designs for this year.
He added that “this collection is likely to tell a visual story, transporting wearers to the heart of cultural celebrations, blending the authenticity of tradition with a modern and stylish edge. Prepare to encounter a unique ensemble that not only embraces the spirit of masquerade but also serves as a wearable celebration of identity and cultural pride.”
Plus size models are not the only new feature in this year’s fashion celebration. The team introduced a new Face of Fashion Weekend Gambia featuring Sally Jatta, who took over the beautiful Fatou Sanneh who served as the brand’s face in previous years.
“The new face of FWG 2023, Sally Jatta, embodies the essence of our brand; bold, visionary, and a trailblazer in the fashion industry. Sally brings not just beauty but a powerful voice and a commitment to positive change,” Njie said.
Speaking at the press conference, Jatta, who has been modelling for nine years enthusiastically expressed her gratitude towards the opportunity and highlighted that she worked hard for it.
“It’s all my hard work. Hard work, determination and passion that I have for the industry. It has not been easy, but I embraced every opportunity that came my way.”
She said aside from modelling, she does a lot of photo shoots, video shoots and appearances for various designers in The Gambia and abroad all of which have contributed to her success.
“As the selected representative and brand ambassador, she aligns perfectly with our mission to uplift and inspire. Sally is more than a face, she embodies our fashion revolution,” prides Soma.
The Fashion Weekend Gambia has groomed many top models who are now serving in international fashion shows and editorials.