Janome at African Fashion Week Toronto

If you regularly follow Janome Life, and we certainly hope that you do, as promised I’m back to report on the fabulous time I had as a judge for the Student Design Competition of African Fashion Week Toronto 2018, which took place August 30 – Sept 2, 2018.



There were 7 participants and the top 3 were awarded prizes including sewing machines courtesy of Janome.

It was such a treat for me to be in the judge’s seat this time, as, many years ago, I was in the student’s position when I competed in various design competitions while I studied Fashion Design in college. I thought judging would be an easier position, but definitely it was not! The following photos will show what I mean. The student designers did an amazing job!

First tough decision though – WHAT WILL I WEAR!?lol!  A special event such as this needed something extra-special to wear, especially since I was representing Janome. Though I couldn’t find them in red, I thought these shoes were pretty sweet!


Have any of you sewn with the mermaid sequins which change colour when you swipe them a different way? What fun! (They’re actually black one way and silver the other but they were picking up the colour of the title floor so they look a little grey)

Our fabulous host for the evening was prolific Stylist Ann-Marie Daniel-Barker looking oh, so chic herself. She definitely knows how to work a room. What FUN we had!


My fellow judges, Image Consultant/Stylist Brenda Foreman and Hussain Al Beer of Yaser & Mayasa Co. fabrics (who donated some of the fabrics used in the competition) were equally as chic and such a delight to meet.


Brenda and I had to laugh when we met. No, we did not plan to wear coordinating outfits! lol!

Hussain shared with me that his great-grandfather started Yaser & Mayasa in 1920, which is just one year before Janome was founded in 1921. Its comforting to me that as so many companies have come and gone in this industry over the last almost one hundred years, both of ours are still going strong! Yes, I’m biased, Janome fans are the BEST!


Each of the student designers showed a collection of 7 looks which had to adhere to certain design criteria and guidelines, including the ever-important marketing and wear ability/ saleability of the garments. After-all, they’re working towards a career, building a brand and making a living in the fashion industry.


The above photo is of designer Ruby Babaya’s label Vibe The People. Below is a piece from Kassandra Casarin – KJAC. (sorry, my photos are a little blurry as I was off to the side from the media and the models didn’t stand still for long, lol!)


Eugenie Amegah’s collection for her label Nykwale (photo below) was voted First Place and, among other prizes, was the recipient of the fabulous Janome 1600P-QC.



Designer Yanis Allen took Second Place and was awarded the Janome Four DLB serger. I didn’t get to inspect the clothes close-up so I’m not sure which hem finish Yanis chose for this chiffon-type overdress, but a rolled hem done on the serger would be a quick, beautiful finish.

Emefa Kuadey’s label Israella Kobla took Third Place so received the Janome MyStyle 100


Theresa Aning showed a collection of dresses (photo below), versus mix-and-match separates. I loved the diversity of the student designers, though, that’s also what made judging a tough choice. However, as host Ann-Marie expressed, the fact that they made it that far; had worked so, SEW hard; were presenting their collections in front of the media and a room full of industry professionals, they were ALL winners!


Below is a photo of Jennel Reid’s collection for her label Topaz Couture Designs. I was so happy to see that a few of the designers didn’t forget us guys and included menswear in their collections. (sorry again for my grainy photos)

Check out the #afwt 2018 Instagram page for more photos.



The designers and models definitely deserved a round of applause, as did all the organizers, volunteers and everyone who helped make it such a fun, fabulous night!

There’s a terrific video posted on You Tube, including interviews with some of the AFWT 2018 student designers.

After seeing all that, I hope you are now SEW inspired to create something special to wear for yourself or someone special in your life! What will you make with your Janome machines today?

About janomeman

As Janome Canada's National Consumer Education Manager, I'm SEW excited to share my love of sewing, quilting and all things creative with everyone at our fabulous new Janome Sewing and Learning Centre in Oakville, ON. Have an idea for a class, or to be put onto our mailing list, E-mail me at classes@janome-canada.com
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