When most people think of fashion meccas, cities like London, Paris and Milan are the first to come to mind. Philadelphia is quickly cementing its place as a fashion-forward city.

One of the biggest events adding to our fashionable buzz is Philly Fashion Week, which kicks off this week at Center City’s recently opened Fashion District and runs from Sept. 23 through Sept. 28.

The space, formerly occupied by the Gallery Mall, will host 14 runway shows and events featuring more than 50 designers. One of those designers is Addie Elabor. Her D’IYANU line will not only make its Philly Fashion Week debut but this will be the first time the modern African print clothing will be shown on a runway.

“I’m really excited. This is our first official fashion show. We are looking forward to having more eyes on D’IYANU, showing our Fall collection and previewing our athleisure line. It’s going to be a lot of fun and we’re really looking forward to it,” Elabor said.

African prints and clothing aren’t something that most people are accustomed to seeing on a runway but Elabor wants to draw on those differences to bring people in.

“We took a lot of time to pick out some really amazing styles. What sets our brand apart is the really bold prints. We picked prints that would pop and we believe that people will be drawn to it because it will look different from what is already on the market. We are really looking forward to seeing how people will react to our collection,” said the Nigerian native.

Elabor saw there was a void in the fashion world and called on her African heritage to fix it.

“We grew up around prints. The fabric that is used for our clothing is traditionally for West African traditional wear. Typically you have to buy the fabric and then find a tailor to have it custom made for you. People wear it for special occasions, weddings, birthdays, and things like that. So back in 2013, I saw an opportunity to create a line that was ready-to-wear, a line that was more affordable and more accessible to anyone. I combined my heritage, my love for fashion and my desire to start a business. All of that worked together and that’s how D’IYANU was launched,” she said.

Even though she started the business by herself, Elabor knows that it takes a village to keep her budding fashion line going.

“It really is a collaborative effort. We have a design team but really anyone can feed into our design process. For each new collection, we always ask around the office ‘What do you guys see out there. What’s trendy and would translate really well for our line?’ All of this could not have been achieved by myself. I needed the support of my brother and everyone else that we’ve added. They have really helped make D’IYANU what it is today, she said.

For a complete listing of Philadelphia Fashion Week shows including Thursday’s LUXE Streetwear Show featuring D’IYANU, visit Phillyfashionweek.org

jperry@phillytrib.com (215) 893-5749

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