For the second year in a row the capital’s fashion community gathered on the showroom floor at Audi Ottawa to celebrate one of their own as KANIA founder, Stacey Bafi-Yeboa, and technical fashion designer, Arfie Lalani, hosted what has become a highly anticipated annual event on the fashion calendar. This year’s edition was more than just a runway show―it was a look into the 13-plus year journey of KANIA.
The show opened with Bafi-Yeboa and Lalani entering in a yellow Audi R8 convertible before addressing the hundreds of onlookers, including fashion designers, bloggers and the general public. Dancers performed on the runway while Tina Sol gracefully played the violin, highlighting the founder’s love for both music and dance. Also on hand was former Art Battle national champion and Canada’s “Best Speed Painter”, Allan André, who applied his talents to a KANIA garment throughout the night.
Then came the main event―the runway show. First on display was one of Bafi-Yeboa’s early collections featuring exotic headpieces, a sequin dress, and black jumpers, followed by a collection by Arfie Lalani reflecting his Indian and African heritage, including head ties, ethnic fabrics, as well as intricate cuts and silhouettes you’ve probably never seen before.
Then it was Stacey’s turn to take us back to 2015 to her collection from World MasterCard Fashion Week in Toronto followed by her New York Fashion Week collection from 2017, once again featuring headpieces as well as deep and drooping necklines and a lot of comfort. Audi vehicles would once again grace the runway before the final collection of the night, the men’s collection. While introducing the line Bafi-Yeboa boldly stated, “Anything he can wear she can wear too.” KANIA is known for its hoodies and relaxed, comfortable designs and their menswear is no different. The very manly looking models, all provided by Angie’s Models, sported jackets, hoodies and sweaters made of KANIA’s signature sweatshirt material.
When asked what the night meant to her, the designer said, “Words cannot explain how good and how accomplished it feels to be completely in your element. Working so hard on something you love and seeing the results is an amazing feeling. Saturday night’s show was about looking back at how far KANIA has come and to visualize the possibility of how far we can go. We can see the future and are so grateful to have such an amazing community backing us”.
The night, described by one attendee as “something you would find in a bigger city like Toronto and Montreal”, served as a testament to how far Ottawa fashion has come and an inspiration to designers on what is possible. It also confirmed that Stacey Bafi-Yeboa, with Arfie Lalani at her side, is still ahead of the fashion designer pack in the capital.