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Here’s the Best Street Style From Afropunk Festival in London

Rhythm, color, curiosity and rawness. Take a cursory glance over the Afropunk Festival mission statement and from those four words alone it’s easy enough to gauge a sartorial insight into those who patron the yearly event.

2016 Elegant Long Champagne Tailor Made Evening Prom Dresses (LFNDB0013)

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Since its inception back in 2005, Afropunk has mushroomed from a one-off music festival in New York into an indispensable component of contemporary African-American culture: its significance acutely amplified in 2016 thanks to the modern political and social climate.

Despite being ostensibly incompatible, fashion and music festivals have become inextricably linked in recent years, with the likes of Coachella and Glastonbury now viewed by celebrities as a window for posturing on par with any fashion week. Yet while Afropunk is not exempt from its share of paparazzo, the festival’s core values of anti-homophobia, sexism, ageism and, of course, racism, sets it apart from its peers in that such freedom for self-expression is tempered by rich values and tolerance, rather than empty vanity. Or, as organizers themselves put it: “In a world where it can feel unsafe to have black skin, the amazement from onlookers made you remember the beauty in your carefree blackness.”

With the likes of Grace Jones, Young Fathers, Goldlink and SZA all slated to perform, Afropunk London was primed to TU. And one doesn’t TU fully if one isn’t wearing one’s best garms.

Check our shots of the best street style from the weekend in the gallery above, and then let us know in the comments who you think had more steeze. London or New York?

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Denim and the City

Local designer Vanessa Froehling has denim on the brain. Stonewashed, herringbone print, chambray, stretch and black denim, to be sure.

In her home studio, Froehling flips through hangers of designs, including sailor-style high-waisted women’s shorts, a men’s blazer and a women’s jumpsuit.

Vanessa Froehling, left, auditioning for FashioNXT in July. Photo courtesy Jeff Wong.

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“It’s something that’s in everyone’s closet and it will never go out of style,” says Froehling of the French-born fabric (denim’s etymology comes from “de Nîmes,” the French town where Levis Strauss first procured the tough cotton twill for your 501s). But, she adds, “people are stuck on what denim can do.”

The line is called Carpe Denim and it’s Froehling’s entry into FashioNXT (self-described as “Portland’s Official Fashion Week”) — not to be confused with Portland Fashion Week — three days and nights of runway shows in early October. She will present Carpe Denim in the UpNXT competition, the “emerging designers accelerator,” alongside four other Pacific Northwest designers the evening of Oct. 5.

The fashion week has a cozy relationship with Project Runway, the fashion-designer reality show running since 2004, and, in fact, two of the judges assessing the competition are Seth Aaron (winner of Project Runway season 7) and Michelle Lesniak (winner of season 11).

In 2015, Froehling applied to both Portland Fashion Week and FashioNXT, but was only accepted by the former that time. She says auditioning in front of the FashioNXT judges was intimidating.

“My nerves were like, ‘What do I do with my hands?’” Froehling says, shaking her hands by her sides and laughing. The judges were tough, she recalls, and they recommended that she develop the marketability and cohesion of her line.

Over the past year, she took their advice to heart and decided she would try out again, this time with a denim ready-to-wear line, a departure from the couture gowns that have distinguished her style. She took inspiration from the city — recalling watching the denizens of Portland walk by, falling in love with their street-wear style — and the layers of people, buildings and traffic.

Eight jean looks — five for women and three for men — will walk the runway, but rest assured, this will be no orgy of Canadian tuxedos. Although denim is the common thread, the designs feature smart juxtapositions against black leather and a colorful textile that looks like a cross between gas puddles and graffiti.

The self-taught designer has also developed several innovative details: a woman’s denim peplum jacket that unzips at the waist, transforming it into a more casual cropped jacket; women’s stretch leather pants that zip open at the knee, a nod to ripped jeans; and a men’s chambray shirt with the illusion of a double collar creating a fresh origami effect.

This summer, the judges welcomed Froehling on the FashioNXT train.

Froehling says one judge told her that she’s the first designer to return the following year to try out again after being rejected.

“It’s the highest fashion production in Oregon,” she says.

The winner will be announced at the after-party Oct. 5, and the prize package secures a spot for the designer in the main runway show in 2017 and includes business mentorships, feature stories inPortland Monthly and Portland Mercury, and a strategic marketing course at Portland Fashion Institute.

Look for photos of Froehling’s Carpe Denim line from the runway on the Eugene Weekly blog after Oct. 5; the designs are under quarantine until after the runway show.

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The One Dress You Need This Autumn

Bohemian garb and embroidery are two trends going nowhere fast. This autumn, every piece in our wardrobe has been given the embroidery treatment from ankle boots to biker jackets but one piece is dominating more than others: the embroidered evening dresses. In particular, the kaftan-style dress.

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These lavishly embroidered colourful dresses are all over our Insta feed, and we want in. Nothing like the flimsy beach kaftan you might pick up the airport, these are something a whole lot more luxe. Think seriously intricate stitching, playful tassels and standout rainbow colourways.

This style garnered ‘it’ status last summer thanks to the now-cult brand Vita Kin. The Kiev based designer burst onto the scene via Instagram and attracted the attention of fashion editors and street style stars alike with her vyshyvanka inspired pieces - a traditional costume of Ukraine. Snapped up by the likes of Leandra Medine, Pandora Sykes and Anna Dello Russo, when the products finally went on sale on Net-A-Porter they sold out within 30 minutes despite their eye watering price tag of up to £1800.

If you’re looking to get in on the action and don’t fancy putting down more than your monthly rent, other brands have jumped on the bandwagon and started creating slightly more affordable pieces (look to Daft and Fann Mon. However it is worth bearing in mind, you pay for what you get. The Vita Kin dresses demand such high prices due to the time consuming process that it takes to create the complex design.

As always though, the high street has now cottoned on. Zara - the trend cloning machine - is leading the pack with embroidered items aplenty and their kaftan-style dress for AW16 has got the fash pack queuing at the door.

While these Vita Kin style dresses are perfect for matching with a wicker basket andpom-pom sandals (superyacht optional), when it comes to the colder months they are just as wearable. Look for longer lengths and a thicker material for a winter appropriate option or think smart when layering.

Style it right and you can wear all year (yes, really). Shorter style evening dresses uk can be worn over jeans while midis look great with thigh high boots. To really beat the chill layer up with a polo neck and thick tights.