The Underbridge came to life as ‘Rhythms on da Runway 2020 Edition’ featured 100% Ghanaian fashion and music. Last year the event was dubbed as Africa’s biggest fashion and music extravaganza by the BBC. With a focus on Pan Africanism, the event typically features designers and music artists from across Africa and the diaspora.
This year’s event took a turn as the global pandemic meant designers and artists were not flying into the country like they did before. Kofi Okyere Darko, known as KOD, is the Founder of the event and said it was important to take this opportunity and feature 100% Ghanaian designers for the show. Covid-19 protocols were in place as they limited the number of tickets sold, and partnered with a local company to provide hand sanitizers to each attendee.
Before the show, KOD was excited about what was in store and said, “It’s not just about showing clothes, but it’s also about being passionate about the growth of this country in different ways.” The show featured a mix of designers who are established for many years and those who are new talents. They showcased the diversity of design from different regions.
The show kicked off with artist Abena Serwaa Osei Korankye, who was beautifully dressed to represent the regalness of mama Africa’s culture and style. She played music using the traditional string-instrument called a Seprewa or Sanku. It was a perfect start to the first runway show from Stepphapp GH, who creates clothing with a strong focus on Northern Region style with the batakari textile in all the designs. Other designers in the show included KOB Fashion, Le Bon Collection, Sima Brew, Katie O, Carlos Collection, B’Venaj, Jay Ray Ghartay Fashion House, Brush and Saccy Bespoke, Lawen Taylor by Aha, Allure by Lush Lahai, Nadrey Laurent, Tetteh Plahar, and Chocolate Clothes Global.
There were many special guest appearances in the runway show including International Model Victoria Michaels, Mama Zimbi, John Dumelo and Adjetay Anang, who strutted their stuff down the runway. Music artist Samini who was not scheduled to perform, jumped on the runway to do one of his songs giving the audience more than expected. Co-Hosted by Nathaniel Attoh, known as Citizen Attoh, and Media Personality and Actress Naa Ashorkor, the show also featured special performances by some of Ghana’s favourite artists including Kelvin Boy, Kwabena Kwabena, Mishasha, Epixode, Camidoh, Akwaboah, Chayuta, King Promise and more.
Two legendary people representing fashion and music in Ghana were given recognition as a Black Star Honoree for the way they made an impact in their respective industries. The legendary Fashion Designer Ricci ‘Saint’ Ossei, whose creativity and innovation helped leave a legacy in Ghana’s fashion industry, was honoured. His son, Reginald Yaw Asante Ossei, known as Reggie Rockstone, was also honoured with a Citation on the pioneering role he played in the development of hiplife music in Ghana, which subsequently influenced music throughout West Africa.
The shocking death of former President of the Republic of Ghana, H.E. Jerry John Rawlings, was felt throughout Ghana and Rhythms on da Runway made sure to pay tribute to him with a short video presentation that reflected on his legacy. Designer of Chocolate Clothes Global, Kwedu Bediako, presented a collection that was dedicated to the former president’s legacy. It featured models dressed in military inspired clothing with a modern twist. Bediako said it was important for him to pay homage to Rawlings. His team worked laboriously to create an entire collection in less than two days to honour him at the event.
This year’s show was an official ‘Beyond the Return’ endorsed event and supported by the Ghana Tourism Authority, and Diaspora Affairs, Office of the President. CEO of Ghana Tourism Authority, Akwasi Agyeman, said at the launch for Rhythms on da Runway last month that this will be a long partnership for years to come between RODR and ‘Beyond the Return’, which is a 10-year initiative that’s a follow up to the 2019 ‘Year of Return’ campaign.