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Around the World Styles Find a Home in Fashion Week

By Janet Upadhye | September 9, 2012 12:03pm

LINCOLN CENTER — Fashionistas wearing African prints, kimonos, turbans, and saris were out in droves at Fashion Week, proving that homegrown style doesn't have to be bought locally.

"My purse is from Mexico, my pants are a South African print and my headband is Brazilian-inspired," said Kimany Bellamy. "I love to incorporate pieces from different cultures and make them into one outfit that is my own."

Prints from Africa were particularly prevalent on Thursday as dozens of people lined up to see the 'African Icons Spring 2013' show. Of the 77 African designers who vied to present at Fashion Week, five were chosen to represent Arise Magazine and show off their talent. The line to get in to the show snaked through Lincoln Center, leaving some worried that they might not get in.

Particularly excited to see the show, designer Meghan Sebold had her fingers crossed, as she waited in line. Raised in Minnesota, Sebold said she studied abroad in Ghana, and the experience changed her fashion aesthetic.

"I incorporate textiles from West Africa with American trends," she said. "The result is a fusion of two worlds through fashion."

And this season African prints can be seen in everyday affordable street wear and on the shelves of mainstream retail stores such as Urban Outfitters and Forever 21. But to many, the trend is nowhere near cutting edge.

"African prints and fabrics are very hot right now, but they are not new," said Diata Wallace, the managing editor at iland Magazine. "They have been around since the continent has been floating on this planet."

And according to Wallace, this is the first time that African designers have been highlighted at Fashion Week.

African wear was just one of several international styles floating through Lincoln Center.

Wedding gown designer Courtney Brooke Yates wore a floor-length dress the she made with the image of an Indian sari in mind.

"I recently traveled to India and was inspired by the artisans, craftsman, and the history of the country," she said. "In our global economy it only makes sense that we should incorporate silhouettes, prints, and textiles from all over the world into fashion here in New York."

Yates added that Morrocan, Balinese, Indian, and Nepali infleunces are all hot in the fashion world this season.