Model Behavior

At Emerge 2022, Naomi Campbell celebrates African ingenuity.

by Ekow Barnes

International supermodel, Naomi Campbell debuted “EMERGE” in Doha in November in partnership with Sheikha Al-Mayassa and Qatar Creates.  The initiative aims to bring attention to the work of the next generation of creative talent from developing regions while also giving them a platform for support and a bigger audience, paying homage to the works produced by African and Diasporan artists.

“With the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022, we stand at the cusp of an incredible moment for our region,” HE Sheikha Al Mayassa said in a statement. “It is our responsibility to seize this moment and draw the attention of the international community towards causes that benefit marginalized people across the globe. I am grateful to Emerge for joining our efforts, and I am confident that we can harness this opportunity to uplift and empower those who need it most while creating cultural milestones.”

The week-long event included an art exhibition, curated talks and a grand finale of a runway show like no other.  

Taking place at the Katara Cultural Village, the EMERGE show was staged as a trifold showcase celebrating African art and fashion across exhibitions, runway shows and panel discussions. Some of the most well-known figures from the fashion, entertainment, business, and art industries attended the inaugural event. Everyone from models Bella Hadid, Adut Akech and Chanel Ayan, British fashion designer Ozwald Boateng, the editor-in-chief of Vogue Arabia and Vogue Man, contributing editor of Vogue Thailand Nichapat Suphap, and luxury real estate developer Mohamed Hadid were among the star-studded attendees.

For the Emerge Artists Exhibit, 27 contemporary artists, including Delphine Diallo, Patrick Alston, Kehinde Wiley, Vania Leles, Victor Ehikhamenor, and Larry Ossei-Mensah, were celebrated. Seven well-known fashion designers: Thebe Magugu, Abdel El Tayeb, Bianca Saunders, Artsi Ifrach, Lamine Badian Kouyaté, and Nikki Nkwo Onwuka were also honored for their designs and contributions to the global fashion industry.

“When you view the show, you will realize that Black Art is not a monolith and that there are several examples of Black Art in various story forms,” said Aindrea Emelife; the Nigerian-British curator, art historian, and writer in charge of producing the show. 

“These artists are asking us to look back so that we may look forward,” she added. “I would like to encourage people to dig further into the history and understand that this is not just a moment or a movement, but something that has always been there.”

The Emerge couture fashion show was staged at the surreal Education City location and saw the crème de la crème of the modeling industry including Bella Hadid, Alton Mason, Precious and Campbell herself walk the runway clad in pieces designed by emerging designers featured in the art exhibition and veteran ateliers like Dolce & Gabbana, Valentino, and Burberry as well as pieces culled from award-winning emerging regional designers.  Dignitaries from around the world converged in Doha to celebrate with Naomi and to raise funds for Emerge.  Fashion royalty including Pierpaolo Piccioli of Valentino, Vetements founder Guram Gvasalia, Michèle Lamy, and superstar Janet Jackson were all spotted at the show and the surprise concert by Nigerian wonderboy Wizkid.

With this event, Campbell has once again reinforced her position as a formidable force at the pinnacle of fashion, who remains dedicated to championing emerging talents and positive causes.

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