King visits exhibition of African fashion in ‘symbolic’ visit

The King and Queen Consort’s visit to a major exhibition showcasing Africa’s fashion talent has been described as a “symbolic moment” by a leading men’s designer.

Fashion designer Ozwald Boateng met the royal couple after their guided tour of the exhibition and praised their decision to visit the attraction staged at London’s V&A museum and appeared to joke with Charles about making him a suit.

The King revealed he had sent a private donation in the wake of the devastating Nigerian floods, when he chatted to the founder of Lagos Fashion Week during the visit he requested, ahead of the state visit by the South African president Cyril Ramaphosa later this month.

Edward Enninful, editor-in-chief of British Vogue, joined his industry colleague when he met the King and his wife and said about the exhibition: “For me it’s amazing for the world to see what Africa has brought to the world in terms of design, culture so the timing is perfect, I’m so thrilled.”

Boateng added: “As a start position, I think this is a great start and I’m hoping to see much more of this and to have King Charles come and visit and show this level of interest is very very symbolic.”

Africa Fashion exhibition
The King and the Queen Consort during their visit to the Africa Fashion exhibition (Ian Vogler/Daily Mirror/PA)

The men’s designer was inspired to succeed in fashion after receiving a Prince’s Trust grant which he used to buy a sewing machine and today is known for his suits which have a unique twist on classic British tailoring.

At one point during his conversation with the King, Charles looked down at his clothes touching them as he appeared to joke with Boateng about the designer making him a suit.

The men’s designer said afterwards: “I’m sure at some point I’ll make him a really nice bespoke suit, I’m sure.”

Africa Fashion exhibition
The King and the Queen Consort (Ian Vogler/Daily Mirror/PA)

More than 600 people were killed during flooding in Nigeria and Omoyemi Akerele, founder of Lagos Fashion Week who met the King on his previous visit to Nigeria, said: “The flooding situation in Nigeria is so dreadful.

“It should be front and centre everywhere, and it really isn’t.

“He was like, ‘That’s really dreadful, I had to send a donation as well’.

“We all have to help in any way we can.”

As the King and Queen looked around the fashion exhibition, which focuses on craftsmanship and textiles, Akerele said that Charles was particularly interested in the work of artisanal designers.

She said: “He is super invested in artisans and the role they play in the economy.

“It is dear to our hearts too, so it is something, dare I say, that we have in common.”