Culture The Beauty of Africa

The Hidden Beauty of Zanzibar International Fashion Festival

zanzibar international fashion festival
Written by Teresa Mwangi

A December holiday off Tanzania’s coast is so much about the beauty of the turquoise waters of the Indian Ocean. While you enjoy your luxurious and pampered stay here, the Zanzibar International Fashion Festival (ZIFF) lights up your vacation.

The festival complements a lot of niceties that the Zanzibar archipelago offers to its guests at this time of the year. It is a celebration of style and culture.

Is Zanzibar International Fashion Festival Important?

The Zanzibar International Fashion Festival (ZIFF) is a crucial event for Zanzibar’s tourism for several reasons.

Fashion Culture

zanzibar international fashion festival

ZIFF. Photo/waiz_designer/Instagram

First and foremost, it serves as a dynamic platform dedicated to promoting African fashion and culture on a global scale. ZIFF plays a crucial role in spotlighting the diverse and vibrant fashion landscape of Africa, providing a stage for both emerging and established designers from the continent.

By doing so, it not only showcases the richness of African cultural heritage but also instils a sense of pride and appreciation for the artistic ingenuity prevalent in African fashion.

Tourism Growth

zanzibar international fashion festival

ZIFF. Photo/D Fashion Magazine

Further, ZIFF contributes significantly to the economic growth and tourism sector of Zanzibar and Tanzania. Attracting visitors from various corners of the world, the festival generates tourism revenue, simultaneously creating employment opportunities for the local population. Moreover, ZIFF plays a pivotal role in fostering the growth of the fashion industry within the region, adding a layer of economic dynamism to its impact.

Celebrating Fashion Designers

For aspiring designers, ZIFF serves as an empowering force. The festival offers a coveted platform for up-and-coming talents to gain exposure, establish valuable connections with industry professionals, and benefit from the mentorship of experienced figures. In doing so, ZIFF not only nurtures innovation and creativity but also contributes to the cultivation of a new generation of African fashion talent.

Celebrating the Diversity of Fashion

Zanzibar International Fashion Festival is highly committed to celebrating diversity and inclusion within the fashion realm. The festival embraces a wide spectrum of designs, styles, and body types, challenging traditional norms and advocating for a more inclusive and representative fashion industry. This dedication to diversity enhances the festival’s impact, making it a beacon of change in an industry that often grapples with exclusivity.

zanzibar international fashion festival

A runway at the Zanzibar International Fashion Festival. Photo/Instagram

Environmental Awareness

The festival takes a bold stance on environmental responsibility by incorporating sustainable practices into its operations. The festival encourages designers to adopt eco-friendly approaches to fashion, thereby raising awareness about the pressing need for sustainability within the industry.

Who Attends Zanzibar International Fashion Festival?

The Zanzibar International Fashion Festival (ZIFF) attracts a diverse range of attendees. They include fashion designers, enthusiasts, media representatives, tourists, and local residents. Fashion enthusiasts, from both within and outside Zanzibar, attend the festival to experience the vibrant and diverse fashion scene of Africa.

They enjoy the runway shows, fashion exhibitions, and workshops, and appreciate the opportunity to purchase unique and authentic African fashion pieces. Members of the press from various outlets attend to cover the event and showcase the latest trends in African fashion, contributing to the festival’s visibility and promoting African designers on a global scale.

Tourists are drawn to the festival to experience the rich culture and beauty of Zanzibar while enjoying the vibrant atmosphere. It allows them to see stunning fashion creations, and the chance to learn more about African traditions. Local residents take pride in the festival’s success and its contribution to the growth of Zanzibar’s fashion industry. Overall, the diverse mix of attendees at ZIFF contributes to the festival’s vibrant nature and its success in promoting African fashion and culture.

Who Runs ZIFF?

ZIFF has existed before as part of the Runway Bay Fashion Week held on the last week of Christmas heading into the New Year. It is one of the several annual festivals held in Zanzibar every year that everyone looks forward to. The fashion runway features different locations within Stone Town which is the capital of Zanzibar. Famous points in Stone Town such as Forodhani and Old Fort host the runway.


In essence, the Zanzibar International Fashion Festival exposes the beauty of Tanzania’s fashion and culture in a big way. Even better is that it transcends its role as a fashion event into a platform showing the diversity of Zanzibar through music, food, and luxury on the island.

About the author

Teresa Mwangi

Teresa is a journalist with years of experience in creating web content. She is a wanderlust at heart, loves travelling and telling stories about tour and travel in Africa by every angle.

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