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Winner of the Best Womenswear Designer title at Spring/Summer 2009 New York Fashion Week, Samantha Cole is on an upwards trajectory. “I have a nonconformist attitude to fashion. Never defined nor bound to any one thing, fashion for me is all about self-expression and having a voice or opinion through your work; being independent and rebellious against the norm. Does this represent my culture? Maybe, maybe not?” said the London-based designer who headlined the first African Fashion Week in Johannesburg. Other highlights included Lalesso from Kenya and South African-born Gert van de Merwe from London. South African David Tlale and Nigerian Tiffany Amber were jointly recognised as Designer of the Year.