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Sunday, April 20, 2014

Be bold, beautiful and powerful: Fanm Djanm

Images by Alejandro Cerdena Photography

Lifestyle blogger Paola Mathe just launched this cool line of headwraps called Fanm Djanm - which means strong woman in Haiti, where Paola is originally from. Empowerment is what she aspires her label to be all about: "There are strong women everywhere. Some know their strength, and others haven't yet figured theirs out. This brand is to empower women from all walks of life to be bold, beautiful, and powerful."
For now the site only offers headwraps, but Paola wants to add more to her line eventually: "I started with the headwraps because they're my wardrobe staple, and I always get questions about them." 
I love the aesthetic of the images and of course also the headwraps. So be bold and get your wrap game on. Which one is your favorite image?

Find out more here:

Friday, April 18, 2014

Share Your Style Friday (SYSF)

It is time for another "Share Your Style Friday" (SYSF) post. Today we have Bella who was raised in Jamaica and is currently living in Brooklyn - The BK! Look at her skirt made out of two different materials. One of her friends brought her these fabrics from Senegal and Mauritania. Always good to have friends with taste ;-)

I love how she styled it. Look also at the green nail polish! If you have followed me a while you know already that I am a sucker for combining prints with denim - so obviously for me this look is a winner.

So, how do you like today's SYSF look - is it hot or not? Please comment below. If you want to share your look please send a high res image preferably taken outside to

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Get access to africa-inspired designs via MoonLook

Assistant photographer:
Make Up & Hair: Naomie Make up

A new retail platform is on the horizon that focuses on African designers and Africa-inspired designs across the Diaspora. MoonLook wants to give access to the great fashion out there and also empower designers to develop their business and reach a wider, global audience with their designs. To promote the new platform, MoonLook created the above fashion shoot in Ghana, showcasing designs from AjepomaaDesignsGallery (Ghana) – Trishocouture (Nigeria) and House of Marie (Nigeria). 
The website looks promising and has some really nice and cool designs listed. If it would launch in English instead of French, I for one would really be over the moon and it would probably be a tad bit easier to reach a global audience. Just saying!

Find out more:

Sunday, April 13, 2014

An African City: "Changing the narrative"

APiF: Please introduce yourself.
Millie Monyo: I am Millie Monyo, the Executive Producer of An African City.

APiF: What inspired you to create 'An African City'?
Millie: Nicole Amarteifio created and wrote An African City. A mutual friend – a member of the Diaspora African Women’s Network (DAWN) – connected us a few years ago and we met for the first time in Accra. We instantly connected and became business partners and shared stories about the trials of dating as a returnee. We collaborated and worked together to bring the web series to what it is today.

Nicole and I were both tired of the imagery that kept circulating from century to century and from decade to decade about the African continent…about the African woman. A show was needed that might change the narrative and be another story to the many stories that are out there but not made visible by mainstream media. When you think of the African woman, why not think Harvard Business School or a successful entrepreneur…or a woman who just wants to get her “American massager” out of customs! We rarely see smart, beautiful, successful and well-educated African women being showcased so that was the inspiration.

APiF: What is the key theme or message of 'An African City?
Millie: The show tells the story of five beautiful, successful and determined African females who return to their home continent in search of the life and love they’ve always longed for. The show delves into the lives of these women as they struggle to find new ways to deal with being modern and successful while not falling victim to the pressures put on them by their traditional African parents and society as a whole. The story of Africa is many. But, I like to think this show is 100% African. The characters and actresses as well as Nicole & I are from the continent and we try to remain true to telling OUR story.

APiF: Is 'An African City' the "African" answer to 'Sex and the City'?
Millie: I don’t know if I would go as far to describe our show as Africa’s “answer” to Sex and the City… because I don’t think African’s were waiting for an answer. I will however say that “Sex and the City” is still my favorite show, so the comparisons are flattering and warranted!.

I love how open and honest SATC was, and how I was able to connect to the characters. To see it now with my own African sisters and with an African twist is an absolute pleasure and I have found that many other people in Africa that have seen our show are responding in the same way!

APiF: What role plays fashion in your show?
Millie: Fashion plays a MAJOR role in the series and I like to say that Fashion in the 6th main character! The majority of the clothes were given to us by African fashion designers such as Christie Brown, Kiki Clothing, Osei Duro, Ameyo, AfroMod Trends, Deborah Vanessa, Afrodesiac and Chemphe Bre. We made it a priority to showcase the talent of African creatives from acting to music to fashion to the actual production. Everything the girls wear tells a story. In season 1, you will notice Nana Yaa’s evolution from when she first returns and slowly see how her fashion choices change with the more comfortable she becomes with being back home. If you pay close attention you will see that the fashion in the series is telling a story all its own.

APiF: What is the advantage of starting a show online? Are there plans to bring the show to TV Screens?
Millie: It was so smart of Nicole to have the idea to want the show to be a web series. She was inspired by Issa Rae who launched ‘Misadventures of an Awkward Black Girl’ a couple years ago. Our show launching as a web series helped catapult us into the phones, computers and tablets of people everywhere. Our show has been viewed in the US, UK, Ghana, France, Ethiopia, South Africa, Nigeria, and the list goes on and on.

It was always been my plan to see this show on TV screens and we are currently in talks with a few different networks to do just that.

APiF: How many more seasons are planned?
Millie: As many as we can churn out. It is my hope that we will continue the series for as long as people are willing to continue watching and enjoying it.

APiF: Any tips for aspiring artists and entrepreneurs?
Millie: My best advice is to decide what it is you want to do and just throw yourself in there. Be inquisitive and surround yourself with people that you can learn from who know what they are doing. Be hungry, open and willing to learn and before you know it you will be capable of doing it yourself. I am a big fan of mentorship and always suggest finding a mentor in your field that is willing to encourage you and guide you in the right direction. 

Last but most importantly, ignore the haters and push forward with your dream! Nicole did not start out in the film industry and had no idea that one day she was going to pull off a show like this… She says the best advice she received during her journey was: “Just write, the rest will follow!”

Find out more:

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Ready, Steady - Swim!

Swimwear season is around the corner. And no matter if you are just going to sunbath, read next to the pool, chill at the beach or actually take a plunge, you better have the right swimwear at hand.

I am so proud of myself as I have done my swimwear shopping already in February. Yes, you have heard correctly. Why? Because by the time it is nice and sunny, all the things that are left in the store are boring and I end up wearing the same old and equally boring piece I wore last year. But hey, don't panic. In case you haven't got your swimwear yet, check-out the options below.

Let me know which one you will be sporting this summer!

Design by Aya Morrison
Design by Aya Morrison
Design by Rue 107 New York
Design by Bantu WAX
Design by Bantu WAX
Design by Bantu WAX
Design by Andrea Iyamah
Design by Andrea Iyamah

 Mara Hoffman swimwear

 Designs by Nana Wax

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Be Frolicious: "Be the fullest expression of yourself wherever you go"

Picture from Frolicious FB Page
APiF: Please introduce yourself  
Frolicious: My name is Dunja, Co-founder of Frolicious and I'm from Togolese-German descent. I am passionate about fashion and style. I work for an international fashion company as a media manager, so I am thrilled that I get to do what I love! Frolicious has been a great opportunity for me to connect with like-minded people.  

My name is Jen, Founder of Frolicious and I am from Ghana. I have a great interest in social media and sharing information. I host a TV show called Africa Outlook which features news, entertainment, and fashion topics focused on the African Diaspora residing in Germany.  

APiF: What is Frolicious all about?
The Frolicious Ladies: Jen and Dunja
Frolicious: Frolicious is a multicultural platform for people who are interested in African Urban Lifestyle: everything from beauty and fashion to events and music. By showcasing Africans in the fashion and entertainment industry, we create a different, positive image instead of accepting the negative images all too often shown in the media. Africa has six of the ten fastest growing economies in the world; there are many talented artists, designers and business owners who merit the attention of their community. Our aim is also to connect and share the incredible diversity and creativity throughout the African Diaspora.

Picture from Frolicious FB Page
APiF: Where do you get your inspiration from?
Frolicious: There is a lot information available about natural hair, and Black- owned business in North America and the UK. In Germany and other parts of Europe there is a noticeable deficit. Frolicious was created to meet this need. Growing up in Germany as part of a visible minority we did not receive messages from society that we fit the image of beauty. We have a unique opportunity to share our pride and self-love through natural hair and Afrocentric fashion.

APiF: What are your plans for the future?
Frolicious: To encourage growth and celebration of our natural beauty and celebrate our culture. We host events and facilitate discussions both online and in groups. The natural hair movement in Germany is in its infancy compared to other parts of the world. Through Frolicious we plan to bring useful information about fashion, natural hair care and beauty tips to our community.  

Photo Credit:
APiF: What exactly does it mean to "Be Frolicious"? 
Frolicious: Be yourself. Be comfortable in your skin, with your hair and in your clothes. Be the fullest expression of yourself wherever you go. At work, be professional but it shouldn’t come at the price of sacrificing your individuality. African fashion is full of vivid colors and styles. These can easily be incorporated into a ‘western’ wardrobe. Socially, there is no better place to shine and explore color, patterns, and styles. We would like to spread the self-love and appreciation of one’s heritage. “Be Frolicious” beauty comes in all shades - love yourself! Visit us online and share your journey.

Find out more:

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Randmas goes retro: Inspired by African Prints and the Sixties

Pucci meets African Prints in this retro-inspired look book by the new UK-based brand Randmas - which stands for Retro And Modern African Style. They have two sub brands: Randmas Geometrics takes its name very seriously as you can see from the images above ;-). I always had a thing for the baby doll style dresses, even if I would only wear them with leggings (#tooshort). Bila Beela is offering print scarfs for men and women alike but are unfortunately using and overusing the terms jungle and tribal a little too much. How do you like the styles - getting into the retro mood already?

Find out more here:

Sunday, March 16, 2014

"Ignore the fear and start anyway": School for Ankara Accessories

APiF: Please introduce your business.
Stephanie Obi: ST Colours A-School is an online school where young ladies can learn how to make accessories using African Print, wherever they are in the world. 

APiF: What motivated you to start this school?
Stephanie: I started the online school because of the requests from my customers. I started by having an accessories line, and then felt the urge to start teaching. I hosted small monthly training classes and started to receive phone calls and emails from other young ladies all over the world who were also interested in taking the classes. I could not travel to all the cities these ladies were calling from, so I decided to take the school online. That way, we can reach everyone irrespective of where they are, as long as they have access to the internet.

APiF: What is your cultural heritage and how does that inspire you?
Stephanie: I am from Nigeria, and we are very colourful. We love to wear vibrant African prints, for example, the Ankara fabric. Our mothers wore the Ankara fabric and it looked fabulous on them. Thus when I started my business in 2010, I was inspired to create modern pieces using the Ankara fabric. 

APiF: What is your educational background? 
Stephanie: I have a first degree in Computer Science from Covenant University and an MBA from the Lagos Business School

APiF: Any tips for young entrepreneurs and start-ups?
Stephanie: If you are afraid to start a business, it's perfectly okay. Ignore the fear and start anyway. Once you start moving in the direction of your dreams, irrespective of your fears, the fear disappears

APiF: Can you name any designers that "made it" after attending your school?
Stephanie: Lol, the graduates of my school are not typically designers who have “made it”. They are young ladies making an extra stream of income, the legit way, young ladies who have empowered themselves to become self-employed after years of sitting at home and searching for jobs, young ladies who are discovering their creativity for the first time and have become inspired to snap out of their limiting beliefs and of course young ladies who love African print and also want to experiment with it.

Find out more: 

Friday, March 14, 2014

Rue 114: Adinkra 2.0 collection

Check-out the new collection titled Adinkra 2.0 by the New York based label Rue 114. Designs by Rue 114 are for women "who believe that every shape and size should be celebrated as beautiful." Thus the brand offers pieces from size 2 up to 24. 

I have always loved the Adinkra symbols and their meaning. Gye Nyame, Duafe and Sankofa are my absolute favorites - if you can say that about symbols? Therefore the dress that has the see-through back with the Gye Nyame symbol on it is my personal winner! What is your favorite look from the collection?

Read also the interview I did with the designer behind Rue 114 - Serwah Asante - some time ago: Kick-ass women come in all sizes.

Find out more:

This is my favorite - stunning back!


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