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Sunday, August 28, 2011

African Heritage with a Modern Twist: Interview with the fashion label 'The House of Adjeiwaah'

APiF: Please introduce your business and your designs.                                    Houseofadjeiwaah: The House of Adjeiwaah is a contemporary clothing line fusing African and Western inspired garments to cater for the modern women of today, whatever shape or size. 
APiF: When and why did you start designing with African Prints and Fabrics?
Houseofadjeiwaah: I was surrounded by African print from a very young age as my mother would purchase various materials to sell. 
I would watch her tentatively preparing to go out and the transformation in her character as she wore Kente or lace was lovely to watch. Hence, I would sit and design with that same material in mind but with a more modern interpretation and therefore developed various looks. 

APiF: How do u feel about the new African Prints/Fabric trend?
Houseofadjeiwaah: I know some people prefer to only work with the traditional Tie & Die or Batik prints and shy away from using the current Holland/Dutch Wax prints, but I feel that I want to explore all different fabric trends because I love the use of the color, shape and design of the latest prints that have currently developed.

APiF: Is African Print in the fashion industry here to stay?        Houseofadjeiwaah: Most definitely it is here to stay; African print is currently at the height of its popularity there is a buzz and genuine interest in this material and style. This has led to various celebrities wanting to explore various java, Holland and Batik prints, like for example: Gwen Stefani, Solange Knowles.

APiF: What or who inspires u?                                                          Houseofadjeiwaah: I am inspired by a lot of the Pioneers of the fashion industry. My all time favorite has to be Jean Paul Gaultier, he is a magnificent artist and revolutionist. I also love Elie Saab, Anita Quansah London, Adebayo Jones. But mostly, by what surrounds me currently and my culture being a Ghanaian, I always want to represent my country.

APiF: Fashion Finds: What is your favorite piece in your closet or of your collection and why?                                                                                       Houseofadjeiwaah: My favorite outfit in my collection is a gold and black mini top and long fishtail skirt. This is a modern interpretation of the traditional Ghanaian outfit, the Kaba & Slit. I love that it is very sexy but has a very strong sense of elegance and uniqueness about it. I found two gorgeous key rings and placed them on the top and bottom half of the attire, this allowed it to take on this whole bourgeois regal look.

APiF: Any tips for new designers/start-ups in the fashion industry? 
Houseofadjeiwaah: Stick to your own individual style and take part in as many fashion shows as possible to gain experience of how the industry works - from the preparation stage to backstage. Take as much advice as possible from various members of the Fashions Industry; stylists to photographers and most importantly other influential designers.

Find out more:
twitter: @House of Adjeiwaah


Collection 'Dazzling Graphics' from Vlisco
These ladies look amazing in the cloth they are wearing. I love the picture, I love the style - however, I feel I shouldn't because it is Vlisco. A friend handed me the booklet with their latest designs with the words 'I know it is not really pc...'. Vlisco is a Dutch company, who creates and sells Africa/Asia-inspired cloth to wealthy people in West Africa. The company has existed since 1846. Based on their origins, does this raise questions regarding Colonialism and Exploitation? Would love to hear what you guys think!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Monday, August 22, 2011


When walking down Fulton Street in Brooklyn yesterday, I passed a small store that had this sign in the window. Unfortunately there was nothing in the store I wanted to buy or even take a picture of - it was all way too pricey and not very fashion forward. Just the sign was kind of funny.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

The beautiful way: Designer Monye Maduwuihe about her label "UZOMA - African Fashion & Lifestyle"
Designer Monye Maduwuihe, based in Germany, introduces her label Uzoma and shares thoughts about African Fashion in the Diaspora.

APiF: Please introduce your business and your designs
Monye: UZOMA (Oo-ZOH-Ma) the name of my label is Igbo (a language spoken in south-eastern Nigeria) and means "the beautiful way". My line UZOMA offers a portable limited selection of handmade and fancy African inspired women's clothing conveying tongue-in-cheek humor, self-confidence and joy.

APiF: When and why did you start designing with African Prints and Fabrics?
Monye: When I look back, I can find my beginnings in my early youth - then it gave me great joy changing the cut of my own clothes. Later, during my studies of sociology at the university, I have dealt with issues of Black identity, particularly in the Black Diaspora. In my view fashion is also part of these questions. In addition to this form of consideration I have gained practical experience in the fashion industry working as a model, especially when working as a fitting model. Then beyond wearing the clothes for check, I had the chance of becoming part of the design process, giving feedback and comments on look, fit, material and design of the garments. At that time I discovered my soft spot for glamour world and fashion circus. All this resulted into thoughts of an African inspired fashion bringing to life "UZOMA - African Fashion & Lifestyle" in 2010.

APiF: How do u feel about the new African Prints/Fabric trend?
Monye: I believe it is more than a trend it is a subtle cultural movement commenced and promoted by Black people dealing with Black identity. 

Black people, especially in the Diaspora, are looking for elements to identify with their African origin. Fashion is a way to mix and combine different worlds, the African and the Western, a possibility to comment on and to present ourselves.

The African prints are highly visible celebrating African heritage. The haute couture is the advocate of this dynamism between African and Western fashion, which is more and more taken over by fashion industry.  

APiF: Is African Print in the fashion industry here to stay? 
Monye: I consider that not only African prints, but African styles and fabrics - like e.g. kaftan, boubou, kente prints, cotton batiks and mudcloth fabrics - will be more present in the future fashion business."African fashion" is finally being accepted into the Western mainstream world of fashion. 

APiF: What inspires u? 
Monye: Africa inspires me, it is so rich. I love strolling about markets. I have been to Nigeria many times and also visited Ghana  and Senegal.

APiF: Fashion Finds: What is your favorite piece in your closet?
Monye: The colorful blouse "ADA" with short puffed sleeves, short high collar and a cotton belt because it is suitable for daily use and it perfectly fits with my favorite pair of jeans. The cotton belt can be tied in a neck bow, used as a scarf or be adjusted round the waist.

APiF: Any tips for new designers/start-ups in the fashion industry?
Monye: I have the feeling that African fashion in Germany and Europe is still in the early stages, the protagonists are not yet set. As a safe bet I would say that African beauty and styles will be starring in the future fashion world.

Saturday, August 20, 2011


My sister is visiting right now. She is living and working in Abuja, Nigeria. Yep, German-Ghanaian living in Nigeria. So whenever people here in NYC ask her where she is from she tells them 'it is complicated'. 
Naturally, she gets a lot of clothes sewn in Abuja. Here are some examples of the items that she brought with her.

Friday, August 19, 2011


At the Uptown Fridays event at the Studio Museum in Harlem. I went there with my girls to look at art, have a drink and dance a little. On the way out, artist Manchildblack caught our eye in his cool African Print Shirt. When I asked him if I could showcase his style on my blog he said 'yes'. So here it is!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Stop! Shop!

I stumbled over this online platform recently: My Asho. They are offering "African inspired" designs as well as clothes from African designers. In their own words they describe  Asho as a "one-stop-shop for the best in authentic African inspired designs". All items can be purchased online and prices are displayed in 3 different currencies. Very convenient and, at least if you love shopping as much as I do, a bit dangerous.
I like! From the Asho Shop


Monday, August 15, 2011


Great picture from H1960 Blog


NewAfricanWoman 2011
If you don't already, you should subscribe to the online version of the NewAfricanWoman, if you are interested in trends, innovations and ideas from the continent. It costs only a couple of bucks and the content and pictures are fantastic. The latest issue has African Fashion Designers and African Textiles as cover story! This topic really seems to be everywhere right now. So far I have not found any real explanation on the why this topic is so hot right now. So I'm very curious to find out what this issue has to say about it. I will share any cool finds!

Sunday, August 14, 2011


This book hits the shelves in October and will discuss the history of African fashion, showcase popular designers and explore, "why African fashion is having its moment in the sun". You can already pre-order it on Amazon, as I just did, as the reviews I've read, so far, are quite enticing.


Clutch or wallet? I am using them for one or the other, whatever is more appropriate at the time. They are big enough for your keys, cash, cards and smart phone and look great with a uni colored outfit. No label - they were a gift from my sister who purchased them at a market in Kenia.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Fashion Finds

I am in love with these wedges from Bettye Muller. This model is called Mykonos Printed Sandals, which is a bit odd, as Mykonos is in Greece and this fabric very much looks like an African print.

Prints and their imprinted meaning

image from fizzog
The print was red with black adinkra symbols on it. I selected it at Makola Market and already matched it in my mind with items from my closet that would look great with it. Once back at the house I showed my aunt the new cloth. She looked at me, shook her head and simply said "You cannot wear this here, this is a funeral cloth. If you walk around in this, people will think you are on your way to a funeral." I could have worn the cloth outside of Ghana but somehow it did not feel right to change an imprinted meaning.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Exposure or Exploitation?

I must admit, the first time I saw African prints used in a high fashion store on 5th Ave and the price tag of the top was something beyond 200 US Dollars, I was offended. "How dare they using African cloth, calling it a new trend and selling the designs for horrendous prices?" Was the first thought that crossed my mind. Somehow, it felt wrong that the Western Fashion industry was showcasing something that had been around for a long time as new and trendy. When I told a group of Black Fashionista Bloggers about my idea to create a blog on African Prints in Fashion they responded with the same notion of 'oh my, another person jumping on the African Print band wagon'. So there seems to be the feeling that the Continent is being exploited for its resources once again. 
Let's take a look at the phenomena from another angle. The Fashion Industry is giving African prints a new platform by showcasing the prints and cloth in their designs. Thus, by creating a "new" trend, designers from the Continent that have been using African prints and cloth to create innovative and fashion forward designs for several years, get more visibility and can possibly benefit from the new hype.


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