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Copyright ® 2011-2014 African Prints in Fashion LLC

Friday, October 28, 2011

"Designs for the Sophisticated, Hardworking and Sassy Woman with a Love of Africa"

APiF: Please introduce your business and your designs.
CJAJ09: CJAJ09 is an online clothing store that specializes in African print clothing for young ladies. We are an African heritage brand.

APiF: When and why did you start designing with African Prints and Fabrics?

CJAJ09: We started in 2009 and when it became quiet clear that despite an abundance of designers who use African print fabrics, there weren't many actual stores that sold these clothes and that access to African print clothing was quiet hard. CJAJ09 was then started as a high street brand to bridge the gap between the high end African print market and the people who wanted it fast and inexpensive. It was based online to make it possible for everyone, everywhere to get to it.

APiF: How do u feel about the new African Prints/Fabric trend?

CJAJ09: I think its fantastic that African prints are finally moving beyond just something that the older generation wears and finally getting more mainstream recognition. For some of us, its never really been a trend, just what we know and love. Hopefully, it continues to grow and have a much bigger place in the mainstream fashion market, especially outside of Africa.

APiF: Is African Print in the fashion industry here to stay?

CJAJ09: I strongly believe so. For some people, African prints are just a trend, but there are people who are devoted to and love it, and who will continue wearing and using prints even when it stops being trendy. Hopefully, as more people discover it, they will also fall in love and want to wear it whether its trendy or not.

APiF: What inspires u?

CJAJ09: I design for the sophisticated hardworking and sassy woman with a love of Africa, she is my inspiration.

APiF: Fashion Finds: What is your favorite piece in your closet or of your collection and why?

CJAJ09: My favorite changes from time to time. At the moment, I am loving two pieces from the shop, the first one is a gorgeous dip front straight dress that is sexy and simple and the second is a mixed print full skirt, which I'm loving not just for the fusion of prints and colors but also because its very old school. 

APiF: How do you market your designs and make them accessible to a global audience?
CJAJ09: First of all, we have the website, www.cjaj09.com which is constantly being updated with new clothes, jewelry and accessories. We are also on facebook and twitter@myafricancloset. We also do shows and appearances as much as we can. And then there's the blog, www.myafricancloset.wordpress.com.

APiF: Any tips for new designers/start-ups in the fashion industry?

CJAJ09: Know your product and have a vision for your label/brand.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

London Calling: Vibrant and Joyful Prints from Doris&Doris

Afrobutterfly
APiF: Please introduce your business and your designs.
Doris&Doris: We design and produce clothing utilizing African prints and other African fabrics.
 
APiF: When and why did you start designing with African Prints and Fabrics?
Doris&Doris: In 2005, when we started a stall at the Arts & Crafts market in Brixton.
 
APiF: How do u feel about the new African Prints/Fabric trend?
Doris&Doris: Great! The prints are so vibrant, joyful, clever, humorous. There really is a print for everyone.

APiF: Is African Print in the fashion industry here to stay?
Doris&Doris: I think so. As long as there are designers who want to use it.

APiF:
What inspires u?
Doris&Doris: People, color and music.

APiF: Fashion Finds: What is your favorite piece in your closet or of your collection and why?
Afrojeggings
Doris&Doris: Hard...a bit like admitting to a favorite child....but my favorite Doris & Doris pieces at the moment are the Afro butterfly because it looks good on many different body types and the Afrojeggings, because they make you feel hot!

APiF: How do you market your designs and how do you make them accessible to a global audience?
Doris&Doris: Word of mouth at the moment and an online presence.

APiF: Any tips for new designers/start-ups in the fashion industry?
Doris&Doris: Do what you love and be prepared to WORK HARD!


Find out more about Doris&Doris:
www.etsy.com/shop/dorisanddoris
https://marketplace.asos.com/ enter 'dashiki dress in search

https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000496552840&sk=wall


Sunday, October 23, 2011

Soulburbia Art Boutique: "African Prints & Fabrics Connect me to my Heritage"

Soulburbia Art Boutique
APiF: Please introduce your business and your designs. 
Rukiya McNair: Soulburbia Art Boutique consists of jewelry designs and art work.

APiF: When and why did you start designing with African Prints and Fabrics?
McNair: I have always been attracted to the color and design of African prints and fabrics. It also connects me to my heritage when I add them to my jewelry. I started using them about a year ago.
 
APiF: How do u feel about the new African Prints/Fabric trend?
McNair: I like it, but at the same time I am torn as to how authentic fabric can be used for nothing more than fashion, when oftentimes it can be considered sacred to the people from which it originated. This is why I choose to use only fair trade fabrics, this way I know that my money is at least going directly to the people who make it.

APiF: Is African Print in the fashion industry here to stay?
McNair: I do not think so, I feel as though with the mainstream it is simply a trend. Although I feel that this trend has opened the eyes of some, who truly love African prints and fabrics, and for those people it is not merely a trend.
 
APiF: What inspires u?
McNair: The world. I love to travel and discover new cultures. Every culture has a beauty that often translates into its fabrics and colors. It inspires me to be original in my designs.
 
APiF: Fashion Finds: What is your favorite piece in your closet and why? 
McNair: I would have to say a Dashiki print dress I bought from Doris & Doris.
I absolutely love it, it is so comfortable and the colors are so vibrant. It is perfect.
 
APiF: How do you market your designs?
Dashiki Print Dress by Doris&Doris
McNair: I primarily market my designs through social media outlets such as facebook, twitter and tumblr. I am also in the process of visiting boutiques in the area and speaking with them about my jewelry.

APiF: Any tips for new designers/start-ups in the fashion industry? 
McNair: One day I will feel that I am in a position to give such advice. Right now, I'm just taking it day by day. What I can say is don't give up. Ever.

Find out more: 
Shop: www.rukiyamcnair.etsy.com

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Printastic: Shopping Mall for Africa-inspired Designs

I am ueber-excited and I haven't even had time yet, to explore the complete website. I was just about to take the bus to Fort Greene to drop-off my dry cleaning and go to Trader Joe's afterwards, but this website I just stumbled upon has me literally glued to the sofa: BHF Shopping Mall - Contemporary African Lifestyle.

The website is selling clothes, accessories, shoes, bags and even interior design and art by African designers and Africa-inspired designers. The designs vary from traditional to modern and edgy outfits. The only downside is that the items seem to be a little pricey - but therefore also unique and different. 

Check it out and let me know what you think!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Fati Asibelua - Putting African Fashion on the Map

ASIBELUA - Autumn/Winter 2011
During NY Fashion Week I discovered the Nigerian designer Fati Asibelua. I love the colors and the sleek designs and that these outfits can actually be worn in winter. I already sent an email to my sister, who happens to live in Abuja, and asked her to check out Asibelua's stores. 

Her label MOMO is already very popular on the African continent. However, the designer's aim is to put African fashion on the map in a more permanent way – by creating an international label that has a distinctive African signature while appealing to a much broader market.

ASIBELUA - Autumn/Winter 2011
The new label, ASIBELUA, is targeted at the international fashion market. Fati Asibelua: "I have passion for my African roots that is only matched by my passion for luxury fabrics. In putting together my collections, I try to combine these twin passions, interpreting elements of African art with couture fabrics and silhouettes".

ASIBELUA - Autumn/Winter 2011
"The street energy of Africa is really special for me," says Fati Asibelua. "But I also love London, which is like a second home to me. My goal is to build ASIBELUA into a truly luxury African fashion label with genuine international appeal." Way to go!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

African Prints on TV: Anya Ayoung Chee

I just had to post something on Anya Ayoung Chee, one of the Project Runway finalists and hopefully eventually the winner of the TV show. I just love her total modern and fashion forward designs that also incorporate African cloth and Africa inspired textiles. 
 
Hopefully her website will have a shopping functionality soon. It is quite a bummer that most of cool Africa inspired designers don't necessarily offer a shopping functionality on their sites.

Fashion Finds: The Bangle-Bag

Yesterday was a beautiful autumn day in Brooklyn and I visited one of my favorite stores - Nicholas. I call it my gift store, as I always go here first, when I am in need of a Birthday gift and I bought my favorite FELA! T-Shirt here, too.
They had these great small bangle-bags made out of African textiles on display. The bags are from the Brooklyn Designer Mamayashi and are only 20 bucks. The bangle-bag seems to be a good accessory for going out dancing. Much more handy than the big bag, that I usually bring along and then I either end up placing it on the floor and dancing around it; or I am carrying it the whole night on my shoulder and bump with it into other fellow dancers, who will give me annoyed looks in return. 
Not sure, why I didn't by the bangle-bag already yesterday. But I decided that I will go back for it!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

"African Prints are not a Trend for me" - Interview with the Designer of Accessories Label "YouLike IMake"


Studs

APiF: Please introduce your business and designs.
Sharmay Mitchell: YouLike IMake grew out of my desire to create the pieces of jewelry and accessories floating around in my imagination.
They are made by hand and designed to be comfortable and light-weight.

APiF: When and why did you start designing with African Prints and Fabrics?
Sharmay: I only really started last year, so developmentally, I am a fetus when it comes to designing and I have lots to learn! I started designing with African prints when a friend of mine who designs clothes and accessories was customizing an African print dress for me, and encouraged me to try out making things for myself. Another friend gave me various off-cuts from outfits that had been made for her, and I started experimenting with making earrings.

I chose to use African prints because I love how the patterns recur and the fusion of bright, vibrant colors make African prints so appealing and eye-catching. As a child, I used to admire the tessellated patterns of the garish 70’s wallpaper and carpet at my grandmother’s house, which led onto my love of drawing intricate patterns and then progressed towards an affinity for African prints.


I particularly like Kente cloth and how each pattern and the colors used have meaning. At times, the vertical and horizontal lines remind me of the madras cloth pattern used in the traditional dress of some Caribbean countries.  

Foofie Flower

APiF: How do u feel about the current African Prints/Fabric trend?
Sharmay: It is exposing a wider audience to beautiful prints and getting people interested and enthusiastic about following the work of designers that they might not have otherwise heard about or paid attention to. So in this sense, it is a positive. Unfortunately, the nature of a trend is to fall out of focus after awhile when people get bored or distracted by something different. However, African prints aren’t a trend for me.

APiF: Is African Print in the fashion industry here to stay?
Sharmay: Fashion trends are fickle; here today gone tomorrow, so I don’t know how long the trend will remain visible, say, on the high street. There will still be a market because people were designing and wearing African prints long before they became a trend.

APiF: What inspires u? 

Flower Clip
Sharmay: Plants and wildlife inspire me, for example the Lady Bug Earrings remind me of a ladybird in flight. I sometimes have dreams about things I would like to make and when I wake up, I either jot down a description of whatever it was or I’ll try and draw it before I forget completely. They are not always feasible, but I have fun trying to create them! I used to work in a jewellery and accessories store, and although it was a while ago, I think my time there probably encouraged me to take more interest in accessories in general.  
Also seeing the work of other creative people inspires me too, not just designers, but writers, poets, musicians and others who display their creativity. I think I feed off of other people’s positive and creative energy, so I like to surround myself with, or at least follow the work of other creative and talented people. Which is part of the reason why I support the work of people like Gabrielle Smith (Iamthenublack), Issa Rae (TheMisadventures of Awkward Black Girl; Fly Guys) and a whole host of other people I follow on Twitter.

APiF: Fashion Finds: What is your favorite piece in your closet or collection and why?
Sharmay: I love my Foofie Flower Studs because they look like flowers blooming from my ear lobes. I like the idea of being able to wear flowers without having to worry about insects crawling out of them or that they will wilt. And of course, they look lovely with a matching flower clip in the hair, or attached to a bag or jacket. I also love my Baby Africa Earrings because they are cute; and what better way to showcase African prints than with the shape of Africa in earring form.   
Lady Bug Earring

APiF: How do you market your designs and how do you make them accessible to a global audience?
Sharmay: In August, after watching this incredibly funny YouTube web series for several months, I sent some of my earrings/studs to Issa, The Misadventures of Awkward BlackGirl, and she kindly featured two of my studs in episode six of the series.

Since then, YouLike IMake has attracted much-welcomed attention from across the pond i n the U.S. I wrote about this in a bit more detail on my blog, YouLike IBlog, where I write about some of the interesting things I do, which are usually related to the things I am making or inspired by.

Social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter have also been really helpful in attracting visitors to my website from all over the world. I didn’t know anything about Twitter a few months ago and didn’t really appreciate how useful it could be until I started using it and understanding what it was all about.

APiF: How did you come up with the name for your business?

Baby Africa Earrings
Sharmay: I used to decorate my plain t-shirts with free-hand fabric paint designs and design greeting cards for friends and I had posted some of these on Facebook. Some friends were "liking" the photos on Facebook and I think I responded with something along the lines of: "If you like… I can make them for you, too", and that’s where the name came from. I thought YouLike IMake sounded catchy and memorable. 

APiF: Any tips for new designers/start-ups in the fashion industry?
Sharmay: I still feel like I am in the infancy of what I am doing and there are lots of things I still want to do and learn, so I don't see myself as being in a position to be giving others tips with any real authority. However, I would probably say take up opportunities that come your way; if the decision turns out to be a bad one, at least you can learn from it.


Find out more:   
YouLike IMake Website 
YouLike IMake on facebook
YouLike IMake on Twitter

Sunday, October 2, 2011

"Bringing Color to Life" - Interview with Eva Sonaike, London-based Designer of Luxury Home- and Fashion-Accessories

Aburi cushions
APiF: Please introduce your business and your designs.
 Eva Sonaike: Eva Sonaike is a London-based luxury home-accessories and fashion-accessories company using traditional African and African-inspired textiles in vibrant colors. Our mission Bringing Color to Life is to enhance peoples lives with color through the use of our own vibrant and bold textiles that are used in the bi-annual collections of cushions, notebooks and handbags.

APiF: When and why did you start designing with African Prints and Fabrics?
Eva: I always loved African fabrics, in particular the colorful wax fabrics (ankara) and the elegant aso oke, a handwoven Yoruba cloth, so I started my company on the basis of incorporating these fabrics into my designs. I also felt that African textiles were not widely used in interiors and especially in the high-end segment on the market.

APiF: How do u feel about the new African Prints/Fabric trend?
Eva: It is fantastic, that African fabrics, in particular the wax fabrics, are now used in many different ways and are a bit more mainstream. Unfortunately, many people don’t know anything about the history of the fabrics. They are not authentic African fabrics, but generate from Indonesia and were originally manufactured for the African market in Holland.

APiF: Is African Print in the fashion/design industry here to stay?
Ona
Eva: I think African fabric established itself by now in the fashion and design industry. I wrote my thesis for my MA in Fashion in 2005 on African Contemporary Fashion and kept an eye on the market since then. In about 2004 the first mainstream high street brands started using African-inspired fabrics and they have been used since then.

APiF: What inspires u?
Eva: I am inspired by so many different thing. One important source of inspiration is nature. My whole new collection ‘Aburi’ was inspired by a visit to Aburi Gardens, a botanical garden outside Accra in Ghana. I love the shapes and textures of tropical flowers and leaves and the lush greens are just breathtaking.

Color is also a very important aspect of my life. There are only a few days a year that I wear only black, which also transcends into my work. The joy and energy I get from combining different color is amazing! The color blocking trend that dominated the catwalks over the last season was very normal for me. I dress like that nearly every day.
Ijoba

APiF: Fashion Finds: What is your favorite piece in your collection and why?
Eva: I love my new ‘Aburi’ collection, which is my first collection of fabrics. I use them on my cushions, my notebooks and handbags. It totally reflects what Eva Sonaike is about: Bringing Color to Life!

APiF: Any tips for new designers/start-ups in the fashion/design industry?
Eva: You have to be passionate and almost obsessed with your business idea. Loving and believing in what you do is half the rent. The other important thing is to get a business partner or mentor, who can help you with the business

Find out more:

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