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Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy 2012 everyone!




Do you believe in New Year's resolutions? 
If you do, I would love to hear what they are!


Mine are the following:
  • Work out more! I read that Michelle Obama works out 30 min a day, so if she can fit that in her busy schedule, anyone can (or so I hope...)
  • Only buy quality clothes that enhance my wardrobe
  • Publish blog posts at least 3times a week
  • Write a book
  • Ask my sister, who lives in Abuja, to fly to Lagos and shop some Jewel by Lisa at Temple Muse - Lago's Neiman Marcus
  • Don't worry, be happy - thus my New Year's song is "Why can't we" from ASA

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Get your Glamor on: Outfits for NYE from the Dpipertwins

Get ready for New Years Eve with the right outfit! Check out the stylish sequined dresses from Kastle Designs, the fashion label from the Dpipertwins. I usually don't wear a lot of sequined outfits, but there is no better time than New Years Eve to get your shine and sparkle on!

Which dress would you like to wear for NYE?


Shine on: Outfits for NYE from Dpipertwins

THE TWINS: Danielle and Chantelle Dwomoh-Piper
Find out more:
w: http://www.kastledesignsandtreasurechest.com/
f: https://www.facebook.com/Dpipertwins

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Bags for the global woman - Interview with the label Jezreel Designs

APiF: Please introduce your business and your designs.
Jezreel Designs: Jezreel Designs exists to showcase the beauty of the African craftsmanship while changing the perception that "made in Africa" is inferior.

APiF: When and why did you start using African Prints?
Jezreel Designs: About 6 years ago, I started playing around with the way I wear Ankara. I wanted to move away from the "traditional" use - making dresses to wear to parties - to a way of incorporating it into my everyday wardrobe. I came up with the idea of accessories and made my first bag on my living room floor. I had no clue what I was doing. I actually looked at that bag the other day and laughed at myself! Then I was grateful for how far God has brought me.

APiF: How do u feel about the new African Prints trend? Is it here to stay?
Jezreel Designs: I personally hate the whole "trend"! Africans have been wearing it for years and don’t need the fashion world to validate it. It is here to stay because it is part of our culture. Silk never goes out of fashion, so why should our fabric?!

APiF: Fashion Finds: What is your favorite piece of your collection and why?
Jezreel Designs: This current collection, From Omidan to Miss, is inspired by a picture of my grandmother when she was in her twenties. So my favorite would have to be the bag Miss Kuku, which was her maiden name.
"Miss Kuku - inspired by my grandmother"





APiF: How do you market your designs and how do you make them accessible to a global audience?
Jezreel Designs: The Jezreel Designs woman isn't only from Africa or of African descent, but global. And that is the view point from which we market. Our products are currently available on MyAsho.com who ship worldwide and we are ALWAYS looking for more sales avenues in different countries. We are currently working on having our products available in Vienna through a new boutique. And of course blogs like yours are great for us, too.

APiF: Any tips for new designers/start-ups in the fashion industry? 
Jezreel Designs: Don't take  NO for an answer! If it's truly your dream, then follow it! Find a good friend who believes in your vision and who you can bounce ideas off. Do not be afraid to make mistakes, it's all part of the process. Trust in the God who gave you the idea in the first place.

Find out more:

Monday, December 26, 2011

"Prints are always a comeback": Interview with Pooja Jeshang, the designer of the label Saffron

APiF: Please introduce your business and your designs. 
Pooja Jeshang: Saffron is inspired by a source much nearer to home which uses a refreshing take on everyday basics and casual wear by using bold and vibrant African prints, motifs and eco-friendly cotton mixes. I am using contemporary designs and ideas, interfusing them with African motifs, organic printed cottons (Khanga's/Leso) and synthetics, creating a playful and flirty collection with bursts of bright colors, teamed with a darker and alluring color palette.

APiF: When and why did you start designing with African Prints and Fabrics?
Pooja: It wasn't an easy task to just start designing with African prints. With such a wide variety of printed cotton mixes in the market, there were so many possibilities, but I didn't know how to put it all together. After researching local designers and putting this inspiration together with my experience with the fabric markets from the West (UK), I realized you can create a lot with these prints! And to top that, they never go out of fashion since prints are always a comeback - whether its Spring/Summer or Autumn/Winter.

APiF: Fashion Finds: What is your favorite piece in your closet or of your collection and why?
Pooja: My recent collection was using sheer and pairing it with African-printed cotton mixes. There was one particular dress which had a lovely paisley print. It seemed so effective, and yet the color was even more adding to it: Candy red apple against a sunburst yellow - you really can't go wrong with this dress in summer!







APiF: Who is your fashion idol?
Pooja: I don't have any fashion idols that I follow. I inspire myself with my own designs. It is all about what you feel comfortable in. Personally, I love to be dressed in something that makes me feel comfortable. But, for others, I go out there and create something absolutely stylish. I love to see people wearing clothes that make them happy.

APiF: How do you make your designs accessible to a global audience?
Pooja: At the moment, since I have just started, I have a blog, a facebook page, and I will have a website coming up very soon with all my work on it. I aim to work on creating a portal or even signing up to an online selling platform. However, I have managed to spread out to Kenya now, signing a contract with the Kenyan fashion label Myrobi, who is also an upcoming brand offering a great diffusion of fashionable apparel. In collaboration with them, hopefully, the pieces will be available in Nairobi, Kenya, in a few months time.

"You can't go wrong with this dress in summer"
APiF: Any tips for new designers/start-ups in the fashion industry?
Pooja: It is not necessary to follow trends off the runway, trends can be created. You will start up slow, from scratch, but that is the best bit; discovering your talent, discovering what people want out of you as a designer. Clothes are a necessity in life, they don't die, and so doesn't fashion. Keep inspiring yourself from culture, books, anything and everything. Imply this inspiration on your collections, and you'll see something coming along together. Most importantly, be positive and believe in yourself - you certainly will make it out there!

Find out more:
f: Saffron on facebook
t: Saffron on tumbler
t: Saffron on twitter

Friday, December 23, 2011

11 of 2011

I cannot believe that the year is almost over and that NYE is already next week? Where has all the time gone?

Ricarda from the German blog 23qm Stile started 11 aus 2011 (11 of 2011) to share personal highlights of the year. So here are my personal print-highlights from 2011. It was not so easy to focus on 11 only!
I would love to know what your personal top 11 of 2011 is?! Share it with us here or on facebook.

Loza Maléombho, Jewel by Lisa, Saffron, Tina Kalivas


Boxing Kitten, Lanre Da Silva-Ajayi, Fati Asibelua, Eki Orleans

Sika Design, Jewel by Lisa, Burberry Prorsum

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Prints of the Week: Rock these Prints!

Cool outfits from Tina Kalivas, noted fashion and costume designer, who used to work for Alexander McQueen. Celebs like Rihanna and Solange Knowles rock her styles. I would love to rock both dresses right now! 

Shopping portals that offer designs from Tina Kalivas are for example asos.com, shopstyle.com.

Tina Kalivas

Bag-Check!

I have way too many bags. I just can't help it. Whenever I see a bag I really, really like - I need to purchase it. I have a special place in my apartment, where I hang and store all of my bags and yes, whenever I go through my little bag storage, I find one I haven't worn for quite a while or one that I had almost completely forgotten about.

But every occasion needs its bag, so which of these bags still fit in your personal collection?

From top Urbanknit, kua designs, Yoobu, kua designs

Sunday, December 18, 2011

"My pieces command attention": Interview with the designer of the statement jewelry label Anita Quansah London

APiF: Please introduce your business and your designs.
Anita Quansah: I created Anita Quansah London in 2006, after obtaining a textile degree in 2003 from Chelsea College of Art and Design London. I have been working to develop and promote recycling in my designs by creating elaborate, one of a kind statement jeweleries. My pieces are strong statements which are a fusion of home-spun ethnic, arts and crafts aesthetics that command attention.

APiF: When and why did you start designing with African Prints and Fabrics?
Anita: My cultural heritage has had a huge impact on my work. Coming from a mixed African background, half Ghanaian and half Nigerian, has exposed me to a lot of traditions, cultures with rich materials and textiles. The bold and vibrant colors in Africa are phenomenal. I try to inject these into my work a lot by incorporating rich, luxurious African prints mixed with vintage 1940's pieces, chains, pearls and shells. It gives it a totally new look which is rare and unique.

APiF: How do u feel about the new African Prints/Fabric trend? Is it here to stay?
Anita: Africa is full of many rich cultures and traditions; I can see how this has influenced a lot of designers. This reoccurring trend Africa/Tribal/Bohemian or better referred as "Culture Club" or "One world" has been evident throughout the fashion weeks. The trend is gradually putting Africa in the lime light. Many western designers (Marc Jacobs, Vivienne Westwood, Thakoon, Suno NY and many more) are showing huge interest in Africa and its cultures.

More and more African designers are now recognized across the world and worn by many celebrities. Take for example the likes of the First Lady Michelle Obama wearing pieces by Nigerian designer Duro Olowu, Beyonce and Solange Knowles spotting pieces designed with African prints, Rihanna's music videos and performances at the Grammy's emphasising Africa and its fashion. Africa is currently an 'in thing'.
"Just like we have fought for our voices to be heard, we have achieved the same with our fashion. And I believe it is here to stay, as we have been recognized finally. Our great nation is full of many talents and whether the world is ready, well that is another case, but I am delighted to see in my lifetime the recognition and to be part of it."
APiF: How do you market your designs and how do you make them accessible to a global audience?
Anita: I am very lucky because I have worked with a lot of creatives in the fashion industry from leading magazine editors, to stylists and photographers. We do all our marketing in-house, so our marketing is done through a lot of publicity campaigns such as magazine features. We are very delighted to have a brand that people like and have very keen interest in. We frequently work with bloggers, which is the way forward, because of the increased interest in online press.

Anita Quansah London has a huge following and this is also thanks to our networking sites such as Flickr, facebook and twitter. These three major platforms have shaped our brand immensely and we constantly get requests via them. We are also featured on sites such as Not Just A Label (NJAL), a platform that celebrates creatives in the fashion industry. And we participate in events such as fashion shows and exhibitions which is incredible for us, because a lot of people can have a closer look at the designs and try them on.

The overall reaction is breathtaking, it makes me as the designer feel like I am on the right path, spiritually, mentally and creatively.
 
APiF: Any tips for new designers/start-ups in the fashion industry?
Anita: Three words: Dream, Believe Achieve. This gets me through anything. And also hard work and perseverance pays off in the end. In this industry you will go through a lot of hurdles. But as far as you are focused and believe in yourself and your product, you will always stand out from the rest. Also love every bit of what you do. I am in love with what I am doing and it gives me greater joy that it does to others as well, that is priceless.

Find out more:

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Prints of the week: 4MACOHA - Dashiki with a Twist


These color-combinations just caught my eye. I like the modern take of the dashiki and boubou-esque designs and especially the pastel coloring. The clothes are from the label 4MACOHA, a collaboration between the designer Holly Dunlap and the Malawi Council for the Handicapped.


Kachi Designs: "I produced my first ensemble using my own bedding"

APiF: Please introduce your business and your designs. 
Chigozie "ChiChi" Anaele: Kachi Designs is my brainchild. I am a self-taught designer. Being a true visionary, artist and entrepreneur I produced my very first ensemble using my own bedding.

APiF: When and why did you start designing with African Prints and Fabrics?
ChiChi: Well, that came to me instantly because of where I'm from (Nigeria). Culture is a big thing in my life and I totally embraced it once I stepped into the fashion world. 

APiF: How do u feel about the new African Prints/Fabric trend? Is it here to stay?
ChiChi: It is growing fast in the entertainment world but now that it has been embraced, it will never leave. 

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

ChiChi: This item on the picture (right hand side) is one of my favorites so far.

APiF: How do you market your designs and how do you make them accessible to a global audience?
ChiChi: Fashion shows and facebook are a great help in marketing. My items are very diverse from gowns to shorts, so it appeals to everyone. 

APiF: Any tips for new designers/start-ups in the fashion industry?
ChiChi: Follow your passion 100%.

Find out more:

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Ready, Steady, Sell - New Online-Platform StylesAfrik.com

What do you do if you cannot find what you are looking for? You create a business and start offering it! APIF talked to Stephanie Mensah, owner of the new online-platform StylesAfrik that will launch in March 2012.

Oeclat Designs
APiF: What is your motivation behind the project?
Stephanie Mensah: It all started when I was searching for a ready-made Africa-inspired outfit for my birthday. I couldn't find any high-end fashion via Google. After that experience I went to a show, where African designs were exhibited. I was surprised at the quality and creativeness of the designs as well as disappointed, that I was not able to find such designs readily available using a simple online search. When I came across Helen Jenning's book "New African Fashion", I decided to use my work experience in Marketing and Business to start an online retail outlet that focuses on trendy Africa-inspired designs.

APiF: What is the reason that many African designers and Africa-inspired designers don't offer their designs via online-stores?
Stephanie: Since I started my project, I have had the opportunity to interview various designers and there are a number of reasons: The websites do not represent the mission and value of their product lines; they tend to only make one-off designs and don’t focus on off the rail clothing; other websites fail to attract audiences to their website, therefore not enough sales are created using the online medium.


APiF: What is the advantage for designers to be part of StylesAfrik?
Stephanie: StylesAfrik’s aim is to showcase a wide selection of designers worldwide, who offer quality and creative Africa-influenced designs. StylesAfrik.com is another outlet for designers to sell and promote their designs on a larger scale and to a mainstream audience. We will spend time and money on promotions, advertising, Search Engine Optimization, PR, Networking and thus drive more users to our site. Designers can spend their time focusing on creating new collections without having to worry about promoting their products.

Tina Lobondi

APiF: Can you already mention some designers that will sell via your platform? 
Stephanie: We are actively recruiting for designers who meet our criteria. Some of the designers that have already signed up include: Yaa Ataa Couture Bags, Tina Lobondi, Jezreel Designs, Oeclat designs, Yaa Ohenewa Textiles, Agnes Mira Rose. In total we have over 30 designers we are talking to, and we are still seeking more designers!

APiF: Will fashion lovers be able to make purchases no matter where they are located?
Stephanie: The site will offer products in 3 different currencies - Euro, GBP and Dollar - and we will ship to England, Wales, Ireland, Europe, and the US. We are working on expanding the site for usage in some African countries and accepting local currencies.

Contacts:
Stephanie@StylesAfrik.com
Twitter: @stylesafrik 
Facebook
Linkedin

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Winter-Ready Prints: Which Outfit would you wear with Boots?

It is getting cold! And the shoes I will probably wear most of the time now are my boots. I actually love my high and lean leather boots a lot. So this is a part of my cold weather outfit, that I am actually looking forward to. Some of my Summer and Autumn dresses also find usage in the Winter season - combined with woolly black tights and of course my boots.

Which of the following dresses would you pair up with boots for a winter-ready outfit?

Beginning top left: Jewel by Lisa, Lanre Da Silva-Ajayi, Ituen Basi, Adama Paris


Sunday, December 11, 2011

Afropolitan Fashion from Adama Paris

APiF: Please introduce your business and your designs.
Adama Amanda Ndiaye: 
I am the designer and entrepreneur behind the brand Adama Paris. I was born in Kinshasa, Congo, from Senegalese parents. I lived in several international cities, which allowed me to witness a great variety of cosmopolitan trends. This global fashion odyssey inspired the birth of the spirit of the brand Adama Paris.

APiF: When and why did you start designing with African Prints and Fabrics?
Adama: I started using African print five years ago. It just felt natural to me to show a new way of using it, especially with the Afro-bikini line. I want to show that African print can be modern and fresh. 

APiF: How do u feel about the new African Prints/Fabric trend?
Adama: The new trend is great because it allows designers to show their ingenuity of working with African print.

APiF: Is African Print in the fashion industry here to stay?
Adama: I hope so - either way, we African designers will continue to show the world our fabulous prints.

APiF: What inspires u?
Adama: Megapolis are the sources of inspiration for an Afropolitan world citizen like me.

APiF: Fashion Finds: What is your favorite piece in your closet or of your collection and why?
"I just love this skirt. I wear it in wintertime, summertime, anytime!"
Adama: 
I just love this skirt (see picture on right-hand side). I wear it in wintertime, summertime, anytime! It is elegant retro and I adore the high waist. It is from my last year collection "Paris-Dakar".

APiF: How do you market your designs and how do you make them accessible to a global audience?
Adama: I attend various fashion shows in the year where buyers are present. I am also owning two shops in Senegal and sell in various stores in Paris, NYC, Tokyo and London.

APiF: Any tips for new designers/start-ups in the fashion industry?
Adama: Express your creativity and stay focused on your goal.

Find out more:
http://www.adama-paris.com/
http://twitter.com/#!/adamaparis1
Adama Paris on facebook

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Holiday-Gifts: Inspirations from Nicole Miller to Vivienne Westwood

I am starting to get a little panicky, the closer the holidays are approaching. There are cards to write and to send off, presents to buy and to pack. 
If you guys are also still on the gift-hunt, you can find some inspirations below.



Stressed out about spending too much money? Buying products from designer Nicole Miller might make you feel a little better, as 25% from each purchase will go to the organization Indego Africa

Indego is a fair trade partnership organization that supports women. They also offer accessories and gift ideas on their website.



Another designer who had a calling from the African continent is the grande dame of fashion Vivienne Westwood. She is offering an Ethical Fashion Africa collection of handbags for Autumn/Winter 2011-12. The designs are crafted by "marginalized communities of women, with the support of the International Trade Center's Ethical Fashion Program of the United Nations". Some of the shoppers are quite nice, but of course they have their price.







Kizimwi Designs is an Africa-inspired accessory line, specializing in wallets, computer cases and beachwear. All products are made with 100% African fabrics and materials. Their most popular items are the Ipad and computer cases.

Happy shopping!

Friday, December 9, 2011

Item of the Week: Leather Print Bags

We have seen bags in different shapes and designs made out of African cloth. About two weeks ago we introduced the innovative oilcloth bags from UGO.
Today the item(s) of the week are the amazing bags and clutches from Jezreel Designs - a label that creates leather bags inspired by African prints. Awesome!

Some of these bags can be purchased on MyAsho.

All these bags - wouldn't you like to be her?

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Eclectic and Modern Designs for the Socially Conscious: Loza Maléombho

APiF: Please introduce your business and your designs.
Loza Maléombho: Loza Maléombho New York is a women's ready to wear clothing line intended for the US and European markets with women empowerment, social and economic trades in West Africa. We offer sustainable, modern and multicultural designs to an intellectual woman who is socially conscious.  

APiF: When and why did you start designing with African Prints and Fabrics? 
Loza: I have been designing with "Ankara prints" since I was 13. I grew up in Ivory Coast where "African prints" are a commonality. After moving to New York City I started my label in 2009 in an effort to share my multicultural aesthetics with the western markets.

I have always been fascinated by Kente cloth, which is the traditional hand woven fabric from the ethnic group called AKAN (AKAN people can be found in Ghana and Ivory Coast) and is commonly used during traditional wedding ceremonies in Ivory Coast. It wasn't until this last collection that I started using the fabric in a new discovered way of making tailored jackets. 


I am not exclusive or limited to "African fabric". Although it is the first word that comes to mind when looking at the collection, there is a great deal of cultural mixes like Indian linen and batiks. My purpose here is to break out of the "African label" and branch out to other traditional cultures in an eclectic and modern mixture.

APiF: How do u feel about the new African Prints/Fabric trend? 
Loza: It's funny you should call it "African prints". The "Ankara fabric" that is currently so trendy has nothing to do with Africa. They represent a history of imitation from Indonesian batiks to Dutch wax prints to authentic Hollandais wax; which are rarely fabricated in Africa. With that said, it is a trend and unlikely to last more than 2 seasons. As a new designer it is important to anchor your brand in the market independently of this trend. 

APiF: What inspires u? 
Loza: I draw inspiration from travels, traditions and cultures and being open minded enough to receive inspiration from any culture, ethnicity, community and social group.

APiF: Fashion Finds: What is your favorite piece in your closet or of your collection and why?
"My favorite piece is the Inga Jacket - unexpected, fun and androgynous"
Loza: My favorite piece is the Inga Jacket. It was the first piece I designed. I wanted something unexpected, fun and androgynous.
 

APiF: How do you market your designs and how do you make them accessible to a global audience?  
Loza: Since we are not showing on the runway just yet, we are focusing on our look books and our Public Relation strategy. Our facebook page and our blog are also very helpful in spreading the word to the general public.

APiF: Any tips for new designers/start-ups in the fashion industry? 
Loza: Get a Business Partner!!! Fashion is half design, half business. You can have all the talent and passion you want, if you don't know anything about business, you might as well keep fashion as a hobby - because you won't get really far.

Find out more:
Loza Maléombho on facebook  

Monday, December 5, 2011

Customize your Kente Sneaker!

I found these sneakers on zazzle.com and the really fab feature they offer is that you can customize and design your own Kente Sneaker. How cool is that?!!
Below you can see my personalized version.

Customize your sneaker and share it with us on our facebook wall.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Fashion Finds from the Ituen Basi Trunk Show in Abuja

 
On Friday the 2nd and Saturday the 3rd of December, designer Ituen Basi hosted a trunk show in Abuja, Nigeria. So a fab opportunity to stock-up on accessories for holiday presents or fashion treats for oneself.

Lucky me that my sister is living in Abuja! After she told me about the event, I begged her to go and she kindly went to the trunk show in her lunch break and bought a couple of amazing accessories.


The orange & blue necklace as well as the Love bag will make their way over the pond. We are still in negotiation about the bangles though...


Have a look at the items she purchased and let me know what you like best!

Made in Germany - Inspired by 'Africa': Malaika Designs

APiF: Please introduce your business and your designs.
Rosemary Dede: Malaika Designs was founded by myself and Adwoa Ode-
Dombrowe in the spring of 2010. Our aim is to create clothes and accessories that mix the combination of the cultures that affect our lives. All our items are made in Berlin and handcrafted and produced from carefully selected fabrics.

APiF: When and why did you start designing with African prints and fabrics?
Rosemary: The brand was started out of a lack of choice and diversity in the shops and streets. We wanted to wear something that made us feel good about ourselves. We first wanted to fulfill our needs and then we decided to share it with others.

APiF: Fashion Finds: What is your favorite piece in your closet or of your collection and why?
Rosemary: One of my favorite pieces is the Kimono - it is a perfect example of our style. We took something that does not really have a connection to the African or European culture and designed it in such a way, that everybody
"The Kimono - a perfect example of our style"
feels comfortable wearing it. Young and old, for the evening or during the day. It is a piece that we are very proud of and that our customers love.

APiF: How do you market your designs and how do you make them accessible to a global audience?
Rosemary: We market them online, through the media, magazines, fashion shows, sales at special events, etc. We make them available to the public through our online boutique and other boutiques for which we are suppliers.

APiF: Are consumers in Germany receptive to designs in African prints and fabrics?
Rosemary: Actually, they are more receptive than we thought at first. People are not that much afraid of colors as we think. They just need to familiarize with it and feel comfortable wearing it. Designs need to be simple and wearable.



APiF: Any tips for new designers/start-ups in the fashion industry?
Rosemary: Love what you do first, don't try to make a collection for people, but first make it for you. If you love it, than it will be easier to share it with others. If it is all about the money, people will notice that and it will stop your creativity.

Find out more:
Website: http://malaikadesigns.de
Shop: http://en.dawanda.com/shop/MalaikaDesigns/
facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Malaika-designs/131460473540380

Friday, December 2, 2011

Printlicous: H&M collaborates with Marni

Italian designer label Marni, who is not afraid of using bold as well as "tribal" and graphical prints, announced their collaboration with H&M for a spring collection. The collection is supposed to hit the stores on the 8th of March 2012.
To quote Creative Director Consuelo Castiglioni: "I wanted to create a true Marni wardrobe by revisiting all our favorite pieces in signature fabrics and prints."

Yeah, I cannot wait - Marni designs for H&M prices. This is the first collaboration in a very long time that will make me line up outside of the store. Hopefully the run on H&M will not be too crazy, as Marni might not be as well known to the H&M customer base as for example Versace. No matter what - the 8th of March is already marked in my calendar.

Are you guys excited about the Marni and H&M collaboration?

Prints of the Week: CHiCHiA

East Africa meets London cool

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