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Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Prints of the Week: Marayah.O

Check out the Nigerian fashion label Marayah.O and its eclectic, ready to wear designs. My absolute favorite item is definitely the jacket in the top picture with the pink buttons and the pink prints on the back. I also like the setting of the shoot, it just gives the outfits an additional cool edge.

Which of these outfits do you like best?

 Find out more:

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Be Decadent: ZigZag Pants

I came across these zigzag pants on the website of Brooklyn-based label Decadent Industries. They focus on fashion for trendy, curvy fashionistas between the sizes of 10-20. Pretty cool pants, don't you think?

Find out more

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Clutch-Obsession: Interview with the accessories line Sweet Life

APiF: Please introduce your business and your designs.
Maria Thundu: Sweet Life is a new, high-end accessories line featuring clutch purses that mix African wax fabric with leather and other durable materials – bringing you wearable, stylish and functional pieces to add to your wardrobe. We currently have three clutch designs available and clients can choose which fabric and leather combos they want. We plan to offer handbags in the near future and we will be introducing jewelry into our line soon.

APiF: How does your heritage inspire/influence your designs?
Maria: My mother had a carefully selected collection of African outfits that my sisters and I adored. I have always loved African prints, but have difficulty wearing them in full as I find them overwhelming. My love for accessories allows me to incorporate that love for the prints into my wardrobe on a smaller but still impactful scale.

APiF: If your label would be a person, what kind of person would it be?
Maria: A well-tailored, elegant person who dresses simply and uses accessories to highlight their outfit.

APiF: Fashion Finds: What is your favorite piece in your closet or of your collection and why?
Maria: I am obsessed with clutch bags - this leather 'Tango' clutch (left) which I bought when I lived in Thailand a few years ago, will always be my favorite. I love the richness and texture of it and the leather is so soft.
Chunky Beaded Necklace
I also adore this chunky beaded necklace, made by two sisters, based in Ethiopia, who design jewelry. I am working with them on the pieces that will be available from Sweet Life, which will give me a chance to mix the best of my worlds: Malawi, where I am from, and Ethiopia, where I grew up.

APiF: How do you market your designs and how do you make them accessible to a global audience?
Maria: Currently, we sell at a local gallery in Lilongwe, Malawi – (La Galleria in Old Town Mall). As we are still new, our reach has yet to extend beyond where we are based. Fortunately, word of mouth has been very effective. We also have representation in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia (where some of the production takes place) and we are present on facebook as well.

APiF: Any tips for new designers/start-ups in the fashion industry?
Maria: I am new to this, so from my experience so far: don’t try to do too many things at the same time. Focus on one thing and complete it well before moving on to the next. Explore. Inspire. Share.

Find out more:

Friday, May 25, 2012

What I saw: Marni Summer Dress

The other day on my way to work I was waiting in Starbucks at Christopher Street for my venti soy latte. Out of the corner of my eye I saw a woman in a chic green African prints dress, accessorized with creamy leather pumps and a clutch of the same color. Of course I had to compliment her and ask about the designer of the dress. Her answer was Marni

Somehow I didn't expect that at all. So once I reached the office I had to check out their website and there it was together with other colorful summer dresses. The prices however blew me almost off my chair - as these dresses are between 1000 and 1300 bucks. I am somewhat surprised as they are cool, but really not that extraordinary. 

Which of the pricey Marni summer dresses below do you like best?

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Simply Cool: Ladyhood

I discovered the label Ladyhood via the blog "Nothing But The Wax". I instantly fell in love with it. What is not to love about cool and simple designs mixed with a vintage flavor and African Prints? Each design is just awesome. My fellow blogger from "Nothing But The Wax" calls the label the "French Boxing Kitten". I couldn't agree more! How do you like the design?

Find out more:

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Eye Candy from Boxing Kitten

Summer-Prints from Boxing Kitten
What I really love about Boxing Kitten are the colors! Looking at these pink, yellow and light blue prints makes me feel like being in a candy store. And like in the candy store, I want all of the sweets! 
Which design are your craving for?

Prints of the Week: Duafe Denim

Duafe Denim is adding a new twist to jeans with print pockets. The label named itself after an Adinkra symbol that stands for beauty. Duafe aims to create jeans for all body types and shapes by mixing some spandex into the denim. How do you like the jeans?

Find out more:

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Aya Morrison: Purse Collection

Aya Morrison is taking purses and bags designed with African prints to the next level with her Noir D'or purse collection. The designs are awesome! Sometimes bags designed with cloth can have a granola feel to them. This is absolutely not the case with these elegant and stylish accessories. I have to admit I am biased and I love the Royal Jade Clutch (top right) best. What is your preference?

Check-out the interview I did with Aya Morrison in February: 
"Adding a dash of my heritage into each piece I create.

Find out more:

Friday, May 18, 2012

Mikuti: Accessories for women who "walk to the beat of their own drum"

APiF: Please introduce your business and your designs.
Erika Freund: My name is Erika Freund and I am the founder and designer of Mikuti (dried leaf in Kiswahili). I work with various artisans in both Tanzania and Kenya, using recycled and organic material to create my designs.

APiF: How does your heritage inspire/influence your designs?
The Perfect Stack All Dressed Up

Erika: I think that it's not so much my heritage that inspires me, but my curiosity about other heritages and cultures. I'm very drawn to things that different than I know and have experienced. That might be environments, languages, art, music, fashion...I just like exploring what's out there in the world. I'm extremely grateful to have had so many colorful life experiences thus far, and I think they collectively influence and inspire my designs.

APiF: If your label would be a person, what kind of person would it be?
Erika: Someone who you could take anywhere and by the end of the evening, everyone would want her number. She's fun, charismatic, charming, and walks to the beat of her own drum.

APiF: Fashion Finds: What is your favorite piece of your collection and why?
Erika: Tough call because I am in the midst of working on a new line and I am loving each new piece! But probably the The Perfect Stack All Dressed Up. I love that we were able to take local material and wrap it with the bark. The tribal accent is a nice statement and they are a perfect summer accessory.

APiF: How do you market your designs and how do you make them accessible to a global audience?
Erika: It's important for me to connect with the creative scene in various parts of Africa, New York and Europe. I've accessorized various shows in all places and I really want my line to produce pieces for a global market. Having them show cased at events in different countries helps give them that attention. And being stock listed in various countries does that as well.

APiF: Any tips for new designers/start-ups in the fashion industry?
Erika: Connect with like-minded people and surround yourself with support. It can be challenging at times. And have fun, take risks, don't be worried to reach out to established people in the industry.....everyone starts somewhere.

f: Mikuti on facebook


Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Virgos Lounge: Vintage, Unique & Modern

Virgos Lounge is a Nigerian owned London based label that was established 2008 by 3 girlfriends. The label is now also available in Top Shop, so quite an achievement in such a short time. The designs are vintage inspired, unique and modern. Like the two beaded clutches above. I love them! They will style-up any outfit. I am on a bag diet right now, as I bought and have way too many, but if I could, I would buy the yellow one. But the one on the left is pretty cool, too...

Which of the clutches do you like best? Left or Right?

Monday, May 14, 2012

NOH NEE: Bavarian Dirndl & African Prints

Behind the label NOH NEE are the sisters Marie Darouiche and Rahmee Wetterich. Born and raised in Cameroon they now live in Munich, Germany. 

Inspired by their heritage and their new home in Bavaria, they started combining African cloth with the traditional Bavarian dress Dirndl: "The mix of different cultures and ideas - what we call 'color mix' - is the main essence of our designs and is what appeals to our global audience".

NOH NEE has succeeded in making something old and traditional cool and hip. I would have never considered wearing a Dirndl before, it was just way too dowdy for me. But I would totally wear one of these NOH Nee Dirndls.

How about you? Would you wear an African Prints Dirndl?

Find out more:

Saturday, May 12, 2012

VOGUE Italy gives Visibility to African Designers

Tiffany Amber, Kofi Ansah, Lanre Da Silva Ajayi
"Discovered in Africa by VOGUE Italia" is a project with a name gone wrong, but actually a good cause at heart. In collaboration with the online platform editor in chief Franca Sozzani is highlighting several fashion designers from the African continent and is enabling the purchase of some of their designs online. 

This is a great for designers and fashion lovers alike, as it can be frustrating to see all the creativity and fashion forward designs that are out there, and no means to get your hands on them. What I don't like at all is the name of the project, which makes it sound as if these designers were completely unknown until VOGUE came along. Which is not really the case, as some of the designers like Kofi Ansha or Lanre Da Silva Ajayi have already made a name for themselves.

Let me know your thoughts and make sure to check out the designs.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Ohema Ohene: New Summer Collection

The new summer collection from Ohema Ohene, the Brixton-based label, is now available. The prints are nice, but overall there are no surprises or real fashion forward looks.

I personally still like the African prints sneakers from Ohema Ohene best, as they really stand out.

How do you like their new collection?

Find out more:

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Inspired by Travel & Heritage: Joansu Jewelry

APiF: Please introduce your business and your designs.
Adjoa Acquah: My name is Adjoa Acquah and I am the creative designer behind the luxury jewelry label Joansu Jewelry. Joansu pieces are all limited edition and inspired by travel. The current Spring Summer 2012 collection reflects the vibrant colors of Accra (“Africanista Conversations”), the sophistication of Paris (“La Lune”), the serene beauty of Cape Town (“Cape Town”), the playful beach collection (“Boju Beach”) and the elegant charm of Vienna (“Music”).

APiF: What inspires you?
Adjoa: My inspiration derives from the color palette that paints my memory of a specific city/location and a bold visual element that invokes a strong connection to this city/location. The Spring/Summer color palette includes off-white, yellow, orange and blue hues, celebrating the freshness and sunshine of the season. Joansu jewelry is hand-made in London and is crafted from the finest materials, including precious stones such as sapphires, topaz, citrine and clear resin.

APiF: How does your heritage influence your designs?
Adjoa: I have always admired African women who accessories fearlessly – loud earrings and bangles, matching and mismatching colors and shapes. I am also inspired by the structural elegance of Vienna, Austria, where I spent much of my childhood.

The jewelery I design is therefore bold and feminine; taking into account the influences that have shaped my conception of beauty from Ghana and Austria. My African heritage is most prominent in the Africanista Conversations collection: a tribute to the beautiful and revolutionary women of Africa whose conversations, passions and strength create change.

The prints and patterns of the African textiles, with meanings that are often deeper than the attractiveness of their design, are captured and encased in clear resin to create a unique collection of modern glamorous jewelery. Hidden in the name Joansu is another link to Ghana. Joansu is a combination of my name 'Adjoa' and 'nsu' (water in Akan). The symbol mimics the Mmeeda geometrical pattern of Ghana’s Kente cloth - a pattern that means "something that has not happened before" -  a subtle reminder to approach each day in that spirit: full of wonder, anticipation and love.

APiF: If your label would be a person, what kind of person would it be?
Adjoa: Happy, structured but unfussy.

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

Adjoa: I love the Africanista Conversation Drum collection Cuff (see on the left) because it was the first of my designs. It carries many happy memories of my journey and is great with a pair of jeans for an easy going summer look. I also love the Cape Town collection Topaz Statement Earrings – it is just a “wow” piece that always draws attention. Honestly, each piece is a favorite because they are all conceived with love and reflection and all are limited editions. Each one has its story and place in the Joansu family.
APiF: Any tips for new designers/start-ups in the fashion industry?
Adjoa: Capture your dream in private and share only initially with a trusted partner, friend or sibling who can prop you up when you feel like giving up. Be authentic from the start – people are watching.

Find out more:

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Prints of the Week: Maksi Clothing

These two designs from the Ghanaian label Maksi Clothing are so contrasting. The top dress looks elegant and sweet and together with a jacket it will make a great office outfit. The bottom one is more edgy and I would wear it as is, including the shoes, to go dancing or to a bar. I would probably wear a black sleeveless T-Shirt under the lace top though!

Find out more:

Which outfit would you wear - the sweet or the edgy one?

Sunday, May 6, 2012

What I wore: Brunch Outfit

The last Sunday in April was nice and sunny. Much needed after a grey and cold week. Together with a friend I went to "The Beast" in Park Slope, Brooklyn, for brunch. I don't know how the place got its name, because the staff is super nice and the food is amazing. From outside, the restaurant does not look too appealing and I had walked past numerous times before without noticing it. Until somebody told me about their great food and the bottomless Mimosas!

My outfit: The African prints skirt is from Busayo NY, the striped shirt is from H&M, the brooch from Emua Fashions. The APiF T-Shirt is a B-Day present from two of my friends. 

How do you like the outfit and the T-Shirt?

Friday, May 4, 2012

Outfits for "kul" people: Interview with designer and lyricist Liz Ogumbo

APiF: Please introduce your business and your designs.
Liz Ogumbo: I am an African creative entity - fashion designer, stylist, author and performing artist & lyricist, working towards growing my fashion and music brand concurrently after spending about 14 years working within the fashion/modeling industry.

APiF: How does your heritage inspire/influence your designs?
Liz: Focusing on my most recent range, 4 Saisons d’été de KenSoul! (4 Seasons of KenSoul Summer) showcased at the South Africa Fashion Week SS/12, my roots, culture and heritage played a heavy role in bringing it all together.
In my Africa, the bright colors through the Kitenge fabric, also known as African Wax Print, are quite bold, expressing a whole lot more: personality, world view and African women’s approach to that.

APiF: Why are you using African Prints in your collection? 
Liz: The Kitenge has finally become the epitome of timeless fashion. Very bold, fun, colorful, yet very authentic. Somehow the Kitenge allows one to shine through without hiding yourself. It works for all kinds of events: From simple meetings, to luncheons and dinner parties, to red carpet events and back to a romantic date. Throughout my creation process, my music coincides with my fashion as I flirt with printed Leso & Kitenge, dyed and re-dyed fabrics, printed cotton and chiffon and other embellished enhancements.

My album KenSoul reflects on my Kenyan soul and everything that inspires this range, hence the application of my album lyrics onto the range. The Lyrics have been printed on cottons and other fabric blends to be used for jacket, skirt, dress lining, swimwear, blouses and scarves to balance the textures, colors and fabric while integrating what I refer to as my KenSoul into my fashion.

My integration of the bling factor through the usage of sequin along with the Kitenge fabric plus my lyrics application exudes power, self-actualization, self-expression, self-determination, self-certainty and timeless elegance. To this modern woman, summer is a lifestyle expressed and translated through her mood, colors, cuts, lengths and textures.

APiF: If your label would be a person, what kind of person would it be?
Liz: A beautiful, fun, elegant, effortlessly chic, bold, "kul" human being!

APiF: Fashion Finds: What is your favorite piece in your closet or of your
collection and why?
Liz: That’s the hardest question to answer! I would say my signature tiered
On this picture above you can see:
1. Tiered mini with shirring on the waist to accommodate size fluctuation
2. Tiered mini with dyed/re-dyed Kitenge and draw string on waist to cater for size fluctuation.
3. Knee-length tiered mini with shirring on waist to cover size fluctuation.
4. Wrap-tiered maxi skirt to wrap around all those beautiful hips out there.
It’s a high time we got value for what we spend during recessionaissance.

APiF: How do you market your designs and how do you make them accessible to a global audience?
Liz: Besides the online market through my website and social media, I have a showroom in Johannesburg and a few outlets across the continent who carry some of my designs. However, I am constantly looking for new outlets far and beyond to stock my fashion offering.

APiF: Any tips for new designers/start-ups in the fashion industry?
Liz: Stay focused and never let anyone show you how to create your own story! Spend a lot of time on research, find out what your story is and the market it appeals to and then go! You are the story-teller so tell & sell.

APiF: What are your fashion plans for 2012?
Liz: I am hustling to grow and expand my fashion business everyday. I just completed SA Fashion Week and I am hoping to get into a major trade show this year. I also want to focus on my music through upcoming festivals and my next album.

Find out more:

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

AfriChic: Oheneba Bags

Through my sister, who was recently vacationing in Ghana, I heard about the accessories label Oheneba. Their 'Koko Ankara' bags are so elegant and chic! These bags distinguish themselves from most of the fabric bags I have seen before. As Oheneba means prince or princess, I guess I shouldn't be surprised. They can be purchased for quite a royal price on the label's website.

Find out more:

Which of these two AfriChic bags do you like best?


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