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Thursday, January 31, 2013

Breakfast with Valentino, Moschino and Co.

Loehmann's, a department store that offers designer clothes for 30-65% less than other retailers, invited bloggers to their warehouse in New Jersey, to have a sneak peek at their Italian Collection.

During coffee and bagels the buyers explained how they travel to Italy up to 6 times a year (lucky them!) and buy the designs in bulk directly from the warehouses. When we were ready to start the tour we were asked to keep our UGG boots and marshmallow jackets on, as the temperatures were quite low. 
You can read more about our experience here, on Helene's blog "Bon Vivant and a Budget".

What we can expect for the Spring season? Still lots of prints, stripes and colorful highlights! The Italian Collection will be available in stores from the 27th of February on. Are you excited for Spring? Do you shop at stores like Loehmann's and Century21?

Monday, January 28, 2013

Mix of Textures & Prints: Stella Jean FW 13/14

Stella Jean presented her Fall/Winter 2103 collection last Saturday in Rome. The Haitian-Italian designer, who has been much talked about due to her use of African Prints in her first collection, continues to weave bold prints into her designs. Stella Jean titled her new showcase the "cross-cultural experience".

I am a fan of her aesthetic and I feel she always manages to come up with something new: like the mix of textures combined with the use of different prints. My favorite has to be the faux fur vest over the long beige coat - that just looks fantastic. I also like the cape-like coat with the print lining - a very cool and elegant way to showcase prints. What do you think - any favorites??

To find out more about the designer, read her interview here.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Clarks Shoes Go Print

The British shoe label Clarks, known for comfy and good quality - but not necessarily stylish - shoes, is adding some prints into the mix by collaborating with Eley Kishimoto (EK). The motto of the EK design house is "Print The World". According to their website they have "always strived to create work that is executed simply, clear in intention, exhibiting a unique creative flair that rejects passing trends and fads."  

Hmmm, I am not sure about the trends bit as prints are still pretty much trendy right now ;-). But I would wear the pink and black print Clarks. You can pre-order them now via their website.

How do you like it, any favorites?

Friday, January 25, 2013

'Share Your Style' Friday

'Share Your Style' Friday is back! Sorry that I didn't post last week, but I was busy with my blog re-design and just had no time to prepare a blog post on top of that. Today's 'Share Your Style' Friday pic comes from Pascale Pierre in NYC. Her friend Jeminatu submitted this shot to APiF because "Pascale has amazing style and she rocks this Ankara print skirt."

I really like the print and a skirt like this is a good item to have in your closet.
How do you like Pascale's outfit - Hot or Not?

Jeminatu owns the online store Afrikinspired where she sells skirts like the one shown above. You can check-it out here! Do you have a cool pic that you want to share? Please send it to

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Enhance your Individual Style: Doreen Mashika

APiF: Please introduce your business and your designs.
Doreen Mashika: Whilst worldwide many customs are in transition, the Doreen Mashika brand firmly believes that the bedrock of traditional cultures in Africa is still a powerful force, and one that should be celebrated! What’s not to love about the uniqueness and splendor of African fashion? The label is inspired by a deep affection for the immense cultural heritage that the continent offers. I am combining this with a design philosophy, learned from considerable experience in the Western fashion and luxury goods sector.

APiF: If your label would be a person, what kind of person would it be?
Doreen: It would be a woman who is aware of global trends but discerning enough to eschew obvious “status” brands for innovative accessories, to enhance her individual style. In short, she embraces African identity to result in a look that is fresh!

APiF: Is it true, that one of your bags was sent to the First Lady - any feedback yet?
Doreen: Yes, we received a personal thank you letter with words of encouragement about the DM brand initiative. We were very excited.

 APiF: What inspires you?
Doreen: Apart from traveling being exciting, I find that it indirectly improves my design work. It’s like fuel for your brilliant work, and traveling constantly refuels me. Nature too, it never fails to bring something new and different to our eyes.

APiF: How do you market your designs and how do you make them accessible to a global audience?
Doreen: Our flagship store is located in Stone Town, Zanzibar, where we receive tourists from all over the world. Apart from that: Fenwicks of London will be stocking our works for the second time this season. We are also coming up with an online shop. So stay tuned as Doreen Mashika comes closer to your doorstep!

APiF: Any tips for new designers/start-ups in the fashion industry?
Doreen: Remain authentic. The most powerful asset you have is your individuality, what makes you unique. Always put things that inspire you in your work, look to the world around you to inspire you. Keep up with current fashion trends but do not just copy them, be original and creative. Travel the world if you have a chance, because other cultures have such interesting varied views on fashion. Remember to listen to constructive criticism, always go for your dreams and do not let anyone tell you that you cannot make it!

Note: Doreen Mashika has created Kanga print smartphone cases for Apple iPhones and Samsung Galaxies. Pretty cool, right?

Find out more:

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Prints of the Week: Naana B.

These Prints of the Week are 'oldies but goldies'. The pictures with dresses by designer Naana B. were published in Teen Vogue over 3 years ago. I just stumbled over them on Pinterest and decided to post them anyhow as they are still pretty fab! What do you think?

I had the opportunity to do an interview with Naana B. a while back. You can read it here: Designs for free spirits and adventure lovers.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Ten About Me

One of the style blogs I follow - The Feisty House - just posted 10 things that her readers don't know about her. This inspired me to do the same. Voila, here is some random stuff about myself.

Participate! Post some random information about yourself in the comment section below! I would love to read it.

1. Green is my favorite color.
2. I have too many shoes, too many bags, too many clothes - but at least once a week I feel like I have nothing to wear. Seriously!
3. I cross the street when I see a huge dog from afar. Huge dog = anything larger than a Pug.
4. I consider myself an introvert, so my new project will be a challenge - but one I look forward to!
5. I love Red Velvet Cake but haven't eaten any since the Cake Man closed his shop in BK.
6. Sometimes I am convinced I am psychic, because I know things before they happen. Lottery numbers not included!
7. I buy a lot of books. Once read, I give them to friends or put them outside on the curb for whomever.
8. I am not a pessimist, I am a skeptic and a realist. Optimists just don't get that.
9. I am addicted to Starbucks coffee! I need a venti latte in the morning, even if it means running late.
10. I love meat and sausages. Thus I haven't read the book Eating Animals yet that a good friend gave me for my birthday. Sorry Semka ;-)

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Inspired and Confident: Sindiso Khumalo

APiF: Please introduce your business and your designs.
Sindiso Khumalo: Sindiso Khumalo is a women's wear brand with a strong focus on contemporary textile print design. The brand combines bold African graphics with a sophisticated minimalist construction. The concept behind Sindiso Khumalo is based on how the fashion textiles industry can create new possibilities and future collaborations between Africa and the global fashion environment. 
APiF: If your label would be a person, what kind of person would it be?
Sindiso: Inspired and confident. 
APiF: What is your cultural heritage and how does it inspire you?
Sindiso: I am from South Africa and I grew up in KwaZulu-Natal. Zulu culture heavily influences my work, but so has South Africa in general. There are so many dichotomies and contradictions that exists in South Africa and it means one is constantly questioning and reinterpreting ones position. 

APiF: What is your vision for future collaborations between Africa and the global fashion industry?
Sindiso: Its about creating partners in the fashion industry, and really creating platforms for collaborative work with those partners. An example of this is Duro Olowu collaboration with JC Penney or Tanzanian designer Doreen Mashika teaming up with US brand Edun on a footwear range. I think these are exciting partnerships and will hopefully bring greater empowerment to our continent. 
APiF: Your favorite item in your closet?
Sindiso: I'm really into accessories, especially ones that have memory within them. My mother gave me a pair of pearl earrings on my wedding day, I wear them all the time and never tire of them. They take me back to a very special time.

APiF: Any tips for new designers/start-ups in the fashion industry?
Sindiso: 1. Understand that this is a business, it must be relevant and you must understand your audience. What they wear, where they shop, what magazines or blogs they read. 
2. You need to have a manic level of attention to detail. Don't compromise on your finished product, never settle for mediocrity. 
3.  Sharing is caring. All the people I work with have been referred to me, from my factory to my digital printers. If you have a great pattern cutter,refer them to someone else, that will ensure they're still in business for years to come. 
4. Be an athlete with your work, don't stop pushing your craft.

Find out more:

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Get ready for a Shoegasm!

I just had to do a quick post on these awesome shoes and bags from Malaysian-based label TSAR. I am especially in love with these blue print booties and the brown/silver print Oxfords from the Accra collection. The label was created by Wan Sariah Wan Jaafar. The bags and shoes are custom-made and limited! So not much of a chance to run into another lady wearing the same shoes or handbag! 

How do you like TSAR's accessories? Are you as excited as I am?
Find out more: 

Friday, January 11, 2013

'Share Your Style' Friday

Wohoo, it is Friday! This was my first work week after the holidays and boy was it hard to get up in the morning at 6 am. I probably hit the snooze button a gazillion times. I have to start going to bed earlier again.

Today's 'Share Your Style' Friday pic comes from Selena Samba. She is wearing a beautiful yellow print dress that looks like the perfect outfit for a Summer party. I also really love the long gold earrings Selena has styled with the dress - this enhances the elegant silhouette of the look.


How do you like her dress? Top or Not?

If you have a great outfit and you want to share it with our readers, please email it to

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

SheKudo: Clothes for strong and eccentric women

APiF: Please introduce your business and your designs.SheKudo: SheKudo is a fusion of our Nigerian names. 'She' is from the Hausa name Shetu and 'Kudo' is from Amy's Igbo middle name Akudo. We create clothes for strong, eccentric women, who love to have fun with what they wear. We are fusing our African and Australian heritage with some borrowed bits from other cultures and time eras.

APiF: If your label would be a person, what kind of person would it be?
SheKudo: Strong / Eccentric / Loud/ Playful / Quirky / Fashion hungry / Individualistic.

APiF: What is your cultural heritage and how does it inspire you?
SheKudo: Amy is Nigerian and Australian; Shetu is Nigerian and Ghanaian. When you are raised to know not only the culture that you grow up in but also the one in which your parents stem from, its inevitable that you will see traces of these cultures in your work. We are mainly inspired by the prints, boldness of color and strength/status depicted through what African men and women wear. In our recent collection "Wahala" you might notice some of these elements in our work.

APiF: Who is your favorite designer?
AMY: Oumou Sy was probably the first African designer I laid eyes on. Then I fell inlove with Black Coffee, Suzaan Heyns, Maki Oh, Balenciaga (my all time fav!) Marni, and some Australian designers such as Sass & Bide, Josh Goot, Ellery and Life with Bird.

SHETU: Gloria WavaMunno, Maki Oh, William Okpo there's so many I love. Aussie designers Romance was Born, Life with Bird, Sass and Bide, Camilla, Kobe Husk there's too many to list. I am very widely inspired.

APiF: What is your favorite item in your closet?
SHETU: My onezie! They come in all different styles, plus they're easy, fun and transseasonal.
AMY: Its got to be my vomit green, Australian made vintage leather jacket. I think it's meant to be for a man - but I scored it at some thrift-shop. When I throw it on in winter, I feel like I can conquer the strongest blizzard... (Most of my friends hate it).

APiF: How do you market your designs and how do you make them accessible to a global audience?
SheKudo: At the moment we have been marketing through the usual social media hot spots such as twitter, instagram, facebook and so forth. We also market through links we have in the music or fashion scene that may wear one of our pieces. Underground stylists wanting to use some of our pieces for fashion shoots is also another way. Once we expand we hope to tackle some larger methods of marketing.

APiF: Any tips for new designers/start-ups in the fashion industry?
SheKudo: Definitely have a strong plan of action. We are still emerging - so we have learned a lot from this so far. Have fun with what your doing and don't take yourself too seriously. Fashion should be fun and enjoyable, an expression of who you are. Lastly - don't burn bridges; you never know who you may need to work with or ask a favor from in the future.

Find out more:

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Style Spread: Elle South Africa

Elle South Africa kicks-off the year with a beautiful fashion spread featuring several African designers like Ituen Basi, Babatunde, Deola Sagoe, Marianne Fassler and many more. I really love the every day settings at a hair dresser, a bus stop and at a local market. And of course the designs and combinations are just fab and inspire me to step-up my game the next time I go to the market to shop some veggies.

Read the behind the scenes interview here!

Photos by Ross Garrett / Styling by Poppy Evans - Elle South Africa, January 2013


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