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Designer Masks to Keep You Safe and Fashionable

To say it’s been an ‘interesting’ few months would be a gross understatement as life as we know it has been turned on its head. And oh how quickly we adapt. Now I don’t think twice now about grabbing a mask and a pair of gloves before heading out for essential reasons. With some countries starting to ease their imposed lockdown restrictions it has become increasingly clear we are not safe yet and that masks are going to be an essential everyday accessory for some months if not years to come.

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9 Designers Crafting A Well Made In Africa Aesthetic

Atelier Fifty Five spotlights the work of 9 dynamic designers whose innovative use of Africa’s diverse craft heritages is translated into modern sophisticated products for contemporary living. And in doing so are upholding the banner of Well Made In Africa. Re-imagining techniques and materials these designers are paying homage to the skill of making things by hand thereby recognising how craft is at the heart of true luxury.

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Seven Inspiring Modern African Design Collaborations

Collaboration is a powerful thing, the meeting of ideas to create new ones and at times offering up unexpected viewpoints. Collaboration offers those involved a chance to learn, pick up new skills and show off each other’s skills at their best. And in this spirit I have rounded up seven inspiring modern African design collaborations that have come together over the years:

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Sanlam Handmade Contemporary Fair Presents The 2017 Well Made In Africa Exhibitors

  Earlier this year, I was honoured to have been appointed the guest curator for the prestigious Sanlam Handmade Contemporary Fair’s Well Made in Africa showcase. 2017 introduces a new, exquisite selection of Well Made in Africa exhibitors from the continent under the curatorship of Tapiwa Matsinde, author of Contemporary Design Africa. Tapiwa presents a selection that is anchored in heritage & modernity. This year Sanlam HmC will host the work of a dynamic group of designers who have been chosen for their innovative use of Africa’s diverse craft heritages to create modern sophisticated products for contemporary living. And with […]

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Fashion Cities Africa Marking Africa’s Influence On Global Fashion

  Fashion Cities Africa is a major UK based exhibition that explores and celebrates the African continent’s influence and contribution to global fashion. The exhibition which opened earlier this year on 30th April at the Brighton Museum and Art Gallery explores the diverse fashion and style of four leading African cities, Casablanca in Morocco; Nairobi in Kenya; Lagos in Nigeria and Johannesburg in South Africa. Cities that are at the compass points of the African continent. Fashion Cities Africa tackles the misconceptions and stereotypes surrounding African fashion and its diverse expressions of creativity. [Main image credit: Fashion Cities Africa, Brighton […]

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Books: Fashion Illustration Africa Art Book Introducing A New Generation

Fashion Illustration is a creative discipline that in recent years has captured the imagination of fashion lovers everywhere, and is by no means a recent phenomenon. The discipline has a rich history of documenting fashion, style, and cultural trends long before the advent of cameras and photography led to its decline. Rising and falling in popularity over the decades but never quite reaching the dizzy heights of the past, in recent years Fashion Illustration has witnessed a renaissance on the back of the growing share culture that has been fostered by social media. This has allowed for an abundance of […]

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Fashion: Empowering Young Girls Through Educated Fashion

Le Dessein [Image credit: Le Dessein Rayee Dress – FrenchMorning.com] ​ I love hearing about brands that seek innovative ways to make a difference in the world and was immediately captivated by the story behind Le Dessein, no ordinary fashion brand. Based in the US, Le Dessein uses fashion to educate and empower young girls in developing countries and has a goal of educating 10,000 girls in ten years. And, what is different about the business model is that rather than simply creating a collection and selling the clothes, they have chosen to make the girls they support an active part […]

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Books: African Catwalk Captures Africa’s Fast-Growing Fashion Industry

African Catwalk is a new book by award-winning photographer Per-Anders Pettersson, that takes the viewer on a journey behind the scenes of Africa’s flourishing fashion industry. African Catwalk brings together images shot in 16 countries over a 7 year period and captures a side to the fashion industry rarely seen by the audience. From the birds-eye view of models parading down a sleek catwalk under the glare of bright lights to the unguarded moments of models waiting their turn African Catwalk documents the details that are making Africa’s diverse fashion industry one of the most exciting around.

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Events: “Picture Africa” – A Celebration of African Creativity at Decorex, Cape Town

Picture Africa [South Africa]   [Image credits: Picture Africa – Marianne Fassler Resort 16 Collection, Photography by Paul Samuels] “Picture Africa” is an exciting new exhibition that celebrates the relationship between photography, textiles, and fashion as seen through a pan-African lens. The exhibition will feature a host of leading African design and creative talent, as well as contributions from bloggers, image-makers, artisans, and fashion leaders. Curated by Cathy O’Clery “Picture Africa” is a feature of two 100% Design South Africa events, first taking place at Decorex Cape Town, which runs from 29 April – 2 May 2016, before travelling to Gauteng, where it will […]

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Fashion: NeoBantu’s Vibrant Homage to Africa, Embracing Community and Individuality

NeoBantu [Zimbabwe] [Image credit: Alba Tuxedo Pants and Blazer – NeoBantu] Bold patterns, vibrant colours, and contemporary classic silhouettes tailored to fit each wearer are the hallmarks of NeoBantu, a Dallas-based fashion label that was co-founded by pharmacist Tendai Tawonezvi. Hailing from Zimbabwe, NeoBantu is a celebration of Tendai’s heritage; and pays homage to the wider African continent. The company name is derived from ‘Neo’ meaning new and ‘Bantu’, the peoples, culture, and languages of sub-Saharan Africa.

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Fashion: Kanga Kulture for KISUA

Kanga Kulture for KISUA [Kenya] [Image credit: African Print Pleat Jacket – Kanga Kulture for KISUA] Kenyan women’s wear designer Juliet Kwamboka has teamed up with premier online contemporary African fashion retailer KISUA to create Kanga Kulture for KISUA, an exclusive capsule collection perfect for the perpetual globetrotter.

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Fashion: Maxhosa by Laduma Knitwear for Her

Maxhosa by Laduma [South Africa] [Image credit: Buyel’mbo womenswear collection, Autumn/Winter 2014 – Maxhosa by Laduma] As the days get colder, it is time to think about investing in knitwear, and just in time for the season ahead are new designs by South African knitwear designer Laduma Ngxokolo who, following on from his critically acclaimed menswear collections, has introduced a chic women’s knitwear range for Autumn/Winter 2014. Trading under the brand name Maxhosa by Laduma, Laduma’s designs are rooted in the traditions and culture of his homeland, and this latest collection entitled Buyel’mbo is inspired by a Xhosa phrase often […]

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Fashion: Buki Akib Defining African Luxury, Interview for Design Indaba

Buki Akib [Nigeria] [Image credit: Buki Akib Menswear] Buki Akib’s luxurious style, influenced by West African textile traditions captures the imagination. I recently caught up with the highly experimental designer to glean further insight into her work and inspirations. The full feature can be read on Design Indaba. Additional details:for further information about Design Indaba visit: www.designindaba.com [Image credits: The images shown belong to: Buki Akib. If downloaded and used elsewhere must be credited accordingly]

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Fashion: Geometric Prints, Structured Forms

Sindiso Khumalo [South Africa] Bold graphics and geometric prints characterise the work of South African fashion and textile designer Sindiso Khumalo. A former architect, Sindiso studied at the University of Cape Town and moved to London to work for renowned architect David Adjaye. She left the practice to study an MA Design for Textile Futures at Central St Martins College of Art and Design before setting up her eponymous label. Exploring different aspects of textile print design, Sindiso’s architectural training is evident in her style. She uses forms like modernist buildings as points of reference, evident in the structure of the […]

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Fashion: Ohema Ohene’s Geo Africa Collection

Ohema Ohene [Ghana] [Image credit: Ohema Ohene, Laura Cape Dress – Oh! Printex Collection] In a departure from the colourful printed fabrics that usually define their collections, London-based fashion label Ohema Ohene’s recent collection saw the adoption of a striking monochrome palette. Launched in July, the limited-edition capsule collection was produced in collaboration with textile company, Printex Ghana. Entitled OH! PRINTEX the collection celebrates Printex’s history of black and white prints through fun, wearable designs for both men and women.

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Events: From Kenya w Love Pop Up

Event: From Kenya w Love/Sapellé – London Pop Up [Image credit: Sapelle and FAFA Kenya Pop Up – Atelier Fifty-Five] On Tuesday evening I braved the cold and made my way towards Covent Garden, Monmouth Street to be exact, where fashion boutique, Sapellé was holding a press evening to celebrate their pop-up in collaboration with the Festival for African Fashion and Arts (FAFA Kenya). A lovely evening, in attendance, was Daphne Kasambala founder of Sapellé; Ann McCreath, the co-founder of FAFA Kenya and the Kenyan fashion label KikoRomeo; and Hebret Lakew of Kenyan fashion label, Kooroo, all on hand to chat about their work.

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Fashion: Obakki, Fashion for Fundraising 

Obakki [Africa Inspired] In a beautifully shot campaign featuring South Sudanese model Ajak Deng, the rare culture and pastoral society of South Sudan is portrayed through a sophisticated clothing collection by Obakki; a not-for-profit humanitarian organisation headquartered in Vancouver, Canada. Drilling water wells in South Sudan provided the inspiration for Obakki’s Fall/Winter 2012 collection, which uses colour, pattern, and texture in the clothes and fabrics as a timeline to telling the country’s dramatic journey to independence. The story begins with the tension and unrest, seen in flashes of bold crimson and dark shadows, running through clashing, fractured patterns; then moving on […]

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Fashion: Mozambican Designer, Taibo Bacar’s Designs Fit for A Princess

Taibo Bacar Autumn/Winter 2013-14 [Mozambique] [Image credit: Fit for a Princess Autumn/Winter 2013-14 Collection – Taibo Bacar] Taibo Bacar is an award-winning Mozambican designer, whose stunning creations have been setting African fashion boards alight for a while now. His latest collection for Autumn/Winter 2013-14, entitled ‘Fit for A Princess’ has captivated imaginations with its innovative use of Capulana fabric combined with sumptuous lace trimmings and embellishment. Capulana is a traditional cloth worn in Mozambique and is similar to other popular ‘African’ fabrics worn across the continent such as wax cloth and kitenge. Taking the urban princess as his muse, the […]

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