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Fashion: Ethnik by T.O. Weaves Aso Oke to Combine Tradition & Modernity

Ethink by T.O. [Nigeria] [Image credits: Ethnik by T.O. – Tunde Olowabi Studios] Ethnik by T.O. is a stylish range of footwear and fashion accessories made with beautifully woven Aso Oke, a traditional Yoruba textile. The collection, launched in 2015, is the brainchild of photographer and designer Tunde Olowabi, who by tapping into his heritage is adding to the diverse creative voices shaping contemporary African design

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Textiles: Maki & Mpho, Where Asia Meets Africa to Create African Modern Luxury

Maki & Mpho [Africa Inspired] [Image credit: SEVEN – Self-tie Diamond Tip Double-sided Bow Tie – Maki & Mpho] With Father’s Day on the horizon, Sunday 21st June for those who need reminding, I thought it would be apt to introduce a brand that focuses its creative attention on our menfolk. Maki & Mpho, is a US-based textile brand that ‘celebrates the African renaissance’, by working with African designers to develop modern sophisticated prints for menswear accessories. The collections include elegant ties, pocket squares and bow ties made from silk twill. Founded by Maki Nakata and Mpho Muendane, Maki & […]

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Accessories: Ikire Jones Menswear for the Adventurous

Ikire Jones [Image credit: Escape to New Lagos Collection – Ikire Jones] Ikire Jones is a visionary menswear label that celebrates the individual, those not afraid to go against the norm. The Ikire Jones-style sees old-world tradition combined with contemporary aesthetics in the form of vibrant flamboyant West African textiles and inspiration married with the sophistication of sharp Neapolitan tailoring to create garments that are expertly hand-cut and sewn in Philadelphia, USA where the company is based.

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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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Books: The Gentlemen of Bacongo

Gentlemen of Bacongo [The Congo] [Image credit: Gentlemen of Bacongo – Daniele Tamagni] Every time the ‘Gentlemen of Bacongo’ photographic exhibition came to London, I always managed to miss it, so whilst I was in Dakar I finally got to see some images from the book; on display as part of a wider exhibition on contemporary African photography entitled ‘Africa See You See Me’, that was being held at the Goethe Institute, during the Dak’art 2012 Biennale. Since its release in 2009, the book and accompanying exhibition have delighted and captivated audiences across the world, taking them on a fashionable journey […]

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Accessories: Model-Turned-Designer Armando Cabral

Armando Cabral [Guinea-Bissau] [Image credit: Armando Cabral Suede Loafers – Henry Hargreaves] Today is officially the first day of Spring, a day that is beautifully bright and sunny but still with a crisp freshness in the air, however you can not escape that wonderful sense of renewal; colours seem sharper and there is a lightness to everything. Speaking of colours a range of suede loafers by model-turned-footwear designer Armando Cabral stylishly capture the essence of spring…aren’t the shades just gorgeous…and they look so soft. A lifelong passion for shoes, combined with a decade long career as an international model, an academic background in […]

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Accessories: Oliberté Footwear Profiled on CNN

Oliberté [Ethiopia / Kenya / Liberia] [Image credit: Oliberté] ‘…we never have and still don’t see an Africa that’s categorised by negative generalisations’ one company’s response to an oft-asked question as to why anyone would ever consider trying to establish and run a successful business in Africa. Well footwear brand Oliberté, the company in question is attempting to do just that and are in good company if some of the inspirational and pioneering African businesses I have shared are anything to go by. Canadian social entrepreneur, Tal Dehtiar established Oliberté two years ago amidst the challenges of finding financial backers willing to […]

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Textiles: Buki Akib FELA Menswear Capsule Collection

Buki Akib [Nigeria] [Image credit: Buki Akib – FELA Autumn/Winter 2011] A graduate of Central Saint Martin’s, highly experimental designer Buki Agbakiaka’s work is bold, unique and extravagant. Her recent menswear capsule collection entitled ‘FELA’ was inspired by the pulsating rhythm of the Afrobeat movement, taking the viewer back to a decadent 1970’s Lagos music scene dominated by the pioneering musician Fela Kuti. Fela Kuti’s legendary style was distinctive and heralded a new era of showmanship in the West and Pan-Africa music scene.

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Menswear: Missibaba Men’s Sandal Collection For Stiaan Louw

Missibaba [South Africa] Granted when it comes to women’s footwear there is so much more to choose from than men’s, and with the mercury rising as summer approaches people will be looking towards a more relaxed laidback approach, especially if lucky enough to go on holiday. So if you are a guy shopping for yourself or a woman looking to spoil your man, then Missibaba is branching into men’s accessories with a new range of men’s sandals, perfect for the lazy summer days ahead, that I spotted on the blog, Man of the Cloth. 

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Menswear: Knitwear Inspired by Xhosa Culture

Laduma Ngxokolo [South Africa] The ‘Colourful World of the Xhosa Tribe’ is a range of locally sourced Merino wool and mohair knitted textiles exploring the cultural heritage of the Xhosa people by recent design graduate Laduma Ngxokolo. Of his choice of material Laduma used mohair for its richness of colour and extra sheen, saying it is a versatile material; sustainable, lightweight, breathable and elastic. While studying at the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University in Port Elizabeth, Laduma was inspired by the Xhosa initiation ceremonies and sought to create garments that men could wear when attending these traditional ceremonies. [Image credit: Laduma Ngxokolo/Design […]

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Accessories: Stepping Out With SoleRebels

soleRebels [Ethiopia] [Image credits: soleRebels] Zenabwork, a small village community in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia is crafting some seriously funky footwear using 100% locally sourced materials. soleRebels is all about original sustainable footwear, exuding the same coolness that is attached to brands like Nike and Adidas. Pro ‘trade, not aid’ the award-winning business is working to break the chains of dependency on aid, instead aiming to get people into work by creating jobs within the local community – which are often scarce. Founded in 2004 by Bethlehem Tilahun Alemu, soleRebels has sought to harness the skills of local artisans by creating a sustainable, fair-trade […]

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Fashion: Roubi L’Roubi Sharp Tailoring with a Modern Sensibility

Roubi L’Roubi [Sudan] [Image credit: Roubi L’Roubi] Drawn to the precision of haute couture and tailoring via a background in mechanical engineering, fashion designer Roubi L’Roubi came to the UK from Sudan in the early 1980’s and after a stint with Joseph and a partnership with designer Tomasz Starzewski, launched his own label Roubi L’Roubi in 2004. As the designer of choice for a discerning private and high profile clientele, Roubi L’Roubi initially began by creating bespoke eveningwear for women, eventually moving on to including bespoke menswear following a demand for the service. Sharp tailoring with a modern sensibility is where Roubi […]

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Fashion: Savile Row Tailoring from Ozwald Boateng

Ozwald Boateng [Ghana] [Image credits: Ozwald Boateng] A well-dressed man in a sharply tailored suit is usually a sight to behold and this area is the forte of Savile Row tailor Ozwald Boateng, who knows all to well the power of sharp tailoring and attention to detail and is widely credited with introducing Savile Row tailoring to a new generation. With Boateng’s designs exuding confidence and individualism, defined by his signature use of colour which brings a contemporary feel to classic tailoring, 2010 sees Ozwald Boateng celebrate 25 years in the fashion business and for a glimpse into the man behind […]

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