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Ceramics: MERBI Ceramics Reflecting Nigerian Culture

MERBI [Nigeria] Pretty little ceramic containers and storage jars that’ll have you looking for things to display in them; are just so endearing and handy to have around the house with a multitude of uses when  conveniently stored in areas like kitchen worktops to dressing tables. Designed by table and giftware designer, Ruth Babajide; MERBI is a collection of slip-cast ceramic storage units inspired by Nigerian culture in the form of the flamboyant styles found in clothing and the customary practice of storing large quantities of dry food.

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Jewellery: Nehita’s Exquisite Gems

Nehita [Nigeria] [image credit: Nehita Earrings – MaxandChloe] I’m not a fan of huge oversize earrings that overshadow the face and in the process stretch earlobes to the limit, but do love flirty dangly earrings; especially ones with colourful little stones that sparkle, catching the light with every flick and turn of the head, so when I came across some exquisite little gems from Los Angeles based jeweller Nehita I was hooked. Lawyer turned jewellery designer Monalisa Okojie founded Nehita soon after graduating from the Gemological Institute of America in 2008, drawing on her Nigerian heritage for inspiration and catering to a […]

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Accessories: Chris Aire Luxury Watch and Jewellery Designer

Chris Aire [Nigeria] [Image credit: Parley men’s watch – Chirs Aire] You could say watches are to men what shoes are women; highly desirable collectables that can make you lose all manner of sense and sensibility when the ‘must-have’ spirit takes over. Enter fine jewellery and watch designer to the stars Chris Aire whose über luxurious designs cater to his discerning clientele’s must-have demands; and Chris knows his A-list clientele well given a rather long list of celebrities, sportsmen and business people all flaunting his creations.   To say Chris Aire is partial to a diamond or two would be a bit of […]

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Jewellery: Shirley Ephraim Fine Earth Jewelry

Shirley Ephraim [Nigeria] [Image credit: Shirley Ephraim] Like glistening dewdrops hanging of shimmering silken strands in the early light of dawn, thus I was reminded when I first viewed jewellery designer Shirley Ephraim’s breathtaking organic and free-flowing designs. Shirley’s work is hauntingly beautiful; delicate strands of handwoven fibres are combined with rare gemstones, crystals and sterling silver to give the pieces depth whilst managing to maintain the barely-there aesthetic. The fact that Shirley was born into a culture of weavers is a defining aspect of her Nigerian heritage that weaves its way through her work and is one that collides beautifully with […]

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Accessories: Nena Kal Hunter Stylish Fascinators

Nena Kal Hunter [Nigeria] [Image credit: Fascinator – Nena Kal Hunter] Today was Ladies Day at Royal Ascot, one of the most anticipated days on the UK’s summer social calendar. I had planned to go this year, but for one reason or another didn’t get round to ordering my tickets on time and part of me is rather glad I didn’t! Today hasn’t been the nicest of days, one where an umbrella would get in the way of showing off your fabulousness given the way the rain has been bucketing down. I shouldn’t complain though the rain is desperately needed after […]

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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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Fashion: Bunmi Koko Luxury Fashion Lifestyle Brand

Bunmi Koko [Nigeria]  [Image credit: Autumn Winter 2010 – Bunmi Koko] It was great seeing Scottish/Nigerian designer Bunmi Olaye on one of the UK’s leading news channels, ITV during their coverage of the Royal Wedding. She was a guest commentator, invited to discuss the wedding gown designed by Alexander McQueen’s Sarah Burton and I think this opportunity was definitely an indicator of her growing recognition as a designer of note within the international fashion industry. Bunmi Olaye is the highly talented creator of Bunmi Koko; a name with a rather special and beautiful meaning behind it. Bunmi refers to her name and means ‘God gave […]

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Fashion: Kosibah Beautifully Sculpted Gowns

Kosibah [Nigeria] [Image credit: Kosibah] Award-winning Nigerian designer Yemi Osunkoya is a man who understands the curves of a woman’s body, creating stunningly beautiful sculpted dresses that enhance and entice; and if any of the testimonials on his website are anything to go by then Yemi’s designs capture the essence of a woman perfectly.  Established in 1991 Yemi’s London-based label Kosibah was named in honour of his mother and specialises in bespoke bridal, evening and formal wear. I definitely get a sexy siren, golden age of Hollywood glamour vibe emanating from the images, virtually guaranteeing a bride-to-be as the centre […]

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Beauty: Shea Radiance Luxuriously Whipped Shea Butter

Shea Radiance [Nigeria] [Image source: Shea Radiance packaging – African Digital Art] I like the look of these little tubs of Shea Butter from Shea Radiance, they remind me of ice-cream tubs and with names like Chocolate Truffle, Sweet Vanilla, Rainforest Spice, Pomegranate, Coconut Cream, Citrus Blossom and Lavender Bliss sound good enough to eat.  Shea Radiance is a family-owned manufacturer, founded by Funlayo Alabi and her husband Shola Alabi who started making natural skincare products from unrefined shea butter in response to the specific health needs of their young children. Aromatherapy and botanical extracts are blended with the shea butter […]

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Food & Drink: Dorah Sithole Cooking from Cape to Cairo

Dorah Sithole [South Africa] [Image source: Tafelberg] Whether it’s a steaming plate of sadza ne nyama, a beautifully fragranced lamb tagine, spicy jollof rice or a Sunday roast; our favourite foods done just the way we like it provide a source of comfort, reminding us of Mum’s good home cooking and with Mother’s Day in the UK a week away, on Sunday 3rd April what a good day as any to get together, cook up a feast and honour our Mothers as we make them feel extra, extra special. As the flurry of gift buying gets underway if your Mum […]

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Accessories: Sunny Rose Intriguing Designs

Sunny Rose [Nigeria] [Image credit: Sunny Rose – CoutureLab] I don’t know what the exact inspiration behind the Sunny Rose bag designs currently on CoutureLab is, but for me I am reminded of sea creatures, and can’t help but think of graceful anemone and brightly coloured jellyfish floating amidst colourful coral reefs. Nigerian-born but now living in Switzerland, Sunny Rose creator Maureen Okogwu traces her love of accessories back to her childhood of often rummaging through her mother’s wardrobe. Maureen set up the luxury accessories brand, Sunny Rose in 2006 after a successful career as a model. Named after the first names of her father […]

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Jewellery: Bold Accessories by Tebazile

Tebazile [Nigeria] Expressive and free-spirited, Tebazlie is an eclectic collection of timeless handcrafted statement pieces. The highly wearable jewellery collections serve to mix the colours and textures of traditional West African and European motifs, produced in semi-precious stones and metals. Bold designs in the form of necklaces, cuffs, collars and rings are inspired by vibrant colors and indigenous patterns of Africa. [Image credits: top, necklace – Tebazile; bottom, ring and cuff – Tebazile] Tebazile’s founder, Elizabeth Dankaro speaks of an enchanting process of discovery with a hint of playfulness seen through unusual gemstone combinations and understated elegance. Tebazile has enjoyed steady growth and rising popularity over the last few years, with […]

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Accessories: Fabulous Footwear by Ella Brown Couture

Ella Brown Couture [Nigeria] [Image credits: Ella Brown Couture] Launched in 2004 by Adefunke Adegbola, Ella Brown Couture is about showcasing glamour and ultra luxury – think beautifully crafted shoes lavishly sprinkled with sparkling Swarovski crystals, and gleaming cabochon gems or surrounded with luxuriously pleated fabrics, flamboyant flowers, delicate petals and beautiful bows. Designed with the women who appreciates style and luxury in mind Adefunke’s attention to detail delivers through the exquisite touches. Ella Brown Couture is based in Los Angeles quite apt given the glitz and glamour of Hollywood starlets. [Image credits: Ella Brown Couture] To complete your show […]

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Lifestyle: The Perfect Invitation by Ijorere

Ijorere, The Invitation [Nigeria] Ijorere’s creator, American born Ola-Tokunbo turned to her Nigerian heritage for a name that would neatly sum up her offerings and clients expectations. Meaning a ‘Day that is grand’ Ijorere is the perfect name for a company helping you announce your special day to the world with style and elegance. Invitations should set the style and tone of your event, heightening your guests anticipation and here Ijorere’s creations do not disappoint. Ola-Tokunbo’s beautifully handcrafted invitations designed to celebrate diversity are adorned with exquisite embellishments, intricate patterns and textures, luxurious fabrics and lashings of ribbon. Ola-Tokunbo’s inspiration comes […]

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Fashion: Duro Olowu Master of Prints

Doru Olowu [Nigeria] [Image credits: AW 2010 Duro Olowu] Simple silhouettes brought to life through a vibrant mix of silk prints, sharp tailoring, and intricate draping techniques are the hallmark of a designer described on CoutureLab as one ‘who has fun with creatively mixing colors and prints’. Fashion designer, Duro Olowu launched his eponymous line in 2004, the highlight of which being his now-signature empire-waist and billowing sleeve ‘Duro’ dress in bright prints and luxurious fabrics. The ‘Duro’ dress drew the attention of Vogue whose American and British version’s named it ‘Dress of the Year’ in 2005. Of Nigerian and Jamaican parentage and raised in […]

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Travel: Obudu Mountain Resort

Obudu Mountain Resort [Nigeria] [Image sources: Localyte and Skyscrapercity] Deep in the tropical rain forest of Cross River State you will find Obudu Mountain Resort, an ultimate ‘get away from it all’ destination nestled high among the clouds in the scenic mountains on the Oshie Ridge of the Sankwala Mountains and close to the border with Cameroon. For the energetic adventurer looking to rejuvenate mind, body and soul the Obudu Mountain Resort is the place to take the time and breathe in the fresh mountain air whilst hiking amid the lush green vegetation, all thanks to the high altitude and temperate climate which makes it […]

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Fashion: Luxurious Fabrics and Intricate Embellishments Defining Luxury African Fashion

Tiffany Amber [Nigeria] [Image credits: Tiffany Amber] Launched in 1998, Tiffany Amber is a womenswear fashion label dedicated to creating feminine and effortlessly stylish pieces that reflect Nigerian designer and founder, Folake Folarin-Coker’s heritage. Luxurious fabrics and intricate embellishments are key elements Folake describes as defining the style of her label, and establishing her as a leading figure in contemporary African fashion. With two stores located in Lagos, Tiffany Amber is all about offering its clientele timeless elegance and I for one especially like the bold jewel tones of the fabrics, colour combinations and the way the clothes float down the runway. […]

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Accessories: Stylish African Print Clutch Bags by Urbanknit

Urbanknit [Image credit: Urbanknit – etsy] Starting out by making accessories for friends and family, Dolapo James of Urbanknit has gone on to create a much coveted collection of stylish vibrant clutch bags. With, a love of bold colour and pattern evident in her use of much loved African Print textiles. [Image source: theshopfloorproject] With each bag handmade by Dolapo using vintage style snap clasp frames, her style is a combination of prim and proper Englishness brought bang up-to-date with a refreshing funky twist of bold African pRINT fabrics like Adire, Ankara and Aso-oke. The fabrics used are mainly from Nigeria, which […]

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Textiles: Anthropologie African Bedding Inspiration

Anthropologie Bedding [Africa Inspired] [Image credits: Yoruba Quilt, Anthropologie] I am a fan of US-based store Anthropologie, loving its quirky bohemian style with a dusting of romance and was thrilled when they finally opened two stores in London, the first one in October 2009 and then the second earlier this year. Browsing their online store I came across a range of African inspired bedding and interior accessories that they state is drawn from Yoruba and Northern Sotho cultures, although I may be wrong in saying, I feel the fabric inspiration relates more to the Dutch Wax cloth popular in West Africa.

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