Archives for category: Fashion

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As has been well documented, I love Maki Oh. I cannot think of a single designer on the continent, or indeed globally whose work better embodies my love of shape, textiles and understated style.

Often in African fashion we see the use of beautiful ankara and kitenge fabrics, which although have long been identified as being African, in fact hail from Europe (Vlisco Dutch Wax being a well known example) and are produced more often than not these days, in countries such as China & India.

From the label’s conception, Maki Oh has made a point of using fabrics indigenous to Africa, such as adire, aso-oke, akwa ocha, oja, etc. The Nigeria based label’s new ready-to-wear collection is no exception, using beautiful quality fabrics, traditionally & skilfully handprinted to further explore cultural appropriation – in this case, the concept of mermaids. Their incorporation into some Nigerian & Diaspora belief systems (an example being the widely venerated Mami Wata) is explored through colour, texture, silhouettes and the collection’s film above.

Reading further into the symbolism of the collection, Nigerian Visual Curator, Yagazie Emezi writes,

This total adoption of foreign ideas inspires the silhouettes, prints and embellishments in the AW15/16 collection, which is packed with hidden meanings in the same vein as traditional Nigerian attire. A traditional adire print ‘Omi’, (water) covers a dress with a fish-like fin, mirrored-fishes swim across dense cotton trousers, an iridescent fin flows down the sleeve of a silk blouse, a floral Guipure lace skirt which symbolizes her beauty, is backed with a mirrored glitter cotton canvas and a silk crepe dress is flanked by ekpaku ubok (an Ibibio arm band used during a traditional fertility dance).

It is therefore clear to see that Maki Oh should be celebrated as more than just the label that dressed Michelle Obama, as that it has the substance to bring Nigerian fashion and textiles to the forefront, with the potential to broaden the horizons for African fashion as a whole.

Source: Yagazie Emezi.

To see my 2012 post, An Ode to Maki Oh, click here.


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Source: Nina Manandhar.


Skirt & blouse by Nigerian fashion house, Rukky Simone.


Self designed jumpsuit made from ankara fabric, bought at Balogun Market, Lagos, Nigeria.


Bag by Nigerian designer, Zashadu. Dress fabric bought at Balogun Market, Lagos, Nigeria.


Head wrap of ankara fabric bought in Lagos.


Wrapper & top by Nigerian designer, Itunu.


Shorts by Nigerian label, Jewel by Lisa.


Dress by Stella Jean & head wrap of ankara bought at Nsukka Market.


Bag by Nigerian designer, Obsidian and trousers are self designed & made in Lagos.

Throughout the month of March, Vogue UK is featuring Nigerian feminist, novelist and short story writer, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s fantastic sense of style on their website’s ‘Today I’m Wearing’ column. Pleasingly, her wardrobe hosts a plethora of Nigerian fashion, as shown above, to compliment the global brands she also wears! The focus on Adichie is set to continue for the rest of March, so to keep with this fashionist’s sense of style, click here!

Source: Vogue UK.

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Cape Town design duo, Bofred have come together with skilled craftswomen at Sisters 4 Sisters – a local community organisation aimed at empowering women exposed to abuse – to create this stunning range of woven wall hangings and leather necklaces, that were exhibited for the first time at the recent Design Indaba. The wall hangings are available in two colour options, and are available to buy together with the necklaces on Bofred’s online store, with a percentage of all proceeds going towards the social and economic empowerment of the crafters.


My favourites out of Nigerian-born, London-based designer, Duro Olowu‘s AW15 collection, recently showcased at London Fashion Week. I love the colours, the movement, the shapes, even the styling! Olowu never disappoints – edgy yet refined, as always!

Designers (top to bottom) – NN Vintage, Khosi Nkosi, Leigh Schubert, Marianne Fassler, Selfi, David Tlale, Grapevine, Suzaan Heyns, Arnold Phasha, Siviwe James.

Source – African Fashion International.

British Ghanaian designer and bespoke tailor, Ozwald Boateng has long been a trailblazer in the world of fashion. As the youngest, and first black tailor to have a shop on London’s revered Savile Row, Boateng has redefined the way we see the suit. His ultra chic tailoring, as often seen on the red carpet, is not only impeccably stylish, his suits are said to “enhance the personality of the wearer”. The ‘I Love Soweto’ shoot for his SS ’12 collection proves his ability to create looks that are at once refined, whilst being packed with personality. The collection to my eye appears to incorporate influences from the English gentleman and colonial attire to 1930’s Hollywood and the ever dapper Congolese sapeurs. Overall, the collection and the shoot are a reaction to Western fashion’s current take on African style. Of this Boateng says;

“From the beginning I have always wanted to shoot this collection in Africa, and the ‘I Love Soweto’ shoot captured what I was trying to do so beautifully. Spring/Summer 2012 essentially represents a European take on an African aesthetic, and my African heritage coupled with the setting of Soweto really gave the concept it’s authenticity”. – Ozwald Boateng

Sources: Ozwald Boateng &

British Ghanaian designer, Adrien Sauvage’s newest collection is a beautiful mish-mash of contemporary styles, seamlessly tied together with slim fitting silhouettes, exquisite detailing and a muted colour palate. Dashes of his cultural heritage are added through gorgeous tailoring and Ghanaian printed fabric in key pieces.


I think I know why I love Tart Clothing so much. It’s the simple silhouettes, together with its quirky play on shape that I love. I adore the hues and the youthful energy of the current collection (pictured above), and the simple jersey knits just look so comfortable and easy to wear. AND (yes, there’s another and), their collections are “Proudly South African” and all locally produced. A winner all round then.

For those who are based in Nairobi or nearby, you are some lucky, lucky people. Adèle Dejak will, on the 5th of May officially unveil her newest collection – Rogo – at the annual Tribal Chic fashion show. Excitingly for people like me however, the collection will be available online via Dejak’s new online store in the very near future.

The Rogo collection its self, inspired by long-standing ambassadors of the Dejak’s brand, is effortlessly stylish, bold yet perfectly formed. Its statement making pieces are highly covetable, and reflect the designer’s personal heritage – from West to East Africa, via Europe. What’s really interesting though is how Dejak’s work reinterprets the way in which traditional African artistry can be utilised.

The stunning Rogo collection incorporates a gorgeous mixture of materials, including recycled aluminium, recycled brass, recycled denim, leather, horn, mouth-watering Kuba cloth and wax print fabric to die for. All of which have been beautifully crafted by skilled Kenyan artisans and expert crafts people from across East Africa to produce stand out accessories that can take you from day to night.

For further info, or to subscribe to the Adèle Dejak mailing list, visit

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