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Afropolitan

Afropolitan

Watch Part 2 Of My Silverbird TV Show, ‘Fashion Special With Biki John’!

L to R: Me, Designer: Jose Hendo, Model: Paula Okunzuwa

L to R: Me, Designer: Jose Hendo, Model: Paula Okunzuwa

Happy New Year Everyone! I love the first week of Jan don’t you, your body, soul and mind is just brimming with hope and positivity; you’re damn near overflowing  with ideas on how to change your life for the better. Enrol in that Gym, Go Green, Spring Clean your Wardrobe, Ditch those Bad Habits, Get that Promotion, Bla Bla Blabity Blaaaaa! ( :

Well, in the spirit of Bringing In The New, I’d like to present y’all with Part 2 of my TV show. I’d also like to thank each and every one of you who took the time to leave Comments on my Part 1 post: your feedback is truly valuable.  Good or bad, I want to hear it, coz as I said before: You are my target audience!

In Part 2 of the show, I interview award-winning Ugandan-born British designer, Jose Hendo who shows that African fashion is more than the stereotypically perceived bold colour and prints; it can also incorporate striking/exaggerated and wearable monochrome silhouettes, as well as advocate eco-fashion.

I happen to find her work ethos as striking as her fabulous hair-do, and was pleasantly surprised and happy to have her be so vulnerable during the interview- when you watch the vid, you’ll see what I mean.  In addition to this interview, I also share some more S/S 16 Trend Alerts and there’s a dash of Street Style and a dollop of Model Interviews.

I have to say I enjoyed doing post-production work more on Part 2 because of the critique I got from Part 1, I hope it shows.  Again, let me know in the Comments Section below.

Have a great first week of the year: Go Get ‘Em Tiger, Grrrrrr (and yes, I am taking my New Year Gusto a bit too far!!)

Afropolitan, Video

Watch My Silverbird TV Show, ‘Fashion Special With Biki John’ (Part 1)

silverbird promotion banner 2nd edition

WEeeEEeLLLL: it’s Finally Ready: Watch my Silverbird TV, ‘Fashion Special With Biki John’. (Part 1)

One of the main reasons I Host and Produce this show is because it’s 2015 and yet during London Fashion Week, despite the number of talented African designers based in London and beyond; it is rare to find them showing On Schedule(to leading/mainstream press and buyers) during LFW.

Via Nigeria’s leading entertainment mega brand-Silverbird- and their TV and YouTube channel; in my show, select creatives get an opportunity to showcase their craft to both an African (via TV) and international audience (via YouTube). In a nutshell, I’m all about #MakingAfricanFashionGlobal.

I get off from working hard, I’m freaky like that, but if I’m being honest the pre and post production work of the 2nd Edition of this show took far too much from me- physically and mentally- so much so, that I’m not sure if I can do it again.  If you watch the credits at the end of the show, you’ll see why when you see how many jobs/roles I had for the program…

And now its done, so many questions are circling my brain: Was it worth it? Will people take anything away from the show? Did the fact we had a limited budget harm the show? Erm, does anyone give a flying fuck about my show?…

I know what I need now is time and the Christmas holidays, and then to look at the project again with fresh rejigged eyes, but what will really help fuel my engines again is you guys.  You are my target audience, this video is and was for you: so drop me a message in my Comment Box letting me know what you liked about the show and what you were not so keen on.

If you like the video then Like it, Share it with your friends etc.

Ps Part 2 will be uploaded shortly!

Photography: Alessandro Visconti Photography.

 

Afropolitan

Spotlight on NKWO’s, Modernity S/S 16 Collection

Very recently, as I was perusing through Facebook, a collection showed up on my Feed from Nigerian designer Nkwo Onwuka, founder of her epynomous label: NKWO. With the images came this accompanying text:

‘After 2 years of trying, I finally achieved my goal – a 100% made in Africa collection.
Our new collection MODERNITY SS16 showcased at Lagos Fashion and Design Week…A very modern take on the buba and iro for women and the buba and sokoto for men…’

NKWO MODERNITY COLLECTIONAs I scrolled down to look at each piece from the collection, I was thoroughly taken in by the quirky use of raw materials like wooden pegs, sticks and ropes to create accessories, manipulation of fabrics, cool and light Spring/Summer palette, shapely aesthetic, distressed detailing, the clever use of fashioning the denim pieces into turbans (you KNOW I love a good turban)…I could go on… This collection is a perfect example of how Nigerian designers fuse their heritage and tradition with Western culture to create contemporary and wearable pieces.

Keen to learn more about her collection, I got in touch with Nkwo, and here is what she had to say:

MFSL: What was the inspiration behind your S/S 16, Modernity Collection?

NKWO: I was inspired to do a collection that had a modern take on Africa. Over the years I’ve researched and worked with artisans in Nigeria, many of whom are probably the last in their line of craft. Some of their processes are time-consuming and outdated, as a result, the artisans and their children feel that a more ‘Western” way of life is the best way forward. In my opinion, a lot of handcrafts are being lost as there is a general lack of understanding of just how valuable these traditions are.  I feel that a deeper understanding of these traditions will move us towards innovation and a new way of thinking that is not Western but truly modern and that is what inspired the collection.

MFSL: You mentioned that your collection was a modern take on the Buba and Iro for women and the Buba and Sokoto for men- tell us more about that.

NKWO: The Buba and Iro/Sokoto pronounced “boo-bah and ee-roh/sho-koh-toh” is a classic and traditional style of dress, which consists of a simple wide-sleeved top and wrapper or trousers. It is a long-standing part of traditional West African culture, predominant among the Yoruba people of South West Nigeria. My modern interpretation of  this most traditional form of dress worked as a great starting point in the transition from tradition to modernity.

MFSL: What fabrics did you use in your MODERNITY collection?

NKWO: I used denim, organza and aso- oke which is a local West African handwoven textile. There were also decorative panels of hand-made lace and sisal.

NKWO NIGERIAN DESIGNERNKWO NIGERIAN DESIGNERMFSL: I love the use of denim in this collection, I think it’s a very clever and commercial way to make the pieces crossover effortlessly from Nigeria to an international market. Was this your thought process/what motivated you to use denim?

NKWO: As the collection is all about portraying Africa in a modern way,denim was the most modern fabric I could think of using. It was readily available to me here in Nigeria,it reminded me of our traditional indigo and it was perfect for the elements of deconstruction that ran through the collection. From a business point of view, the universal appeal of denim meant that it was a great way for the pieces to cut across global markets.

5. MFSL: What was the biggest challenge you faced making a 100% Made In Africa collection?

NKWO:Thankfully, I didn’t really have much of a challenge this time…I tried to do a 100% Made In Africa collection 2 years ago and learnt a lot of lessons, so I was well prepared. The only thing that went wrong was that the shoes we designed for the collection, got delivered to us a week after the show!!!

 MFSL: Really?! How did you overcome that obstacle?

NKWO: Innovation kicked in…I bought flip-flops from the market, sprayed them white and then tied short wooden pegs on all of them!

NKWOnkwo4MFSL: Ingenious, Brava! When I look at the menswear pieces in your collection, I see it being worn by all the cool, male Street Style Bloggers across the globe. Do you follow street style bloggers/platforms and do they influence your work?

NKWO: Oh wow! My husband will be happy to hear that! He was actually the muse for my menswear…I was inspired by his style.

MFSL: Well I certainly take my hat off to him!  What year did you launch your brand and bring out your first collection?

NKWO: The brand was launched in 2007 and the first collection debuted that year at the prestigious Kulture2Couture, where we won the coveted Phoenix Award presented by the Mayor of London’s office, in conjunction with the V&A museum.

NKWONKWO S/S 16 COLLECTIONMFSL: When you think of your first collection and your most recent- in what way do you think you’ve changed the most both as a designer and business woman?

NKWO: Over the years my confidence as a designer and business woman has strengthened considerably. For my debut collection, I did  printed silk wrap dresses and large feather neckpieces way before anybody else…it was so new and far ahead of it’s time but I didn’t have a strong enough conviction in what I was doing. Same thing applies to the business side of things, listening to too many voices cost me a lot of great opportunities!

MFSL: What has been the highlight of your career thus far?

NKWO: There have been far too many to mention but the opportunity to travel to amazing places and meet lots of great people has to rank high up there somewhere 🙂

NKWONKWOMFSL: What main piece of advice would you give to aspiring designers?

NKWO: Keep focused and remember that creativity will only get you so far, the business side of things is so important!

MFSL: Where can your pieces be bought?

NKWO: The pieces are still in production at the moment but will be available in stores in West and East Africa, UK, USA and very shortly at our online store.

MFSL: With LFDW, Kampala fashion week and the Mercedes-Benz fashion show in Johannesburg  all taking place recently, all eyes are on Africa. What do you think of the current state of ‘African Fashion’?

NKWO: I would just like us to get to the point where ‘African Fashion” is not defined by print!!!  It seems all too often that the eyes on us only want to see fashion from Africa in a certain way.

MFSL: I concur wholeheartedly! Finally, you must have been very busy recently finishing of this collection, what do you to unwind?

NKWO: Unwind? What is that???
And there we have it Readers, isn’t she fab?! I get so excited about the creative talent we have pouring out of Nigeria…I have to say those navy blue and white striped harem-style trousers worn by the male model are calling out to me, I need them in my life! Now back to you, which is your favourite piece from Nkwo’s Modernity collection?

 

Afropolitan

He Got Style

This week the boy’s are giving the girls a run for their money in the style department.  Detailed accessories, Sharp Tailoring, Nigerian Traditional Wear, Playing With Print, Balancing Proportions…these boys are taking it all in their stride.

#TeamDandy

African Dandy Style

Styleforum.net

Mr Casual Smart Fabulousity

Menswear Blue Coat

mjandstuff.wordpress.com

Mr Culture Vulture

Menswear Trenchcoat

Louisphilippedegagoue

Fresh Prince Of…

he6Mr Bomb-Ass

Menswear Bomber Jacket

Tolupoyigi.com

Lil’ Red Cutey

Nigerian Traditional Wedding Attire For Children

Bellanaija

This week I’m all about Lil’ Red Cutey and Mr Culture Vulture.  With Lil’ Red Cutey, I love the intricate print on his red Fila (lil’ hat), Buba (Top) and Sokoto (trousers).  As for Mr Culture Vulture, his accessories just scream, ‘I’m back from travelling round the world and look what I got!’: Its eclectic style at its best!

Which look/s get your vote?

Afropolitan

Nigerians Do Glamour: Aso Ebi Wedding Blues

This week in my Nigerians Do Glamour series: Aso  Ebi is True Blue.  When it comes to Aso Ebi Wedding Styles, blue is a very popular colour.  How popular you ask? Well the following pictures answer that question better than I ever could. From light baby blue to their moody and darker sibling; mixed with other prints or standing proud on its own, emblazoned on sumptuous velvet or spread across decadent lace: the following ladies are Singn’ The Blues in style.

  1. Blue Lace N Then Some

Nigerian Wedding Aso Ebi Blue Lace Blouse 2. Blue With A Dash Of Silver

Nigerian Wedding Aso Ebi Blue and Silver

Pinterest

3. Blue Velvet Meets Fuschia Pink

Nigerian Wedding Aso Ebi Blue Velvet

Completefashion

4. Blue With Butter Yellow And Gold

Nigerian Wedding Aso Ebi Blue Yellow Gold

Completefashion

5. Blue Victorian Era Inspiration

Nigerian Traditional Blue Blouse and Blue Ankara Print Skirt

Citinewstv

6. #TeamBlue

Nigerian Traditional Aso Ebi Blue And Green

Ikastube.com

7. Blue Feathers and Velvet

asoebi28. Aqua Blue Delight

Ankara Blue Top and Skirt

Citinewstv

9. Cute In Blue

Ankara Print Blouse and Short Ankara Print Skirt

Ikastube.com

I don’t know about y’all but these fab looks make me want to grab my phone, call my tailor and put her to work…but it’s 6.50 a.m. on a Sunday morning…but I still want to call her…erm…

Moving on, I’m all about Ms Cute In Blue, the skirt is ultra-feminine and that dapper Ankara print bow tie is everything.  Throw in the buttoned up blouse and you have an ensemble that’s quirky, sexy, cute, retro, masculine, feminine and I love that rich n heady mix.

How about you, which look gets your vote?

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