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Afropolitan

Afropolitan

New Spring/Summer 13 Season= New Cornrow et Beads Hairstyle

Really this post should be called, ‘I need a minion to follow me around to take pictures of me for my blog.’  I don’t know how Personal Style bloggers do it, who is that lovely person with a camera dangling from their necks always ready, willing and able to take pictures of them in fabulous locations whilst they, ‘Strike a pose, Vogue’?

Moving on to the post at hand, I’d like to show you all my new hairstyle that I did to celebrate the new September Fashion Season.  As you can see I am going through a Cornrows and Beads phase.  I’d like to apologise for the lighting, I know it’s not the best but I’m sure you get the gist of it-

I thought of the hairstyle on my own, right down to where each bead was going to be placed.  Luckily, Lovely Lydia at Afro Lydia worked with me on this as she knows I am not fussy but I know what I want (insert Finger Snap).  I was also very happy with how she followed my instructions and braided the rows in a curve-like pattern on this side of my head, like so-

Really, all I need now is to carry a calabash on my head as I Sashay Shante through the streets of Berlin…

Do any of you out there dream of your next hairstyle?  I do! And after tossing and turning wondering which direction I would take my TWA next, it was great to wake up and almost exclaim to the world, ‘I got it!!’

Do you have dresses that you love but somehow rarely wear?  For me, this electric-blue number is one of them.  For whatever reason, when I wear it I want to head to Studio 54, I love the colour, the way it moves when I walk and most importantly, I love the length.  I am very particular about my dress length, and it’s usually very difficult for me to find dresses with this length….

Dress, belt, butterfly pendant and black and gold top- Portobello Market

Fish necklace- Gift

Purple and Gold sandals- Topshop

Price of hairstyle- 50 euros

Length of time to do hair-  2 1/2 hours

Afropolitan

Emerging Designer To Watch- Ana Kata

This is MFSL’s first ‘Designer To Watch’ feature: every morning I have a ritual where I peruse the Net to see what is new and emerging in the fashion industry, and I often pay extra attention to fashion that is African or African-inspired.

As soon as I saw the debut Spring 2012 collection of New Jersey designer, Uchea Nwabuzor who designs under the label, Ana Kata (derived from a technical physics term, ‘denoting the names of the directions in the fourth dimension‘), I already began to form a blog article in my head.  Nwabuzor describes her designs as, ‘an avant-garde clothing line inspired by cultural exploration, grounded in African culture, and filtered through personal experience,’  She goes on to state that, ‘Ana Kata looks to simultaneously honor the past while trailblazing the future.’

Her debut collection which is made up of printed and monochrome tailored pieces  feature exquisite detailing like floor-grazing, red-carpet friendly low-back gowns, draped cocktail dresses with dramatic, wing-like sleeves and tailored bell-bottom trousers.

The collection is said to be inspired from Nwabuzor’s desire to fuse both traditional African and Parisian elements to create a collection that is essentially conscious of both the past, present and what the future could be.

It is no wonder that although Nwabuzor is relatively new to the scene, she has already been featured in impressive titles like Nylon, NBC NY, V, Elle and Surface.

Furthermore, I love a good story behind an emerging designer and I was very interested to learn that Nwabuzor knew she wanted to be a fashion designer from the tender age of seven, when she found out that a fellow classmate had been offered $5 a sketch from a designer.  The very fact that one could earn money from sketching clothes had such a strong impact on the young Nwabuzor, that she informed her mother that very day about her desire to become a fashion designer.  Also coming from an African background, where it is more often the norm for your parents to have a minor heart attack with such a vocation announcement- I was pleased to learn Nwabuzor’s mother supported her right then and there.

What I particularly love about the pieces from the Ana Kata debut collection is the fact that there is a seamless flow and symmetry that flows with each piece of the collection binding them together to form a coherent collection– a feat not easily achievable with a lot of collections that borrow from African and International influences.

On a personal note, I am also enamoured of collections that brings the drama but that are still wearable, here are some of the RTW pieces I would love in my wardrobe-

My back is my ‘Go To’ erogenous zone, so this printed, draped blouse will do nicely-

I want to wear this backless gown to my next black tie event, oh who am I kidding- I want to wear it on my next date!-

As you all know, I am big vintage fan, so I adore the feminine and playful silhouette of this prom skirt

Presently Ana Kata pieces are available exclusively on a made-to-order basis, and fans will be interested to know that an Ana Kata online shop will be set up this Fall which will stock her signature printed scarves as well as ready-to-wear and jewelry pieces.

To see more designs from the Ana Kata debut collection (and you do!), visit www.anakatany.com

All images credited to Anakatany.com

Afropolitan

African Explorations and Inspirations

I lived in Nigeria for 11 years before I moved to South West England to go to an English boarding school, and it was in the U.K I stayed until I moved to Berlin last year.

As a teenager, I travelled home (Lagos) about three times a year, but as I grew older, my trips to Lagos during the year became fewer and the gaps in between each trip I took became longer.

Consequently, I am not what one might call a ‘typical Nigerian or African’.  However I am pretty comfortable with just how ‘Nigerian/African’ I am, because I feel that like religion- heritage and culture is a private thing.  So I celebrate my African heritage and culture the way I see fit.

Since entering the fashion industry, when a project allows- I have always tried to show my culture, whilst blending it in with other cultures because not only do I find this eclectic fusing truly reflective of who I am as a person, but I love the way fashion allows one to experiment with inspirations and cultures from all over the world.

A typical example of this cultural fusion is the Zula shoot I did a while back, which is still my most popular shoot to date.

For this shoot I was inspired by one of my favourite icons- Grace Jones.  I adored the warrior role she played as ‘Zula’ in Conan the Destroyer (1984).  Maybe I should have been offended by the Hollywood stereotypical depiction of the ‘African woman’, but I think Grace Jones took that role, and for lack of a better word, killed it.

Courtesy of Fotolog.com

Using her as my main inspiration, I conjured up a shoot where fashion wise I would use a black model, Nigerian artefacts, Ankara print fabrics I had bought from my local market in Lagos, pieces from my favourite fancy dress shop, Angels (London) and pieces from High-End designers like Manish Arora, Kristian AAdnevik and Ashish.

I have to give great thanks to my team for taking my vision to another level, it was the photographer’s idea (Marcelo Benfield) to darken the model’s (Sosheba Griffiths) skin artificially.

And kudos to the makeup artist (Ken Nakano) for taking tribal body paint inspiration from Grace Jones’s iconic, ‘I’m Not Perfect’ video.  It was also a joy to see the hair stylist (Kunio), apply his talents in creating the neon extension wonder that adorned Sosheba’s head.

The above image ended up being chosen and exhibited for the Cannes photo mode, ‘8ème Festival International de la Photographie de Mode’ in 2010.

All pictures courtesy of Marcelo Benfield

To see more images from Zula, please go to www.bikijohn.com

Afropolitan

Berlin Fashion Illustrator, Sabine Pieper

A few weeks ago, I blogged about the fact that I was looking for a fashion illustrator to add some much needed pizzazz to my blog’s custom header.  The great news is I’ve FINALLY found one!  I plan to give more information about who I got on a later post.  However, before I found her my search inspired me to write this post which I thought I should post anyway as this Berlin fashion illustrator’s work was made to be seen.

Her name is Sabine Pieper, and she is a Berlin-based, freelance illustrator whose breath-taking, striking illustrations now has her making regular features in Elle UK.

Courtesy of http://iloveillustration.blogspot.com

Courtesy of www.un-stitched.com

Courtesy of www.un-stitched.com

 And I shall leave you with one of my favourites, I don’t ‘do animals’ but my heart can’t help but thaw a wee bit when I look at this-

Courtesy of www.weheartit.com

All images are owned by Sabine Pieper.
To see more of her work-and you must– go to, www.sabinepieper.com
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