Thursday, July 27, 2006
KikoRomeo website writes "...KikoRomeo is committed to the concept of community development through economic empowerment. We work exclusively with Kenyan artisans using predominantly Kenyan materials.
We are also committed to the discipline of fair trade.The KikoRomeo collections are crafted using predominantly Kenyan cotton, spun, woven or knitted by hand.
The loose weaves are hand woven in Kisumu, the hand and machine knits use Kenyan wools and cottons and are crafted by a Nairobi Women's Group. Our silks are spun from Kenyan grown cocoons, woven, printed and dyed in Kenya by ICIPE (International Centre for Insect Physiology and Ecology)
Our bags are woven from Kenyan Sisal by Machakos Women's Groups. Our beadwork is carried out by Maasai Women's Groups.
Our buttons, thongs and trims used, are made from Kenyan coconut, horn, bones and hides. We also work with Kenyan artists in the production of our fashion events.
Founded by Ann McCreath the principal apparel designer for KikoRomeo, combines classical training in haute couture from the University of Edinburgh and the ateliers of Rome and Milan, with a passion for the vibrancy and flamboyance of Africa.
Her collections combine the discipline of precision cut and tailoring, with the inspiration instilled by ethnic shape, colour and flow.
Ann has been in production in Kenya since 1997. She has two retail outlets in Nairobi and shows two major collections annually as well as exhibiting her garments extensively throughout Europe. She won second prize in the professional category of the Smirnoff Fashion Awards 1998 and was in the pannel of judges in the millennium awards.
KikoRomeo has a rapidly spreading reputation for the creation of unique and innovative wedding collections and show-stopping evening wear.
The KikoRomeo commitment to maximizing body potential has also created the flattering yet ultimately wearable concept of 'Radical Nairobi Chic'.KikoRomeo design off the peg, tailor-made and haute couture apparel for men, women and children.
KikoRomeo offers a complete range of 'must have' fashion accessories such as ; belts, hats, bags, bandanas and couture jewellery..."
Photos courtesy of KikoRomeo
Tuesday, July 25, 2006
TheDept-of-Field website talks about the collective exhibits works of six very talented Nigerian photographers, namely Kelechi Amadi Obi, Emeka Okereke, TY Bello, Uchechukwu James-Iroha, Zaynab Odunsi and Amaize Ojeikere.
Kelechi Amadi Obi has also featured in a Nigeria International documentary.
"...Toyin Sokefun, an economics graduate from the University of Lagos, started with portraiture and later, advanced into documentary and conceptual art photography.
She continues to do extensive work ondocumenting the issues and situations surrounding her as a young female artist, creating images that break preconceived ideas about her generation, her faith, her city and womanhood.
She lives and works in Lagos as a freelance photographer and musician while a strong member of a photography group; DOF (Depth of Field)..."
Photo courtesy of Depthoffield.com
Friday, July 07, 2006
Andre Leon Tally is one of the top style icons of our time, and he has been an inspiration to many in the world of fashion and design.
Below is an interview he had with Constance C.R White of Essence Magazine a couple of years ago.The writes about how "...Few have survived the fashion world as long as Andre Leon Talley, Vogue's larger-than-life editor-at-large. A front-row regular at fashion shows in New York, Paris and Milan for more than 25 years, Talley has used his influence to champion the work of dozens of designers, including Stephen Burrows, Tracey Reese and Michael B.
In A.L.T. (Villard, $24.95), Talley, 55, recounts the highs and lows of his extraordinary life. He recently talked with writer Constance C. R. White about the book and about being a Black man in a business that exalts White beauty and talent above all others..."
Constance White: What prompted you to write A.L.T.?
Andre Leon Talley: My grandmother, Bennie Frances Davis, and Vogue's fashion editor, Diana Vreeland, both died in 1989. It was a seminal moment in my life. They were my raison d'etre. I wanted to share the experiences I had with them and others over the years.
C.W.: When did you first become interested in fashion?
A.L.T.: At 16. I clipped articles from Vogue when Diana Vreeland was editor. There's a famous picture of Mrs. Vreeland in her office measuring the millimeter of a pearl--wearing white gloves. That picture was on my wall. Some people had pictures of rock stars; I had pictures of Diana Vreeland.
C.W.: And yet you didn't think you would become a fashion editor.
A.L.T.: In the book I recall a story about a relative who asked me what I wanted to do. I said, "I want to be a fashion editor." He said, "You know that's not what boys become."
C.W.: But you kept studying fashion in private, leafing through copies of Vogue in your room, the way some boys thumb through Marvel comics.
A.L.T.: Vogue reflected a dedication to beauty and style that spoke to me.
C.W.: But it took some time for your career to take off. When did you feel at ease writing about fashion?
A.L.T.: When I was 28. As a reporter for Women's Wear Daily, I interviewed the designer Yves Saint Laurent, who was doing a collection inspired by the opera Porgy and Bess. His muse, Mounia, was in a pink suit. It reminded me of the clothes that my cousins wore to church.
C.W.: At well over six feet, you stand out in a crowd. Despite your success, you've remained quite humble.
A.L.T: I've never thought of myself as important or on top of the world. You should never think, I've made it.Whenever I speak to students interested in fashion, I say they shouldn't be above picking up paper clips or making a Starbucks run.
C.W.: How have you managed to deal with the fashion world's subtle and overt racism?
A.L.T.: The only people I felt it from were the female staffers at WWD, who were very insecure about who I was. I just kept going. I once overheard someone say, "Why is Karl Lagerfeld writing to him? What common interest could they have?" I met Karl Lagerfeld through Andy Warhol in 1975. We became friends and still are.
C.W.: You mention the impact of such Black models as Pat Cleveland, Bethann Hardison and Alva Chinn,ruling the runways. Where are we today? Besides Liya Kibede, Alek Wek and Naomi Campbell, there are few Black supermodels.
A.L.T: we have regressed. I often sit at a show and see not one Black model on the runway. Can't they find some Black girls?
C.W.: Have you addressed this with designers and editors?
A.L.T.: I write notes. I make suggestions. I can't believe it when designers say, "I couldn't find anyone" or "She didn't look right in the clothes."
C.W.: Why have so few African-Americans succeeded as top editors at fashion magazines?
A.L.T.: Vogue, Conde Nast, that's not our world. We are not the majority.
C.W.: Who do you think has great style?
A.L.T.: Angela Bassett, Halle Berry and Queen Latifah, who's going to be a big star.
C.W.: Any tips for women who want to have great style?
A.L.T.: Be yourself. Have confidence. Work within your budget. You don't have to own designer clothes to be stylish..."
Photo courtesy of Stevelander.com
Thursday, July 06, 2006
Dozie's website writes "....Born in England to a Nigerian father and British mother, Dozie spent his early years in both the UK and Nigeria, moving to the U.S. with his family when he was a teenager. The plethora of sounds in his family household ranged from Nigerian pop giants like Fela Kuti and Sir Warrior, to South African jazz gurus like Dollar Brand and Hugh Masekela, to classical composers like Handel and Bach. This early exposure permeated his soul with a love of music that would only manifest itself several years later.
As he got older, his musical tastes grew even more diverse, ranging from RnB mainstays like the Isley Brothers, to piano maven Tori Amos, to beat-maker extraordinaire Timbaland. His musical interests also grew, and after years singing in choirs, from his church choir in Nigeria to gospel choirs in the U.S., he taught himself to play the piano and later added the guitar to his repertoire. The songwriting came naturally, with his multinational background and diverse cultural influences luminescent in his music..."
Photo courtesy of Dozie's website
Monday, July 03, 2006
Alfred Tamakloe writes"....Casting spells on his audience with his works is very characteristic of the Ghanaian designer, Kofi Ansah. His reputation as an avant-garde designer is well known not only to Ghanaians but also among fashion connoisseurs world wide. Kofi's designs have been sold through retail shops in Ghana, South Africa, United States, United Kingdom and
Germany including Sachs Fifth Avenue and Bloomingdales..."
"... Ansah stems from a family of artists. His father, a traditional chief from Senya Breku in Ghana's Central Region, is a musician and photographer. The renowned Ghanaian film-maker and twice FESPACO film festival award winner, Kwao Ansah is his brother. His younger sister, Araba Ansah who accompanied him to the Copenhagen fair,is a make-up artist while another brother, Tommy Ansah, main actor in Kwao Ansah's award winning film 'Heritage Africa', is actor and script-writer.
Kofi is a graduate of the Chelsea School of Art, London with honours in fashion design and design technology. His industrial practice after graduation in 1977, took him through Guy Laroche's studio in Paris to that of Cecil Gee in London, thereafter, gaining membership of the British Couture Collection.
"After 20 years in Europe, I returned to Ghana in 1992 to contribute to the development of the Ghanaian clothing industry," he says.
"..In the past, those who dressed in traditional clothes in Ghana, were perceived as uneducated people. So when I returned to Ghana, I made it a point to change that wrong perception. Hence my use of local fabrics of varied shades of colours to create fantasy in my designs so it will meet the different colour needs and perceptions of people, young or old, educated or not", affirms the 47-year old fashion designer.
"Today, the story is different. Everybody, particularly the youth and people in executive positions are proud to wear clothes made from local fabric. This has brought healthy competition among Ghanaian designers and a boom to the textile industry, which I'm happy about."
His input as a consultant to Ghana Textile Printing Company, has transformed the fortunes the company. It has for the last five years, rolled out unusual wax prints onto the Ghanaian and West African markets. They include "Sika Print" and "Ahenfie" collections.
"Judging from the interest shown by fashion enthusiasts and the Danish media during this fair," Kofi says, "I look forward to staging a full fledged hair-raising solo fashion show in Denmark in the future which will linger on in the minds of the audience for years..."
Excerpts of this article taken from Djembe.dk and photos from Kofi Ansah's website