How Supermalt Became One of the Cool Kids

Charly Van Purpz (right)

Charly Van Purpz (right)

Samson Soboye 

Samson Soboye 

Alae  Ismail (right) and Saba Ismail (left), Styled By Africa

Alae  Ismail (right) and Saba Ismail (left), Styled By Africa

Last November when pictures of friends showing off their supermalt cocktails at the Supermalt Art Exhibition started popping up all over our Instagram feed and Facebook walls, we knew something big had changed at Supermalt HQ. Growing up, the fizzy non-alcoholic malt beverage, popular in many African and Caribbean households in the UK, was a regular in our weekly shopping trolley- my mum always trying to convince me that it was a better alternative to the naughtier sugar drinks. It was also a mainstay of university house parties and weekend picnics, but you bought it because it tasted good, is good for you and isn’t too sweet, but not because it was necessarily cool.

supermalt fashion art music

Now though, recognising the need to support and champion the hand that feeds it, they’re hosting art exhibitions, events during London Fashion Week, and sharing customised memes all over their social media joking about what happens when someone takes your supermalt. After missing their art exhibition, we went down to check what the hype was all about at their Supermalt Fashion Showcase at Blackall Studio’s in East London during London Fashion Week.   

Supermalt brought together local African influenced and retro Caribbean designers including Kiwi and Yam, Afrination, Gravalot, Nomadic People and Soboye to showcase their collections. I spent the night bumping into old friends including furniture designer Yinka Ilori, fashion designer Annegret Affolderbach, founder of Choolips and celeb stylist Charlie Van Purpz, who were pleased at how well Supermalt is turning from family drink to cool-kids beverage.

According to Kuku Sobodu, Account Manager at Three Halves Communications, Supermalt identified that their customers are passionate about music, art and fashion, and plan to continue to use these three pillars to gather and celebrate their community in the future.

It's not uncommon for brands to use these creative elements to bring their products to life. Pharrell Williams and wife Helen Williams made Adidas Originals a surprise red carpet favourite at the Grammy’s earlier this year with their custom made outfits, while the Adidas x Rita Ora collaboration on a limited edition Spring/Summer 15 collection brought Adidas Originals Instagram account four times more followers than the Adidas company account.

 

supermalt
supermalt
Annegret Affolderbach, Founder of Choolips 

Annegret Affolderbach, Founder of Choolips 

As Supermalt continue to hold onto and embrace the creativity of the Afro-Caribbean community connected to it, it will be interesting to see how the brand continues to stay relevant in todays brand led competitive environment and remain the leading malt beverage. Maybe we’ll even start seeing African names on Supermalt beverages. 

Our insiders tell us that they have an exciting calendar of upcoming events but until then, check out the Fashion Showcase event footage below for the full low down on designers, music and fun pics. If you were there and spot yourself in the video, leave your name on the comment box below and we'll give you a shout out on our twitter page @styledbyafrica

Written by Alae Ismail, Co-Founder of Styled By Africa 
Images by Three Halves Communications 

Competition: Take Your African Fashion Brand Global

Are you a talented fashion and/or accessory designer from the African continent? 

Have you established a fashion business with experience showcasing internationally?

Do you dream of building your international brand that values & commits to high quality artisanship? 

Then get excited because the ITC Ethical Fashion Initiative is bringing back their African Design Competition for the second year to support designers to build their experience and participation in renowned international fashion industry platforms in partnership with Vogue Italia. The aim of the game is to mentor emerging African fashion designers by connecting them with international fashion buyers and press to promote trade, which is why Styled By Africa has been a support of the initiative since it launched in 2013. 

We're even proof that it works. Earlier this year we travelled to Milan with EFI to scout some of the Ghanaian brands they brought to showcase. We ended up stocking AAKS handbags on SHOP SBA and working with Ameyo when we styled Miss Universe Ghana in August. We also wrote a blog post about our Milan trip which was spotted by African Fashion consultant Ola Shobowale which led to AAKS being invited to showcase at London's Africa Utopia runway in September to rave reviews. 

On a recent trip to Accra we visited their production hub where they are working with local designers to produce their collections at the quantity and quality that is needed to export to the international market. 

A year later, the EFI are looking for the next rising stars to follow in the footsteps of AAKS and Ameyo and other African brands who have participated including Christie Brown, Duaba Serwa, Kiki Clothing, Lisa Folawiyo, Mina Evans, MO SAIQUE, Sophie Zinga & Studio 189. Through the Ethical Fashion Initiative, these designers were able to participate in prestigious fashion events such as Altaroma, IED Moda, Vogue Talents, Vogue Fashion’s Night Out.

Sophie Nzinga stated about her experience: "I am grateful to have collaborated with EFI and to have the opportunity to present my S/S 15 collection at Vogue Talents in the presence of the fashion industry's key protagonists. These are the types of collaborations and initiatives which will be fundamental in revolutionizing the vastly growing African fashion industry." 

So if you believe that you have the skills, potential and passion to expand your business while creating jobs and more demand for African luxury products, then you have until January 5th 2015 to apply. You never know you might even end up joining AAKS on the SBA store!

Applications should include: a completed Designer Profile form, a designer CV (PDF format only) and 8 photos of your recent work (professionally photographed). These documents should be sent over email as a zipped folder attachment to: africandesigner@intracen.org

DEADLINE FOR APPLICATIONS IS JANUARY 5th 2015

www.ethicalfashioninitiative.org

Twitter: @_ethicalfashion Instagram: @ethicalfashion 

Feel free to get in touch with us too if you have any queries about what we've been up to with the EFI so far on styledbyafrica@gmail.com. 

On The Rise: 4 New Ghanaian Fashion Brands You Need To Know

"When you are doing the right thing, the universe will bring the right people into your path," Simone Cipriani told us when we arrived in Milan last week at the invitation of the International Trade Centre's Ethical Fashion Initiative where he is Chief Technical Advisor. 

Well the universe has been on top form aligning us with some pretty amazing people recently so we must be on the right track. It brought us together with the EFI team a while ago and we instantly bonded over our shared passion of the power that fashion can have to create change in communities, especially for women and young people. 

We also share a passion for brands such as Stella Jean and Christie Brown who they champion, so we knew we were about to see the juicy good stuff when they invited us to check out the four Ghanaian brands they were bringing over to showcase at the renowned Instituto Europeo di Design (IED) design school in Milan with a selection of international designers. We were not wrong- these are the emerging designers in Ghana that are out to teach the world something new about African fashion, and that we should all start getting excited about. 

AAKS London 

Image courtesy of Paolo Consaga

Image courtesy of Paolo Consaga

Image Styled By Africa 

Image Styled By Africa 

Image courtesy of Paolo Consaga

Image courtesy of Paolo Consaga

Image Styled By Africa 

Image Styled By Africa 

The twitter universe sent Ghanaian designer Akosua Afriyie-Kumi our way in London last year just days before she moved back to Ghana to set up her fashion and accessories brand. We knew straight away that AAKS was one of us with a passion for craftsmanship and pushing the boundaries of African fashion as we know it. But we've learnt quickly through sourcing for our SBA boutique that there are many brands out there with good concepts, great stories and even better imagery but it all falls apart when you get your hands on the products and the quality just isn't up to the level that our customers expect. So we were anxious that the woven raffia bags AAKS presented would feel as good as they looked on Instagram. 

But our worry was a waste because this my friends is how you do African fashion. The collection is cohesive, thoughtful, extremely well executed and needs to take its rightful place at the centre of our summer wardrobe. The bags are colourfully hand-dyed and then woven by women in Northern Ghana into a range of sizes and colours. She also surprised us with a womenswear collection with prints that are based on the woven patterns of the bags. The result was the sort of collection that makes you instantly start visualising your summer social life based on maximising opportunities to wear all of it. 

AAKS is exactly the kind of brand that we love at SBA. Clearly rooted in African heritage and design, but pushing it steps further as all next generations should, yet simultaneously wearable to a woman whether she's in Accra, London, New York or Shanghai. 

AMEYO

Image courtesy of Kiran Yoliswa Styled By Africa 

Image courtesy of Kiran Yoliswa Styled By Africa 

Image courtesy of Kiran Yoliswa Styled By Africa 

Image courtesy of Kiran Yoliswa Styled By Africa 

Améyo was another highlight of the show for us. If you're a fan of the web series An African City, a sort of Ghanaian Sex and The City, then you'll have regularly seen the leading ladies gallavanting across Accra in Ameyo. These creative, sophisticated and elegant women are exactly the type of customer that Ameyo's designers Netty Anang and Klekleli Dzidzienyo keep in mind while designing in their studio in Accra's Teshie Nungua neighbourhood. 

Netty Anang and models back stage. Image courtesy of ITC. 

Netty Anang and models back stage. Image courtesy of ITC. 

"The EFI took us to Burkina Faso to meet the women who spin and weave the beautiful fabric that we used in the collection. It makes you more appreciative and passionate about the fabric when you know where it's coming from and what goes into creating it." Netty told us while we were snooping backstage. 

EFI's Burkinabe project has grown to work with over 1000 women in just one year, creating fabric that is used by designers such as Stella Jean and Ameyo. Now they've opened a production centre in Accra to support these emerging designers on their technical production as well as providing opportunities to showcase internationally. 

Ameyo- we'd be happy to personally showcase your purple pencil skirt anywhere you like. 

Image courtesy of Paolo Consaga. 

Image courtesy of Paolo Consaga. 

Joint Collective 

Image courtesy of Paolo Consaga. 

Image courtesy of Paolo Consaga. 

Radford Collective 

Image courtesy of Paolo Consaga. 

Image courtesy of Paolo Consaga. 

Image courtesy of Paolo Consaga. 

Image courtesy of Paolo Consaga. 

Designers Leslie Wiredu and Kofi Gyedu Kwabia combined forces on a strong military inspired JOINT COLLECTIVE softened using light fabrics. Following their trip to Burkina Faso with EFI they integrated the hand woven cotton fabrics with the Ghanaian wax prints. Another collective of designers came from Ghana's premier fashion program at Radford University to form the RADFORD COLLECTIVE of Afua Biney, Papa Oppong and Michael Owusu. 

The show was just a taste of the amazing design talent that is coming out of West Africa right now and we couldn't be more excited that the EFI have expanded their work to support the design talent in Ghana to create local luxury brands that are high quality, ethically produced and covetable internationally.  

And well you just don't get more holy grail than that. 

For more info on the designers mentioned head over to You Tube for a short video of the trip. 

SBA with Arancha Gonzalez, Executive Director of the International Trade Centre. 

SBA with Arancha Gonzalez, Executive Director of the International Trade Centre. 

L to R: Mr Dawarnoba Baeka, Chief Director Ghana's Ministry of Trade and Industry, Arancha Gonzalez ITC, Afua Biney Radford Collective, Netty Anang Amoye, Simonetta Gianfelici, Simone Cipriani Ethical Fashion Initiative. 

L to R: Mr Dawarnoba Baeka, Chief Director Ghana's Ministry of Trade and Industry, Arancha Gonzalez ITC, Afua Biney Radford Collective, Netty Anang Amoye, Simonetta Gianfelici, Simone Cipriani Ethical Fashion Initiative. 

Written by Kiran Yoliswa, Co-Founder of Styled By Africa


The Future of Fashion Africa

1925340_550518678389146_1120703397_n.jpg

Determined to yank African fashion out of the dusty history aisles of her local library, Jacqueline Shaw- award winning fashion blogger, designer and longtime SBA supporter- has re-launched ‘Fashion Africa’, a comprehensive bible for anyone interested in contemporary African fashion. We celebrated the news with some enthusiastic azonto-esque jigs around the office, and not just because some of our SBA designers including Choolips, Sindiso Khumalo and Chichia London are featured in the book.

Fashion Africa is a comprehensive detailing of the best high end and ready to wear African designers, and with all the heat in the African fashion industry at the moment the timing of the re-release couldn’t be better. We caught up with her at the launch party to find out how the industry has grown since she first started her blog Africa Fashion Guide, and her hopes and dreams for its future…    

"The African fashion scene had always been there, but now it has transformed itself into a tour de force"

Hugging up on featured designers Annegret Affolderbach of Choolips and Ezrumah Ackerson from Bestow Elan at the Fashion Africa launch. 

Hugging up on featured designers Annegret Affolderbach of Choolips and Ezrumah Ackerson from Bestow Elan at the Fashion Africa launch. 

Fashion Africa – according to Jacqueline Shaw 

Fashion Africa Book.png

"As a student, I worked part-time in local libraries for nearly 8 years in order to support my studies. I would always find myself drifting to the Arts and Crafts sections, and I found that all the books on African fashion were more historical than modern. I recognized that a contemporary African fashion scene had always been there, but now it has transformed itself into a tour de force that reflected the beauty and talents of Africa in a new, contemporary way.

I’ve been working in the fashion industry as a designer both in the UK and internationally for over 13 years now, so I’ve always loved textiles and colours. The impressive history and uniquely handcrafted textiles in Africa really drew me in, so I curated Fashion Africa to provide a visual overview of contemporary African fashion. The support from the designers themselves was great as they all really believed in the project and gave their time to make it a reality. The deeper I delved into all of their stories, the more excited I became to really give readers a new perception of African fashion, to change their perspective on what they thought it was and to open their minds to what Africa has to offer.

African Opportunity

Africa has already become a top new market for production with international brands like Vivienne Westwood, H&M and Ikea all producing collections in East Africa in recent years. Factory fires and accidents in the news as well the ongoing issues within the textile industry of underpaid and mal-treated workers globally, it’s important to me to encourage people to be responsible with their sourcing and manufacturing decisions when working with producers in Africa. I don’t want people to just move production to Africa because they think it’s cheaper, but to see Africa as an opportunity for new partnerships and skills that will enhance business by using inclusive business models. 

A Glittering Future 

There are eyes on Africa at the moment, with companies like Samsung, Blackberry, Moet & Chandon and Mercedes Benz all supporting, funding and creating shows and events focusing on African fashion. I think more and more people will come to consider Africa as a new market-hopefully more opportunities and, more importantly, more business and trade will go that way. But I do think that there needs to be more investment into buying locally and focusing on the local country’s consumers as they are truly a growing market.

There are so many local designers to choose from such as Laurence Airline, Maki Oh, Sandstorm Kenya, Mafi Mafi and NKWO as frontrunners. They all have a great record of using locally made African fabrics like leather, kente, adire, indigo, shemma. These designers are really exploring African traditional textiles and reflecting this through fashion design in a modern and contemporary way. There will be challenges but that is just how any other industry goes, but from where I stand the future is looking bright for African fashion." 

To hear more from Jacqueline and her discoveries of the untold tales in the African textile and fashion industry get your copy of Fashion Africa (£45) here.  All images courtesy of  Abi Oshodi of AO-Photography. 

Jacqueline Shaw- author of Africa Fashion Guide

Jacqueline Shaw- author of Africa Fashion Guide

SBA Loves: Revolutionary Ripples with TEDxEuston

tedxeuston-nov.png

So it’s that time of year again. The invitations are being sent out, the decorations are going up, excited tweets are beginning to fill timelines. We can talk Christmas later, I’m talking about TEDxEuston. At the risk of sounding sensationalist, telling you that TEDxEuston is up there near the top of my 2012 highlights reel still feels like an understatement. And that’s in a list that includes going to India with Richard Branson, so you can see the level of awesome I’m talking about here. It’s because of this that we are delighted to partner with them for the 5th edition of the event, which is organized each year in London by a team of African professionals. Speakers and performers from all over the world are invited to share ideas worth spreading about issues important to Africa, this year with the theme 'Ripple Effect'.  

As a Development Studies postgrad at SOAS, an (ex) journalist for ARISE magazine, and co-founder of SBA, I’ve been on the ‘Africa scene’ for a couple of years now. Having been to my fair share of Africa related events (and there many these days now that it's apparently rising), I'd like to think I'm well practiced in sorting the wheat from the chaff. And TEDxEuston is wheat; organic wholegrain wheat with added goodness that you can only buy in Whole Foods.  

It was thanks to TEDxEuston 2012 that I finally heard from Jacqueline Novogratz in person- my career idol and Founder/CEO of Acumen Fund whose story I have followed for years. She shared stories of sweaty dancing with women in Rwanda as easily as of the new additions to their social investment portfolios in Africa, focusing on the power of interconnectedness. Jason Njoku’s candid talk about failing his way to success reminded me not to be afraid of failure because you ultimately can still end up the founder & CEO of the ‘Netflix of Africa’ before the age of 30. 

Trevor Ncube gave a personal and moving story about struggling through school in rural Zimbabwe with dyslexia, with his teachers calling him ugly and stupid. He is now the chairman of Alpha Media Holdings which publishes four newspaper titles in Zimbabwe which he co-founded 18 years ago, among other notable achievements. My own childhood in Zimbabwe couldn't have been more different, attending one of Harare’s best girls’ schools with teachers paid to be supportive, but Trevor reminded me that it is not background but self belief that determines your future. Ultimately you become what you believe. Komla Dumor and Jepchumba, both of whom have shown me how powerful media can be in telling Africa’s stories were amusing and insightful, while Cobhams Asuquo describing his blindness as a gift was extremely powerful. And good Lord when Chimamanda Adichie started talking about feminism and African women, it was hard to suppress the ‘Amen’ and ‘Hallelujah’ call outs. 

That’s what makes TEDxEuston so special, bringing you face to face (ish) with the very people who have inspired your journey or are about to. And managing to do it in an informative yet entertaining way so that you leave not minding that you've spent your whole day in a lecture theatre listening to people's life stories. 

Kiran with Chimamanda Adichie at TEDxEuston 2012

Kiran with Chimamanda Adichie at TEDxEuston 2012

It’s testament to TEDxEuston that a year later, many of these videos are still in my inspiration bank ready to be drawn on in moments of doubt, failure and insecurity. This year we’re especially looking forward to hearing from Teresa Clarke, CEO of Africa.com the fastest growing Africa related website with over five millions monthly views. Emeka Okafor co-curated the first TEDGlobal that took place in Africa and the annual ‘Makerfair’ that brings together inventors from African countries. Somali archaeologist Sada Mire promises to be interesting, as does Nigerian Finance Minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala. Ikenna Azuike is always entertaining, and we’re excited to see that Catherine Phiri is coming over from Zambia. She is the executive producer of Zambia’s popular drama series ‘Love Games’ and MTV’s first drama series with an HIV storyline ‘Shuga’.  

It's not just about the speakers though. The audience is also home to London’s movers and shakers working in Africa related activities, ready to impress and inspire you over coffee and canapés. This truly shouldn’t be missed, and we look forward to seeing many of you there. Did we mention there's an afterparty?

 TEDxEuston is taking place on Saturday 7th December 2013 at the Mermaid Conference Centre. Tickets cost £70, for more information and to register please click here.

Author: Kiran Yoliswa is the Co-Founder of Styled By Africa.  

tedxeuston.jpg

SBA Loves: Botswana Style Blogger-The Khoi Fro

The Khoi Fro Gaborone Botswana Style Blogger

Having spent some time in Gaborone over the past few years, my impression was that it had the conservative feel of a small town rather than the experimental styles you see in bigger cities. Gabs is small with a population of less than 250 000 people, compared with neighbouring Harare's 1.5 million or Joburg's 3.6 million. There's a common joke that there are more cattle in Botswana than there are people- so in the world of fashion Botswana gets easily dwarfed by fashion powerhouses such as Nigeria and South Africa. So when I came across Batswana style blogger The Khoi Fro on Instagram I was pretty excited that she was from Gabs and that her style was so bold. Twenty-six year old Tsholo Dikobe is actually a choreographer, but the big dream is to become an editor like Anna Wintour. 

"I've never studied fashion. I think my love for fashion emerged through my dancing, working with Botswana's top hip hop artists like K-Bos.  We all love to look the part when we perform on stage." 
the khoi fro gaborone botswana style blogger
the khoi fro gaborone style blogger botswana fashion
the khoi fro gaborone botswana fashion
botswana fashion the khoi fro style blogger

So what do we need to know about the Botswana fashion scene? 

The Botswana fashion industry used to be quite conservative but it isn't scared anymore, it doesn't see limitations but possibilities. It's still in its infancy but the designers are learning and evolving but there are still problems around concrete sources of authentic fabric manufacturers. I always make sure I attend the two most recognised fashion weeks in Botswana- Gaborone Fashion Weekend (where I also worked as stylist) and Colour in the Desert fashion week. We need to think more outside of the box though- and focus more on the business side of fashion rather than fashion just for entertainment. 

Who are the movers and shakers? 

My favourite Batswana designers at the moment are Mpho Kuaho, Black Trash, Koketso Chiepe, Aobakwe Molosiwa, Botho Chalebgwa, Lebang Setso and accessory designers such as Neo Motseise African Lace, Boitshoko Kebakile, Sino Ragontse and Buhle Nguni. There are also some great fashion blogs out here like Tshepo Kutjwe, Uyapo Ketogetswe, Ngozi Chukura and cool websites such as Petra Rolinec's 8tiesbaby.  

 What are your Gaborone love/hates?

The atmosphere is great- the people here are very friendly and its a peaceful country/city with ambitious youth. We have a concept here called "Botho". You earn respect by first giving it! Our unity and democracy are also close to my heart. It does get too hot here though- I swear the sun is just right below our roof tops! Also, I wish the youth were more interested in issues affecting them such as home issues, education, politics or choosing the right career. 

 What are the best places in Gabs to:

Shop Local...Botswana Craft is an option. Also, city open and flea markets in (main mall ). We don't have much of a shopping culture but there are more malls being built at the moment. 

Eat... For me its more about the type of food than the place but the best place to grab munch has to be airport junction or Masa CBD. Europa, Capello, Ribs and Rumps, Cappicciono's,Mug and Bean, Sanitas restaurant, News Cafe, Primi Piatti, Fego Cafe, Savuti grill, Mokolodi Restaurant, Panarottis' are also some of the best places to eat here. 

Dance... This has to be boulevourd Phakalane and for a more hippy place- President Hotel for kosher nights.  

Watch the sun go down...Gaborone dam and Notwane. Breath-taking. 

If The Khoi Fro is anything to go by, sounds like the Gabs fashion scene is heating up! Let us know what you think of the Batswana fashion industry or The Khoi Fro's style. We're certainly inspired! 

 Author: Kiran Yoliswa is the Co-Founder of Styled By Africa.  

 

thekhoifro-denim-botswana-fashion-blogger.jpeg

Stella Jean SS14: 'Wax and Stripes' from Burkina Faso to Milan

As Milan Fashion Week virgins, attending Stella Jean's SS14 showcase in the spectacular theatre of Giorgio Armani's headquarters was the perfect way to get acquainted with Italian style. We were graciously invited by the  International Trade Centre (ITC)- Ethical Fashion Initiative who work with Stella Jean to produce some of her collection in Burkina Faso with local women using their hand woven striped fabric. The EFI also work similarly with Vivienne Westwood, Stella McCartney and Sass & Bide, partnering artisans in West and East Africa with designers and buyers globally. For Stella Jean, it's about more than making beautiful clothes but using them to create opportunities for other people which as SBA we couldn't co-sign harder.  

Stella Jean SS14 : Model line up Photography: Alae Ismail

Stella Jean SS14 : Model line up

Photography: Alae Ismail

Brightening up the usually minimalist Milan with the boldness of her signature ‘Wax and Stripe’ prints, Stella was inspired by her Italian and Haitian heritage. She celebrated the 50’s and 60’s Italian using black and white images of aristocrats vacationing as her mood board. You can see this in the tailored jackets and belts, but to add depth (and fun!) to the outfits she used African striped handloom fabrics famous in Burkina Faso. Styled all together the pieces are colourfully attention seeking for the bold among us, but broken down these are statement pieces that will work gorgeously on their own. We love the dramatically full skirts, we'll skip autumn/winter and go straight to Spring for those striped jackets - and have you ever tried wearing flowers with your headwrap? 

Stella Jeans SS14 Collection. Photographer: Graziano Ferrari

Stella Jeans SS14 Collection.

Photographer: Graziano Ferrari

Photography: Alae Ismail

Photography: Alae Ismail

Backstage it was interesting to hear Giorgio Armani discussing with renowned  fashion journalist Suzy Menkes the importance of Stella's ethnicity, the diversity of fashion and how these contribute to making fashion more modern. It's due to his support that she was able to showcase in such prestigious surroundings, giving her collection the glamour it deserves. As his new protégé he also gave her some critical advice that we can all remember whatever the industry.

‘Be coherent at all times, have faith in what she (Stella Jean) does and not to be influenced by the styles that are around or the trends at the moment. Have a vision and stick with it’
— Giorgio Armani, The New York Times
Stella Jeans SS14 Collection. Photographer: Graziano Ferrari

Stella Jeans SS14 Collection.

Photographer: Graziano Ferrari

Stella Jeans SS14 Collection. Photographer: Graziano Ferrari

Stella Jeans SS14 Collection.

Photographer: Graziano Ferrari

Stella Jeans SS14 Collection. Photographer: Graziano Ferrari

Stella Jeans SS14 Collection.

Photographer: Graziano Ferrari

As well as a collection that we want to fill our wardrobes and summer days with, Stella's background, design talent and ethical awareness are able to open up the dialogue for designer giants to collaborate with African heritage in a meaningful way. As much as we love her diverse background and use of colour, we'd also love to see that translated on her runways as one of our Twitter followers rightly highlighted the lack of black models used in the showcase. Something supermodels including Iman and Naomi Campbell are currently fighting to change on fashion runways.  

Stella Jeans SS14 Collection. Photographer: Graziano Ferrari

Stella Jeans SS14 Collection.

Photographer: Graziano Ferrari

After the success of the show, with a FROW that included Franca Sozzani and Suzy Menkes, Stella's SS14 collection left a definite impression on the Milan schedule and we can't wait to see what else she has in store for us. Until next season! 

For more information on Stella Jean's Collection and work with ITC Ethical Fashion Initiative click here

Author: Alae Ismail, Co-Founder of SBA and Milan Fashion Week survivor.  

SBA Loves: Graphic African Furniture

African fashion has been on the rise for a few years now, but the current Graphic Africa exhibition is proving that African art and patternity looks just as good on furniture as it does on clothes. As part of the The London Design Festival, Habitat are hosting an exhibition of contemporary African furniture showcasing the work of 16 designers from 10 African countries. The capsule collection of furniture, ceramics, glassware and lighting has been sourced from all over the continent was curated by Cape Town duo Trevyn and Julian McGowan. 

Joburg's Dokter and Misses graphic cabinet and stone sweat lamp were an SBA favourite, as was Cheick Diallo's purple chair handwoven in Mali. Joining them in our fantasy house are Boubacar Doumbia's big mudcloth floor cushions, also handwoven in Mali. Boubacar is also well known for his social enterprise workshop 'Ndomo' in Segou which trains young people  in textile production and professional and life skills, encouraging his apprentices to become self-sufficient, independent, creative, and innovative.  Zimbabwe's Mutapo Pottery reinterprets the region's woven baskets while Gone Rural weave grass into elegant baskets and canopies in Swaziland. Although the exhibition is small, it is a tasteful reminder of the innovative cutting edge design coming out of Africa that is offering something unique and special on the world stage. 

Graphic Africa runs until Sunday October 20 2013 at Platform at Habitat, 208 King’s Road, London SW3. 


 

Dokter and Misses cabinet (£14 000)

Dokter and Misses cabinet (£14 000)

Boubacar Doumbia floor cushions (£300)

Boubacar Doumbia floor cushions (£300)

Mutapo Pottery from Zimbabwe (£180 each)  

Mutapo Pottery from Zimbabwe (£180 each)

 

Cheick Diallo woven chair made in Bamako Mali (£4000) 

Cheick Diallo woven chair made in Bamako Mali (£4000) 

Graphic Africa Habitat.JPG

MOBO Nominations 2013: Best African Act

The 2013 MOBOs nominations were announced last night in the glamorous surroundings of London's Grand Connaught Rooms. We've already scoffed the free candy and cupcakes, but we did bring you news of the nominees for Best African Act. It's great to see so many of our favourite artists being recognised so we've pulled our top 5 nominees that SBA Loves right now. Make sure you  vote for your favourite African artist to win at the awards show in October! 

Mafikizolo- South Africa   

If you follow us on Twitter & Facebook then you'll have seen us going on and on about this new Khona track from Mafikizolo. Growing up in Harare, Mafikizolo were huge with their hit song 'Ndihamba Nawe' being to high school parties in Zimbabwe what 'Candy' is to urban music parties here in London. So it's really exciting to see them back in the game with such a big song that's getting everybody buzzing again. Our office speakers haven't gone a day without this song since it came out. 

Bombino - Niger

South Africa and Nigeria are dominating this list of nominations, as they do many things on the continent, so we like Bombino for bringing some North African flavour to the party. A Tuareg bluesy rock guitarist from the Agadez desert in Niger, Bombino sings in Tamashek so while I have no idea what he's saying his music speaks to me all the same. 

Liquideep- South Africa  

House duo Liquideep are also an old SBA favourite, already featuring on many an iTunes playlist on my laptop. After a three year hiatus, Liquideep's Ryzor and Ziyon are back with a new album of soulful hook-heavy house called Welcome Aboard, landing them a spot on this years nominations. This MOBO award would be a nice addition to a long list of awards these two have already won, but hopefully it will inspire them to get over here for some performances in London.   

Tiwa Savage- Nigeria 

Singer-Songwriter Tiwa Savage's last run in with the MOBOs was as a back up singer a few years ago where she couldn't even get access to the main event. This year she'll be attending as a nominee, and as the only solo female artist on the nominations list for Best African Act. She first landed on our radar via DJ Edu's BBC 1Xtra Destination Africa show with her sassy 2010 track 'Kele Kele' which didn't leave my head for days. Her new album 'Once Upon A Time' is out now, and with her recent engagement to manager Tee Billz and the award nominations rolling in, it looks like this lady's 'happily ever after' is coming true. 

Fuse ODG- Ghana 

2013 is shaping up to big year for Fuse ODG, and not just because we've been helping out style his new videos. Adding to the huge success of Azonto, Antenna making it into the UK Top 10, and over 10 million views on his YouTube channel, Fuse has been nominated for three MOBO awards. As well as Best African Act he's also up for Best Newcomer, and Best Video for Antenna. Chatting to him on set of his videos, we can see why he's doing so well. As well as having an amazing team behind him, he has such a strong vision driving him, determined to challenge perceptions of Africa with his 'This Is New Africa' movement. 

Also nominated for Best African Act are Spoek Mathambo (South Africa), Atumpan (Nigeria), Ice Prince (Nigeria), Seun Kuti (Nigeria), and Wiz Kid (Nigeria). Voting is now open so head over to the MOBOs website and let them know your favourite artists. 

Check out our Instagram and Facebook pages for more pictures of the launch event. 

Who do you think deserves to win Best African Act at the 2013 MOBOs?

 

The Body Shop Colour Crush Lipsticks

Alae and I are known for our lipstick tendencies, and between us we've built up quite a collection.  The Body Shop isn't usually the first place we think of when we've decided to go on new lipstick adventures. Smelly stuff, lotions, shower gel, shampoo, yes, but make up? Not so much. We usually head to MAC or Bobbi Brown for our beauty fix, but the time comes to broaden your lippie horizons when every other woman on your Instagram is also hashtag #rubywoo. So when we heard that The Body Shop have just launched a new collection of 24 Colour Crush lipsticks to replace their old Colourglides, we thought we'd give them a shot at winning a spot in the make up bag. 

image.jpg
image.jpg

The collection is split into three colour families- reds, pinks and nudes- so the lovely team at Body Shop sent us one of each to try out. We took 301 Red Hot Raspberry, 240 Damson in Distress and 325 Darling Blush for a spin while we were on set this week styling Fuse ODG's new music video to see if they'd survive a day of sweaty outfit changes, bright lights, and flying clothes. 

We're so glad we did because as well as packing some serious colour, these lipsticks are creamy soft, have the glide of a good lip balm, and the staying power of a good man. You can thank the Namibian Eudafano Women's Co-operative for that luscious moisture, as the lipsticks are coated in their silky marula oil. I usually like my marula oil in the form of Amarula, alchoholic and drinkable, so if I was going to drizzle it over anything I'd rather it was over a good vanilla ice cream. But it does work a treat on these lipsticks, and for these women who have managed to turn a traditional Nambian art form of producing marula oil- extracting the kernels from ripe marula fruit and then cold pressing it to extract the oil- into a thriving business. The whole co-operative is owned and run entirely by women in a community where women struggle to earn an income, so The Body Shop's 'Beauty With Heart' values really do make an impact on the 1750 women involved. 

 

Alae wearing Damson in Distress 

Alae wearing Damson in Distress 

Alae wearing Red Hot Raspberry 

Alae wearing Red Hot Raspberry 

Kiran wearing Darling Blush 

Kiran wearing Darling Blush 

I particularly like the 325 Darling Blush nude as finding a good nude can be quite an adventure. As with 'nude' tights, or 'nude' underwear, there seem to be limited options for what brown people actually look like nude. This one was perfect for me, and although it had a bit of a pearly sheen which I usually hate in a lipstick, it's subtle enough to not look like I'm still 15 wearing my new glittery lip gloss at break time. 

the-body-shop-colour-crush-lipsticks

Upsides: Fairtrade ingredients, really soft and moisturising texture, great range of colours for all skin tones, and at £10 cheerfully cheap (ish). 

Downsides: The packaging is not as sophisticated as I'd usually go for but with upsides like these, who cares. 

Are you already a big fan of The Body Shop's make up? What are your Body Shop hero products? 

 Author: Kiran Yoliswa is co-founder of SBA. When she's not debating the politics and economics of Africa as a postgrad student at SOAS, or trying out Body Shop lipsticks, she is travelling the world looking for her next burrito.