Sunday, 23 May 2010

~Togo Waves & Road Maps~ Emeka Chucks Alams

"We were traded from the gold coast by Europeans by our own African brothers. This trade has changed our world and reshaped our thoughts. Living by European standards throughout the African diaspora we have forgotten what makes our culture powerful, rich and unique. Here we strive for riches and neglect our families, we smile upon others while wishing for their demise, all things associated with the mind frame of those who began this trade.
Formerly - We would gather in large numbers to mourn with those who mourn and to rejoice with those who rejoice. We have forgotten that we came from a continent where guiding, correcting and rebuking children is everybody’s’ task; a continent with green forests, clean rivers and undiscovered natural resources abound. The continent is love. Still, you dont know or understand. This is my effort to get back to that."- A WEST AFRICAN 

Beautiful, inspiring words by Nigerian American,  Emeka Alams, the designer and art director of Gold Coast Trading Co. Although he was born in America, Emeka fondly says 'in his head, he grew in West Africa'. He started Gold Coast Trading as his medium to show the world the other side of his home.  I 'm drawn to the  vibrant colors he incorporates into his clothes in such a random, unexpected way, its like a breath of fresh air. I love the fact that his vision is clear, once i saw the photographs i thought of Africa but through a different perspective. I think the fact that he wasn't born in Nigeria worked to his advantage, because its always refreshing to see what African fashion means through someone else's eyes. The result of that being an African inspired line with (in my opinion) a 'london boy'/retro flare that gives his clothes a kind of spunky, quirky twist. Can you dig it? Cuz i am certainly digging it right about now. This collection is the Spring/Summer 2010 line called 'Togo waves & Road Maps'. There is something almost poetic about this line, that makes me just want to speak to him, hear about his inspirations, and what he has planned for next. For me, the Gold Coast Trading label is amazing in its simplicity, it is basic yet bold, it is distinct, colorful & fresh~ and i LOVE it.

Ps-  ♥ the different currencies in the shorts pocket. Spotted the N100 & N10 instantly :) xoxo

Thursday, 20 May 2010

~Beauty, Elephant Dung & the Artist~ Chris Ofili

Chris Ofili is a British Nigerian, born in 1968. He studied Art at the Chelsea school of Art in London. His experimental, cross-media artwork has provoked much controversy over the years, especially his depiction of the Holy Virgin Mary and his use of Elephant dung in his paintings. Yes, you read it right, elephant dung. One painting, 'No Woman No Cry' was inspired by the grief of the parents of Stephen Lawrence. Stephen, a London student, was murdered in a race attack. His death prompted a massive inquiry into race relations. The painting depicts a weeping black woman and Stephen Lawrence's face appears in each tear. Probably my favorite Ofili piece. His visions can amuse, abhor and affect,combining the holy and the obscene. Blending hip-hop culture with traditional folklore and spirituality sets him aside from other artists, smacking his points of view on the canvass like marmite. You either love him or hate him.  I've decided firmly on the former.  him.
I wonder if i can get him to do a customized painting for me, minus the elephant dung...perhaps substitute it with some dark chocolate? Just a thought! xoxo

~Bam Bam Sha Bam~ OBSIDIAN presents "CONTROL".

Isoken Ogiemwonyi is the young woman behind the OBSIDIAN label. The word Obsidian rolls of your tongue like a firm statement, a strong word that can't be used in conjunction with anything else.  Hence my excitement when Isoken told me about her new Spring/Summer 2010 collection called CONTROL. A very befitting name for what Obsidian personifies in my mind. The dresses are simple yet chic, innovative yet wearable, young yet sophisticated. I love the fact that each dress is different, all telling a different story. This isn't the first time i've seen Isoken's work as i was fortunate to be around her while she worked on her first collection (the collage is a montage of my favorite pieces). I saw the amount of hard work and commitment she put in to follow her dream, not letting anything get in her way of pursuing what she loves. The fashion film below is fabulous, the editing is perfect and its symbolizes how creative Nigerians are & how far we have come. I'm happy to see her dream coming to life, she can only go UP from here. Below is an interview with the designer herself! xoxo

What inspires your work?

Ah. This particular collection referenced the film noir genre. In general though – inspiration can come from music, books, fabric, M.A.C Visuals. I know this is cliché, but I am inspired by life, life and beauty. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, so I’ll qualify by saying that I am inspired by whatever is beautiful to me at a particular point in time.Occasionally when I have too many references that I am excited about, I sketch it all – edit to a point where I feel comfortable, and then produce the samples. Sometimes there is another pre-production edit – some things are beautiful but not necessarily in the same way as everything else in the collection! 

How did you come up with the theme for the new collection?

Aside from the general message of being in ‘Control’ of your image, I was fixated on Rita Hayworth’s character in ‘ The Lady From Shanghai’. Her grace and the mix of strength and vulnerability was something I tried to portray in the collection as a whole, from the fabric choices to the styling  in the film and photos (Bolaji Animashaun is a genius) . I like to think the collection is modern but with classic silhouettes and just something any woman can enjoy and relate to.

 Do you have a particular person in mind when you design?

The Obsidian woman – Strong, Feminine and self assured. She has a sense of humour and cool, but cool in a timelessly relevant way as opposed to a ‘flash in the pan’ hot today, nowhere tomorrow. She can interpret a trend in a way that stays true to her personal style, but not in a way that portrays her as an overly pretentious, stereotypical ‘airhead fashionista’.

How would you describe your personal style

Haha – A year or two ago I would have said fun, expressive and experimental. Now I'm working so hard the one thing I think of at ALL times is comfort. I still enjoy dressing up from time to time but I definitely go for a simpler more classic silhouette now.

What is the hardest challenge you've had as a up and coming designer?

Hmm. It’s hard to choose one really. There have been myriad issues to be honest. Nigerian designers don’t get as much support as they should, so the little you do get is treasured! I’m not saying we should accept mediocrity, but I think it’s important to give credit where credit is due, and really think before we make unfair judgments, baseless assumptions or harsh critiques. Ultimately, I find that as a people we love to associate ourselves with success – so I guess until I ‘make it’ lol I shouldn’t expect any overwhelming support. Production has also been a thorn in my side – the tailoring in this part of the world is not always amazing. So quality control is a problem, I am naturally a laissez-faire type manager but to get the work done to a standard I am comfortable with I have to micro-manage. It can be exhausting, but I think at the end of the day (as is true with any entrepreneurial endeavour) when you love what you do, it makes it all worth it.And of course constantly trying to push yourself, to innovate and take risks, learning to listen to criticism constructive and otherwise without taking it too personal. It’s definitely a steep learning curve. 

Where do you see Obsidian in ten years?

The dream or the business plan? LOL.  I'll tell you the dream then – If you can conceive it you can achieve it abi? *wink* Stores in Lagos, Abuja, Port Harcourt, Enugu, Accra and Capetown. Stockists in London, Paris, Milan, Stockholm, New York and LA. A strong brand in general with brand extensions in other luxury sectors! (That’s the ‘SparkNotes’ version) 

Describe your line in three words. 

Detailed, Feminine, Strong


Friday, 7 May 2010

~Tebazile, A Girl's Best friend~

Tebazile's was founded in the late 90s by a beautiful Nigerian lady called Elizabeth Tata Dankaro. I came across her jewelry from a friend of mine and fell in love. Each piece is unique in its own way, giving the wearer an element of individuality each time its worn. I love jewelry that stands out from the norm and makes a bold statement. If your looking to spruce up your wardrobe or find an accessory to brighten up your LBD's, then look no further! Tebazile describes their jewelry as 'bold yet sexy and are a blend of African, European designs of which are inspired by geometry and a variety of aspects in nature'. 
Celebrities like Alyson Milano, America Ferrera, Olivia Wilde and Mya have been photographed wearing Tebazile pieces. 
What are your favorite pieces? I have my eye on that yummy turquoise ring, as I think it would look great in the summer, matched with a simple white maxi. 
"The great thing about Tebazile pieces is that you can fuse great vintage style finds with high street fashion, to get that quintessential funky look!"  ❤'s it.


Tebazile is available at:
London: Wave Jewellery, 60 Beauchamp place, SW3 1NZ
Los Angeles: Fred Segal (Tiara)- Santa Monica
New York: Patricia Field 302 Bowery, NY 10012
Victoria Island, Lagos: Temple Muse: Samusi Fafunwa St. 

Thursday, 6 May 2010

Sale Alert: ~ M A W I ~

Just found out my favorite jewelry store in the whole world is having a huge sample sale. *squeal* Their jewelry is so scrumptious its a little bit sinful. The sale starts on the 21st of May in London, if your about, be sure to check it out. Trust me, bargains like this, come but once. Don't worry, if your not in London, you can still get fantastic jewelry pieces in Lagos! Yep, the fabulous store, Designer club on Awolowo road in Ikoyi stock MAWI so definitely go check it out. The store is owned by Angela Anyaehie. If you want to do a bit of online window shopping before the sample sale- go to