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JULY 2013

VOLUME 1 ISSUE 5


contents Editorial Inspiration Cynthia Rowley Mi-Le Kinee Diouf Adèle Dejak Malawi Fashion Week Ella & Gabby M’OYO 5 African Designers Bestow Elan DiDi Creations Stella Jean

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EDITOR’S LETTER Welina Rita Farah

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ummer has arrived, my friends. This means so many things: delicious food (is it just me or does food taste better in the summertime?); long, hot days; cool, fun, nights; showing some sun-kissed skin, more free time, and most importantly, a laid back mentality. People have always shown a bias towards this season, disregarding the other three and what they bring. But it’s all within good reason. A season like summer brings the best out in everyone everywhere. If you’re a native of the chilly North, you would be welcoming warmer weather with VERY open arms like we are. Life has not slowed down for us here at gèlè. Each member of the team has projects and assignments aside from the magazine, demanding so much time and effort from us. But do not fret! We cranked out another beautiful issue for our beloved readers, just in time for the beach cookout later tonight. In this edition, we will be covering Adèle Dejak and the reclaiming of African fashion in Europe, a fusion between Poland and Africa to never be forgotten, Ella & Gabby’s new line, Maki Oh (remember her from a few issues back?), and so much more. We continue to see those who previously never thought themselves as African, really feel the love of the fashion. This is the love we continue to share with you. If you haven't caught the bug yet, this issue will surely bring you closer.


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Inspiration With a blazer like this, no one will question your fashion sense. Pair with white denim and red heels for a Sunday Brunch look that’s sure to turn heads. http://bit.ly/19PIZwn

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...the joy of African Fashion


This dress is too fabulous to ignore!

http://twitpic.com/ctvt25

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Inspiration

Kokomina, a label based in Germany, specializes in the modernization of traditional African prints. Each piece is handmade and simple, yet exquisite in their own way. http://bit.ly/12hTYJQ

A clutch like this deserves to be paired with denim - we suggest white or blue - and a black top with nude or black shoes. A neutral outfit will bring out the colors in the clutch and attract all of the attention!

Such perfect colors for summer time.

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...the joy of African Fashion


Beads All different colors... Each one symbolizing something different, but in the end- it’s all about Mama Africa.

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Inspiration

Cynthia Rowley: Take Me Around The World! RESORT 2014

Infused with Mexican, African, and Brazilian vibes, Cynthia Rowley’s Resort 2014 collection takes us around the world without leaving our seat. The line uses Kanga, Ankara, and Masai prints for headwraps and dresses this season.

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...the joy of African Fashion


Like nectar to a bee Mi-Le has the right stuff to keep us going.

Nigerian designer Mi-Le has successfully merged flowers and fashion to produce its Winter 2014 lookbook. Ponmile Olawoye, designer of the brand, has incorporated the study of botany and 1940’s fashion. http://bit.ly/11bUu10

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Inspiration

KINEE DIOUF FOR VOGUE NETHERLANDS JULY 2013

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...the joy of African Fashion


Kinee Diouf, a Senegalese model in the United States, is no stranger to the camera. From Target to Vivienne Westwood, Diouf has been adorned with clothes from the top brands. In the July issue of Vogue Netherlands, she shines bright like a diamond in one of the spreads. With an African Sahara theme, Diouf can be found with a walking stick, on a camel’s back, and looking like queen of the land with the camera angle.

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...the joy of African Fashion


Adèle Dejak Reclaims African Fashion Design

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o merge European and African influences is quite the task to overcome. Enter Adèle Dejak, a designer who uses retired materials to give life to pieces benefitting local salespeople. Dejak moved to Kenya after working as an art director for an Italian music magazine. She designs accessories from her home in Nairobi, incorporating reclaimed and recycled materials from all that surrounds her, including (and not limited to) rice sacks, cement bags, glass, wood, ostrich egg shell, aluminum, bone, brass, and cow horn. Using some European and heavy African influences prove to be successful. Locally made fabrics like Kuba cloth and wax print are used to create the products that honor Kenyan local culture.

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...the joy of African Fashion


Each piece is made by hand with the utmost care and attention possible. The highly skilled artisans come from all walks of life and from different places in Kenya. Dejak collaborates with a network of artisans outside of the studio too, working towards investing in communities in East Africa. They will teach new skills to people in hopes of enhancing their livelihoods and contribute positively to the local and global community. Dejak has recently collaborated with Salvatore Ferragamo for Bags for Africa, has been featured in Vogue Italia, and been exhibited at Milan Fashion Week in 2012. Source : http://ecosalon.com/ adele-dejak-reclaimed-african-fashion-design/

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alawi, a country snug between Zambia, Tanzania, and Mozambique, celebrated their first ever fashion week last month. More than 12 designers took part in it, showing off affordable and chic clothing in a country where women were banned from wearing mini skirts and pants until 1994. "The goal is to progress the fashion industry that is booming in Africa," says Dawa Loga-Lemberger, CEO of Elegant Resources, a company used to help launch Malawi Fashion Week.

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...the joy of African Fashion


Even though Malawi ranks among Africa's poorest countries, local designers proved it doesn’t take expensive fabrics or highly-paid models to host a Fashion Week. Eva Gertrude Kapanda, a local designer, said she mostly made her clothes, earrings, and shoes with locally available materials. "I usually design about Africa. For example, I use chitenje (traditional printed cloth) which is cheap. I use plastics when I make earrings. I also use chicken feathers for the earrings. I make stuff from everything: even wood and bottle tops." gèlè • July 2013

"I use African material to make my garments but I do it in contemporary way, something that an African and somebody who is not African can actually feel comfortable to wear," said Patricia Ntambalika, a Malawian designer based in Windhoek, Namibia. Ntambalika says fashion has a future in Malawi as time passes and attitudes toward clothing change. "Malawian women never used to wear trousers or mini-skirts but nowadays people are free and they can wear whatever they want as long as it looks fashionable on

them," she says. Grace Khondi, who attended Malawi Fashion Week, said the designers had a lot to offer. "I'm impressed with what I saw. We have lots of talent in Malawi."

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...the joy of African Fashion


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igerian label Ella & Gabby is calling this their Autumn/Winter collection but we would prefer to drop the tag and just call it a well thought out and indeed sophisticated collection. Lines are kept clean, the color choices are vibrant and the fabrics used have so much character, it is good the silhouettes are kept classy for anyone including the wearer to take it all in. Enjoy the label’s latest collection titled ‘Tropical sophistication’.

gèlè • July 2013

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...the joy of African Fashion


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'OYO is a fusion fashion brand for people of all ages, colours or beliefs. Taking inspiration from fusion cuisine they translated the idea of mixing flavours into the fashion language. M'OYO provides you with unique designs using the finest fabrics from around the world, created with love and care. They want to take you on a journey around the world, to show you how multidimensional, inspiring, miscellaneous, fun and colourful it is. They just launched their very first collection which was inspired by the beautiful & mysterious Africa. Peep more photos from the collection below and you can also find them on facebook here and website here

gèlè • July 2013

M'oyo

Source: http://www.ciaafrique. com/2013/06/designer-spotlight-moyo.html 21


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Online finds

5 African designers

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verything we have seen come of the fashion industry is doused with Western designers... Until recently, that is. The fashion world has finally begun to take notice of the rich fashion designs and talents coming from the continent. “African fashion” is no longer directly correlated to the word ‘ankara’ or the image of large head ties (or anything that’s been overtaken by the media). Now, African designers are plentiful and ready to share with us the beauty they create from well known fabrics from the motherland. Here are 5 African fashion designers who have broken barriers and got much attention in the industry in a small period of time.gained ample recognition in the growing fashion industry in such a short time.

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...the joy of African Fashion


Christie Brown A isha Obuobio, founder of Christie Brown, launched her line in 2008 and has nurtured it in a way that creates unique garments and accessories for women and also infusing batik and Kente intothe fashion forward collections. Her collection includes feminine pieces that range from pants, skirts, floor grazing gowns, and tops made from traditional African fabrics. Obuobio has won diverse awards for her work, including Arise Magazine’s Emerging Designer of the Year.

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Online finds

Loza Maleombho

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s a feminine contemporary line based in New York City, Loza Maleombho produces all their goods in Côte d’Ivoire. The company was founded in 2009 by Maleombho, a Brazilian born designer with a knack for structured garments and Kente print. In order to call oneself a ‘fashion for change’ brand, a goal to better the environment of humans must be achieved while creating the clothing. For Maleombho, this is an easy task. The brand takes pride in supporting the social and economic empowerment of women in Côte d’Ivoire by providing jobs, education, and contributing to economic development. Building local factories and workshops for production will be one of the ways Maleombho plans to create jobs. She was the recipient of the Emerging Designer of the Year Award during the 2012 ARISE Fashion Week in Lagos.

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...the joy of African Fashion


Tsemaye Binitie

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igerian designer Tsemaye Binitie launched his self-titled clothing brand in 2010. With experience working for Burberry and Stella McCartney, Binitie has a lot to show for. His line is contemporary fashion characterized by exquisite clothing encompassed by a love of luxury and innovative design. Indulgent fabrics cut meticulously permeate the timeless, refined, and sharp pieces.

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Online finds

William L Okpo

izzy and Darlene Okpo are Nigerian transplants living in NYC. Like those before them, the sisters have created a signature line that competes with top ready-to-wear lines. Created in 2011, the line is named after their father, William Okpo. “Our father taught us how to dress. We watched him spend two hours every day ironing and steaming his clothes, making sure the creases of his pants were on point.” Permeating originality and childlike attributes (colors, shapes and patterns) can be seen in every piece of the collection. The pieces certainly have a ‘hippie’ feel to them but we don’t mind. Especially when it’s in an industry where everyone is all about trends and business as usual. In the midst of all that,William Okpo is a movement for the daring fashionista.

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...the joy of African Fashion


Maki Oh O

riginality, creativity, and structure: three separate entities that become one under the artful hands of 26-year-old designer Amaka Osakwe, the brains behind clothing line Maki Oh. The clothing is made with hand dyed fabrics, which undergo a time-consuming process called adire. It uses indigo leaves rather than industrial dyes, something everyone uses. This process sets Maki Oh apart from the rest. “We used adire because we believe in ethical and sustainable practices, and more importantly, we believe in keeping our cultural heritage alive,” Osakwe tells us. “Adire is a beautiful art, but it is also a dying art.”

With a heavy following, she now has international success and celebrities like Solange Knowles adorned in her pieces. Based in Lagos, Nigeria and ways away from New York, NY, Maki Oh is just five seasons old with plenty more awaiting this “colorful and flamboyant” designer. “We are colorful and flamboyant—true Africans. Traditionally, clothes were worn as a means of communication. Colors, motifs, embellishments were the vehicles used to pass messages… They are visual representations of traditional proverbs, announcements and sometimes even warnings.” gèlè • July 2013

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Online finds

Bestow Elan

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he excessive use of African prints in Africa’s fashion industry has become a boring and lifeless experience. So many people call themselves designers just because they use Ankara fabric. So when we see a design label that deviates from the norm and puts in a little more effort, we tend to lean in. Check out British-Ghanaian owned Bestow Elan as the label continues to form its own brand identity. http://www.ladybrillemag.com/2013/06/ lookbook-bestow-elan-presents-summer-memoirs-springsummer-2013-collection.html

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...the joy of African Fashion


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rom the creative mind of Tina Ugo comes the Spring/ Summer 2013 jewellery collection. It’s filled with floral themed designs and colors. Their statement neck pieces are a must have for every woman wanting to stand out of the crowd. Inspiration came from Eastern and Southern African women who adorn in statement accessories, thus influencing this line with quality beads, crystals, gems, and stones. http://www.bellanaija. com/2013/06/03/didi-creations-presents-its-floral-themed-springsummer-jewellery-collection-lookbook/

Didi creations

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Online finds

Stella Jean F

or someone who is half Haitian and half Italian, Stella Jean has really hit the nail on the head with African-printed bathing suits. Although the suit may not bring all the boys to the yard, but the colors and styles are surely to die for.

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...the joy of African Fashion


gèlè

The production team

Director Bamidele Omotosho Editor-in-Chief Welina R. Farah Design and layout David Jérémy Delonnay

Special thanks We here at gèlè would like to thank the following blogs for their determination, hard work, and dedication to African fashion. Without them, we would not be here. Thank you.

Ladybrille Magazine: www.ladybrillemag.com CiaAfrique: www.ciaafrique.com The Fashion Notebook: www.nanciemwai.com UberChicMichi: www.uberchicmichi.com HauTeFashionAfrica: www.hautefashionafrica.com BellaNaija: www.bellanaija.com COVER PHOTO CREDIT: FENIX COUTURE

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Issue 5 July 2013