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Vive l’Afrique Issue


There is an image, an idea of Africa that lives deep in human imagination. Its form often transcends the power of the word and its profile lies under layers of conscious retrieval. It is alive within each one of us on a primordial level, inexplicable yet undeniable. -Maya Angelou

Stella Jean

Stella Jean

Stella Jean


AFWNY 2012

Bonjour Les Amis! African fashion is booming. A new generation of designers are rapidly gaining recognition as a result of the continent’s rising fortunes and because of the sheer strength of their work . Africa has long been a source of inspiration for decades by major design brands from Yves Saint Laurent’s landmark collection of raffia beaded dresses in 1967 to Burberry Prorsum’s wax prints for spring/summer 2012. The trend has continued with the upswing of emerging designers blending the use of sleek silhouettes and bold ethnic patterns that have stirred the modern working woman-both white and black- to dare to be different. African designers are definitely finding customers around the world and a thriving industry is growing around them.

Celebrities are also catching on. Kelis has worn Lagos label Jewel By Lisa, Solange Knowles is fan of Maki Oh and even the First Lady, Michelle Obama is regularly seen wearing pieces by London-based Nigerian designer Duro Olowu. This issue is dedicated to the women and men who dare to express their love for the Afrocentric and the new generation inspired by their courage. Thank you for your unwavering support and Happy Labor Day!

Tameka Pierre-Louis Founding Editor



Keir Worthy Associate Editor Rhythm Alchemy Creative Consultants

Roland Hyde, Resident Photographer

editorial nods

Products by West Elm

Things to Cop

Witches' Kitchen Tableware, Studio Tord Boontje

Bogola Pouffes by Philippe Bestenaider

Stephen Burks’s Pouffes

Right, Shadowy Collection by Tord Boontje. Below, Chairs by Ron Arad.

Do-lo-Rez by Ron Arad

the African market “M’Afrique by Moroso – Proudly African” was a project centered around Africa. The event was put together by Patrizia Moroso and in her words, here is what it’s all about. We need not elaborate further! Enjoy her [Mother Africa}words and the art! It is “multifaceted, modern Africa deserves to be known and sustained for the originality of the creative languages with which it enriches global culture. The African continent is extraordinarily rich in creativity, materials and ideas that are sources of inspiration and nourishment for us. When applied to design, they engender products which exude tradition and modernity, innovation and history, form and beauty. I think there is so much of Africa and in this event my intent was to showcase the creativity of a few of the great artists and personalities of contemporary African culture. Going beyond the stereotypes that present Africa as a tragic or, at best, exotic experience, we want to highlight some aspects of contemporary African culture, which is in effect comparable to global culture.

Looking at Africa through the eyes of contemporary art, photography, architecture and design is perhaps the most appropriate way of approaching such a vast, powerful continent. It is so creatively rich and diverse that today it is still one of western modernity’s greatest sources of inspiration.

heads up!

From Gwen Stephanie to Solange Knowles to as recent Alicia Keys, A-list celebrities have been rocking African swag. Their indulgence in Africa inspired fabrics has proven that Africa remains “the new Black�. Now the fad is catching on within the Hip-hop it nice to see celebrities embracing the trend.

Left, Alicia Keys with fabric necklace by Christie Brown. Bottom Right, Nas in African wax- print shirt .

Duro Olowu

changing the game

Recently, I sat down with a dear friend and we began a candid discussion about the evolution of our professional lives. What struck me most was in spite of the effects of this flaggingly economy where many people within our respective find themselves doing jobs that they never though in a million years that they would be doing, that somehow their “creative instinct” inevitably finds a way to filter into their capacity to operate. What would you identify yourself as being? I’m a hustler. I never had everything that I needed so I always had the mechanism to make things happen. There’s progress in movement.

How did you stumble upon photography? Ironically, it did not begin as a passion. I did it to survive. My passion grew through my hustle. Interesting. How so? After I was laid off from a major construction firm here in New York, I went to Atlanta. A relative of mine lent me his camera and I immediately developed an attachment to it. From that

experience, I developed a connection with it where I made a personal commitment to buy my own camera when I returned home. How did you land your first job? My first job was for a stylist in Brooklyn. It was shot in a loft downtown Brooklyn. Were you nervous? No, and I think the reason that I was so relaxed was because being that it was my first shoot I felt like I had nothing to lose. Do you feel any pressure now? Absolutely. Except now, instead of measuring myself against the next guy, the pressure I feel comes from my wanting to do better than my last shoot. Who is your source of inspiration? Roy Cox. I admire his versatility in his shooting whatever he wants to shoot. He shoots everything from regular people to models and celebrities. Yet he has the ability to transform models by turning their editorials into stories. He is like a [film] director.

Do you look at yourself as sort of a director? Sure, we all play a part. The models are the actors while we [the photographers] are like directors trying to tell story. The set is a stage and everyone has to perform. The model has to bring the energy to the shoot. They should know how to express themselves without my having to show them how to pose. If I do, I know its going to be a shitty shoot.

Its crazy listening to you now because having known you from the construction industry and looking back to when you first shared with me that you were going into photography, I was a bit taken back. But then as time went on, when I began to see your work and saw how it evolved so quickly, I realized that you had a natural gift. Yeah, it is crazy. But I look at how it has already been two and a half years, since I’ve started and I know that it was fate.

What genre of photography it is that you do? Most people tagged me as an urban photographer.

How did you grow your clientele so quickly? Through social networking and word-of-mouth. As time went on, I realized the importance of branding. In the beginning I felt the need to use my whole name. Now I feel more confident in just using my last name, La Fleur, as a symbol of my growth. There’s power in the flower. Where do you want to go now? I don’t know where I want to go (photography-wise). I still have more to learn. Most photographers intentionally try to develop a niche for themselves but I have a greater desire to be more well-rounded. Like construction, I feel that photography allows me the opportunity to learn something new everyday. As luck would have it, I have been able to unify my experience with them both . I approach preparing for shoots in the same manner I would approach building a team for a construction project. I look at it as if God gave me this gift, why not share it with the world. What drives you? I’m driven by the pleasure I get whenever I help a self-conscious client see the beauty in themselves through my lens. By giving them confidence that they can take a beautiful shot through my work. The same way that I got to feed my [physical] hunger, is the same way I have to feed my passion.

Photography is [now] my passion.

in the stash Buki Akib is a Nigerian born knitwear designer, who graduated from Central Saint Martins and has long held a fascination for Afrobeat musician Fela Kuti and his twenty seven wives, Buki created a capsule menswear collection inspired by Fela and his free-spirited life, demonstrating her knowledge of African wax prints, traditional Yoruba hand woven textiles and combining it with her traditional knitwear techniques.

London based Nigerian designer Buki Akib and her eponymous Knitwear Label recently launched the Wives collection of women’s bags inspired by the extravagant Fela Kuti and his twenty-seven wives. Using an explosive palette and contrasting textures, the bags offer a celebration of sensuality and individuality in honor of the lustrous world inside Fela’s Shrine. Each bag captures the essence of each of his wives; from the delicate Tola clutch comprising gold silk yarns and dusty lurex, to the bold graphic patterns of the Funmilayo bag. The

Sandra’s pieces features long sensuous tasseled fringing in sandy gold, whilst each piece is knitted with Buki’s signature use of traditional Yoruba hand weaving of South Western Nigeria. She names the line of bags after a few of Fela Kuti's wives (e.g. the Lola clutch, the Sandra and the Funmilayo bag) and adorns each one with a beautiful combination of Yoruba and weaving from South Western Nigeria, long and beautiful strands of gold lurex and a vibrant colors.

editor’s pick

Born in Rome, of Caribbean origin, learns the art of painting on fabric by Nadia Valleys. "The fabric painting requires, in addition to a strong talent and artistic sensibility, considerable preparation, crafts, traditional craftsmanship and patience.

Stella Jean is a young Haitian-born designer who lives and works in Rome. She grew up in a family where art, fashion and beauty highly valued. She describes herself career in fashion as such where she has the necessary room to maneuver, to make her two opposite identities breathe and finally conciliate. Though she was born and raised in the Italy of the 80’s, in affluent environment, it hasn't been easy to be the result of a multiracial family.

melted Scottish fabrics and wax. I will keep melting. This collection reflects me completely.

Her current collection is reflective of her “roots”. When asked to describe her point of inspiration she says, “I am half Italian and half Haitian - Haiti is the First Free Black Republic. That’s why I have decided to melt the European striped shirt (colonialist side) with the wax fabrics - but in a 60s style. I've start with something that belongs to me and my origins. Now I would like to show how it is possible to melt very different cultures with no limits, but at the same time keep the respect and the consciousness of the traditions. In my video Madeleine I am trying out new combinations such as Hawaiian fabrics and wax prints. And for the F|W 13 collection I've”

Jean’s collection is currently available in the most important Italian boutiques but we will be online soon. Aside from devoting much of her time to her line she raises funds through her charity “the Fashion-Able Project Haiti, under the auspices of the Municipality of Rome. The aim is promote the resumption Social Economy of the country also through fashion. Since she is a brilliant designer with a shrewd sense of business, we had to ask Jean if she could offer any tips for new designers/start-ups in the fashion industry. Her response was simply, “Don't copy, speak out for yourself, try not to pretend and just be you.”

When asked that if her label would be a person, what kind of person would it be? Stella answers coyly that it would be curious, emancipated, proud, honest, cultivated, charming, eclectic and bold woman. And it most certainly does. Her favorite piece in her closet from her collection exemplifies a Colonialistvis-à-vis colonized.

The incomparable, Vivienne Westwood, is an unstoppable force in the world of fashion. Instead of heading towards retirement (she turned 70 this year), the designer is devoting her energies to campaigning for a better world, and travelling all the way to Kenya is all part and parcel of her mission.


The multi-tasking “godmother of punk” has has recently begun to take a stand in environmental issues and is now pushing forward the vital change needed in the value chain of supply in designer fashion. She has teamed up with and the International Trade Centre, a United Nations Agency, to provide much-needed ethical employment for the people of Nairobi, in a program in which she says is: "Not charity, just work.“ Her Ethical Fashion Africa Collection for the eon-line retailer comprises handbags and totes created with from all sorts of refuse, from flip flops to old tent fabric, and transformed into covetable accessories by impoverished people in Kenya, through fair labor conditions. Westwood is manufacturing an accessories collection in Kenya with the goal of empowering Kenyan women and local artisans to help themselves, by providing valuable skills and a sustainable income as well as recycling materials.

The project, Ethical Fashion Africa, is in collaboration with the International Trade Centre (ITC) and their

ethical fashion programme. Working in Kenya and Uganda with local artisans and predominantly focusing on female workers, the ITC have been the catalyst of change by connecting leading designers with microentrepreneurs to allow them to enter the international value chain.

As well as providing valuable, sustainable work for these communities, Westwood is recycling materials to reduce environmental impact, and favouring the use of natural and organic materials. The collection includes key rings made from roadside advertising banners and canvas safari tents. Embroidery and appliqué details add a colourful African feel to the products and hand-craft techniques ensure that each product is unique.

So far the ITC has supported the work of over 7000 women in marginalised African

communities by providing training in craft and manufacturing skills. These include sewing, embroidery and recycling electrical wiring and aluminium for accessories collections. The focus is on women, responding to evidence that women are more likely to invest their wage in their families.

"What I do, making bags, can make a difference. This project gives people control over their lives - charity doesn't give control, it does the opposite, it makes them dependent," she says. "These people have more control over their lives and can therefore choose not to exploit the environment because they have an alternative way of making money."

On top of that, she took celebrated fashion photographer Juergen Teller along with her to document the trip. The result is a set of striking images which celebrate Westwood and her fashions in the African community.

Vivienne’s recent advertising campaign was made ​during a trip to Africa, where, with her husband Andreas Kronthaler and the people of the village of Nairobi, had fun wearing the new creations of British designer, before the careful eye of the photographer Juergen Teller (below left),. With his skill she was able to extrapolate a natural almost melancholy in the faces of the protagonists .

"Our project enables some of the world's poorest people to enter fashion's value chain as producers, while also allowing designers, who want to source ethically, to do so knowing their collaborators in the slums of Nairobi," said Simone Cipriani, head of the ITC Poor Communities and Trade Program. And Westwood rightly adds: "It's quite incredible to think that we might be able to save the world through fashion.“ A noble deed, indeed.

culture alert

The newlyweds have been tight-lipped about their nuptials and the Dallas Mavericks organization previously denied the nuptials but now pictures of the joyous day have surfaced. Take a look at their beautiful ceremony.

Dallas Mavericks NBA star Dirk Nowitzki and Kenyanborn, Associate Director of the Goss-Michael Foundation art gallery, Jessica Olsson held their lovely nuptials this summer Nowitzki's home in the posh Preston Hollow section of Dallas. The pair fell madly in love after datinfg for a year. Jessica who was born of a Kenyan mother and a Swedish father wanted a traditional kikuyu wedding.

The ceremony commonly referred to as Ngurario, is the short version of the Kikuyu wedding, which is meant to announce to the community that the daughter is engaged, provided relatives from both sides with an opportunity to get to know each other and conclude ruracio (dowry payments) discussions. When a couple goes through the ruracio phase, their wedding is officially recognized by customary laws. There was plenty of fun and and plenty to eat and drink. The bride, Jessica was wearing a traditional Kikuyu garment and Dirk was in a dark brown traditional outfit with orange hues. Jessica was also presented with a kiondo by elederly kikuyu women.

Custom required the bride to demonstrate how she would go to the market and shop for her husband. The groom delivered the dowry in cattle wearing traditional garb.

Tata-Naka is a dress label that is owned and trademarked by the Georgia-born British twin sisters – Tamara and Natasha Surguladze, in memory of their collective childhood nickname. Born in Tbilisi, then Soviet-Georgia, in 1978, the sisters moved in 1996 to London where they graduated from Central St. Martin's and created their label. Given that LRM has been a big fan of Tata Naka thus we thought it crucial that we share their brilliance with you. The charming girls behind the hotter-than-hot independent brand are renowned for their incredible in-house prints, my love for their work can’t have come as any great surprise. The power patterns that earned twin sister design duo, Natasha and Tamara Surguladze an entire wall display in Barneys, New York devoted to their graduate collection. Anyone who thought colour blocking and pattern clashing were flash-in-the-pan fads will have to eat their words as one glance at these eye-watering beauties will no doubt put paid to

le fil

that. The carefree brand of quirky chic introduced by a certain Miccia Prada is here to stay, long may it live. In the meantime, check out the threads they are offering up for the upcoming fall season. Keep up the good work, ladies!

“I Am The Future” - Leroy Campbell

LRM is pleased to present this striking editorial entitled “The Shadow Warrior” which ran in both Styleology Magazine and Hint Magazine earlier this year to salute the visionary photographer, Lindsay Adlar whose is renown for her use of the ‘liquid black skin technique’. Adler says that the inspiration of the shoots evolved from her idea “of a dangerous creature that could easily hide in the shadows… [where] the [use of the]clean graphic lines and shapes [were meant to]reflect the creature’s evolution toward being a dangerous but elegant predator.

Wardrobe: LSC for 4 Season Style Mgmnt Model: Maria Durrthy from VNY Hair/Makeup: Johnny Gonzalez

Lindsay Adler is a professional portrait and fashion photographer based in New York. As a New York fashion photographer, her editorials have appeared in dozens of publications internationally. She regularly contributes to a variety of major photo publications including Professional Photographer, Rangefinder Magazine, Shutterbug and more. Her editorials have appeared in Bullett Magazine, Z!NK, Fault, Papercut, Fiasco and more. Lindsay, we salute you!


The safari look isn’t just for exotic locales. You too can get the desired safari style in your home by bringing in a few essential elements. Here’s how: 1. The right lighting can add drama and elegance to any room. Whether turned up or dimmed low, general ambient lighting sets the mood. Ambient lighting works well with task lighting (like a pharmacy lamp pulled up next to a reading chair or a bed.) The contrast between general light and task light lends mystery and drama to an interior. The most romantic light is accent lighting. The gleam of candles through glass hurricanes, or the glow of votives in crystal glasses scattered throughout a room, across a dining table or along a mantle are perfect ways to create accent lighting. Use general ambient, task and accent lighting together to set a mood that’s right for you. 2. Adding animal prints to your home should be approached in the same, considered way that you’d infuse your wardrobe with any other pattern. Remember, a little bit goes a long way. Just as a cheetah-print scarf peeking out under a solid jacket gives a subtle splash of bold style, so should the amount of animal prints in your home be spare. Balance bold prints by mixing them into predominantly neutral color schemes. A leopardpatterned dish pops against a white linen table runner, while a lion-print pillow stands out on a sand-colored chaise. Refrain from mixing different animal prints to ensure the room is chic and tasteful.

4. The perfect bar creates an aura of warmth and comfort. While every well-appointed bar should contain the essentials—highball and lowball glasses, a martini shaker and a decanter—accessories can add that little something extra. Dress your bar with stylish additions that put your personal taste on display at every hosting event. Ralph Lauren barware features supple leather pieces adorned with our embossed nameplate to evoke an authentic heritage feel. A crystal decanter wrapped in handsome leather and our signature etching makes it a collector’s item appropriate for yearround display. It perfectly complements every bar as a stand-alone piece and encompasses timeless Ralph Lauren sophistication when combined with other accessories from the collection.

3. Begin with a centerpiece, such as a flower arrangement, which will set the tone for the table. Keep a variety of tablecloths and cloth napkins on hand so as to play with mood as well as candles, which can soften the lighting scheme. Be sure to have the dishware, flatware and glasses required for a five to sixcourse meal but don’t worry if they don’t come from the same set: mixing and matching complementary sets will make for a dynamic arrangement. Finally, beautiful and unique serving pieces will add another layer to your table setting—even if they are removed from the table during the meal.

5. Reminiscent of the safari lifestyle is mosquito netting. Romanticize the look by switching the actual netting for a sheer fabric.

Out of Africa

Vlisco drew her inspiration from her own rich heritage in creating the new fabric collection ‘Nouvelle Histoire’. In the collection, iconic Vlisco designs are rediscovered and redefined into new narratives, resulting in illustrative memoirs with a twist. The unmistakable Vlisco sense of sophistication is enhanced by the use of familiar colours. ‘Nouvelle Histoire’ consists of modern-day collector’s items from Vlisco’s own Golden Age, a genuine treat for true fashionistas.

les arts New York-based artist Phyllis Galembo has been documenting masquerade and carnival-based practices around the world, and she is most celebrated for images taken in West African countries and also Haiti, where she has traveled annually for the past decade to work in Jacmel. By returning to certain places over a period of several years, she developed an understanding with some of the more secretive societies in

Galembo's photographs of African masks in their figural resplendence make one wonder with great regret what visual and artistic knowledge of masking in Africa is now forever lost. Masking is one of the most complex and secretive, yet profoundly important, phenomena in Africa. Her travels from Sierra Leone, Mali, and Burkina Faso, enabled her to document carnival costume and masking practices from a broad spectrum of groups covering an immense geographical area into a masterpiece entitled, MASKE, featuring the traditional masquerades from Africa.

Humans have been disguising themselves since the beginning of recorded history. Nothing new here. But what Galembo manages to do is to find the link between the grotesque, the playful, and the ritual.

Inseparable from ceremony, ritual, rhythm, and music, traditional African dance styles are as much a cornerstone of Sub-Saharan and West African cultures as they are a powerful and unique facet of the dance world. Not only is African dance a powerful experience for the spectator, but it is also a symbol of solidarity and an important means of communication for the performers and their community.

Phyllis Galembo addresses something in her photography that has been echoing in human-kind for thousands of years. We can smell the ancients in masquerades, costumes, and ornate disguises

While its influence in the West can be seen mostly through contemporary and hip-hop dance forms, it is fortunate for researchers and dancers alike that African dance still exists internationally in its purest forms.



AFWNY|2012 Luxury is an industry that is worth over $100 billion USD. The global demand for luxury goods has been consistently increasing at a rate of 25 to 50 percent for the past many years, with the only exception being the year 2009, during which the market experienced the impacts of the US sub-prime crisis. It is excited to see that the African luxury industry is now sharing the pie in a traditionally European dominated market.

what’s poppin’?

The global demand for luxury goods has been consistently increasing for the past many years, with the only exception being the year 2009, during which the market experienced the impacts of the US sub-prime crisis. However, African fashion has continued to make a rapid climb.

The African Fashion Week New York (AFWNY), a luxury multi-day event produced by Adirée, took place at the Broad Street Ballroom on July 12th, 13th, 14th in New York City’s financial District. LRM was there to take in the week’s festivities .

It offered runway shows featuring over twentyone designers from various countries in Africa and those of the African Diaspora, in addition to exhibitions, and industry networking events. Opening designers included Francis Hendy, Korto Momolu, and designers like Mafi, Attolle Collection, Geraldo Fashions and others. Here’s a brief snapshot into the wonderful event that its organizer, Adiat Disu presented to the fashion community.

AFW- Lagos Designers have had a love affair with Africa for decades, from 60s YSL to Derek Lam's S/S 12 shows, but Nduka Obaigbena (aka The Duke), the Nigerian media mogul who publishes the This Day newspaper and Arise Magazine, and who funded the whole week as well as paying for more than 300 international visitors, sees Lagos fashion week as essential for putting Africa on the fashion map proper. "We are demonstrating that Africans can contribute, be the best and be world class," he said, wafting around the crowds in a billowing white gown, martini in hand. "This is about putting Africa on the map." One of the standout designers, Central Saint Martins educated menswear designer Buki Akib - who is hopefully showing in London next year - concurs, but says it's also about Africa "losing its novelty factor." Being an African designer should simply be about where you're from. "Anyone can copy African design," she tells me in the back of a car, "but hopefully platforms like this will show the industry that African designers can fit in internationally without having to be a separate entity."Her collection, based on intricately patterned monochrome knitwear with metallic leather panels and big, swooshy boxing gowns, was one of the most

Swimwear by designer David David. Photograph: Jon Gambrell/AP

ovation as he saluted and danced his way around the U-shaped runway. It was a perfect distillation of the spirit of the whole week - where fashion creates a collective experience, rather than one of isolation. I met women from all over West Africa – from Ghana, Cameroon and the Democratic Republic of the Congo - who travelled to Lagos to see the shows. "We love fashion and come to be inspired," said one, "and to support our sisters." The local fashion industry is still in its infancy, though, and it remains to be seen whether the African models will break through internationally. Certainly the ones I spoke to backstage all want to, and were inspired by the presence of South Sudanese supermodel Alek Wek, now in her mid-30s, who modeled for designer Tiffany Amber, but they all have to keep day jobs to sustain themselves. As the week progressed, I felt ashamed of how few African models whose frames are lean and muscular compared to the near-skeletal Europeans – there are in the fashion industry. It's absurd.

Fati Asibelua accomplished of all the shows I saw. Other highlights were Bestow Elan, a British Ghanaian whose chic, feminine dresses came splashed with vibrant, Christopher Kane-like prints and large plaited collars. Loza Maleombho was another high point, debuting a diverse collection inspired by traditional Afghan wear and the nomadic Tuareg people of the Sahara, but using the Ankara print fabric that's hugely popular in Nigeria. The main attraction of the event for many was Ozwald Boateng, the British couturier with Ghanaian parents and the first black tailor to move to Savile Row back in 1995, who presented a mostly black-and-white, supermasculine collection inspired by a trip to Japan he made in 1990 when he was starting out. At the end of the show, which closed the week, he got a standing

The next Arise fashion week may happen in Cape Town or Nairobi. It makes sense to move somewhere where fashion is the only focus, not maintaining an electrical supply. But I have a sneaking suspicion that Lagos fashion lovers may convince him otherwise. Despite their obstacles with power supplies and resources, designers across the country are determined to make their mark.

Koketso Chipe showcased a brilliant yet colorful collection. The pieces brought some freshness to the ramp , with daring colors of indigo , tangerine and corals . Most interesting were his use of the signature Beaded loop necklaces .


diva supreme

Fashion legend, Naomi Campbell, will have her television debut this fall on Oxygen’s “The Face.” The show willl be hosted by “renowned fashion photographer” Nigel Barker featuring super models Karolina Kurkova, Cocoa Rocha and Naomi coaching aspiring female models hoping to become the “face” of a well-known brand. The show needed a ‘New Boost’ and Naomi and her fellow cat-walkers

Right. Prada tricotine argyle dress, and poplin collar shirt. Malia Mills velvet knickers. Prada bag. Left, Mary Katrantzou silk cape and blouse. Malia Mills velvet knickers. Arlette Sarkissians 18k gold, enamel, and Swarovski Elements necklace; Missoni clutch; No. 21 sandals. Photographs by Emma Summerton. Styled by Giovanna Battaglia.

will help in the “molding, nurturing and transforming” of the contestants on the show, according to Oxygen. The coaches will be involved in the scouting process, before putting together their own teams. Each week on the show will involve photo shoots, runway shows and commercials for various famed American brands. Andrew Frank, a former producer for “The Amazing Race” and “Survivor,” is executive producing the series. Take a look at the icon from one of her most recent editorials from the July issue of W Magazine.

Naomi is wearing an Etro embroidered wool coat. Fendi iPad case.

Louis Vuitton acrylic and wool jacquard coat and embellished wool and calfskin bag. Cartier at Siegelson vintage 14k gold, citrine, and diamond ring and bracelet. Salvatore Ferragamo heels.

Miu Miu mohair jacket and pants. David Webb 18k yellow gold, carnelian, chalcedony, and diamond necklace; Bally bag; Yves Saint Laurent pumps.

people to watch

tastemakers Jewel by Lisa In 2005 Lisa Folawiyo a law graduate from the University of Lagos, Nigeria; with no formal fashion education and her team of expert craftsmen stormed onto the Nigerian fashion scene with Jewel by Lisa. Later that year, she launched Jewel by Lisa is a luxury fashion brand with a strong clientele that creates lifelong treasures encouraging its clients to wear over and over again.

Her main objective is to c was to cater to the Nigerian market, creating desirable, one-of-a kind luxury pieces while establishing itself as an international label. Today, it remains one of the true brands that people respect for re-inventing Ankara textiles into covetable pieces. She has consistently increased value to her brand by distinguishing it from other brands by targeting broad industry segments oppose to focusing on a narrow segment. She believes that the woman who wears Jewel by Lisa can be described as “a stylish, confident, city chic woman with a wardrobe filled with desirable eclectic pieces picked up from her travels; her youthful exuberance speaks effortless and unrehearsed style.

US Flagship Showroom-43 Greene Street, New York, NY 10013

(L-R) Erzumah Ackerson (Bestow Elan) and Helen Jennings in Bestow Elan

In their words, [Bestow Elan] is "an innovative womenswear label - contemporary in style, inspired by cultural awareness...Erzumah Ackerson draws her inspiration from both classic and vintage stimuli, as well as influences from her African heritage. this in turn allows her to create garments that are fitting for every occasion, and appeal to individuals from all walks of life." Why do we love bestow Elan?: Aside from her attention to shape and detail which we greatly admire, we're big fans of how a little playfulness shines through the backdrop of chic sophistication. The beauty, as always, is in the details - from bold shoulders, to peek-a-boo details, to the meshing of African print and jersey, to structure without stuffiness, we're completely sold - hook, line and sinker. Bestow Elan is easily one of our most exciting finds in since 2009. Don’t believe it? Look for yourself.

mavericks Though the details surrounding the relationship between the Nelson Mandela Foundation Trust and 46664/ Heritage 1960 seem a bit sketchy, one thing is for certain and that is that the collection is hawt!. Inspired by the legacy of Mandela’s fight for equality in South Africa, the company based its name off of the number that "Mandela was given in prison. The Nelson Mandela Foundation Trust, is regarded as a permanent reminder of the sacrifices he was prepared to make for a humanitarian and social justice cause he passionately believed in." To that end, the number was licensed “to create a sustainable income stream for 46664 South Africa, which is why 466/64 Fashion was developed. Recently, a statement was released saying that the third party enity would oversee the investment of the funds generated through the success of the 466/64 Fashion brand and "a percentage of the revenue generated from the sales of 466/64 Fashion goes directly toward funding projects that bring forward Mandela’s legacy. No matter what the policy is, Nelson Mandela’s name is not to be used for commercial purposes” James Cecil, president of Cadence Communications, which represents the Nelson

A bronze statue depicting former South African president Nelson Mandela as he walked to freedom in 1990 following his release after 27 years of incarceration, stands on February 10, 2010, outside the Groot Drakenstein prison in Paarl, about 90Kms from Cape Town on the eve of the 20th Anniversary of his liberation.

Mandela Foundation in North America. The drama never seems ceases. But to that end, Patton vehemently denies that 466/64 Fashion has ever said that Mandela was directly involved in the brand beyond simply serving as the line's inspiration. “We have such an authentic fashion story to tell with this amazing brand that is rooted in South Africa’s vibrant, colorful culture and lifestyle cache as our well of inspiration. We are staunchly committed to ethical fashion as our brand ethos and look forward to bringing new energy, excitement and social impact to the retail channel in the U.S. and Canada. The initial response from retailers and the fashion community has been overwhelmingly positive.� What we've gathered from all this back and forth is that there is definitely a relationship between the two organizations. However, for the last time, the Nelson Mandela Foundation Trust wants it to be known that Nelson Mandela does not have a clothing line-and 466/64 Fashion wants it known that spotlighting Mandela's legacy is it's only connection to the world leader. Ok! Got it.

le prodigy One thing that is amazing about Aisha is that she is a self -taught designer. Barely two years into the fashion industry, she has won several awards including: The Emerging Designer of the Year Award for the year 2009 at the inaugural Arise Africa Fashion Week in Johannesburg, South Africa, She was the only Ghanaian designer chosen to showcase in the Arise L’Afrique- a- Porter, in Paris as part of Paris Fashion Week in March this year. At the just ended Africa Economic Forum hosted by Columbia University, Aisha Obuobi was invited to sit on the panel for “African Fashion Going Global”; a discourse on making African Fashion a

Aisha Obuobi

recognizable global industry. She has also been featured in magazines such as Canoe 53 Sails (Ghana), Black Hair (UK) and Destiny (South Africa) and Sawubona (In flight magazine for SAA). Aisha Obuobi, was listed as one of the women set to make headlines in 2010 in a feature published in the international edition of Glamour magazine. Christie Brown is one of the breakthrough African designers who has a rising Pan-African and international profile as well as a devout group of fashionista’s fans. At the 2012 Arise Magazine Fashion Week in Lagos, Christie Brown presented a collection which the designer, Aisha Obuobi, christened “XUTRA“. A fashionforward collection designed for the sophisticated client within an active life-style. Check out the pieces from her look book as it sheds some light on how the average around-the-way girl can carry African-inspired clothing from the day into the evening.

Christie Brown's aim is to satisfy the urge “of that modern woman who seeks a true taste of Africa.”

innovateurs "I didn't choose fashion, it chose me”, says Sagoe. Sagoe describes her style as “globally appealing.” Designs mix traditional African fabrics and handcrafted details with Western contemporary style. All of her raw materials are sourced from Africa and she uses local people for the intricate detailing. “I always incorporate indigenous fabrics. I love the look of [Nigerian Yoruba fabric] Aso Oke and have developed a unique system where the fabric actually looks like it’s been embroidered but it’s all done by hand on looms. I also love to teach innovation and employ people to develop new ways of working. My customers like attention to detail and the craftsmanship in my pieces.” In her native Nigeria, Sagoe has found success dressing the wealthy social set. “My regular ladies who do the party scene love to dress up,” she explains. “Some of them even say to me ‘I want to

Deola Sagoe

look the best and be the center of attention’, so I hope that I achieve that for them. I try to fuse African cultural style with a modern approach to design. I love the dynamism of creating modernity out of something that is steeped in history. I think it’s what gives my collection such a cultural mix.” Known for her body-conscious dresses and jackets , which she says are they key to celebrating women’s natural curves. “I’m good at attention to detail, so there are little touches like beading or pleating to accentuate a line or highlight a collar.” In 2008 she created a Masai collection inspired in part by the US presidential candidate Barack Obama and his Kenyan ancestry. “There are beaded corset dresses utilising my signature woven plaid check blanket fabrics. I like to put my designer stamp on these traditional looks. The Masai are famous for their striking multi-coloured look, so I hope it will go

down well.” Elsewhere her support and admiration for Obama continues with a range of block color shift dresses in lightweight wool or cotton jersey. But she’s still deciding on a last-minute range of slogan T-shirt dresses for the Obama campaign – mixing the Masai print designs with clever wording – that she’s keeping under wraps. Today, her goal is to continue on introducing the African take on fashion. Something of which she feels her customers are used to.

Deola Sagoe

who’s mimi plange?

She was born in Ghana but raised in California. Her line, Mimi Plange is in its fifth year of providing luxury womenswear to the chic Africanista. It was featured in the Spring 2010, during New York Fashion Week under the name, Boudoir D’huitres S/S 2011 Collection “Prey and Pray.”

When Mimi explained her Fall 2011 Collection, she was cited as saying how it was inspired by a then recent trip to South Africa where she was obsessed with going on a safari. “I wanted to go on a safari and go to a lion park and generally see what life was like there. I’m from

Plange with renown fashion stylist/ designer, Rachel Zoe. Below, Plange with industry legent Andre Leon Talley.

Ghana, and Ghana is totally different than South Africa. I was just really inspired to kind of use that (South Africa experience) as a base for this collection. My idea is essentially a Victorian safari, so that I keep the whole branding of Boudoir d’Huitres. But then I also look at the modern elements that are out there and try to compile both of those together. The effect is something that’s timeless, because that’s the type of fashion I want to do.”

Mimi on how she started designing to LA before moving to New York. Memories of how her mom was really into fashion when she was in Africa. She used to do a little bit of modeling and her pictures really used to inspire me. But it is my memory of an Alexander McQueen show, where the models walked on water that transfixed me. I just remember saying to myself, “I want to do something that is so inspiring.” From that moment she always wanted to be apart of fashion. “Ever since I was 11…It was like a fantasy for me, I would get lost in magazines and I just wanted to do it.

Leaping forward into the present, Mimi says all of her collections are designed with the modern confident woman in mind . She is a smart woman who has defined her own beauty and lives by her own rules.

african genius

Wall Street maybe had its share of hard knocks in recent years but the mood at Duro Olowu's Spring/Summer 2012 show at New York Fashion Week was anything but downbeat. The U.K.-based designer had camera bulbs flashing wildly as models preened and posed in front of a stark white backdrop at Milk Studios earlier this year as he launched his much anticipated Spring/ Summer 2012 collection. Inspired by the work of photographer Jacques Henri Lartigue and the West Indian immigrants who arrived in England in the '50s, the collection was a visual feast of reclaimed silks and vintage fabric.

Africa Africa my Africa Africa, my mother land Land of milk and honey land of natural beauty Africa land where I live Africa my Africa A land of great rulers Africa my Africa land of nature A land where nature lives Africa, my Africa A land blessed by God himself On the day of creation God threw diamond like stone gold like rain He dropped crude oil like rain Africa, my Africa land of milk and honey

Abisoye Sejoro

my love affair with the summer

This summer was a culmination of many great endeavors both personally and professionally. As the Chair of the Diversity and Inclusion Committee for the ASID New York Metro Chapter, I was able to book the New York School of Interior Design for a remarkable two calendar dates offering a symposium featuring some of the nation’s top interior designers and architects of color (stay tuned for that) and my design of an eco-friendly African-inspired dog house was selected to be auctioned off for a prestigious Southampton’s Animal Shelter summer charity. Beyond those great achievements one of the greatest highlights was spending some time with my family in the Hamptons. Take a look.


The 2012 Hampton Designer Showhouse presented by Traditional Home hosted a preview gala party on Saturday, July 21, 2012. This years showhouse which is benefiting the Southampton Hospital was built by Grande Design Residential In. and showcases the work of over twenty designers. (Photos: Nicole Barylski

Always remember to take some time out to enjoy the view. Stay fabulous and (if it is God’s will) I’ll see you next summer, y’all.

montrer son soutien LRM implores its readers to support the brands featured in this issue who dare to help bring “African chic� to the masses! For more information on the brands featured in this months issue please visit our website. We are, here to serve, to give the design community a way to move forward. We're here to tell the stories of ordinary practitioners who have overcome extraordinary odds to succeed in this competitive industry. We are also here to speak the truth to those who most need to hear it. As we embark on this journey together, please let us know what's on your mind and how we can better serve you in the years ahead. Peace & Light! MPL Design Group LLC

Stay Tuned…

Vive L'Africa!!!!!  

Everything In Fashion and Home Decor inspired by Mother Africa!!!!