Wednesday, 4 October 2017

The Cultural Crediting Crisis

While most people marveled and reveled in British designer, Stella McCartney's recent Spring Summer 2018 Paris Fashion Week showcase, I on the other hand, a Senegalese/Cameroonian fashion student, could only remember pieces from the collection as memorable in an entirely disappointing way. Described as, "A vibrant celebration of British Style and a joyful display of colour", the SS18 collection saw an array of fresh feminine pieces lingering among the sea of African designs— seemingly out of place. 

The problem? These pieces, known throughout most of West Africa as "Ankara" or "Kaba" are made of traditional Ankara prints unique to the region. For many of us Africans, we recognize these prints as the "Ankara" dresses that our mothers, grandmothers and aunties would sport to wear around the house, or simply out to run errands (and notably cost a fraction of the price). Much like Kilts are culturally significant to the Scottish, "Ankara" is quintessentially African to casual wear. 

My initial look at these runway images took me through a spectrum of emotions: I was stunned. I was dumbfounded. I was insulted and I was hurt. But most importantly, I was sad. Sad for my African people, whose pride, skill and culture lie within the very fabric of these designs. Sad for the millions of people who Stella McCartney's reach will never grasp and discover the incredible talent that lie behind these African designs. See, it goes beyond just "yet another designer ripping off a culture that is not theirs" and "cultural appropriation"—this issue is one that is much greater. It's not enough to cry "cultural appropriation" without truly understanding the insidiously problematic and dysfunctional effect that moments like this represent. 

The African fashion and textile industry is one that is one of the most underrated, talented yet booming industries. This industry has birthed remarkable talents such as David Tlale and Maki Oh, amongst others. Though, despite the incredible design talent that the African continent produces, one major aspect that is lacking is visibility. Visibility is something that can skyrocket an unknown designer from a small Ghanaian town into the international fashion stratosphere-to be credited and revered by fellow, yet more well-known, designers like the Marc Jacobs and Michael Kors of the world. Visibility is something that a fashion powerhouse like Stella McCartney could have easily given to African fashion, but sadly chose otherwise. 

While I am admittedly—yet strangely—proud of the fact that a major designer like Stella McCartney would take inspiration from Africa and Africans, it's still important to protect artistic dignity in giving credit to those who gave you the inspiration that you are profiting off of by, either featuring a black model wearing said designs. (Again. Visibility.) or collaborating with other emerging African designers.

                                                     



Source: http://www.brandedgirls.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/Traditional-Ankaras-for-Wedding.jpg

Thursday, 13 October 2016

FIT On Campus Street Style: Monochrom Fall Colors

As the leading fashion school in the country, FIT produces the crème de la crème crop of stylish students, each sporting a unique style that is just as innovative and trendy as the next.

Catching these chic students in between classes and recharge coffee runs is quite the exclusive feat. See below today's street style feature and get inspiration for your next outfit from a student who knows all about style.

"I rushed out to my class this morning but I was inspired by the colorful falling Fall leaves and decided to incorporate these monochrome colors into my outfit"

Thursday, 5 May 2016

MET GALA 2016

#NDEYTAKESTHEMETGALA
#MANUSXMACHINA

Top: River Island
Skirt: ZARA
Leather Bag: ALDO
Heels: ZARA
Jewlery: Bloomingdales

Monday, 21 March 2016

New York Street Style: Fluorescent Red

Life In A Technicolor Dream.

"I actually work in a very modest setting, so I love for my personality to shine through by way of my clothes. I like to get creative."
-Kaley Kramer (@beexlaura)

Today's street style pick beams on in vivid, blazing reds, oranges and blues are harmoniously balanced out with soft petal prints.

Thursday, 17 March 2016

New York Street Style: Laurence And Chico

Dynamic duo Laurence Li and Chico Wang design clothes that can only be described as "Quirky-Futuristic-Space-Cadet-Meets-Whimsical-Alice-In-Wonderland". The Canadian based pair (and Parsons School of Design graduates) are the heads of the avant-garde "Laurence And Chico" brand.

Check out 1/2 of the stylish pair, Laurence Li's street style look. Outfit inspo anyone?

Be sure to see more of their unique designs at www.laurenceandchico.com