Category Archives: Fashion and Street Style

Fashion and Style: Trending looks, Fashion Tips and Fashionista’s to follow

Water Goddess…

When I was in college I had a Ghanaian friend who always teased me and called me “Mami Wata”, (a pidgin phrase used to describe a water goddess or simply a mermaid!) Last year in preparation for a Valentines Day issue I did a studio shoot with Bulawayo based photohrapher Shayne Oxden-Willows. We finished our shoot way ahead of schedule and decided to do an impromptu outdoor shoot! Shayne’s studio is just a five minute drive from the Hillside Dams and we chose that as our location.

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We did the shoot in early February just after massive rains and the upper dam was at full capacity and over flowing into the lower dam. We managed to find a spot where the water flow was not as harsh and took some random images. I wore a Sari I had been gifted by a friend who had traveled to India earlier in the year. It was mostly unplanned but we managed to get some really amazing images. It was late in the day and the sun was just moments from setting!

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“May what I do flow from me like a river, no forcing and no holding back, the way it is with children.”
Rainer Maria Rilke

Photo Credit: Shayne Oxden-Willows

Weekend Shoot

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A friend will soon be launching a groovy and fun line of unisex pants. We had a shoot this weekend for the line! I always enjoy the laid back and relaxed shoots. We shot at an abandoned train and had some interesting themes going!

The website of the clothing line will be launched soon and I must say will be worth looking out for!

Fashion is a language. Some know it, some learn it, some never will – like an instinct.

Edith Head

Hidden Treasures…

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One of my past time activities is playing tourist in the beautiful city of Bulawayo. While looking for ideal locations for an upcoming photo shoot we discovered this abandoned train whose inside looked recently charred by fire. It had such character and makes for such a great location for an unconventional shoot. Looking forward to returning here next week for the actual photo shoot!

Blessed are they who see beautiful things in humble places where other people see nothing.
Camille Pissarro

Headed for the Win!

Tonight is the season premiere of Project Runway on Lifetime Television in the US! The show will air at 9pm/8pm Central Time. Project Runway has always be one of my favorite reality fashion shows! The show is hosted by model Heidi Klum and features 12 or more designers.The contestants compete with each other to create the best clothes and are restricted in time, materials and theme. Their designs are judged, and one or more designers are eliminated each week. Ultimately this season’s champion will receive $150,000 from GoBank; $50,000 of next generation technology from HP and Intel to help enable their creativity and launch their new business; a year’s supply of Resource Natural Spring Water and an all-expense paid, luxurious spa retreat for two to the exotic Maldives, courtesy of Resource Water; a chance to design and sell an exclusive collection at Belk; a complete sewing and crafting studio from Brother Sewing and Embroidery; a fashion spread in Marie Claire magazine; a 2014 Lexus IS 350; a $100,000 fabric allowance from Tide Pods to inspire fashions that truly pop; and a $50,000 styling contract with L’Oréal Paris.

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I am particularly excited about this season of Project Runway as I know one of the designers; Kahindo Mateene! I first met Kahindo at a friend’s birthday celebration in Chicago and have watched over the years as she has evolved and grown as a designer! After three failed attempts to be on the Poject Runway show Kahindo was encouraged by the casting director to try again and she made it to Season 12!

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A native of the The Democratic Republic of Congo, Kahindo pulls inspiration from the Avant Garde spirit of the Congolese art and culture. She moved to the US at age 17 to attend college. Having lived and traveled in Africa, Europe and America, Kahindo expertly combines these different stylistic elements, bringing a unique point of view to her design aesthetic. Kahindo founded the design label “Modahnik” in 2009. The name Modahnik is an anagram of her first name, Kahindo, and last initial, M.

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Kahindo describes the MODAHNIK woman as “a global nomad who views fashion as a creative expression of her individuality. She is classically feminine with an edge and dares to be bold.”

Prior to being a designer, Kahindo worked as a Human Resources Specialist and holds a BA in International Business & Economics, from Blackburn College. She has since furthered her studies and holds a BFA in Fashion Design from Illinois Institute of Art-Chicago. She is also an alumni of the 2011 class of the Chicago Fashion Incubator at Macy’s on State Street Designer In Residence Program.

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MODAHNIK has been featured in WWD, Chicago Magazine, Chicago Sun-Times, Refinery 29 and on runways in Los Angeles, New York, Chicago and Johannesburg.

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Her Spring 2013 Collection is to die for! My favorite piece being the “FLOTUS” named after the First Lady of the United States! Her designs are bold and colorful with blues and has had her compared to the great Alexander McQueen!

On her most priced possession Kahindo said; “My dream celebrity person to dress is Michelle Obama. I did send her one dress from my spring/summer 2011 [line]. I don’t know if she’s worn it, but I did receive a thank-you note from the White House. I carry it with me everywhere.”

She loves the style of Sarah Jessica Parker and would one day like to set up her design studios between New York and Capetown South Africa! We wish Kahindo all the best on the Project Runway Show and hope she will achieve the honor of being the first female African Designer to win!

“I think there is beauty in everything. What ‘normal’ people would perceive as ugly, I can usually see something of beauty in it.”
— Alexander McQueen

I want one now!

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In April I attended a pop up garden party hosted by Styled By Africa highlighting Fashion, Radio, Art and Photography! It was a wonderful day of browsing and shopping through designs and jewelry made by Zimbabwean designers.

There was also a brief performance by upcoming artist Shingai Mangoma. Guests could also have fun by posing for pictures at the photo booth being run by @Zashcrafted!

I found this amazing mustard blazer by Haus of Stone! It was love at first fit! This fashion forward piece can be paired with any outfit and is a great must have in Zimbabwe’s mild winter season.

To find out more about Styled By Africa follow them on twitter @StyledByAfrica, you can also follow the amazing Haus of Stone @hausofstone.

HiFashion or HiArt?

Harare was abuzz with HIFA a few months back! Although I have lived in Zimbabwe all my life, I had never attended HIFA. The Harare International Festival of the Arts (HIFA) is one of Africa’s largest international arts festivals. Established in 1999 by Manuel Bagorro the festival takes place each year in late April in Harare, the capital of Zimbabwe. The week long festival encompasses five principal disciplines: theatre, music, dance, fine art, and poetry.

I attended HIFA with a keen interest on the Fashion on display, which was cleverly coined “HIFashion”. My first stop was Trash Queen at the Hivos Poetry Cafe and Design Stage at the Harare Gardens. The concept behind Trash Queen was to, “question the idea of fashion and art, by providing a challenge to designers – To create original and innovative pieces using recycled materials. An interactive show, where the audience would be given an opportunity to create their own pieces using ‘trash’ which would then be judged in the final show. This exciting concept would bring out creativity and challenge the idea of fashion. Submissions could be made before and during the Festival.”

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Trash Queen played out as a fashion display more than an interactive creative event. All the designs showcased appeared to have been made before hand and there was little interaction with the audience. It was only at the end that the audience was given the opportunity to vote for their favorite design.

Back to the show itself! It reminded me of the same monotonous Zimbabwe Fashion Shows. Although the description highlighted that the show was intended to “challenge” the idea of fashion, I personally think the era of dresses made out of plastic bottles and cans has come and gone and as such we should also progressively move along.

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I follow with keen interest what’s going on globally with the green movement and fashion and I can safely say we have been left behind. Every time there is mention of recycling or Eco-fashion, out come the plastic bottles and candy wrappers to substitute fabric. We seem to have missed the memo that Eco-fashionable designs can also be wearable! I have always imagined fashion shows to be platforms to increase the visibility of designers and a place to introduce their designs to the public. From this space are we able to relate to the designer and hopefully this leads to consumers purchasing the designs. I would like to believe that every one of us would at some point in their life to profit from their talents and somehow I don’t see how making bottle dresses will result in that. Arguably fashion is a form of art, however we shouldn’t over estimate the value of the art being produced. This is to say, after the fashion show is over and done with, how many of the designers can truthfully say they have earned a decent living from making dresses out of used bottles and cans. Unless one gets a deal with Lady Gaga it is highly unlikely.

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I think it’s time we rethink Eco-fashion and the way in which we interpret the concept of recycled material. A quick search online will show that beautiful practical garments can be made from recycled fabric. Other ways to address green fashion is rethinking green! A green garment can be one made from cotton that was grown in a sustainable green way. I think it is important for Zimbabwe to step away from the predictable and impractical way of selling Eco-fashion. It is time we embrace the green movement but ensure that the designer benefits from their creations and that consumers feel comfortable and confident to wear clothing with a green label on it!

We have two major fashion events coming up in a few months. Hopefully we will see new and fresh ideas where green fashion is concerned at both shows!

Awareness never goes out of style…

That dreaded season of the year is here…the skies are cloudy, sporadic patterns of rain, people’s moods are dampened… [clearly I have a different take on fall!]. Despite the depressing weather, I had the wonderful opportunity to attend the annual Make a Statement Design for the Cure Fashion show hosted by the AIDS Foundation of Chicago.

 

"at the Fashion Show"

 

The event serves as a vehicle to raise HIV/AIDS awareness among Chicagoans ages 21-35. The high energy fashion show and cocktail event is part of Fashion Focus Chicago and showcases by the city’s top designers.

 

Dress by "Giselle"

 

Between mingling with the city’s hottest advocates and fashionistas, I volunteered for the foundation by selling raffle tickets.

 

With attendees of the event!

 

Since its inception, Make a Statement: Design for the Cure has raised nearly $65,000 to support the AIDS Foundation of Chicago’s Effort to promote sound testing policies, linkage to care and quality service delivery throughout Chicagoland.

Overall it was an enjoyable evening and would encourage anyone keen on fashion to attend next year’s event. I would like to congratulate the AIDS Foundation of Chicago’s Junior Board on an excellent job  done!

“Be daring, be different, be impractical, be anything that will assert integrity of purpose and imaginative vision against the play-it-safers, the creatures of the commonplace, the slaves of the ordinary.”

Cecil Beaton

 

Spread the love…

A single phrase that would best describe me is, “I have a passion for fashion and people,” which is why when I heard of AFR I was eager to join their team. Authentic Fashion Renaissance (AFR) was founded in 2009 as a social entrepreneurship firm. AFR has committed to donate 20% of its proceeds to charitable organizations in AFRica. The purchase of one shirt goes to educate one child in AFRica. Already the firm has made a contribution to Noah Orphans based in South Africa.

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The brand seeks to provide unique sophisticated Afro-centric designs that will bring pride to their customers. In preparation for the brand’s official launch the firm has sort out Fashion Ambassadors to market and represent the brand. I was highly honored when I was asked to be an AFR Ambassador. Amongst other AFR Ambassadors is Zimbabwean born Australian Model Teurai Chanakira. Today I spent the day out and about with a friend and managed to capture some fun images in my “Spread the Love in AFRica” Tee, one of AFR‘s tshirts.

Thandi in an A.F.R Tee

AFR has decided to focus on t-shirts and polos as they enter the fashion industry. They hope to expand their designs to all different aspects of fashion in the near future.

Available online for $14.99

The Tees are playfully casual and yet still fashion forward.

Unisex tees in all sizes

The inaugral collection is coming soon. Be on the look out and get your own AFR Tee NOW!