Made in Africa

 

I love opening magazines and looking online for styles that l can send to my seamstress in Ghana to make into Ntoma (Twi word for African printed cloth) or Kente dresses, skirts and trousers etc.

My Seamstress made a simple Ntoma skirt with a peplum like end inspired by the Balmain Skirts in its Spring Summer 2014 collection. I paired it with a red lace top.

Made in Africa 1

African prints has indeed inspired Western Fashion and the fashion industry. It can be said it became ‘mainstream’ between 2009 and 2010. It is not uncommon to find African like prints in the high street as well on the catwalk. Fashion Brands like Matthew Williamson, Etro, Roberto Cavalli, Givenchy (and many more) have all had ‘exotic’ collections pop up now again. Celebrities like Solange Knowles, Michelle Obama, Gwen Stefani and Rihanna have embraced Ankara prints and styles. Seeing the influence that African fashion has had on the fashion industry as a whole and the strong desire for it (which has increased over the years), it is safe to say Ankara, Ntoma and Kente is here to stay.

African designers like Christie Brown, Duro Olowu, Lisa Folawiyo (Jewel by Lisa), Ituen Basi, Deola Sagoe transformed what was considered a local trend into a global trend, where everyone wants a bit of African prints. These designers reinvented traditional Ankara and Ntoma styles, for the modern woman and man. 

Franca Sozzani (Editor-in-Chief of Vogue Italia) believes that the Africa has the potential to develop into something like the brand and stamp, Made in Italy (See blog post Place to Visit- Victoria & Albert Museum’s ‘Glamour of Italian Fashion 1945-2014’). I agree! I truly believe that ‘Made in Africa’ has great craftsmanship and can be seen as a sign of style across the world.

I think I’ll write a detailed blog post on the development of Made in Africa and the Rise of African Fashion soon.

In the meantime, here are some more pictures of my outfit

Made in Africa 2

Made in Africa 3

Made in Africa 4

What was I wearing?

Red Lace Top- Marks & Spencer

Ntoma Skirt-Made by my seamstress in Ghana

Black bag- Marks & Spencer

Shoes- Zara

Stay Blessed

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Place to Visit- Victoria & Albert Museum’s ‘Glamour of Italian Fashion 1945-2014’

Italian Glamour 3

A couple of weeks ago I went out with my brothers to Victoria & Albert Museum. We went to see the Museum’s exhibition ‘Glamour of Italian Fashion 1945-2014’. The exhibition started from 5th April 2014 and will continue to 27th July 2014.

Italian Glamour 4

The exhibition explores designs after the second world war to the present day. The clothes on display were breathtaking and just seeing the craftsmanship that goes into designing clothes is extraordinary. We also learned what the ‘Made in Italy’ brand means to designers, creative directors, artisans and writers. Franca Sozzani (editor-in chief of Vogue Italia) defined Italian fashion and ‘Made in Italy’ as quality, creativity, glamour, richness and unnoticeable luxury. Additionally, what was fascinating to see was the business aspect of the Italian fashion industry and Angela Missoni of the Italian fashion house Missoni commenting on the lack of support from the Italian government.

I thought Fausto Puglisi’s commentary on Italian fashion was very interesting:

I trust so much in Italian art and craft. That is something I like to do. I can never accept to do something out of Italy. I believe so much in sacrifice in fashion. Rome wasn’t built in a day and that’s for me the same thing. I mean a dress is not built in a day. A dress needs to be fitted, a dress needs to be sewed, a dress needs to be amazing. And if we think about the big names in fashion we think about sacrifice. Sacrifice means that fashion is your obsession and fashion is the only girlfriend and boyfriend you can have in life. Fashion is the only obsession, there is nothing else than fashion.

Francesco Cianferoni, Gucci Artisan:

On average a modeller has more than 20 years of experience. A prototype artisan, more than 10 years. I personally have done this job for 37 years. Obviously, our values are tradition, “Made in Italy” and quality. These are, of course, constantly challenged by innovation, which we must confront every day to have a young product that keeps up with the times.

Of course, during the making process the bags are assembled by hand, sewn with sewing machines, etc., but there is always a large human component – that is what determines the expected final result. We are talking about productions that were made in the 1960s and 1950s, and are still made today in the same manner and using the same tools. We draw a lot out of our historical archive.

We work with living materials. Leather changes according to tanning, dyeing… so many factors. The product always has to be followed from beginning to end, as every product is unique; each piece of leather is different from another. So it is not an assembly-line job, but a job requiring concentration, analysis and passion.

It made me appreciate fashion even more than I already do. The passion that goes into creating high fashion pieces is clearly visible in the exhibition. I am happy that I have brothers that equally love fashion as I do, we enjoyed ourselves so much (fashion geeks ha).

There is a book with the history of The glamour of Italian Fashion that you can buy from V&A’s gift shop. I can’t wait to read it!

Italian Glamour 5

Italian Glamour 6

Sadly, I could not take pictures of the exhibition. They were really strict on photography-sad times. You all need to see the beautiful clothing in the exhibition. It is only £8 for students. I want to go again!

Italian Glamour 2

Go check it out!

Stay Blessed

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