Wednesday, 28 November 2012 01:12

Fashions Finest Awards 2012 - Red Carpet Interviews

A celebration of emerging and exceptionally outstanding talent.

Dashing presenter Antonio Castaldo interviews the nominees and winners on the red carpet at the Fashions Finest Awards 2012, City of Westminster College London.

Video produced by Ondemotive Productions
Published in Videos
Saturday, 24 November 2012 19:03

Fashion Finest Awards 2012 - The Reception

Sola Oyebade aka Mr Mahogany is the Creative Director and Show Producer of this year's Fashion Finest Awards which was held at the City Of Westminster College, London W2. Here are the highlights of the guests as they arrive before the main ceremony.

Follow us on Twitter: @FashionFinest
Published in Videos
Sola Oyebade aka Mr Mahogany, the CEO of Mahogany International (a leading fashion company) accuses the British Fashion Council of only awarding the mainstream designers. In this controversial statement he made whilst we filmed the red carpet of the Fashion Finest awards, Mr Oyebade said: "when we look at what the British Fashion Council did, which is the major award in the United Kingdom, we found very simply that if you weren't a mainstream name, if you weren't a top player, if you weren't from a background of money, you weren't going to get there."

The Fashions Finest Awards was set up last year to celebrate the unsung talent within the fashion industry. There are plenty of designers and models within the UK indsutry who had produced great work and this show was there to acknowledge their efforts.
Published in Blog
Some people will read this and get upset but as much as it may hurt some things she says are true.

However I went to the University of Lagos and I am very upset at the proposed new name, which is Moshood Abiola University (MAU). Seriously now, no disrespect to the late Abiola but this name for one of the best universities in Nigeria is terrible. 

UPDATE ON THE RENAMING OF UNILAG 
Published in Blog
Monday, 21 May 2012 13:54

Last Flight to Abuja - World Premiere

The countdown has now finally begun to the world premiere of Last Flight to Abuja, one of the most anticipated Nollywood movies of 2012.

Published in News
Tuesday, 08 May 2012 12:14

GQ Style South Africa has arrived!

GQ Style South Africa has arrived and will be bringing you the latest in fashion & style. 

GQ-Style-South-Africa-hit-the-Shelves-today_
Published in Blog
Tuesday, 24 April 2012 22:25

'Ten Ten'

Hailed as the 1st lady of Afrobeats Nigerian born, May7ven is the 2nd Afrobeats artist after D'banj to be A-Listed in the UK with her ladies anthem "Ten Ten".
Published in News
Tuesday, 21 February 2012 15:14

Give Credit Where Credit Is Due...

I was woken up early this morning by a consistent ringing of my phone, I must explain. I tend to go to bed generally each night between 3 to 5 am and don't start my working day till 11am (I might be up before 11 but no answering of phones until then. I don't care if you are calling me about a national emergency it is just going have to wait till at least 11 before I can help. This 11 am thing is important before you think I am waffling, because my phone kept ringing consistently and it was not 11, so I decided to answer it after about the 50th time of non stop ringing.


Of course I put on my I am wide awake voice, to try and sound all business like in case it was a client but to my surprise the first response I got to my "good morning" was "have you seen the article in the ES Magazine" (ES = Evening Standard), it is a gross misrepresentation of the facts about where and how Afrobeats started".

The article seems to imply that DJ Abrantee of Choice FM was the man that made Afro beats popular, and people in the know are very upset by this as historically and factually this is not the case, to me this is a bit like saying that Eminem invented Rap music.
Before I go on I must say that DJ Abrantee is a good friend of mine and this point of correction article is not aimed at him personally but it is only fair to those that came before him that they get the credit they deserve.

I believe that Jimi the Bald Headed Guy summed it up perfectly when he said that "Afrobeat as a music genre, was created and made popular many years ago before Dj Abrantee kicked off his Late Saturday show on Choice FM, by the late Fela Kuti and it bears no relation to the various contemporary African music genre(s) that have emerged on the London club scene". As far as he is concerned "Abrantee is only representing what is already there. Naijapop and Hiplife have been around for over ten years and Abrantee knows that".

The various African genres of music include HIplife from Ghana, Kwaito from South Africa, Ndombolo from Zaire. Zairean Ndombolo, Camerounian Makossa, Cote D'Voire's Mapouka and NAIJAPOP from Nigeria and a lot more.

I was fortunate to grow up during the times of Fela Kuti, frequently visiting his house, partying with his children and was a regular at the world renowned Shrine, so I can and am categorically saying that Afrobeats was made popular by Fela Kuti and many others that followed after him. To put it into perspective for my Caribbean brothers and sisters a good way of explaining this, is to say that people were playing and singing Reggae music long before Bob Marley came along but Bob Marley made Reggae Popular and brought it onto the international scene but let's say that all of a sudden DJ Abrantee or Daddy Ernie from Choice FM started playing Reggae how many years after the death of Bob Marley and all of a sudden people say that they made Reggae popular, I hope this makes sense.

Afrobeats started many years ago and was made internationally popular by the pioneer of Afrobeats Fela Kuti and developed a resurgence internationally in 2006 with the hit African Queen by 2face Idibia. This award winning hit track "African Queen" was used as the sound track of the 2006 comedy film, Phat Girlz.

There are many Dj' and clubs in East and South London that have been playing Afrobeats as it is now being called, to full houses for many years and it must be said as with anything in this country if you have access to mainstream and you do something, you get the credit for it – Choice FM is owned by the owners of Capital Radio and we all know that the Choice FM of today is not the same as of the old days, both in terms of its commercialisation and its play list and anything that it now does would and does get mainstream credit. So bearing that in mind in one way the article is correct in saying that Dj Abrantee has brought it to mainstream in terms of the significant numbers that get to hear Afrobeats, purely and simply because he has Choice FM as the medium to do so and not because he is the pioneer of Afrobeats.

Whitney Elizabeth Houston RIP – August 9 1963 – February 11 2012...

I need not say much about her but just give you some facts below about how phenomenal an artist she was.

In 2009, the Guinness World Records cited her as the most-awarded female act of all-time. Houston was also one of the world's best-selling music artists, having sold over 170 million albums, singles and videos worldwide. She released seven studio albums and three movie soundtrack albums, all of which have diamond, multi-platinum, platinum or gold certification.

Houston is the only artist to chart seven consecutive No. 1 Billboard Hot 100 hits. She is the second artist behind Elton John and the only female artist to have two number-one Billboard 200 Album awards (formerly "Top Pop Album") on the Billboard magazine year-end charts. Houston's 1985 debut album Whitney Houston became the best-selling debut album by a female act at the time of its release. The album was named Rolling Stone's best album of 1986, and was ranked at number 254 on Rolling Stone's list of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time. Her second studio album Whitney (1987) became the first album by a female artist to debut at number one on the Billboard 200 albums chart.

Houston's first acting role was as the star of the feature film The Bodyguard (1992). The film's original soundtrack won the 1994 Grammy Award for Album of the Year. Its lead single "I Will Always Love You", became the best-selling single by a female artist in music history. With the album, Houston became the first act (solo or group, male or female) to sell more than a million copies of an album within a single week period under Nielsen Sound Scan system. The album makes her the top female act in the top 10 list of the best-selling albums of all time, at number four. Houston continued to star in movies and contribute to their soundtracks, including the films Waiting to Exhale (1995) and The Preacher's Wife (1996). The Preacher's Wife soundtrack became the best-selling gospel album in history.

On February 11, 2012, Houston was found dead in her guest room at the Beverly Hilton Hotel, in Beverly Hills, California, of causes not immediately known. News of her death, the day before and after the 2012 Grammy Awards, featured prominently in American and international media.

May her soul rest in perfect peace.

I don't Speak Properly...

Over the weekend whilst producing the Fashions Finest London Fashion Week shows I was doing the voice over for the show and afterwards I was told that I don't speak English properly, can you believe that. Seriously it is bad enough that when I am in Nigeria I am called "Oyinbo Boy" (white boy ) cos of my English accent and how I speak and then to be in London and be told I don't speak good English because they say I say FREE instead of THREE, hello don't be slow – do you get it now. Anyway as far as I am concerned I speak the Queens English.

Black People Fashion...

London Fashion Week will be coming to an end tomorrow and I am sure for some of you it has just simply passed you by without too much recognition and I suppose rightly so, as firstly members of the public don't really get in to watch the shows and second black designers generally have to climb Mount Everest first before they would even be recognised just to be told you are not ready for LFW not to talk about actually showing at LFW.


Outside of the official London Fashion Week shows African and Caribbean designers have been getting some fantastic exposure. Le Geneve Events featured the Caribbean Collection which was a two day exhibition of designers from the Caribbean, Vauxhall Fashion Scout had a special show by Ubuntu initially known as the Nigeria collective show and of course Fashions Finest kept up its tradition of supporting and showcasing designers from across the African continent alongside both Caribbean and Asian designers, over two days over 27 designers showcased at Fashions Finest.

The only sad thing is that as mainstream designers start to use African fabrics and styles in their designs they once again steal the limelight and take all the glory for the so called Renaissance of African fashion. I think they need to remember that African fashion never went anywhere, it's always been here.

Check out the pictures from Fashions Finest LFW & the Other Fashions Weeks that have just taken place.

Published in Blog
I know it's now the 27th January and I am only now wishing you Happy New Year when we are already nearly in February, but hey it's me and its better late then never. Last year was a tough year for a lot of us and I do hope that this year will be a great year for everyone.

Sadly though in terms of how people perceive black people things do not seem to have changed very much. I am not sure how many of you are aware of the recent storm that has blown up around the French Elle article, which and I am paraphrasing says that black people knew nothing about style until the Obama's got into power.

Nathalie Dolivo a fashion writer for French Elle wrote an article which was published on the Elle magazine website entitled 'Black Fashion Power' and she stated "African-Americans weren't stylish until the Obama family came into office. "For the first time, the chic has become a plausible option for a community so far pegged [only] to its street wear codes. She goes on to to explain why the so-called Obama renaissance of style is so "chic." According to her assessment, it embraces "white codes" while still making what she calls "a bourgeois ethnic reference (a batik-printed turban/robe, a shell necklace, a 'créole de rappeur') reminiscent [of] the roots."



So let me get this right prior to the Obama's getting into the White House African Americans were walking around butt naked looking like people that bought all their clothes from charity shops - yeah right.

Seriously what is wrong with these European journalist and their views on the black race, if we look back over the last year we had the controversy of the Italian Vogue's trend piece on so-called "slavery earrings" and their French edition's fashion spread of a model in blackface and just last month the Dutch magazine Jackie published a racial slur in a profile of Rihanna. It is so hard to believe that in this day and age people still have an issue over colour and race.

I am so tired of all of this crap that to be honest I can't even be bothered to even give my views on it, I just wanted to keep you all informed of what's going on in town and leave it to you to form your own views.
I will end by saying that it is more and more important that people of colour do their own things and stop trying to reach the West's ideals of beauty, fashion and music.

Fashions Finest London Fashion Week...


This is the Olympic year and is important to us in the UK because it is being held in London and of course there are some great things happening this year, of course starting with London Fashion Week Fashions Finest Season three show.

This year FF LFW show is bigger and better with over 25 designers coming from across the world including America, Zimbabwe, South Africa and a number of new and emerging designers from the UK showing. There will also be two solo shows featuring Yes London and John Peter. It's scary but Fashions Finest keeps going from strength to strength, with both days of shows being held at the Westbury Hotel in Mayfair, very exclsive and very classy.

FF LFW is one of the few shows during London Fashion Week that members of the public can come and watch the shows. so if you would like tickets – APPLY HERE – its free.

Mahogany Bridal Fashion Show – 1st April 2012...

Short and sweet – get your TICKETS for the MBFS. Also if you are a designer or exhibitor and want to be a part of MBFS EMAIL US for more information.
Published in Blog

Article courtesy of thegrio.com By Kunbi Tinuoye

In 1992, Veronica Webb became the first African-American model to sign a major advertising contract with Revlon. Today, it's not uncommon for black celebs to land lucrative ad campaigns promoting beauty products. So does this trend reflect a genuine commitment from the global cosmetic industry to embrace diverse beauty?

Indeed, twenty-five years ago it would have been near impossible for a black woman to be the face of trusted brands such as L'Oréal, Revlon and Estée Lauder. Today all that's changed with the likes of Beyoncé, Halle Berry and Thandie Newton snagging profitable, six-figure deals, to market beauty products to women of all races across the globe.

This development, though, is not limited to the beauty industry. Singer and actress Jennifer Hudson fronts commercials for Weight Watchers and Janet Jackson is new face for the Nutrisystem diet. Men of color have also been cashing in. Tiger Wood's good looks and "multiracial" appeal was enough for him to earn millions fronting major campaigns; of course, before his popularity plummeted when he was caught cheating on his wife.

Sola Oyebade, the chief executive of Mahogany Models Management, Europe's largest agency for models of color, however, is skeptical about the cosmetic industry's commitment to embrace multicultural beauty.

"The major cosmetic brands tend to use black celebrities to promote products," Oyebade told theGrio.com. There is still the perception that "black doesn't sell" and white consumers will buy into products if the women of color are well-known, he says.
Ethnic models still face discrimination and "it's rare for major advertising campaigns to use black models" whereas they may take the risk with up-and-coming white models, adds Oyebade. This also extends to high-fashion: "If you look at back issues of magazines like Vogue they generally use black celebrities on their covers but very few lesser-known black models."

Admittedly it maybe a coincidence but the black women currently fronting major global beauty campaigns are all light-skinned or of mixed heritage: Beyoncé at L'Oréal, Thandie Newton at Olay and Halle Berry's long-term contract with Revlon.
Even then, L'Oréal faced a huge backlash after it appeared to "whitewash" Beyoncé in its 2008 ad campaign. She appeared to look almost white, with pale skin and strawberry-blonde hair.

Nevertheless, Oyebade concedes there has been change in the industry based on calculated economics. "The global economic downturn has had a huge impact on mature Western markets and the industry is looking to find business in new and emerging markets such as Asia, African and the Caribbean." These cash economics weren't so badly affected by the credit crunch, he says.

"I've started noticing cosmetic brands hosting fashion shows and sponsoring events in Africa and Caribbean, which have now become viable areas to make money," and add new customers until economics in the West improve, says Oyebade, who also works as a creative director for international fashion shows.

Perhaps, this is the motivation behind one of Estée Lauder's latest ad campaigns. This year's product launch is fronted by Chinese supermodel Liu Wen, Puerto Rican-born Joan Smalls and French beauty Constance Jablonski.

However, Aerin Lauder, senior vice president and creative director of Estée Lauder, said earlier this year at press event in New York, the company is committed to diversity. "Estée's choice of models throughout the brand's evolution was always extraordinary," said Lauder. "We continue this legacy with a new group of diverse faces that truly represent a modern vision of beauty."

Whatever the reasons for women of color fronting major ad campaigns, it can only be a good if this fad continues. Trends such as western markets becoming more multiracial and emerging economics, such as Brazil, China and India, carving out dominant positions in the global economy, means the cosmetic industry may have no choice but to change.

Most importantly of all women need to see their skin and shape reflected in the media.

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