Monday, 16 January 2012 14:59

VIVIENNE WESTWOOD MAN AW12/13

Our collection is in support of David Attenborough's documentary series 'The Frozen Planet', which will go to America but unfortunately without the final episode where he explains that we humans are responsible for the ice melt.So we took the polar explorers as our heroes and we love polar bears. Barack Obama never mentions the words climate change.

If our leaders would admit the fact of climate change and conduct their politics from that perspective then we might have a chance -- we have 10 years at the most to stop it.

How impossible it is for us to imagine ourselves victims of disaster. We suffer for the poor people who were thrown into the sea from their cruise ship off the coast of Tuscany, some losing their lives. Imagine a world of accelerating natural disasters, one after the other so that nobody can help anyone else.

Public opinion is the only thing that will save us.

GreenUp! Europe Campaign

I was approached by the United Nation Environmental Programme to design a t-shirt for their GreenUp! campaign - when you start doing things you find people come to you. They're starting with a terrific idea which is to plant corridors of trees to link Europe's forests. This new initiative is about triggering new habits for a greener Europe and for greener economies. I have created a design for UNEP in support of the project. It's a really practical idea and it raises public awareness - it's great for the environment, great for people, great for animals.

My design has been printed on a t-shirt provided by sustainable manufacturers, ANVIL. The 'Tree-shirts' will be sold exclusively through YOOX.com on a worldwide level and in our Milan shop during menswear fashion week with all proceeds to be donated to the GreenUp! fund, helping to re-plant trees in Europe's worst affected regions.

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.

Sunday, 25 December 2011 02:57

The Changing World of Fashion...

There are two guaranteed things that will happen in life, one is sadly we will all die and two is change and I am sure that you would agree with me that the fashion industry is always changing. From the very simple things of new fashion trends coming through each year to new designers, models and creatives joining the fashion industry. When you read the barrage of fashion magazines that come out each week it is so hard to keep up with what they state are the latest trends and new people coming onto the scene. I personally don't follow fashion trends because unless you are extremely rich and can afford to remain fashion savvy it is very easy to try and follow trends and by doing so it is very easy to become very poor.

One of the interesting changes that is taking place within the fashion industry is the rise and rise of African fashion as well as African fashion designers, not just new and established designers that are beginning to make a name for themselves on the international fashion scene but also the fact that mainstream designers and brands have taken an active interest in African fashion. Designers and brands such as Burberry, Gucci, YSL, Aldo, Lamb by Gwen Stephani over the last couple of seasons have been incorporating African materials into their designs. So I guess that it is fair to say that African fashion is back in fashion, how times have changed. It it must be said that this is relevant purely because of the designers that are paving the way for African fashion, the likes of Deola Sagoe, Tiffany Amber, Ituen Bassey, Stone Cherrie have become international designer superstars and I think it is fair to say that they have helped influence the growing trend towards African fashion being so popular.

African fashion has developed leaps and bounds with some great international African shows taking place each year such as Fashions Finest London Fashion Week Shows, Africa Fashion Week (South Africa, New York & London) and Arise Fashion Week that takes place in New York and Lagos each year. It is shows like this that have helped take African designers and fashion to another level and place it before the eyes of the world. It is my prediction that this is just the tip of the iceberg and mark my words "you ain't seen nothing yet"

Size 6 Supermodels - Does African Fashion Need to Mimic the West?

No No No - African women generally have different body shapes, by default Africa women are far more curvy and more fuller figured. Before people start saying that not every African woman is curvy or fuller figured, I am speaking in generic terms. As a man that works within the fashion industry and with all types of women from all types of ethnic backgrounds, I get to see women of all shapes and sizes so I feel I am a bit of an expert on this subject.

For many years the West has not accepted black models onto the catwalks or in magazines in any significant numbers to make us feel that we are an active part of the fashion industry and when they do want to use us, we must conform to the West standards of what they perceive as beauty which currently seems to be stick thin models with bones hanging out that you could hang your coat on. Sorry but this is not for me, give me a curvy black model that has a bit of hips so that when she graces the catwalk the dress flows as she walks but not remain motionless as the model has no body to make it move.

I am continuously told that Western designers don't like to use black models because they are too curvy or there walk is too sexy. I remember speaking to a black model recently who was with a big mainstream agency and she was lamenting over the fact that despite the fact that she met industry standard measurements in terms of her statistics 34 – 24 – 34, she was not getting jobs simply because she had more backside than hips as her 34 inch hips went backwards rather than side wards and for this simple reason designers would not use her for shows.

As a people and I am glad to say it is happening, we must not rely on the West to make our women supermodels but we must do it ourselves. A little fact to note – if you put the populations of the United States and Europe together it comes to a total of about 850 million odd people but the entire population of Africa is about one billion odd people. Doing the maths it is easy to see that African supermodels do not need the West to make them superstars and they can earn as much if not far more money than they would ever earn working in New York or London.

The power within the fashion industry does not lie with black people so we can only do the jobs that we are given and they select the type of models that they wish to use. However the interesting thing is that every day Western women seem to want to develop the black woman type of figure as some women are undergoing operations to have a shapely African looking backside, I even hear that you can buy padded underwear so you can have a fake looking bigger, shapely backside, they are also injecting things into their lips to have bigger and fuller lips, so some women want to look like us but we are not good enough to grace their catwalks and magazines.

It is great to get requests from African designers requesting curvy fuller figure models when I am asked to produce their shows for them, this makes me so happy and it's good to know that they are ignoring the West's ideals of beauty.

My Daughter wants to be a Supermodel? Steps to becoming a healthy minded Model.

Firstly models need to understand that this a very hard industry to succeed in and with the advent of such popular TV programmes as Americas next Top Model it seems that every young girl now wants to be a model but they do not realise how difficult and critical an industry it is. As a model you are a self-employed, independent contractor, you are considered a sole trader in your own small business, you are not an employee of the agency you may be signed to. Whether you are a freelance model or signed to a top modelling agency you will incur basic start-up costs and as such you will be required to cover all of your own promotional expenses such as composite cards (Z Cards), agency books (portfolio), and for some agencies they will charge you to be on their website. I advise all models that I come across that they should not pay an agency to represent them. Agencies earn their money from commissions or royalties directly received from their clients or via the fees from the work that the model does. Top professional agencies do not charge a joining fee and neither do they insist that you use one of their photographers to do your portfolio, however with the top agencies it is advisable to follow their recommendations on which photographers to use to do your portfolio as that way you are more likely to get the right type of pictures that the agency needs to promote you and get you work. We advise all models that if an agency asks you to pay a fee to join them, insists you must do an expensive portfolio before you join or pay an administration fee, then simply say no and walk away.

Models must look after themselves from their skin to their body and ensure at all times they have all that they need to succeed as a top model, they must have a never say die attitude, be confident in their own abilities and understand that they will suffer lots of rejection before they finally make it. They must be professional and be on time for castings or jobs and have a professional attitude at all times.

Finally I would say to models that they must research into how the modelling industry works, what is involved and what it takes to be a top model as well as research into agencies before they apply to them.

Models must be confident and flexible in their approach to modelling and they must find out about the business side of the modelling industry as that is where a lot of models fall foul
Tuesday, 13 December 2011 15:57

People @ TMC Season 6

Pictures Courtesy of Kenneths Asia
Its Sunday night about 3am in the morning and I am absolutely shattered as it has been a very very long weekend. Having been filming more or less nonstop over the weekend for Uber Africa, by the way Africa's Top Designer is going to be a great TV show. Sorry back to the matter at hand, on the Saturday evening after rushing through filming, I and half the cast, desigMr Mahogany - Fashion Icon of the Yearners, models, producers etc rushed off down to South East London for what proved to be a very exciting event with just about everyone who was anyone attending the 3rd Annual Black Entertainment Film Fashion Television and Arts Award (BEFTTA).

Just in case you did not get my subtle hint if you were not there, the question must be asked are you somebody, joke - seriously on this one I am just joking.

Over a thousand people showed up for the BEFTTA's on Saturday night, I might be slightly exaggerating but that is only because I don't know the capacity of the Lighthouse where the event was staged but it was a full house.

Everyone was dressed to the hilt, forget recession lots of people raided their piggy banks or recycled old clothes by putting a new twist to them and people made sure that they were dressed to kill. Whilst talking about dressing, I know the invite said black tie and wear a black jacket or suit but hey my excuse on my purple jacket with purple shirt and no tie came about because I am colour blind and my tie got blown away in the recent hurricane that swept the UK.

The venue was great and had all the mod cons and the stars of the entertainment and fashion industry did the event justice. It was a great improvement over the last 2 years (well done Pauline Long – founder & CEO of the BEFTTAs), the event started on time but on that one I must say Thank God for that, with over 150 awards and 500 nominees we would have been there all night. But the BEFTTA team got through them all and numerous people that would not normally ever have been recognised had the opportunity to be recognised which for me is a great thing. So regardless of the fact that we all think there are too many categories and nominees, I appreciate what Pauline and the BEFTTA Academy are trying achieve and they should be applauded not criticised.

I don't want any of you to think that I am giving this glowing review just because I, Mahogany and Fashions Finest between us received 5 awards (Fashions Finest – Best Event Promoter, Mahogany Models – Best Modelling Agency, Nana Afua – Best Female Model, IDeLick Media (Fashions Finest Official Photographer – Photographer of the Year and Mr Mahogany received a special award for Fashion Icon of the Year – receiving this award and peoples comments following this particular award has truly humbled me.


It was also nice to see Mink Cosmetics get an award for Makeup artist of the Year (they have been the official make up sponsors for all of Mahogany's & Fashions Finest events for the past year and to my main man & good friend, who filmed with me during the day and rushed off to collect his lifetime achievement award, Mr Adebayo Jones – well deserved. However if I am ever to get one, can I please get one before I reach pensionable age and I am well on the way there now.

"Michelle Obama" Gets Ghetto at the BEFTTA's...

Ok give me a break I am getting there, I know you were reading the title and thinking what has the above got to do with the title of your blog – well I had to talk about the BEFTTAs first before I talk about what Michelle Obama (actually it's about Dionne Rose who is a Michelle Obama lookalike), did at the BEFFTA's.

Well this is what happened, after the BEFTTA awards a few selected VIP guests and the award winners were invited for a small intimate dinner. It was a nice intimate affair with a performance from a rising super star Angela Ricci (this girl can blow). Anyway there were some small issues over the serving of the food and drinks and there was a group of women on the table next to us and I have no idea who they were, where they were from or what they do but towards the end of the evening a couple of the women on that table decided that they wanted to pick a fight with everyone that looked at them, spoke to them or breathed the same air as them and unfortunately our table was marked as public enemy number one.

I tried to stop my table from responding to the verbal attacks we were receiving for no apparent reason (if we had done something I would be honest, I would tell you), I even used a great saying of mine which is that "it is not every time you have to respond to a mad person, when they talk to you, otherwise you may look like the mad person". This worked for a while but the women on the other table continued their affront and Dionne "Michelle Obama" could not contain herself any longer and went for this woman with a full on verbal attack which included such words as bleep, **@#, bleep, bleeeep, and more bleeps **@#,, followed by bleep, **@#, bleep, bleeeep, and more bleeps **@#, (you may insert profanities of your choice as they most likely would have been used). DIONNE's language was too colourful and she got down and dirty and stooped to the level of these bush women and sadly they were bush and extremely manner less in their behaviour.

It was not a good idea to sink to their level but it was good fun seeing her lose it and we all had a good laugh.

Moan & Groan

This is not Africa feed yourself...

Over the past few months I have attended a number of award ceremonies, some bad and some good, which have included some of the most prestigious awards ceremonies in the UK including Fashions Finest, Screen Nation & the BEFTTA's. Each time I have left one of these awards I have left with the screeching of many people's voices furiously complaining about the lack of food at the awards.

I have to break it down for you and it goes like this, yes it is true that nobody forces the organisers to put on these events and some of you might think that they benefit from it – on this I must correct you as it tends to be the nominees and the winners that primarily benefit as the recognition helps with the progression of their careers and the guest enjoy it because they get a night out and in most cases managed to get in free (not everyone gets in free by the way). The organisers spend thousands putting an event together and then people come to the event 1) expecting to get in free and 2) expecting to be fed and fed very well for free.

Do you know that to feed a person at an award ceremony costs (in london) on average between £35 to £65 depending on the venue. If I charge you an average price of £100 to £120 per ticket would you pay? NO you would not because most people won't even pay £30 for a basic price ticket. Ok let's assume that you are one of those lovely people that do pay and can afford to pay such prices that still does not resolve the problem, as unfortunately all of the nominees expect to attend for free and bring a guest so on average if the organiser has a total of about 40 to 60 nominees, which is about the average amount (sorry BEFTTA's this is excluding you), along with partners, plus judges, presenters and special guests, that means the event organisers must out of their own pockets find approximately an extra £3000 to £5000 (excluding drinks costs), so the final bill could be more in the region of £5 to £10,000. Hello where are they expected to find the money just to feed some hungry and in some cases ungrateful people. As after you feed them they would still complain that the food was not good.

So the moral of the story is before you complain about not being fed or there being no food at an event, if you did not buy a ticket don't complain and think about the poor organiser who is putting on the event and whom 9 times out of 10 makes a very big lost. Eat before you arrive or after you leave and be a bit more understanding. That way with your support we will keep improving, will do better events with your support and one day we will be able to give you a 3 course meal and not charge anyone to attend the awards ceremony. YEAH RIGHT.

I have to end by saying BEFTTA's did a 100% invite only awards ceremony, which was free to attend to everyone that had an invite and I still heard people complain that they had no food – ARE YOU SERIOUS!!!
The collection has 3 main influences...
Saturday, 01 October 2011 15:32

I HAVE NOTHING TO SAY...

I have been getting loads of emails (well one only, from my top stalker fan) asking me why I have not put up anything on my blog for a while and with such unprecedented, overwhelming demand I felt I had no choice but to respond to my loyal fans and put something up.

The biggest problem I am having is I don't really seem to have anything that is worth talking about, this is partly because all the things I really want to talk about would upset some people and bearing in mind nobody wants to invite me anywhere anymore I have to be careful not to alienate people any further so that the one invitation each year I get to an event won't be withdrawn as well.

I think by now you have gathered that I have absolutely nothing to talk about.

You do however deserve something so let's get down to some nitty gritty and back to a former favourite old subject I use to cover called Moan & Groans.

Moan & Groans...

You Have To Work To Be Successful...

Some promoters and organisers of competitions may be able to relate to this one. What is it with competition winners, such as those that compete in beauty pageants, modelling or talent competitions that feel that once they have won a competition that all they have to do is sit at home and watch East Enders and success would just drop on their lap. Wake up, nothing ever comes for free and without hard work, even if you win the lottery you still have to go and buy a ticket at the shop, check the result and if you did win you would have to go and collect your winnings – so you still have to do something.

Daaaaaaaaaaaaaaahh, what makes some of them think that once they have won they would become superstars and make loads of money by doing nothing, then to make it worse they get upset and jealous of other contestants that decide they are going to use being in the competition to progress their career.

I have seen this happen so many times and I guess that it would be unfair to name particular competitions but I have seen people that have placed second runner up do 100 times better than the person that won, got immense publicity, mixed with the stars , got numerous jobs and became a household name and I admire this particular young lady for her tenacity, strength and perseverance especially bearing in mind the winner and others tried to shut her out of things.

My advice to the organisers is that if you wish to promote your brand you have to adopt the Simon Cowell / Mr Mahogany attitude which is only work with those that want to go places and DUMP those that don't as it a waste of your time and energy.

On this particular issue I will end by saying that jealousy and envy is not good for the soul, since Nana Afua Antwi won season 6 of Top Model of Colour, alongside her admirers she has had a lot of criticism and nasty comments from wanna be and some established models that are jealous of her success, people like Nana and a model I will name as Sro work very hard for what they have achieved, as much as possible they have nice demeanours, are professional, courteous, ambitious, they make the calls, they attend events when they have no money, they talk to people and sell themselves, they market themselves and try and attract positive publicity – they pay their dues. Models, they have not got their success from just sitting at home waiting for the phone to ring, so look towards people like Nana Antwi, Sro and Rachael Williams as inspirations and stop hating.

I Don't Know You, So Stop Talking About Me...

I think age sometimes has a negative effect on people and in this case I am actually referring to myself as I cannot believe how much I have calmed down and that I have been so nice as not to be naming names in my blog, but it is getting to that stage that is enough is enough and if people want to continue slandering my name all over the place I will have no alternative but to declare war and people I fight dirty.

On one hand I take it as a compliment that people feel I am worthy to be spoken about whether it be good or bad however the problem I have is when people say I said something and I didn't. Some of you know me very well and know that I say it as it is (this may not always be a good thing) but at least I am honest and if I have something to say about you I can and will say it to your face. At that point if you disagree with what I say you have the right to cuss me out, slap me or agree with me, I don't feel that I am horrible for the sake of it and hopefully I just say the truth.

Recently I have had a couple of different people, who will remain nameless talk about me to people I know and have lied blatantly to them, saying I said what I didn't say and there is one woman in particular that has been doing this – now before you start thinking that it is the fury of a woman scorned, I can assure you I have never met this woman in my life, I know of her but if I walked passed her on the street I would not know her. To a variety of different people she has said I have said things about them which has caused problems for me with regards to our relationship (o by the way if someone says I said something about you, pick up the dam phone and ask me if I said it and if I did I would tell you or put it into context and if I say to you I did not say it then trust me I did not). Sorry back to this woman, she also has been running down my business and what I do, which is cool as all businesses get criticism but this is different, this is just nasty comments for the sake of it and trying to take away business from me, my friends, my family, my village and anyone else I have ever bought Macdonalds for.

Enough is enough and if I hear one more thing from this woman I am putting her on notice I am coming for you. For those of you in the fashion industry I will give some clues as to whom I am referring to – she is a designer, a stylist and I think she claims to be a show producer (MEOW) and she sees a lot, the last one is cryptic clue.

Beffta Nominations...

I would like to congratulate the Mahogany and Fashions Finest team on the multiple awards that either our models or our companies have been nominated for and they include

Magazine of the year: Fashions Finest
Best Events Promoter:  Mahogany International and Fashions Finest
Best Photographer:  iDeLick Media (official Fashions Finest Photographer)
Best Female Fashion Designer: Adopted Culture (Design Label of TMC Season 6 Winner & Mahogany Model Nana Antwi)
Best Male Model: Ibukun Jegede (TMC Season 3 Winner) & Jason Daniel Best (TMC Season 5 Winner)
Best Female Model: Nana Afua Antwi, Samantha Watson, Gisela Wanjiru Greiner & Abie Koroma, (All Mahogany Models)
Best Modelling Agency: Mahogany Models
Best Wardrobe Stylist: Samantha Watson (a Mahogany Model)

Across the board including models and TMC winners we have a total of 13 Nominations.

Please VOTE FOR US  


The Beffta's will be taking place on 22nd October (BEFFTA stands for Black Entertainment Film Fashion Television & Arts Awards)

Screen Nation...

Don't forget not to miss out on the biggest event of the year, The Screen Nation Film & TV Awards 2011 annual ceremony aka the 'Black Baftas', celebrating outstanding achievements and diversity on the British screen, will take place on Sunday the 16th October 2011 at the indigO2, hosted by one of TV's favourite couples Angellica Bell and Michael Underwood. PURCHASE YOUR TICKETS HERE

Fashions Finest are pleased to be one of the main media sponsors of this event.

This was meant to be a short blog but I got carried away moaning about people, anyway on a lighter mood watch this video, its a little bit old but it was sent to me by MBD and I thought incase you missed it, its worth the watch.

HAPPY INDEPENDENCE DAY TO NIGERIA FROM A PROUD NIGERIAN!
Friday, 21 October 2011 01:16

Paris Fashion Week 2011 - Giorgio Armani

Italian designer Giorgio Armani went East for inspiration, particularly Japan, for his couture collection in Paris
Saturday, 01 October 2011 01:04

Mugler Woman Film - Lady Gaga

To accompany the launch of his second Mugler womenswear collection-women's ready-to-wear Spring/Summer 2012-an exclusive short film in collaboration with Lady Gaga, directed by iconic photographers Inez and Vinoodh under the creative direction of Nicola Formichetti, premiered at the Paris fashion week runway show, featuring a Lady Gaga never before heard remix.