Thursday, 19 March 2015 10:19

Christian Dior A/W 2016

Geometric patterns, feminine a-line silhouettes and brightly coloured single breasted coats – Raf Simmons wowed with his latest Dior collection at Paris Fashion Week.

Published in Shows
Wednesday, 30 April 2014 00:23

Renaissance: fashions spring re-birth

Hi readers, it certainly has been some time since we last conversed and I started to think that I would never leave the confines of my sofa, let alone write again until after the 19th of April, the night I attended Fashions Finest "Renaissance" show at Nottingham's swanky Alea Casino.

Fashion is a love which never fails to leave me and it proved to remain high up in my life agenda again after I attended 'Renaissance'. And, if it wasn't good enough to be entertained by a number of emerging designers and their wonderful garments, it was even more a treat to hear a diverse range of fresh musicians perform new music.

Nottingham had more talent than an evening's worth of "Britain's got talent" auditions that night and I was so happy that I had to write you a blow by blow account of the whole night! So here comes the typing and the photos all over again. Retold, in these beautiful photographs taken by Mikey San.

First and foremost opening the show was the lovely and local Josh Kemp. Josh played us to two acoustic numbers, one "a love song in his own modest words" apparently, which I enjoyed as he sung it beautifully to me!

Josh is definitely one to watch and has been touring constantly, playing no less than two hundred and fifty venues last year so we heard. His soulful voice, lifting melodies, bone structure and that determination will serve him well and I do hope to hear more from him in the near future although I'm not sure he knows my phone number yet!
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The fashion parade then commenced in a spectacular of colour and celebration thanks to talented new-comer Callecia J brown. Very much a fan of the Edwardian era, the forties, fifties and all fabrics wonderful and bright, Callecia combined all these influences to make, in my opinion a modern remake of 'My fair lady' and the result was stunning.  I loved this collection with its ruffles, tailoring and bright African inspired geometric prints and so would the Edwardians if they'd have been so lucky to have worn her designs!
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Continuing with the Edwardian theme, young designer Joey Storer made me very proud when I watched his elegant Edwardian inspired feminine clothes glide down the catwalk alongside recent creations made this year during his first year at Nottingham Trent University studying knitwear and design. I was drawn to Joey's bold use of colour, print and contoured design when I first saw his collection at West Nottinghamshire College fashion show last year. To see his progression into knitwear since was a real treat. Bold block colour and a real flair for shape and styling were evident for all to see on his first ever public catwalk and I predict that we will be seeing a lot more from Joey in the near future!
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Giving the models a rest and arresting our ears with his fine blend of soulful lyrics, rhyme and his memorable 'let's get funky' dancehall style track then was the unforgettable P.Nology. Admitting soon into his act that he was the one who chatted up Kelly Rowland live on the 'X –factor' last year, we all found it hard to see why he didn't win over her heart fully with his cheeky humour and charisma. Recently touring with Dappy and with a European tour to many clubbing destinations ahead of him, I think we will be seeing a lot more of this man and I certainly couldn't get that tune out of my head that night or, the next day for that matter. 
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Returning to fashion from yesteryear, emerging designer Helena Ocansey then took us on an alternative history trip to the French revolution through the eyes of Marianne Antoinette. In Helena's words, her clothes portrayed "a celebration of life during the French revolution". Instead of portraying Marianne's fear of persecution when her popularity fell with the French public, bright prints designed by Helena adorning beautifully boned and corseted garments sang out a celebration of life in colour! Indeed, a very talented designer, re-writing history right before our eyes.
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Taking inspiration from London night life and tailoring beautifully fitting clothing, newcomer, Dean Dufurn exhibited his 'Butterfly' entitled collection. Celebrating feminine curves and contours, Dean exhibited a wonderful collection of tailored with clever ruffled embellishment and detailing.
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As if things couldn't get any better for me, I then got to see the acclaimed Zeeno Dee Designs, Winner of Fashions Finest Top designer of 2013. Showcasing, clever detailing such as pleats, geometric patterns and futuristic contours, Zeeno took my breath away with her attention to detail. I particularly liked the geometric fashioned, Grecian –come- modernistic galactic number. So trident and beautiful like model Lily Hannah Appleton-Goldstraw wearing it. And then there was the white dress. Oh how I wish I had that dress in my wardrobe and the Grecian escape to warrant its wear or maybe a red carpet award ceremony.
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Finally, one lady who looked and sounded every inch red carpet worth was Ava Rose. A regular backstage volunteer at Fashions finest and clearly a very talented singer undiscovered until now,  Ava took our breath away with her soulful tones, raw with emotion and experience of a performer twice her age. A real beauty, singing in a unique style which could stand equally against the likes of Nina Simone.
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And if that wasn't good enough, I also won a prize on the raffle!! A NYX make up goody bag which I will eagerly await its delivery from Victoria Davies, makeup artist to the models in the show, our own blogger at Fashions finest and my face saviour!

Prizes a-side, the show did have a serious intent and the raffle was undertaken to raise money for YCR Young citizens of Rwanda, a charity set up Jemrose Walker from Nottingham to help the child  and teen survivors of the genocide which happened twenty years ago. Orphaned and Left with no parents, finances, education or prospects, these young people had nothing until Jemrose left her life in Nottinghamshire and moved to Rwanda. There she rented a 'safe house' to accommodate young people and continues to raise money to provide education, guidance, food and housing for this group of vulnerable young people. Speaking to her sister Shearon that evening, I was truly moved to hear of her sister's determination to help the young people succeed in life and achieve things we all take for granted such as having an education and being able to eat every day. I couldn't think of a more worthy cause to donate money.

All in all, a highly entertaining evening for a worthy cause. Definitely worth leaving the sofa for, and the best way to see spring in.

Photos by Mikey San. Mikey San/twitter@whoismikey

See the full gallery of photos here
Published in Blog
Monday, 28 April 2014 21:39

McQueen’s Savage Beauty

London gets ready to host the Alexander McQueen 'Savage Beauty' exhibition...
Published in News
Monday, 21 April 2014 00:28

was this the most rigged model casting ever?

I know I keep apologising for not doing a regular blog but believe it or not I am so busy at the moment that even finding time to breathe has been just so difficult, I can only thank God that I am still alive as really I should have ran out of air by now.

Please excuse my manners, I should have started by saying Happy Easter to you and I hope you are having a lovely holiday.

There is soooooo much to talk about but I decided that for this blog I will only mention one topic and I wish to seek your views or comments. I don't care where you leave them, but just leave them on the blog, Facebook, Twitter, graffiti, on a banner etc I think you get the point.

BACKGROUND:

In Lagos Nigeria on the 19th April we had a model casting to select models for two big shows, Africa Fashion Week Nigeria (AFWN) and Nigerian Student Fashion & Design Week (NSFDW). For AFWN we needed 12 Female models and 3 Male models and for NSFDW we needed 22 female models and 8 male models.

On the day we had over 500 models show up with about another 300 turned away cos they were late. We had two separate panels, one for AFWN which consisted of the CEO of Shuga Kane Bili and whom was also a former Mahogany Model, the assistant stylist for AFWN - Bimbo and the head stylist for AFWN – Jide. For NSFDW the panel consisted of the co founders of NSFDW Abiola & Marcus and the head stylist for AFWN – Jide. But it must be said that both sets of panels worked together and gave their views for either show. I remained as a neutral arbitrator and ensured that I got the good mix of models that I wanted in the show, which included overruling some of the panel members when I needed to. (but very rarely did).

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THE ISSUE:

I wake up early Sunday morning to find a BB message from one of the models that attended the casting and this is what it said (UNEDITED);

Good morning Mr Mahogany, I am so sorry to disturb u on this issue, but because of the previous relationship I have had with u I was compelled to let u know, well yesterday some things were noticed by one of ur judging staff that was placed among three to select models, I won't call his name but I am very sure u know who I am talking about, this guy among two other lady's was were d ones judging and instead of being professional in selecting models, he was ensuring all his friends/boyfriends were chosen at the expense of what the two other female judges wanted. I find this appalling mr sola, I can only tell u dis because ur a professional and I respect you, the sentimental selection that was done by that guy was too much, it was clear and evident from all models dat that's what he was doing and for some strange reason he had a major influence on the other two female judges despite their own desires to select what dey felt was best.

Mr sola I say this with Humility I felt insulted to have been chosen as stanby/maybe in the presence of those 3 that we're chosen as Yes, judging by my walk and appearance to me it was laughable, despite the the fact that the two females were penchant on picking me first as Yes, they were compelled by the other male judge's sentimental plea to pick his friends over me and another who was placed as maybe. Now mr sola why I am sending u dis is not to change ur decision on anything but let u have a knowledge of what I and others saw yesterday, it was so bad dat a few of ur staff noticed it. I say this to u sir, the only free show I have done in my career is the show I did for u last year (NSFDW), a show I was compelled to do because of the professional structure u gave it, I did it for free despite u said a few from der will be chosen paid for dis show. I am not saying I am too big to a show for free for u, but I cant do a show wit those models selected as priority on pay list with me in standby unpaid, to me that is an insult and all who know me will be astonished.

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Left to me I can do both shows free for u, but me being put on standby side by side with those 3 selected as Yes out of which 2 were placed der on the sentimental decision of them being boyfriends to a male judge there is a shocker to me. the two female judges overtly said my walk was better that the chosen Yes and I was told not to worry, but I still worry because the truth is if this doesn't stop in Nigeria we won't go anywhere in dis fashion industry, models on the runway are the prime reflection of the quality of any show and if weak models are being chosen on sentimental basis then I feel sad for our industry. I respect you sir and I am ready to for u anytime, anywhere, but I just had to tell u this.

THE DILEMMA:

Out of respect for how he wrote the BB I decided that I would omit his name from the blog. I have responded to him privately, but I wanted to put some questions to you my enlightened readers.

1. Based on the facts above does he have a point or is it sour grapes?
2. Based on the BBM should I still let him do the show if he wants to or remove him?
3. Are the accusations easy to verify and prove bearing in mind we only wanted 3 male models, and he was one of 2 additional male models that was put on standby and it must be noted that over 180 other male models were not chosen, so can they make the same accusation against us?
4. As the head stylist (second in command to me) and as the head of the two judging panels, is it wrong (if it is the case) for him to say certain models should be selected?
5. Does it mean that I and the other two panel members were forced into this by the head stylist (please note that Bili is a very very strong woman whom has her strong views on anything and is no pushover)?
6. If I did not manage it well, what should I do next time to ensure that these types of accusations cannot be levelled against a casting that I do again in the future?
7. Any other comments that you may have?

I know you want to know how I responded and what my views are but I want to see what you all feel about it first before responding.

I can't wait for your responses and as always I expect you to be honest in your views, no holding back the punches.

Published in Blog
Tuesday, 27 August 2013 19:27

Cassandra Amoré is a force to be reckoned with

From mosaic bags to shoes, Cassandra Amoré is a force to be reckoned with in the fashion industry.
Published in News
A Manchester fashion designer has secured an exclusive catwalk show at London Fashion Week 2013 Off Schedule events.
Published in News
Monday, 12 August 2013 20:52

What is wrong with Black People?...

I know that I just did a blog yesterday about AFWL but as I was going through the AFWL Facebook fan page I came across a comment left by a gentleman and it related to this picture.




The comments he left underneath the picture were as follows (I have left the comments unedited);

"i thought this was african fashion week so where are the africans... take a leaf out of burberry, calvin klein etc So why dont we see more and its only the token one we see yet on ours we give even a bigger proportion. Im well in tuned with the fashion industry and had friends turned down for syupid reasons. Why call it African week then. Hello well if 95% of your models are African then lets see more of them as those u keep on publishing do tally with your response. I am not being misled by the colour of the skin and fully aware there are whites not only in South Africa but also in the eastern part of Africa. I am not alone who noticed this but friends of mine also but have decided to reserve their comments. In future think about what the African event stands for as if it was European or other parts of the globe this would of been considered and equality would not come into play. Its just an advice not a criticism pls note"

I love it when he says its just advice and not criticism - according to the English Oxford Dictionary Criticism is deifned as "the expression of disapproval of someone or something on the basis of perceived faults or mistakes" ok I know I am Nigerian and my English is not very good, but to me it sounds like his comments fall under the definition of criticism but who the hell is he to give us advice; when he is spending the money AFWL spent on the show, or he becomes a sponsor or is one of the 100's of people that worked on the show or better still he actually attended the show, then I would very much welcome his advice but at the moment I take it as criticism.

My View on the above:

Yes I am so going to rant, infact I have already started, as it riles me up big time that after all the effort that was put into AFWL and the money spent, the only thing this man could pick up upon was the fact that in his view we had too many non-African models or AFWL was purposely only putting up pictures of the nonblack models on the website and Facebook page.

Before I go on let me break it down for all of you with some hard core facts about the models used.

We had 38 models in total
  • 3 white models
  • 2 Brazilian (I guest under his definition they are white as well)
  • 1 male Asian model
  • The rest of the models were either black African/Caribbean or models of dual heritage whom under normal standards are considered as black
So out of 38 models we have a total of 6 models that may not be considered black and that means that our show does not represent the name of the show - AFWL?

I am sooooooooooo confused, so he is saying that we must be like the rest of the world and discriminate against a good model because of the colour of her skin. AFWL is about being inclusive and we welcome models, designers and visitors of any colour or nationality and no matter what people say we would continue to promote all types of models and designers. It just amazes me that people can be so short sighted. I believe that if you have nothing good or positive to say then just SHUT YOUR MOUTH, it's not by force that you must say something especially if it is rubbish.

If he thinks that we did not do a good job then he should go spend £100k and do his own show. He stated that his friends felt the same way, well to that one I say birds of a feather flock together. I think his comments are disrespectful to all of the models not just the non-black models and gives the impression that we don't value our black models.

I have been working in this industry for over 35 years and I have fought hard to the detriment of my business and financial benefit (and I also think that is why I have not yet received my MBE), to make sure that black models, designers and black businesses are given a fair chance to succeed and to have someone say that we are favouring white people over our own, seriously pisses me off (I guess you can tell from my blog).

However I may be wrong and maybe when I was selecting the models I did have far more non black models than models of colour and if that is the case I am man enough to take the criticism, so please feel free to leave your comments on the AFWL page with your honest thoughts (this is the link).

I am particularly keen to hear from the models, designers and those that actually attended the show and once I see the feedback – good or bad I will do a part two to this saga.

For now I need to take a cold shower to calm down and for my readers that really let their thoughts go wild please note that is the only reason I am taking a cold shower.
Published in Blog
Friday, 26 July 2013 11:47

Fashion Highlights 2013

MILAN

FashionCamp is an annual event promoting emerging designers, fashion bloggers and new technologies in fashion. This year's edition took place on 7 and 8 June at the historic Steam Factory (La Fabbrica del Vapore) in Milan.

Highlights of the event included handmade glass jewelry by Contessa Rosafosca, unique dresses by a Bolognese artist Antonella Cinelli and circus-inspired artwork by Patrizia Fratus.

The industrial area around Via Procaccini, which has been now refurbished and utilized for a new purpose, makes an interesting destination itself. So don't forget to put it on your Milan itinerary next time!

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Photo by Eva Fydrych / Fashion Studio Magazine

Find a stylish hotel in Milan: www.fashionstudiomagazine.com

PARIS

Dior showed a strong Autumn/Winter 2013 collection on the second day of Paris Haute Couture.

Creative director Raf Simons was inspired by 'women from different continents and cultures who wear couture'.

'My aim has been to bring a sense of reality back to haute couture,' explained Simons. 'And this collection is about focusing on the reality of the woman herself, including her culture and personality; how she chooses to wear them.'

AMSTERDAM

19th edition of Amsterdam Fashion Week was dedicated to talent and innovation. Many young Dutch designers and established labels showed their collections to international fashion professionals.

Rebecca Ward presented unconventional shapes and a toned colour pallette, while Winde Rienstra opted for structural elegance and futuristic touch. My favourite designs included white minimalist pieces by Claes Iversen and a fresh and edgy collection by iNDiViDUALS. All in all, this year's edition was a great showcase of a new generation of creative fashion designers.

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Backstage at iNDiViDUALS Photo Peter Stigter

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Rebecca Ward Photo Peter Stigter


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Shoes at Winde Rienstra show Photo Peter Stigter

HONG KONG

On the first day of Hong Kong Fashion Week for Spring/Summer, Hong Kong Trade Development Council invited Catriona MacNab, Chief Creative Officer of WGSN, to host a seminar titled "Fall/Winter 2014/15 Macro Trends, Design Directions and Beyond", giving industry players a glimpse into the upcoming fashion revolution.

Modern Myth will be one of the major trends for Fall/Winter 2014/15. The style uses fashion to convey a future folklore narrative, with creative styling, regal designs and cultural colours stitching it all together. Dark red, indigo blue and gold will form the key palette. For women's wear, jacquards from the 70s will project a tough, masculine look. Patterns could also be combined with bold, folklore-inspired patterns to add a layer of cosmic mythology to the clothing.

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Modern Myth (Photo courtesy of WGSN)

To view Fall/Winter 2013 macro trends, please visit Fashion Studio Magazine www.fashionstudiomagazine.com

BARCELONA

080 Barcelona Fashion took place from 8 - 12 July 2013 at the ultra modern Disseny Hub Barcelona (DHUB) building. The event, which aims to promote Catalan fashion on the international scene, featured over thirty runway shows and presentations.

Both established and emerging fashion designers showed their Spring/Summer 2014 collections over the five-day fun-filled event. My favourite collections included colourful designs by Escorpion and stylish swimwear by Guillermina Baeza.

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Escorpion Spring/Summer 2014 (Photo courtesy of 080 Barcelona Fashion) 

MIAMI

Mara Hoffman presented a colourful Resort 2014 collection on the third day of Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Swim. Exotic prints and patterns took us on an inspirational trip to India. Once again, Mara Hoffman managed to cause astonishment with the wide variety of her sensational swimsuits, cover-ups and accessories.

ABOUT THE DESIGNER

Mara Hoffman, born in Buffalo, NY is a New York City based fashion designer. She graduated from Parsons School of Design in New York City and studied at Central Saint Martins College of Arts and Design in London before launching her first ready-to-wear collection in 2000.

Photo_by_Randy_Brooke
Photo by Randy Brooke
Published in Blog
Friday, 19 July 2013 10:10

Chika Couture S/S14 Collection Launch

Young Designer Chika Iwenofu Launches Spring/Summer' 14 Collection during London Fashion Week September 2013 in collaboration with young and unemployed in London.
Published in News
Wednesday, 10 July 2013 12:06

Meet the New skool of designers!

As you know, we are here to support and promote new talent and, at a time when university comes at a price, it's inspiring to see students on BTEC and HND courses producing equally worthy work. Earlier this month, I had the pleasure of watching the West Nottinghamshire Colleges 'Create' fashion event and meeting designers who will most definitely be shaping our future wardrobe choices. Finest readers take note welcome your nu school of designers featured below.

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Nicmac

A just seventeen years of age, final year BTEC level 3 Fashion design and Textiles student, Nicola McFarlane, packed a thought provoking punch with her dark and sombre collection, "state 52" inspired by death. Not wanting to conform and produce "boring" clothes, she went against all advice to "tone" her collection down, choosing to amp up the shock factor instead! A revolutionist, with a desire to stand out in the fashion world, Nicola is far from ever being boring. Championing at design and knitwear, and drawing inspiration from designers such as Elliot Evan, Yohji Kamamoto and Kenzo, Nicola is headed for Liverpool's John Moores University this September. I have no doubt that this will not be the last we hear from her with this flair for design and controversial statement.

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Libby_Pincott

Libby Pincott

At just eighteen years of age, Final year BTEC level 3 Fashion Design and Textiles student Libby Pincott from Mansfield is going many worthy places. Believing that there should be no right or wrong in fashion and that people should be able to wear whatever makes them feel good in themselves, she likes to design clothing that makes people feel fabulous and not uncomfortable within themselves.

Taking her dress sense from a range of celebrities such as Cara Delavigne's festival look and admiring Rihanna's knack of adding her own twist to the simplest of clothes, it's all about shade and individuality for Libby. Basing her final major project on this year's unpredictable weather, dark and rainy with the odd spec of sun light, she constructed her collection around a monochrome scheme representing the clouds in most UK skies this year.

Despite having a real flair for manufacture and tailoring clothing, it is styling however, marketing and fashion photography that really take her interest. Fascinated by the psychology behind fashion photography and its power of "sell" clothes by giving people the impression that they can look like a supermodels in them, she wants to support designers to "sell" their clothing by replacing the 'supermodel-dream' with a more realistic and empowering 'feel-good' focus instead.

In pursuit of these humanitarian dreams, she plans to study a foundation course in Fashion photography next year and then, after that, her dream is to study for a degree in fashion photography and one day open up her own fashion photography studio. With such a caring, well-meaning and ambitious drive, I'm sure she will go far.

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Libbys stormy Nephology collection
Published in Blog
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