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If you are follower of African fashion, style and beauty, then you are probably familiar with the images of Paris-based photographer Mario Epanya. The Mario Epanya who divided online opinion with his super-stylish series of fictional Vogue Africa covers, a concept that was turned down by Condé Nast giving rise to the debate of whether or not Africa needed Vogue. Fast forward seven years and the Cameroonian-born photographer is once again setting the digital world alight this time with his debut book BEAUTIFUL: Portraits of Black Beauty. And what a treat it is.



BEAUTIFUL: Portraits of Black Beauty is a love letter of sorts dedicated to his grandmother, mother and the women in his life, and especially to black women everywhere, its pages filled with stunning portraits of everyday women and models of colour, celebrating the diversity in skin tone and hair texture. Through BEAUTIFUL Epanya sought to create a book that a mother could show to her daughters with the underlying message that ‘you are beautiful’ no matter what the mainstream media say.







The publication of BEAUTIFUL is particularly significant for Epanya as it marks ten years from when he first picked up his camera professionally. A former make-up and hairstylist Epanya made the transition into photography using his craft to champion and challenge the portrayal, and lack of black beauty in the wider beauty industry, his images used in campaigns for the likes of L’Oreal and Maybelline New York.




Available in separate English and French editions, BEAUTIFUL presents 168 pages encased in a luxurious velvet touch hardback format with silver foiling.



Published by Shoko Press, BEAUTIFUL is a chance to own a stunning collection of Mario Epanya images conveying the message that black is indeed BEAUTIFUL.


– Tapiwa


Additional details:

BEAUTIFUL is priced at: £24.99

To purchase BEAUTIFUL visit:

For further information about Mario Epanya visit:


[Image credits: The images shown belong to Mario Epanya. If downloaded and used elsewhere, please credit accordingly.]

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  • Eight years ago I started a blog as a place to document the interesting things I was discovering with regards to the design and creativity emerging from Africa. From the moment I created my first blog post little did I know where the journey would take me. Fast-forward to present day I have not only been privileged to witness the development of an industry, but to also have an active role in creating awareness about it.

On this journey, I have seen Africa’s design industry grow from a handful of names from a handful countries to a continent wide-reach. Some names that were just starting out have become internationally respected leaders in their field, whilst behind them, a new generation of names are coming up and claiming their place in the industry.

To say that it is an exciting time for African design and creativity would be a gross understatement! We are in a time of rapid advancement and unbridled creative expression, that is setting the foundations and standards for future generations to build on. And like many other emerging industries in Africa, creativity is opening up opportunities to those who are willing to seize them. And seizing them designers are!

And as Atelier Fifty Five begins a new chapter it is an opportunity for me to renew my commitment to supporting the development of the African design industry and helping those I work with and write about, and work with to fulfill their potential for creating world-class brands. 
I invite you to visit our website to discover more. [Link in bio]

Tapiwa, Founder Atelier Fifty Five
  • Instagram Image
  • Colourful basketry, soulful sculpture and an elegant candle make a nice placeholder we think, as we prepare to usher in a new chapter of the Atelier Fifty Five journey. [📷 credit: @atelierfiftyfive]
  • Gifted hands. A glimpse behind the scenes of Kaross a South African based embroidery initiative, whose artisans transform furnishings into works of art. [📷 credit: Kaross]
  • Tools of the trade, a hand carved printing block stamp by textile designer @juliekouamo whose evocative designs tell the stories of cultures past and present. Julie's textiles feature richly layered patterns, textures and printed pictures that come together to create vibrant collages. [📷 credit: @tapiwamatsinde]
  • Fishermen's boats, a familiar sight along the Senegalese coast line. [📷 credit: @tapiwamatsinde]

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