Traditional Nigerian Textiles Meet Contemporary African Design

Ethnik by T.O. - Tunde Olowabi Studios

Ethnik by T.O. is a stylish range of contemporary African design footwear and fashion accessories made with beautifully woven Aso Oke, a traditional Yoruba textile. The collection, launched in 2015, is the brainchild of photographer and designer Tunde Olowabi, who by tapping into his heritage is adding to the diverse creative voices shaping contemporary African design.
[Main image credits: Ethnik by T.O. – Tunde Olowabi Studios]
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Maki & Mpho Modern Luxury African Design Where Asia Meets Africa

SEVEN - Self-tie Diamond Tip Double-sided Bow Tie - Maki & Mpho

With Father’s Day on the horizon, Sunday 21st June for those who need reminding, I thought it would be apt to introduce a brand that focuses its creative attentions on our menfolk. Maki & Mpho, is a US-based textile brand that ‘celebrates the African renaissance’, by working with African designers to develop modern sophisticated prints for menswear accessories. Defining modern luxury African design the collections include elegant ties, pocket squares and bow ties made from silk twill.
[Main image credit: SEVEN – Self-tie Diamond Tip Double-sided Bow Tie – Maki & Mpho]
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Ikire Jones African Inspired Menswear For The Adventurous

Ikire Jones is a visionary African inspired menswear label that celebrates the individual, those not afraid to go against the norm. The Ikire Jones style sees old world tradition combined with contemporary aesthetics in the form of vibrant flamboyant West African textiles and inspiration married with the sophistication of sharp Neapolitan tailoring to create garments that are expertly hand cut and sewn in Philadelphia, USA where the company is based.
[Image credit: Escape to New Lagos Collection – Ikire Jones]
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Bundu Bags South African Made Fashion Accessories

I do like messenger bags for their practical functionality, given they are usually roomy enough to store a laptop or iPad, and the South African made fashion accessories by Bundu Bags offer a trendy range sporting a cool retro vibe, one that calls to mind Graphic Art, specifically the ’60s trends of Op Art and Mod style. Bundu Bags’ collections also include beach bags, totes and cute bags for kids. Employing traditional basket weaving techniques, Bundu Bags are made from commercial recycled cargo strapping, upcycling a product that would most likely end up in landfills.
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Armando Cabral Model Turned Men’s Shoe Designer

Today is officially the first day of Spring, a day that is beautifully bright and sunny but still with a crisp freshness in the air, however you can not escape that wonderful sense of renewal; colours seem sharper and there is a lightness to everything. Speaking of colours a range of suede loafers by model turned men’s shoe designer Armando Cabral stylishly capture the essence of spring…aren’t the shades just gorgeous…and they look so soft.
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Casely-Hayford A Mens Fashion Design Legacy In Motion

Casely-Hayford - Spring Summer 10

A few weeks ago I engaged in a lively debate with some family members; we were discussing Zimbabwean businesses and what it takes to establish lasting legacies known all over the world for quality, service and craftsmanship; that not only the business but the country as a whole could be proud of; a debate that can easily extend to African businesses across the continent. Lasting legacies are something you see all the time with British heritage brands like Burberry and Mulberry, the former dating back over a hundred years, and the French couture houses. I’m not saying legacies in Africa don’t exist, quite the opposite in that some go back thousands of years; the difference I think is that they have tended to be verbal passed down the generations through storytelling, and physical through the passing down of skills; the danger with this is that should a generation lose interest that legacy then ceases and some of the ‘story’ gets lost along the way. However in today’s digital age, recording and maintaining legacies for future generations has become somewhat easier. Back to my debate, things got heated but in the process raised some interesting questions/issues that I am still continuing to mull over, and for whatever reason the British Menswear label Casely-Hayford keeps springing to mind as a fine example of a fashion design legacy in motion.

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[Image credits: Casely-Hayford]
Casely-Hayford was formed in 2007 when fashion designer/tailor Joe Casely-Hayford teamed up with his son Charlie, to create a line of menswear based on the philosophy that all men possess a degree of anarchy within their character; anarchy in the sense of independence rather than a total disregard for the rules, and the brand reflects this through their designs which fuse a carefree spirit with the meticulous tradition of classic men’s tailoring. The first Casely-Hayford collection launched in Spring/Summer 2009. Founded on two simple phrases ‘English Sartorialism’ and ‘British Anarchy’, Casely-Hayford is at once unconventional and classic British; and although a pioneering British brand, the label can trace its roots back to Ghana. Joe Casely-Hayford was named after his grandfather, J. E. Casely-Hayford; an eminent Ghanaian lawyer and Statesmen whose novel ‘Ethiopia Unbound’ written in 1911 was said to have greatly influenced Pan-African politics and the leading civil rights activists of the time. The careers may be different but the pioneering spirit cannot be denied when you look at the father and son fashion design legacy in motion.

Spring Summer 2010 - Casely-Hayford

Casely-Hayford’s philosophy is also one of craftsmanship, present at every stage of the design and production process utilised through the skills of Master craftsmen. Savile Row tailoring methods are employed drawing on the heritage of the institution. Throughout his career Joe Casely-Hayford has always sought to combine innovation with tradition and since the early eighties has designed men and women’s wear collections through an eponymous fashion label and dressed some of the biggest bands in the world. Joe became the first designer to design for TopShop in 1993 and has also been involved in the educational side of the fashion industry. For three years, 2005-2008, Joe was the Creative Director of Gieves and Hawkes; a Savile Row house with a 200-year history; and was instrumental in repositioning the brand for the 21st century. More recently Joe has created an exclusive collection for John Lewis UK entitled, Joe Casely-Hayford for John Lewis. Following in his father’s footsteps Charlie Casely-Hayford started out by making his mark on the London creative scene through stints at places like i-D magazine and Creative Review, but it was during his late teens when he got to undertake an intensive apprenticeship at his father’s studio, learning the craft and what goes into building a brand that the groundwork for the beings of a unique father and son fashion design legacy in motion was laid. Together through their mix of sportswear and tailoring Casely-Hayford is leading the way in modern British style.

Joe Casely-Hayford for John Lewis

Joe Casely-Hayford for John Lewsi - Blazers

[Image credits: top and bottom, Joe Casely-Hayford for John Lewis]
…The Casely-Hayford man exudes understated-elegance and quiet confidence, with a very quirky dose of free-spiritedness

Additional information sourced from: www.iqons.com

Additional details:
Joe Casely-Hayford for John Lewis currently priced at: £30-£399
For further information visit: 
www.casely-hayford.com
For the Joe Casely-Hayford for John Lewis collection and to purchase visit: 
www.johnlewis.com

Oliberté Made In Africa Footwear Profiled On CNN

Oliberté mens casual loafers

‘…we never have and still don’t see an Africa that’s categorised by negative generalisations’ one company’s response to an oft asked question as to why anyone would ever consider trying to establish and run a successful business in Africa. Well footwear brand Oliberté, the company in question is attempting to do just that and are in good company if some of the inspirational and pioneering African businesses I have shared are anything to go by. Canadian social entrepreneur, Tal Dehtiar established Oliberté two years ago amidst the challenges of finding financial backers willing to help him realise his vision of a made in Africa brand.
[Image credit: Oliberté]
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Missibaba Men’s Leather Sandals For Stiaan Louw

Missibaba - Espinsands

Granted when it comes to women’s footwear there is so much more to choose from than men’s, and with the mercury rising as summer approaches people will be looking towards a more relaxed laidback approach, especially if lucky enough to go on holiday. So if you are a guy shopping for yourself or a woman looking to spoil your man, then South African luxury leather accessories brand Missibaba is branching into men’s accessories with a new range of men’ leather sandals that I spotted on the blog, Man of the Cloth .Created for South African fashion designer Stiaan Louw’s Spring/Summer 2011 collection, the leather sandals are perfect for the lazy summer days ahead.
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Laduma Ngxokolo South African Knitwear Inspired By Xhosa Culture

Laduma Ngxokolo knitwear

The ‘Colourful World of the Xhosa Tribe’ is a range of locally sourced Merino wool and mohair knitted textiles exploring the cultural heritage of the Xhosa people by design graduate and South African knitwear designer Laduma Ngxokolo. Of his choice of material Laduma Ngxokolo used mohair for its richness of colour and extra sheen, saying it is a versatile material; sustainable, lightweight, breathable and elastic. While studying at the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University in Port Elizabeth, Laduma Ngxokolo was inspired by the Xhosa initiation ceremonies and sought to create garments that men could wear when attending these traditional ceremonies.

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soleRebels Handmade Eco-Friendly African Shoes

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soleRebels slipons

Zenabwork, a small village community in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia is crafting some seriously funky footwear using 100% locally sourced materials. soleRebels is all about original sustainable footwear, exuding the same coolness that is attached to brands like Nike and Adidas. Pro ‘trade not aid’ the award-winning African shoes business is working to break the chains of dependency on aid, instead aiming to get people into work by creating jobs within the local community – which are often scarce. Founded in 2004 by Bethlehem Tilahun Alemu, soleRebels has sought to harness the skills of local artisans by creating a sustainable, fair-trade footwear company that now has an increasing global presence.
 [Image credits: soleRebels]
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