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Who’s HauTe: Interview with Nigerian Menswear Designer, Kenneth Ize

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Here at HauTeFashionAfrica.com, we never get tired of discovering new designers that embark on the fashion scene. The latest that’s on our radar is Kenneth Ize, the runner up winner at GTB Lagos Fashion & Design Week 2013. When I learned about the controversy concerning the chosen winner and the competition, I knew right away that this interview would be quite fascinating  as did his arrival back to the Motherland with his unique point of view in the fashion space, distinct brand identity, incredible work ethic and unconventional rise to success makes him one of the upcoming designers on the lookout.

Kenneth Ize

We get to know and love more about Kenneth Ize together, what to expect, where to find his clothing line and his current internship in New York with fashion designer, Edun:

HFA: First and foremost, congratulations on being the runner up winner at GTB Lagos Fashion & Design Week. And In addition to winning the 6-month paid Internship with International Ethical brand, Edun in New York, describe how you felt at that exact moment?

KI: Thank you. I’m very grateful for the Opportunity GTB/LFDW has given young designers, the way I felt was indeed a great moment and I don’t know if I’m still sleeping or dreaming but I guess not, it wasn’t really where I could think of seeing myself in the beginning of this year and its a joyful welcome back to Lagos after a long while living abroad. So I want to use this opportunity to say thank you to Lagos state and my dear friend Joanna Aghedo for feeding me with the amazing stories of Lagos, which brought me back.

HFA: In other words, you wouldn’t have seen yourself returning back to Lagos anytime soon and wouldn’t have taken advantage of this opportunity. Which basically means you wouldn’t be where you are today, what a great friend you’ve.

KI: Yes, and I’m very thankful for that.

HFA: I’m not sure if you are aware of this, however the public expressed that you should have won the competition and it was due to “politics” that you didn’t win. Seems likes you have a fan base already, what is your opinion?

KI: I thank people for believing in me and strengthening my creativity. We all did a good job to give a great show at LFDW and in my own opinion, the fact that I could work with such amazing talented people was fantastic enough. I’m blessed.

HFA: Going back to Lagos Fashion & Design Week (LFDW), the title of your collection was ‘Son Soufflé’ and the aesthetic for the collection was sparkle and soft, just to name a few. What was your inspiration behind the collection/idea?

KI: ‘Son Soufflé’ is a celebration of coming back home, I thought about how I wanted to go around looking in Lagos with friends and how free I wanted to be to dress in oversized clothes, I was thinking so much about Africa and wanted to see how earth colors and sequins would be like in such weather, where its sunny and cool at night.

HFA: Briefly describe the look from Kenneth Ize look-book/image-shoot.

KI: Images are real and it’s sending this message about the so-called law they passed in Nigeria.

HFA: Very inspiring and creative, I would love to talk more extensively about this “so-called law” you mentioned but I wouldn’t want to take away your moment. However, is there a personal motive behind choice of your look-book/image-shoot or your message?

KI: Yes, the look-book/image shoot is a reflection of me. We have all right to be who we want to be and do whatsoever we choose to do.

HFA: Well implemented. When was the first time you thought of being a Fashion Designer and were your family/friends in support of you?

KI: I first should close my eyes and answer this question, my childhood always made me know this was what I wanted to become but I always try to skip away from it. I grew up having a Barbie doll till I was 13 in junior high school, making dresses, styling, hair and make-up for my doll. I’ll always go to the tailor shop opposite my parent’s house, cut some fabric and make dresses for my doll, my family knew I love(d) fashion and they wouldn’t go shopping without me. When I got into high school I stopped with my Barbie and started reading comics, was kind of boring but I’ll chill and keep it in my head, that’s what big boys do.

After graduation from high school, was time to choose what to study, so I choose sociology but it didn’t last for four months till I stopped. Then came a day I had a great conversation with one of my friends, she questioned me and asked why was I running away from what I can do best. I called my mum right away and told her I wanted to be a fashion designer, she said, “that’s what I’ve always waited for you to become”, my family and friends support me a lot. I’m blessed to have them strengthen me. I got into University to study fashion and design, ever since I can now say I love what I do.

Kenneth-Ize-lagos-fashion-and-design-week-2013-fashionghana-7

HFA: It is great that you have supportive family/friends and the reason why I state that is because most African parents as you may know, always advice or insist their children acquire majors that are promising after graduation as a “back up plan”, so they say, which can be a good thing. Nonetheless, I am optimistic that individuals like you will continue to demonstrate that anyone can follow their dreams and be successful at it despite the course of study.

So moving on, what is your perspective about the growth of menswear in Nigeria or Africa in general?

KI: The fact that African men love to look good, it’s a balance for the menswear industry and says alot about the potential of Menswear in Nigeria/Africa. It is very possible for it to become more profitable than Womenswear on the continent.

HFA: As a menswear designer, how do you inspire or boost the average man to express their fashion sense?

KI: I’ll say I’m not just into boosting menswear but boosting unisex wears, fashion should be an expression. I’m into the expression part of fashion and I believe people should start doing that mostly in Africa.

HFA: So, how’s Life at Edun. I’m envious of you but in a positive way, of course. You are presently working as an intern for Edun in New York, is this your first time in New York and how do you like it so far?

KI: Wow, Joyful! It’s been fantabulous and filled with loads of experience. I stayed a while in New York City before now, and there’s always something new about the city, Edun is a very good atmosphere to work at and the co-workers are down to earth.

HFA: New York being one of the top fashion cities in the world, have you been inspired by the city or have any visions/ideas yet?

KI: I’m thinking about my Master collection now and New York is really helping me to get inspiration and ideas.

HFA: You’re already up to a decent start, that’s great! What is the biggest cultural shock regarding fashion you have faced so far being in New York?

KI: The garment district is a shock; the fact that you can get whatsoever you want to use to make a garment is awesome.

HFA: I definitely agree with you, this is part of what makes New York a great city, the accessibility. Have you been to any shows during Fashion Week? And if so, describe your experiences.

KI: Unfortunately, I had no time to see any show. We had so much to do at EDUN.

HFA: Once the internship is over, what is the next move for Kenneth Ize?

KI: Lagos Fashion and Design Week will be next and exhibitions.

HFA: How do you plan on utilizing this platform you have so far to expand your brand?

KI: I have started thinking about collaborating with someone and hopefully it turns out well.

HFA: Lovely! We’ll be on the look out; do you ever see yourself creating womenswear? If not, why?

KI: My clothes are Unisex.

Kenneth Ize at LFDW

HFA: Well, now the audience is aware because your collection from the LFDW was all menswear and we wouldn’t know if your line is unisex or not. I presume this is great news because we women can’t have enough designers.

KI: I know, I try to make it a surprise for buyers who go to stores and see Kenneth Ize in the female department, check out Stranger by the end of this month for Kenneth Ize.

HFA: What is Kenneth Ize ultimate goal in the fashion industry?

KI: I love working with people and I want to do collaboration with amazing designers on my list such as ‘Post Imperial’ to mention just one.

HFA: Any last comments or anything else you would like to include?

KI: Special thanks to Team LFDW, Frallian Inc, Roberta Annan, LDIafrica, HauTe Fashion Africa, Omoyemi Akerele for believing in the African dream, EDUN, Wadami Amolegbe, Joanna Aghedo, Joy Omorusi, Bernhard Schwarzbauer, Lakin Ogunbanwo who told me about LFDW, Terence Sambo, Adeju Thompson, Tracey Akintola for this interview and to all supporters. Thank you.

HFA: Thank you too! And one more thing before this interview comes to an end, always remember that preparation plus opportunity equals success. In order words, Kenneth Ize #FaceYourWork! (Laughs). We all at HauTe wish you the very best in all your future endeavors.

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The Schedule: Jo’Burg Fashion Week Autumn/Winter 14 [20 - 22 March 2014]

Written by . Posted in +Men, Blog, Buy, Features.

 

Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Jo’Burg will officially kick off the fashion week season in the continent. Designers including Marianne Fassler, Abigail Betz, Stefania Morland, David Tlale, Adriaan Kuiters, and Fabiani are set to showcase their Autumn/Winter 2014 collections at the event, which will be held at the Sandton Convention Centre, from March 20 – 22.

One’s To Watch: Adriaan Kuiters, Avant Apparel and Augustine.

Full MBFWJ A/W 2014 Schedule 

Venue: Sandton Convention Center

Day 1

Thursday 20 March

17: 30 – Irmgard Mkhabela/ Tsotetsi KL

18:30 – Stefania Morland

19:30 – Marianne Fassler

21:00 – Abigail Betz

Day 2

Friday 21 March

15:30 – The Intern By David Tlale

18:00 – Morphe/ Sphana

19:00  - Fashion Night Out: Fashion Movie

20:00 – Tart/ Selfie

21:00 – Adriaan Kuiters/ Laduma

Day 3

Saturday 22 March

11:30 – David Tlale

12:45 – AFI Fashion Talks SCC: Bill Gallagher Room

15:00 – AFI Fasttrack

16:00 – AFI Next Generation

17:00 Avant Apparel/ Leigh Schubert

18:15 – Augustine/ Ruald Rheeder

19:30 – Viyella

21:00  - Fabiani

Innocent Ndlovu is the Men’s Fashion Editor of HauTe Fashion Africa. Follow him on Twitter @IamInnocentN and Instagram @innoegram. 

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Suno leads the way in trading with Africa as they make the Top 10 (12) Finalists for the coveted LVMH Prize 2013.

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Bittersweet day for us here at HauTeFashionAfrica.com as the LVMH Prize Team releases what was suppose to be their Top 10 finalists, but now Top 12, due to what we imagine was a very difficult decision to make out of the Top 30 semi-finalists asked to present their work to over 40 experts in the Fashion Industry at LVMH in Paris, including 2 of our Nigerian brands ‘Maki Oh’ by Amaka Osakwe & ‘Orange Culture’ by Adebayo Oke – Lawal.

Max Osterweis and Erin Beatty

Of the 12, which includes Ethical Label Suno who produce in Kenya are Atto by Julien Dossena, CG by Chris Gelinas, Gabriele Colangelo, Shayne Oliver’s Hood by Air, Jacquemus by Simon Porte Jacquemus, Miuniku by Nikita and Tina Sutradhar, Thomas Tait, Tillmann Lauterbach, Tim Coppens, Simone Rocha and Vika Gazinskaya will be going to the next phase, where they present their Fall ’14 collection at the LVMH Headquarters for 15 minutes in May to 8 judges which include, Karl Lagerfeld, Raf Simons, Nicolas Ghesquière, Marc Jacobs, Riccardo Tisci, Humberto Leon & Carol Lim of Kenzo, Phoebe Philo and others will consider their efforts, and later choose a winner for the 300,000 euros and mentorship program with LVMH.

“Karl even had to sit and draw in front of the judges to prove that someone else hadn’t done his sketches for him.” As for the eighteen semifinalists who didn’t make the cut, they can take solace in the fact that they’re eligible to apply again next year. “I’m sure they must be very disappointed, but I hope they see it as an opportunity. And I hope we helped them to make some key connections in the industry.” – Delphine Arnault (LVMH).

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Blue, Lines, Tassels & Adire on Silk, the Nigerian Womenswear Designer, ‘Maki Oh’ we know and Love is back with her Autumn/Winter 14 Collection.

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For someone so consistent since her re-debut as Maki Oh at Arise Magazine Fashion Week’s Spring/Summer 2011 and follow up collections till her A/W13, we had come to know and love Maki Oh for her distinct features; Blue, Lines, Tassels and the ethnic Nigerian technique of putting ‘Adire’ prints on Silk she brilliantly upgraded with each season until her S/S14, which took a bit of (pleasant) adventurous turn:

As stated, the LVMH Prize Top 30 Semi-finalist has brought back her signature tassels, alongside adire on silk and taken it up a notch with introducing Nigerian Fabric ‘Aso Oke’ with Lurex thread whilst featuring song lyrics boldly shown and translated from English to ‘Yoruba’, a Nigerian Language. There’s no mistaking where Amaka Osakwe, who is of the Ibo tribe is from, and it is beautifully shown in this Look book shot by her, as she shares with us another story, questioning if this woman she sees in the mirror is mad or not in her Autumn/Winter 2014 Collection:

See the short film for this collection below by Arie Esiri:

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From Deola Sagoe to Stella McCartney, Jewel By Lisa to Burberry, Lanre Da Silva to Prada, when does inspiration become imitation?!

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Albert Einstein once said “Creativity is knowing how to hide your sources”, another popular quote defines imitation as the sincerest form of flattery. The fashion industry as we know it is constantly evolving and recycling trends/themes, giving room to recurrence and enhanced creativity.

However, in a case where inspiration is drawn from a source other than one’s self, credit should be given to persons due.

Inspiration?

Lanre Da Silva Ajayi A/W 2013 | Prada S/S 2014:

Nigerian designer Lanre Da Silva Ajayi who just recently got introduced to Milan, Italy in 2013 just last A/W 13 debuted a collection focused on textures, patterns and most distinctly pieces infected by art work of what appeared to be fearless women (as seen above). Fast forward to a year later, during Milan Fashion Week, Prada presented its S/S 2014 collection, while this collection featured luxé sportswear and embellishments, it also distinctly featured printed mural artwork of women gangs:

It begs the question – was this a mere coincidence or did Lanre Da Silva Ajayi inspire Prada? Considering the Nigerian labels recent introduction into Milan via very popular Italian Fashion Brand, Dolce & Gabanna.

Imitation?

Jewel By Lisa S/S 2010 | Prada S/S 2012:

Jewel by Lisa presented their S/S 2010 collection in New York, the designer employed wax print fabrics made into dresses and separates. A variety of fabrics were used, however there was a stand out fabric (Seen Below and Above), which was also used a year later by Burberry for their African-Inspired Collection S/S 2012.

and as seen on Jewel By Lisa Creative Director, Lisa Folawiyo on the Cover of Nigerian Lifestyle Magazine, Genevieve in 2009:

Lisa Folawiyo of Jewel By Lisa in Genevieve Magazine

Did JBL inspire Burberry when they visited the Jewel by Lisa studio a year prior or did the burberry team stumble on this pattern while fabric sourcing?

Coincidence?

Our 3rd, and most likely the closest to being a coincidence is this Polka on Sheer with Deola Sagoe & Stella McCartney:

Deola Sagoe F/W 2010 | Stella McCartney F/W 2011

During Africa Fashion Week in 2010, Deola Sagoe unveiled her Fall 2010 collection, which featured an array of pieces ranging from sequinned hi-lo pieces, plunging necklines to polka on sheer fabrics. Some of the polka-sheer fabrics were tailored into high neckline, flouncy dresses. In 2011, Stella McCartney’s Fall 2011 collection featured pieces bearing strong similarities to the polka-sheer pieces as seen at Deola Sagoe.

Coincidence? Inspiration? Imitation?

- Should designers own up to another designer being their source of inspiration?

or

- Is it okay to assume coincidence even when it really isn’t?

or

- Should there be stricter rules with regards to trademarking pieces to avoid imitation?

Noteworthy: In 2012, Christian Louboutin sued Yves Saint Laurent over sales of red sole shoes as the former had purchased trademark protection of red sole shoes prior.

Whatever the answer to these questions are, African fashion appears to be inspiring and they are inspiring internationally. To avoid dispute and contemplation, the African fashion industry might want to look into putting statutory rules in place that protect the work of every fashion creative.

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Lanre Da Silva Ajayi rules the Red Carpet alongside Alter Ego, Deola Sagoe, Elizabeth Waldorf, Iconic Invanity, House of Nwocha, Isi Atagamen, Jewel By Lisa, Mai Atafo, Meena, Odio Mimonet & Wana Sambo at the Africa Magic Viewers Choice Awards 2014.

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It’s NOW officially the end of award season, with the 2nd annual Africa Magic Viewers Choice Awards rounding up in Nigeria. As expected, the country with the most populated black people on earth stunned with beautiful people cladly dressed to impress in many of Nigeria’s Fashion Labels, with eponymous label Lanre Da Silva Ajayi ruling the Red Carpet this season with the most looks.

Here are some of our favourite looks from the Nigerian Fashion Labels who rocked the Red Carpet this year.

Tracey Nwapa in Alter Ego:

Tracey Nwapa in Alter Ego

Eku Edewor in Deola Sagoe:

Eku Edewor in Deola

Seyi Shay in Elizabeth Waldorf:

Seyi Shay in Elizabeth Waldorf

Osas Ighodaro & Biola Alabi in Iconic Invanity:

Osas Ighodaro & Biola Alabi in Iconic Invanity

House of Nwocha on Ugonna Omeruo – The Designer & Makida Moda:

Ugonna Omeruo & Makida Moka

Isi Atagamen on Isi Atagemen & Liz Yemoja:

Isi Atagamen  & Liz Yemoja

Genevieve Nnaji in Jewel By Lisa

Genevieve Nnaji in Jewel By Lisa

Michelle Dede, Guest & Rita Dominic in Lanre Da Silva Ajayi:

Michelle Dede, Lady in LDA & Rita Dominic

Mai Atafo in Mai Atafo:

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Agbani Darego & Mercy Johnson in Meena:

Agbani Darego and Mercy Johnson in Meena

Ezinne Chinkata in Odio Mimonet:

Ezinne Chinkata in Odio Mimonet

Beverly Naya in Wana Sambo:

Beverly Naya in Wana Sambo

Check back often for updates to this page.

Photo Credit: Insigna Media (except for Deola Sagoe & Meena by Tope Horpload)

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Your Favourite Spring/Summer 2014 Campaigns are here; B-Side by Wale, Edun, Lalesso, Lanvin, McMeka, Weizdhurm Franklyn

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Forget about how cold it is, spring is sure to come… and to get you ready for it, the campaign for Spring/Summer 2014 have started coming in.

1st up is from French Fashion House Lanvin, which is Creative Directed by our favourite Moroccan – Alber Elbaz:

Blondes are taking on the high fashion life in Steven Meisel caption of the Lanvin Spring/Summer 2014 campaign:

lanvin-2014-campaign-steven-meisel

Captured by the iconic photographer Steven Meisel, the models are surrounding at a white desk accessorized with Lanvin’s best and most exquisite props, perfectly matched with the glamorous party wear of the Lanvin S/S 2014 collection, discussing all of Life’s important Issue, as you will see in the video below:

See the Mens Campaign:

Men

B-Side by Wale: (Nigeria):

B-Side By Wale

Lalesso (South Africa):

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Photography: Misha Taylor
Art Direction/stylist: Anna Verloren Thematt
Model: Sam Laskey from Ice Cape Town

Edun:

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Model: Marine Deeleuw
Stylist: Alex Harrington
Hair: Marki Shkreli
Makeup: Morgane Martini
Shot at Milk Studios

McMeka:

McMeka

Stylist & Shoot Director: Rodney Emeka

Photographer: D’Mayo

Model: Ndukwe Kalu

Weizdhurm Franklyn (Nigeria):

Weiz-Dhurm-Franklyn-SS14-Ad-Campaign-BellaNaija-February2014003

Photographer: Onwumere Charles
Stylist: Wisdom Ababa
Model: Angela Egbadon
Asst Stylist: Michael O’Shumaker

Check back often to see what new campaign have joined the list…

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Design Indaba 2014: The Fashion, with the Capetown Fashion Council, Gavin Rajah, Laduma Ngxokolo and the chance to with R10,000 Foschini Voucher.

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The Design Indaba 2014 Expo was once again a feast for the eyes and mind, while providing creatives from all walks of life the opportunity to showcase their crafts on an internationally-attended playing field.

Featuring 200 new exhibitors, the expo sectors this year were made up of Architecture and Spatial Design, Communication Design, Design for Social Impact, Digital Design, Fashion and Accessories, Furniture, Handmade, Homeware, Industrial Design, Jewellery, and Artisanal Food.

The fashionistas were out in dress and droves with the clothing section experiencing no shortage of interest and consumers. Gavin Rajah, Laduma Ngxokolo, Ilundi, Joie D’Vivre, the Cape Town Fashion Council, and Spree were just some of the designers on the expo floor.

Watch Laduma talk about his Design Indaba Experience:

Also on show were the 10 Foschini Fashion Design competition nominees. Expo ticket holders were able to see the design students’ creations up close and personal, and were also able to vote for their favourite pieces (and stand the chance to win a R10,000 Foschini voucher) by filling in an entry form. Those unable to be at the expo can help get their favourite designer/design through to the next round and into the top six by voting online at the Fashion Design Awards, voting closes on the 21st of March, 2014.

Read More from Design Indaba 2014 on BizCommunity & Fashion, directly from Design Indaba.

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Paris Fashion Week Autumn/Winter 2014 [Day 3] : Lanvin

Written by . Posted in Blog, Fashion Shows, Features.

LAN_1119.450x675

Review to follow shortly

Collection:

Credit: Style.com

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Louis Vuitton’s Spring/Summer 14 ‘Spirit of Travel’ Campaign, shot in South Africa by Peter Lindbergh, styled by Carine Roitfeld.

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Louis Vuitton’s love for Africa hardly goes unnoticed, from their ready-to-wear campaign using and introducing African Fashion Models, this travel campaign shot in South Africa, and even charity efforts a la LVMH Prize. This time, their latest foray into the inspirational continent takes Models Karen Elson and Edie Campbell on a Safari search donning LV’s spring/summer 2014 pieces, shot by Fashion Photographer, Peter Lindbergh and styled by former editor of Vogue Paris, Carine Roitfeld:

Louis Vuitton S/S14 Spirit of Travel CampaignLV S/S14LV S/S14 LV S/S14 LV S/S14 LV S/S14

See the Behind the scenes video of the shoot, below:

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