Welcome to the second half of 2016. I pray that you have a blessed year, one where God will enlarge your territory, whatever it maybe. I took a break from everything, because I simply needed it. For far too long, I have been very automated, thinking that I needed to do so much to be successful. I am finally learning that it’s the little things that matter, particularly the things we love, like our family, food, laughter, and for me jewelry making.
I have been down this road, not once or twice and so I will keep it all simple. My goal in life now is to start something that matters with African Fashion and Style. Profit is great and my prayer for African fashion and style is that we become as profitable as the global fashion industry. But maybe that’s not our calling. Maybe for us to be successful, our business model should be one that puts our people first, instead of profits. By people, I am referring to that breadseller turned fashion model, whose life story is one full of inspiration. Or that secondary school girl in need of advice on what to do next, now that school is out and a university education seems completely out of reach. These are the people that should matter as we move African Fashion and Style to the next heights. Truth is the better people feel about our fashion, the better they just might support.
So for Isiomastylereport as we continue through the rest of 2016, we are focused on African fashion and style that matter. I remain passionate about creating a platform that celebrates the core people transforming African fashion and style. Those with an idea, a story to tell, those who inspire and uplift our people and everyone else they come across. I cannot promise anything, except to remain the voice of African fashion and style that matters.
I have been away for awhile. My sincere apologies as I was preoccupied with my day job. I am back and hopefully will be around all summer. It’s been awhile and will try to make sense of all that I have missed in the past couple of months. First is a series I came across while away and it’s entitled “State of Undress” hosted by Hailey Gates for Viceland. No homo here, but I truly love Hailey Gates. She gets it 100%. The point of this show is to use fashion as an entry point to talk about identity issues and politics and sort of underreported cultural phenomenon and to be able to show both the light and the dark of these things. Fashion means so much more to people in many different contexts and I love how her docuseries did a splendid job to showcase this. It was also amazing to view how fashion would lend itself to exploring all the avenues that she wanted to explore in the countries she visited especially in war-torn regions like Pakistan or censored countries like China. I loved all her reactions with every place she visited from Pakistan to Russia and even Congo. I most especially love how she champions the need for representation of people and their fashion beyond that which is commonly seen in the media these days. Continue reading State of Undress and Fashion from Africa
“We are all born thinking like entrepreneurs. Families and friends often encourage us not to be. But true entrepreneurs keep figuring it out. In business, particularly for any African brand out there, there are no shortcuts. That’s it. You cannot expect to be in business and be successful if you are not determined to put in the hard work. Furthermore, unless, you have goals set, you truly do not know what you are doing and quite frankly, you will fail over and over again. You also need to come up with a business formular that makes sense for you and your business and work hard on it. Finally, and this is probably the hardest, you have to learn how to quit when it not working as expected.” Continue reading Quote of the day: “With African Fashion, there are no shortcuts”
Quote of the Day by Deola Sagoe: “We don’t need aid, we need partnerships. We cannot continue to be a beggar nation. I have always believed you shouldn’t give the man the fish, but teach the man how to fish and he will be able to take care of himself and others.”
Continue reading African Fashion Does Not Need Aid.
Have you seen the Disney movie “Beauty and the Beast.” In it, Gaston, once wonderfully handsome and muscled, is made utterly ridiculous in the beginning as he examines himself in every mirror he passes. Beast in the end, wins beauty’s love not through his looks, but his gentle awkwardness, his eagerness to please her and his distaste for violence. This movie draws attention to how people’s values or behaviors or even appearance can be interpreted by others. It’s significance also lies in its ability to redefine the terms governing beauty. It is this redefinition that precisely will propel African Fashion forward to new heights. Continue reading This beast called fashion with implications for African Fashion
Happy International Women’s Day and here is to all the women out there, you days be memorable, your nights be pleasurable and your dreams be attainable always…
In honor of this grand day, my hope for the future of African Fashion is resilience.
Resilience, they say is when a person, a thing, or even an object defies the odds and show positive outcomes, despite enduring adversity. It is a measure of an individual’s strength and an end product of buffering processes that do not eliminate risks and stress in people’s lives, but allows individuals to deal with these challenges effectively. Being an African Fashion Brand isn’t easy. Sure, there are great success stories like Lisa Folawiyo of Nigeria being selected as the top 500 influencers of Fashion globally, or how Zuvaa marketplace is making African Fashion seem very accessible. The list though is not very long though . Which leads me to ask the following questions: how do African Fashion brands cope with adversity? Are there any protective factors that may mitigate the effects of these adversity? What, if any role, does the community, individuals, you, me, play in shaping resilient African fashion brands?
Granted, most African Fashion brands will fail numerous times before they become household names. In many cases, majority can’t scale, despite an impressive showing at the latest African Fashion Week in their home towns, and our people, myself included, just simply have a hard time patronizing some fashion brands, and it is due to issues such as accessibility, clean tailoring etc. No approach you take with African fashion will guarantee success, hence the need to explore why some, despite the numerous challenges they face, defy the odds as we know it. It is my hope that as we begin to build the future we want for African Fashion, we can would also explore the role resilience plays.
Happy New Month. Have your ever failed with African fashion? You are not alone. I love the idea of failing because it makes you better prepared for the future. Sure no one plans to fail and I am sure that it hurts more than you can imagine. But I also want to believe that it will only make you strong in the end. Personally, I welcome the idea of learning from failure, but to do so with African fashion, it is important to truly debate the idea of failure so that we do not ignore the more fundamental questions as to why or how failure is important for a successful business in African fashion. Thus, here are my top three reasons why learning from failure is the key to success with African fashion:
Continue reading Why failure is the key to success with African Fashion