Why African Fashion Should Adopt The Lean Startup Strategy.

How can we learn more quickly about what works in African Fashion so that we discard what doesn’t? Enter the Lean strategy as gleaned from the book by Eric Reis “The Lean Startup.” If you are ever going to work to disrupt African fashion as we know it, then you better be lean. The truth is that African fashion start-ups will have to be fast, embrace new thinking while being geared for disruption and innovation with periods of uncertainty. I have been there and back since starting this blog. My vision for isiomastylereport.com is to become the voice of African Fashion. There are about I billion people in Africa and I believe that I can reach all of them by disrupting  African fashion in an innovative and creative way. The plan for this blog is to operate in the present with key lessons from the past. Why? Because all that outmoded form of business that may work for traditional brick and mortar store will not work for my vision, especially not with the way mobile phones are spreading like wildfire throughout the continent. Continue reading Why African Fashion Should Adopt The Lean Startup Strategy.

Is African Fashion Overcrowded?

It seems like almost once a week, there is another “hot new fashion label” presenting a new collection that will embody the African spirit. The staple material to use is always Ankara and they all believe that what they present is “the exciting, strong, eye-catching, beautiful pieces” that you have been missing. Continue reading Is African Fashion Overcrowded?

When Fashion Is Taken Seriously; A Manifesto

I am on a journey. I don’t know the destination, but I like the journey so far. In my quest to discover the intellectual (or grown up) side of fashion and style, I came across a manifesto from Vestoj (a journal of sartorial matters) that I thought I should share.
The manifesto (see below) reflects my deep feelings on fashion and style today. More so, it’s a reflection on why I think fashion should be taken seriously and why we ought to begin to discuss the intellectual side of fashion some more given this new era of fashion in the age of Instagram. With digital media changing the way clothes are presented, questions remain on how fashion should be reported, shared, or consumed. I long for the days when we all waited with fervor for the unveiling of new collections, when there were stories on the pieces unveiled, for clothes deftly described the way only a fashion critic could, with no outward homage to the designer, except and only if their clothes are worthy of praises. I realize these days are long gone and in their place are superficial posts and reposts in the blogsphere like the ones below.

Honestly, this is day 2, yet shallow posts on fashion and style remain. For example, why should it matter that a magazine described someone as basic in terms of their style (no offense to her, but it doesn’t make a difference to me and I am sure a lot of people would agree). Also, why should we care that an engagement ring be worthy of praises given “it’s non-blurry image.”

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Will there ever be critical discussions on fashion. This is my hope. So I especially love this post by the Business of Fashion on the new cover of Marie Claire Magazine. This is a thought provoking piece on something as ubiquitous as the cover of a magazine and what Marie Claire is doing to change how we experience a cover. I loved reading this piece, because Marie Claire is working to take magazine covers to a whole new realm. With the non-stop quest for the next new thing in fashion, I am all for interactive covers, so kudo’s to Marie Claire for working to address this.

This post by Fashionista also on investment pieces is definitely a must read (read here). Personally, when I purchased my first designer piece, I don’t think it was for investment per se. Quality matters to me. However, I was glad to read about what matters if one should choose to resell their designer pieces, especially the need to take good care of these items (which I must say should be a no-brainer). Also, loved the advice on investing in well-established, high-end brands like Chanel, Louis Vuitton and Hermès (although that should also be a no-brainer).
So this African woman can dream and I DREAM FOR THE DAY WHEN FASHION IS TAKEN SERIOUSLY. I am going to try to use this blog to dream for a grown up, mature, serious side to fashion. As even Africa looks to define its own path with fashion, as we learn from our predecessors in Europe or the Americas, as we look to craft seasoned designers whose work are taken seriously for people all over the world, I hope this manifesto remains at the back of our minds. (For more on the Manifesto, see here).

On Intellectual Fashion and Style

In this world of fashion and style, why is the same not boring? Where are the intellectual people of fashion? Why do all some sites (which have been deemed influential) continue to treat its readers like we are all shallow, omg people, who by the way, do not deserve any intelligent conversation on style, fashion or even the latest on beauty without sounding like their audience are merely “chicks” who are weary of intelligent conversations on style.

I woke up today, excited about the day and curious to read what the fashion blogs are all up to, hoping for another day that “chick stories” and all frivolous posts in-between will not prevail. Since I came across the writings of Cathy Horyn, the last great fashion critic and this post by Jessica Grose for the New Republic on whether women’s magazine can do serious journalism (read here), I am now sort of weary of this world of fast fashion vis-à-vis, fashion blogs, and online magazines that we live in.
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Honestly, the tunes everyday are old and familiar, and downright boring. Rather than genuine posts like the ones above on serious women, standing up for fashion magazine, or this love/hate relationship with fast fashion or why fashion brands parting with artisans in developing countries, we are left with shallow posts like the ones below on how to wear your favorite pumps? Mmh, pardon, me but it is the same way, one foot after the other, nothing special.
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They deceive women with headings like the one above on how you will want every single Roland Mouret piece for Banana Republic, which is totally not true (I’m still recovering from the shocker that was Peter Pilotto for Target). Even, Vogue my beloved Vogue, whom I will always love, is in on the madness with a post on, get this, how to score a sporty ponytail? Yes, a sporty ponytail? Is there any hope? Please can these magazines and blogs alike start talking or discussing things we don’t already know!!! This is my plea to you. If you are seeing this, there are readers like me who are interested in genuine, serious conversations on fashion and style. Please change the prejudice out there that your contents are not valuable or that your readers are not interested.

On a lighter note, I especially chuckled at this new ad campaign by Vanity Fair in support of “Women who do.” First off, I applaud them for the campaign as I am all for celebrating women who inspire. But the ad caption, “This is a bra” and the really annoying image of one of a black bra defeats the entire purpose for which this campaign stands for. Honestly, with this ad, it is almost like we are back to the late 19th century when women were struggling for their rights to vote. Like really, how can we fight for equal pay for equal work in 2014, when a major company is featuring an ad with the title and the following: “This is a bra, it will give you lift… But this bra can only do so much until you put it on. It is what you do in this bra that is amazing, inspiring, and incredible.” Like really, in 2014! Seriously, show me or tell me something I don’t already know!!! Will fashion blogs and magazines alike and their ads, ever have a coherent point of view on women, for women? Will there ever be a space for intellectual fashion to grow?

#WhoseWeddingIsItAnyways!!!: 6 top insights on Bellanaija topic “Who is the Bride” as told by BN Fans!!!

So last week BellaNaija (BN) Weddings posted a topic entitled “Who is the Bride” (in case you missed it, read it here) that some BN fans noted should have been termed “#whoseweddingisitanyways” or “#isityourwedding,” “#waityourturn.” The comments were so hilarious with people chiming their 2 cents not only on the post directly but also on Instagram.

The topic tiself was so hot that some just simply noted that all they wanted are the comments and I couldn’t agree more as the response from people are like soap opera on their own. Now some BN fans were truly sincere and in support of the fact that “no one can ever outshine the Bride,” after all it’s her big day. Other comments were too funny and blamed “#asoebibella for starting the madness.”

All these comments made my day so much so that I decided to relive the moment again with my top 6 insights on this topic, but this time from the comments of BN fans as they are #thebest and honestly (food for thought) Who really is to blame? Are guests taking it too far? Is #asoebibella to blame? My dear read on…
1. Blame it on the Ex: You know when your ex-boyfriend is the groom and you wish him all the happiness, but secretly want him to remember what he would be missing out on as he says “I do”, then @asydarly gets you. She stated the following: “I say unto all ye Bella-lites!!! If na your stupid ex boyfriend’s wedding…Wear it!!!” (too funny) and @groomsinspiration reminded everyone that “even foes attend wedding” (which is so true).

2. Blame it on #Asoebibella trying to outshine the bride (he he he, above meme too funny): Now, what if this trend is caused by BN themselves with it’s #asoebibella, #bellanaijaweddings. “Yes BN, you are part of the wahala ooh” (as noted by Steph). It was even stated (by bee) that “#asoebibella is helping Naija babes unmask their vanity” (more below), but c’mon admit it, you all know you have sent them your own #outfit hoping it will be featured on the site (no lie, I have done it too).

So the comment by M simply stated: “Bellanaija it’s your fault o. lol. Ok maybe partly so, ever since you brought asoebi bella…ladies have STEPPED UP THEIR GAME. Everyone wants to look good and outshine each other and if that includes the bride, then so be it…Personally I would like to see the person that would try such madness at my wedding and you will tell me if you invited me or I did you…”


3. Blame it on the vanity of our society: jcgrl had this to say: “only in naija will guests be fighting to outshine each other and the bride. Everything is a completion. Imagine guests saying “oh she looks ok.” Na wa o! Unnecessary pressure for brides to go to the highest mountains to make sure they are winning on that day instead of focusing on their marriage.”

4. Blame it on the cost of being an aso-ebi girl/woman: Now granted if you have ever received the news that a friend is getting married, truth be told, be prepared to spend your own money like as if it’s your big day to shine also. So no wonder mrschidukane had this to say:” Girls are trying way too hard. There’s nothing wrong with being well dressed at a wedding but some girls spend so much and this should be discouraged…they spend plenty money to buy asoebi, 5k on makeup, 10k on shoe and bag, 15k on beaded jewelry and 3k on cab to get there when there is no guarantee that your market will even sell” (he he he, this had me laughing so hard) but her comments were wise and she encouraged ladies to even learn to be wise with how they spend their money and try to look good on a budget (sound advice)

5. Blame it on Instagram: Jane Public said it best: “Brides should step up their game o jare. With Instagram now, everyone is putting their best foot forward…”

6. But Why Not (this comment, no name just “but why not,” fit cause whahala no be small-but I can relate ooh-what’s wrong with looking like Keke Palmer above): “Personally, I don’t see what’s wrong with being well dressed for a wedding whatever “well dressed” may mean for each individual…If I want to wear a ball gown, I will. I’m not trying to steal any show. I just have certain standards for how I look when I go to events. I won’t judge you if you wear something frumpy that I would never be seen in, so don’t judge me for being fabulous.”

Now I know I only choose comments that #blameothers. But I must confess that the question posed by BN did generate some sincere thoughts about the bride and how really “no one can outshine” her and I really couldn’t agree more. It’s her big day and no matter what anyone tries to do, all eyes are on her. Her confidence, her joy, her glow cannot be surpassed by any guest.

In fact as a recent bride (see my own image below although a sneak peak, so keep following for more on my big day later), I can honestly say that there is this inner joy, peace and calmness that comes from within you that even you cannot explain, nothing would matter, not all your planning or what the guests are wearing, as you will have eyes only for your husband and he will have the same for you.

isioma-on her big day

Enter the comment by Ruth Joseph: “what really makes a bride shine? Is it the dress, the makeup, the shoes? Nooo, it is the confidence and joy that comes from within…” (again, I couldn’t agree more). On the day a man decides to make you his wife in the presence of his family and friends, may no weapon (hahaha, just joking), I mean no guest come against you #inJesusnameiprayamen and even if they try, #whocares, it’s your wedding day, so enjoy it to the fullest!!! Lord knows I did!

Source: Bellanaija.com

Meet CurlSistas, The Latest Natural Hair Blog You Should Know!!!

There is no arguing that one of the best parts of wearing your hair naturally is being able to style it and yourself with finesse. So when natural hair meets exquisite personal style, well it’s a match made in heaven…Enter CurlSistas.com, the latest natural hair blog you should follow? Why? Because I said so (ha ha, just joking)!!! But seriously, the lady behind this site is a naija girl with style Joy Adaeze of Joy Loves Fashion, and I am honestly digging the simplicity of the mission of this site “where natural hair meets personal style.”
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So here is how it works (I adore their logo by the way): The site will feature a CurlSista of the day, in a segment that explores the woman behind the hair in all her beauty and glory. Since it’s inception in March, the site has managed to feature some of the most beautiful natural hair women that I have ever since and their journey through life are amazing, but there style  #derservepraises. Case in point, read the story of Asiyami here, her hair and her style #awesomesauce, (shoot see some her her images below). I love these features and I truly cannot get enough of these CurlSistas.
My other fave categories the big chop journal where you can follow contributor Shaz Taylor on her #bigchop experrience.
But the style gallery is 100% #beautiful. See it for yourself here and while there take the time to follow CurlSistas, “the new destination for natural ladies with Style, Soul and Sass.”

Source: CurlSistas.com

p.s. Happy 4th of July, Hope its a wonderful day for you and yours…