You’ve heard of the IMF, the AU and the almost irrelevant EU, but you have probably not heard of the Elders. They are a group of independent global leaders who are working together to advance peace and human rights.
The idea for the group came out of a discussion between business mogul Richard Branson and musician Peter Gabriel who felt that as the world becomes more interdependent, it would benefit from the counsel of a group of elders from different parts of the world. These Elders would extend their wisdom and experience to strengthen communities around the world .
The Elders is made up of renowned figures like Nelson Mandela, Graca Machel, Desmond Tutu, Aung San Suu Kyi, Kofi Annan, Ela Bhatt to name a few. They are committed to ending child marriages and they have committed themselves to rebuilding efforts in post war Cote d’Ivoire. They also provide support to humanitarian and governance issues in North Sudan and South Sudan. It has been nearly five years since the Elders was formed. The initial group of 5 has grown to 11 and they show no sign of slowing down.
Bunmi Olaye is a fashion designer who is so talented that she is rumoured to have been cherry picked by Michelle Obama to make a coat for her. But that is not the only reason why you should know the label Bunmi Koko. The name Bunmi means ‘God gave me’ in her native Yoruba. Koko which means ‘my other half’ is an affectionate name given to her by her business and life partner, Francis Udom. The designs of this 28 year old Nigerian designer is so riveting that she has caught the eye of reputable fashionistas in her home base of London.
The hardwork of Bunmi Olaye and Francis Udom paid off when she was crowned ‘ Emerging International Designer’ at the 2010 Africa Fashion week. She is currently preparing to display her collection in London’s Fashion Week. However, before the accolades and the international recognition, Bunmi Olaye honed her skills under the tutelage of the late Alexander McQueen – the creative impact of this is evident in her tailoring.
Her muse is Mel B. The Spice girl can be seen rocking various items from Bunmi Koko. Nelson Mandela’s wife Graca Michel is also a huge fan and she even included a hand written note to the prospectus of designs that Bunmi sent to the White House.
Vogue London calls her the ‘one to watch’ and they are not exaggerating. You will be blown away by the fusion of themes in her Geisha and Matriarchy collections. But don’t just take my word for it, join her Facebook group, google her, view her collection and you will be reaching for your wallet.