Block in black and white

Colour has been upstaged as the fashion-must of 2013. The tres-chic way to now make an entrance is in a bold black and white block dress. The retro trend has been validated by Alicia Keys, Beyonce and, Kim kardashian. Sheath dresses in these bold colours are readily available in high-end designers and retail stores.

Fashion tip: Black and white block dress are so bold they require very little accessories. Resist the temptation to rock this look with black and white shoes, black and white earrings or a white and black handbag. Lean on the power of simplicity. Skip earrings and opt for a simple ring. Keep it clean and save a dash of colour for the lips.

Karen Millen

Dress from Bloomingdales

African inspired designs

There was a time when African-inspired designs meant safari jackets and animal prints. Now runways are glittering with the work of designers who stitch their models in bold Ankara prints. Burberrys leads the pack with men’s shirts and women’s dresses designed in vibrant african print. Even their trademark trench coat has been doused with a splash of Ankara colours.

Moschino’s joined the pack this fall with chic print green dress that is so beautifully crafted it looks like it was sewn in Accra.

At the summer 2012 Mercedez benz fashion week, Michael Kors showcased his afriluxe collection, but by reverting to the archaic interpretation of African-inspired which consists of safari khaki and animal prints, the collection fell off the mark.

Vivienne Westwood, strikes gold with a collection of handmade bags from Nairobi.  Aptly labeled  get a life, she partnered with Ethical Fashion Programme to create a line that supports the handiwork of women in uderserved communities in Kenya . The success of this fashion venture has encouraged Stella McCartney, and Fendi to join this UN international trade centre programme.


Afro chic footwear

The unwavering trend in fashion is still the African wax print. Previously reserved for traditional African societies the Ankara print is now the most remarkable way to make a fashion forward statement. Mystique clothing has honed into this growing trend and introduced an Africa inspired twist on footwear.

Based in Ghana, Mystiqe clothing is owned by Kwabena D. Boateng, a trained physician who is ironically one of the most prominent shoe designers to hit the scene. Kwabena designs shoes with a definitive Afro flair. His rendition of Birkenstocks has been a runaway hit because it is the perfect fusion of Afro chic and comfortable footwear. In an interview with the designer, he explained that his work is inspired by his love for Africa.

“At Mystique, we incorporate wax prints and tie & dye cloth to create a range of products which include Afro Birks, Loafers, and flats. We keep our products vibrant and chic and still remain committed to a high standard of quality. Eventhough I am a doctor, I have been motivated by the uniqueness of our Ankara prints to create a business venture that shows the beauty of Africa. In my native Ghana, we have a wide array of designs so the avenue for being creative is limitless. I am always motivated to create something that is comfortable, affordable and aesthetically pleasing.”

Visit to place an order


The African Teddy bears

Sometimes , when you least expect it, you create an accidental HIT. This is the remarkable story of Emily Croxford an acclaimed children’s clothes designer who did not want to waste the off-cuts from a line of afro chic clothes she had just sewn. A spur of the moment decision to make teddy bears from the scraps of cloth has turned into a blossoming business with orders from Johannesburg to Toronto.

In an interview with Emily Croxford, she detailed how she created the most sought after toy in homes and daycares.

AS: Emily, What led you to the world of fashion.

Emily Croxford: I graduated from the London college of Fashion in 1991 and I have been making some made-to-measure clothes for adults and children since. But in the last ten years, due to the overwhelming demand for my brand of children’s clothes, I have been focusing on kids wear .

AS: You have a lovely line of children’s wear, but I sometimes wonder if the market for African styled clothes is not over saturated. How do you handle the competition?

Emily Croxford: I have a really unique approach to designing children’s wear. The collection I have for children is not done in the generic way that you find on the market. I just returned from Ghana Fashion Week and I was the only designer showcasing children’s wear. The response to my line was amazing.

AS: You definitely have the gift of style in kidswear, but what drew me to you is your fabulous line of African teddy bears. I am in LOVE with the African teddy bears and this is coming from someone who has never been crazy about stuffed animals yet I just can’t stop gushing over the Afro-teddys. They are to die for. What inspired them.

Emily Croxford: We were going to fashion show last year and we had off-cuts from the finished dresses lying on the floor. Now I could not bring myself to waste the random pieces of cloth so I decided to make teddy bears out of them and I tell you, they were a hit. Everybody wanted the teddy bear. Now the african teddy bear has a life of its own.

AS: I have to be the biggest fan of the Afro teddys. They are different yet so beautiful. How long does it take to make one.

Emily Croxford: I am so glad you like them. You will be happy to know that they are hand made and it takes about 4 hours to make one. They are not mass produced so you can rest assured that no single teddy bear is the same. There is the odd time that someone will ask us to replicate a specific style they saw but for the most part, we customize the teddy bear to your desire. We can emboss your initials or a special message on the teddy bear if you so wish.

AS: Fantastic! What is next for the afro teddys

Emily Croxford: We have a new line coming out with crystals and rhinestone which is just beautiful.

AS: I cannot wait to get my hands on them. Do you ship to North America?

Emily Croxford: Absolutely! If you go to www. and place your order, we will ship your teddy bear to any part of the world.

AS: Emily, I wish you all the success and I can’t wait to see the Afro-teddy at every toy shop around the world.

Emily Croxford: Thank you.

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