It's been relatively quiet on the blog as I prepare for this Saturday's Tropical Christmas event in London. I'm really looking forward to a day of catching up with friends and collaborators, old and new, in beautiful surroundings. I've had a peep at most of the designs that will be available to purchase on the day and this is my preliminary wishlist …
I haven't celebrated the festive season at home (Kenya) since the year 2000. Instead, I've gathered with similarly displaced friends and enjoyed eclectic celebrations comprising of the best from all our worlds. Pot-luck Christmas dinners where bread sauce and mac n' cheese sit next to bread fruit and mtori; music spanning from across the tropics and; … dancing, always.
Regardless of the cold and sun-starved winter and despite being far from family, these holidays have been fantastic because I've been in such good company. This year, Afri-love and Asilia, the creative agency I co-own, are hosting a Christmas celebration in this same spirit.
A Tropical Christmas
A celebration of creativity and good company, a Tropical Christmas will be a laidback afternoon to: unload some of the holiday stress; get some last minute Christmas shopping done, away from the hustle and; support quality African and African Diaspora design.
You can expect:
- Fashion accessories by Adèle Dejak
- Clothing by Chichia London
- Hand screen-printed T-shirts by Creativity and Noise
- Contemporary home furnishings by La Petite Congolaise
- Art calendards by Asilia
- Renowned for their inventive cocktails, The Drift Bar has designed a cocktail especially for the day – The Afropolitan!
Don't forget to bring some business cards for the "collaboration board" – share your passion and make exciting connections for 2012!
Date: Saturday 17th December
Time: 12:00 – 8:00pm
Venue: The Drift Bar, Heron Tower, 110 Bishopsgate, London EC2N 4AY
If you're on Facebook, you can RSVP via the event page. There's no need to RSVP though, just come along.
Looking forward to seeing you!
The final few weeks of the year are jam-packed with reasons to be merry. Here are just a few Africa- and Diaspora-related events in London (UK), Nairobi (Kenya), New York (US), Paris (France and St. John's (Antigua). If you know of any January events that you'd like to share, please contact me by the 23rd of December. Enjoy the last days of 2011!
I recently discovered online boutique, L-atitude: "where fashion meets travel" – a curated collection of exotic, exclusive and edgy finds from Africa, South America, Asia, Europe and the US.
November's already here. A reminder that the year is almost through but, before we get ready to welcome in 2012, there are TONS of exciting events to attend. Here are just a few. They're very London-centric so I'd love to hear about all the interesting things going on in your corner of the globe – please share.
TUESDAY 1 NOVEMBER
Launch of Afriapps book: African Apps in a Global Marketplace
You might remember Andrew Mugoya's guest posts about African apps ("5 Reasons why Ghana is the next African app powerhouse", "Learning from the Success of Nollywood"). Today, Andrew launches an ebook on the subject that is free to download for a limited period. Get it while it's hot!
THURSDAY 3 OCTOBER
It started with my obsession …
I'm obssessed with adornment (as you may have gathered). Not only with the beautiful combinations of shapes, colour and materials that designers dream up but, the whole idea of wearing them – a practice that is centuries-old and truly global. Before modern technology, people gained value from creating necklaces and earrings and headdresses and cuffs and rings. Before status was marked by degrees and job titles and Twitter followings, it was signified by the elaborateness of one's gear.
Today, accessories can make or break your outfit – as fashion writers will tell you – but has their significance been reduced to the merely superficial? I still believe that there is much to learn about a person from their choice of adornment (or lack thereof).
Above, some of the inspiration for the exhibition/installation I'm preparing for, Adorned. Along with circles and patterns, I'm obssessed with adornment, in its many interpretations and expressions.
Peter at Fusion Deli is to thank for steering me in the food direction. He asked me if any of my work had to do with food and, up until that point, it didn't. As I opened my mind to the idea, all these playful images started to fill my mind and make their way into reality, via experiments on-screen and on paper. Stay tuned for tomorrow's chapter where I rope in a little help from some friends …
Botanical illustration by Ernst Haeckel via The Sea of Tea; Yves Saint Laurent ring on Net-a-Porter; tentacles photo by locket479 on Flickr, woody plant cross-section via PAXcam.com; trees watercolour by Stina Persson; cross-section print by Degree; belts by Adele Dejak; painted wardrobe by Sans Parapluie.
Kenya-based fashion designer, Adele Dejak, is working on an Afri Love collection, inspired by the blog! The fabulous Adele will be launching the collection this October but she's shared a few pieces to whet our appetites. You can find out more about the designer in this Afri-Love interview.
Image courtesy of Adele Dejak. See more on the Adele Dejak blog.
While in Kenya last April, I had the wonderful opportunity to meet fashion designer Adèle Dejak, who'd I'd posted about earlier in the year. I continue to be impressed by Adèle's productivity, perfectionism and professionalism. All of these attributes are evident in the high quality of her prolific collection of work. She gave me a tour of her workshop and showroom in Kiambu and sat down with me to talk about her story and her inspiration.
Women's Week was fun! In celebration of the centenary of International Women's Day, on March 8th, all posts on Afri-love during the week, were especially in celebration of women and sisterhood. Fashion, literary inspiration, art, design, music and reflections on what sisterhood really is.
Of course the celebration will continue past this week. After all, every day is another opportunity to celebrate women, and beyond that, humanity, and the wonderful environment that we're honoured to exist within. Every day an opportunity to celebrate ourselves and each other. It's so easy to forget about appreciation when you're immersed in the day-to-day which increasingly has become so hectic for so many. I've found that forcing myself to pause and put things in perspective makes such a huge positive difference to my well-being.
I was reading an article over on Zen Habits this week and this statement by writer Leo Babauta was spot-on:
"Reflection is one of the most important tools for changing your life."
On the lookout: Join FITE (Financial Independence through Enterpreneurship)
The site features profiles of these enterprising women enabling donors to choose who they would like to support. And donors include you! You can start lending from as little as $25. The site helps you filter the enterpreneurs by sector and by region (yes, that's the creative professional in me appreciating the user experience of the website!).
And making a donation is not the only way that you can help fund a microloan. You can also buy specially-marked FITE products and redeem the FITE code on the site or, you can spread the word far and wide by telling friends, family, colleagues and liking FITE on Facebook. The choice is yours.
Thanks Vivian for telling me about the initiative.
Last week on the blog
Here is a recap, in case you missed anything:
- Quote of Women's Week from that creative, powerful and inspiring woman, Alice Walker
- Women of the World Arts Fair, London
- Reflecting – If sisterhood is imperative
- Adorned by Adele Dejak – * UPDATE * Her new site is now live
- My top picks for the Women of the World Festival at the Southbank Centre, London
- Reflections on the Self – Five African women photographers
- A special Women's Week treat – TGIF! with Les Nubians. Style, music and a free download
Thanks as always for taking the time to read and to share comments, facebook appreciation and tweet love. Remember, you can also get blog updates as well as extra links, ideas, news and info via facebook (afriloveblog) and twitter (@afrilove).
Have a great week everybody, be proud and be inspired!
Image: Les Nubians