A Summer of Pictures

African Corset Brooklyn Bridge Park NYC

 

Summer is a distant dream for many of us living in the northern hemisphere (climate change aside, that is – only 3 days ago I was out and about in short sleeves!). Indeed, it's now 2 months since I returned to London from my trip to a hot and humid U.S. and, I've been meaning to share the highlights since. What better timing than when I need a reminder of how good it feels to have the sun kiss my appropriately darkened skin.

My 5-week trip was a glorious respite from what has been a very challenging year, in so many ways (more on that another time).

(Corset by Evie Nix)

 

Governors Island Hammock NYC View

 

It was a time for perspective: I find being away from your 'normal' environment great for seeing things clearer.

(Hammock grove at Governor's Island)

 

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Diana Opoti’s 100 Days of African Fashion

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You may have already come across Diana Opoti's 100 Days of African Fashion digital campaign. Well, the challenge is soon coming to an end – today is Diana's 94th day. Find out more about her campaign and see what she's worn, here and on her Instagram feed, @dianaopoti.

Congratulations on a great campaign Diana!

Above, some of my favourites. Designers (clockwise from top left): Sindiso Khumalo, Bestow Elan and  Chichia London.

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Raiding My Mama’s Kanga and Kitenge Collection

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My mother is from Tanzania where it is customary for women to give each other kangas (also known as lessos) as gifts, especially at events such as weddings, send-offs, births etc.

Over the years, my mother has amassed quite a number! Last year while visiting her, I took the opportunity to raid some of her collection, taking photos for inspiration’s sake. 

Kangas come in one piece consisting of two matching panels. You may have seen women along the Swahili coast using one panel as a sarong and the other to cover their head and/or shoulders. I often benefit from this when my mother splits her kangas with me. Here’s one I recently received:

 

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Kangas traditionally feature a saying. The one above is fantastic: “We are in love, give us a chance”.

 

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Mama's collection also includes some kitenge (wax print) pieces …

 

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Mixed in with mum’s kangas, are textiles from other parts of the world such as this Indonesian beauty. Given the history of African wax print, it’s no wonder that this piece fits in pretty well.

 

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I’m really excited about The Kanga Book. Find out more about it here.

Images: Lulu Kitololo

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Last Week in Pictures: Lines, Stripes and Multi-colour

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Glancing at my Instagram feed from the past couple weeks, there's a common theme emerging: lines, stripes and multi-colour! Here's how it went down …

Above: this bag is most definitely on my wishlist. Handmade in Kenya, available from Lov'edu.

 

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Colourful cables at Whitechapel tube station.

 

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Tanabata Fukinagashi decorations at the Southbank Centre. Check out the ongoing Festival of Love.

 

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Window grills needn't be boring! I spotted these art deco ones in Hackney.

 

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I always enjoy seeing how other makers roll so it was a delight to go to the Hackney Downs Studios open studios event last week. Here: suede that Hyun K Shin of Tiny Track turns in to intricate fashion accessories.

 

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This chair is everything! Have a seat at the Wahaca mexican market eating branch in Waterloo.

 

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As I mentioned in a recent post, about resonance across the global south – this bag is reminiscent of the one at the top of this post but, I have a feeling that this one was made across in Latin America … Or could it be from around the Europe/Asia boundary? Spotted at vintage store Blitz London.

 

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Another vintage store find – these woven-back, red-seat chairs at GASP in Liverpool. 

What's been in your line of vision this week? 

Come join me on Instagram @lulukitololo.

 

* For those of you who noticed, yes, "last week" isn't strictly just last week 🙂
All photos by Lulu Kitololo. Some enhanced with VSCOcam. 

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Evie Nix Jewellery Giveaway

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I met Yvonne Nicholson, the Zambian born UK based designer behind Evie Nix, at the African Market at Old Spitalfields in London. It’s her I have to thank for the fabulous kitenge/ankara/wax print corset that I walked away with that day.

Evie Nix offers unique African print corsets, jewellery and accessories, all handmade with love. I asked Yvonne a few questions about what drives and inspires her work. Continue reading “Evie Nix Jewellery Giveaway”

Pins of the Week: Eclectic Global Boho Chic

1 Leonce-Raphael-Agbodjelou-Abacaxi-NYC-Collar-Top

 

That mouthful of a title summarises much of what visually turns me on. I think of an abundance of pattern, colour, prints – and wacky combinations of all three! Despite the diversity of traditions and design output, I think it's interesting to note the similarities when you look at Africa, Asia and Latin America. Similarities in feel and creative energy – i.e. something rather intangible – perhaps, more than anything else.

 

2 Abacaxi NYC Skirt

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6 African-Print-Jekkah-Mens-Shirt-Asos-Africa-Kanga-Top-Trousers

 

Follow me on Pinterest for more eclectic global boho chic.

 

Pins – left-right, from top: Photo by Leonce Raphael Agbodjelou; fashion from Abacaxi NYC; skirt from Abacaxi NYC; stylish dudes; prints galore; backpack; chairs; men's top from Jekkah; Asos Africa outfit.

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Pins of the Week: Red, White and Pink

One of the things I love most about what I do is that I get to look for, look at and make beautiful images! Here are some that I came across this week. There was definitely a theme emerging – prints, beads and the red, pink and white palette.

 

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Images from top:

 

As you know, I 'collect' images over on Pinterest. Come and have a look

Hope you're having a restful, rejuvenating and creative weekend!

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Buy African: Men’s Shorts for Summer (Yevu + Laurence Airline)

Yevu African Print Menswear Shorts Shirt Suit

I’m not sure how I feel about this menswear trend, especially the shorter and tighter the shorts get! Lus has been threatening to get some shorts to rock this summer so, in support, I’ve collated a few, from Yevu and from Laurence Airline, that I could possibly get down with. Just maybe …

 

Laurence Airline African Fashion Menswear Orange Turn Up Shorts

Yevu African Print Menswear Coat Shirt Shorts

Laurence Airline African Fashion Menswear Shorts Only

Yevu African Print Shorts Bomber Menswear

Laurence Airline African Fashion Menswear Yellow Shorts

Yevu African Print Shirt Shorts

Laurence Airline African Fashion Menswear Print Shorts

Yevu African Print Menswear Womenswear Fashion

Yevu do great pieces for women too!

Which are your favourites?

 

Photos via Yevu on Tumblr (I absolutely love the photography!) and via the Laurence Airline website.

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Photos from The African Market at Old Spitalfields, London

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I spent Monday hanging out with Lusungu at the Creativity and Noise and Merkato stall at The African Market Bank Holiday Festival, presented by Open the Gate at Old Spitalfields Market. There was entertainment, food and a variety of African and African-inspired art, design and crafts. I got to chat to some of the designer-makers and creative entrepreneurs – it’s always inspiring to be around other creative people!

Enjoy the photos and do check out these great brands and makers. Prepare your senses for a print and colour explosion! 

(Photo above: recycled textile pouches by BURST. Contact: burstlondon [at] gmail [dot] com)

 

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Lusungu with his screenprinted Creativity and Noise t-shirts and Merkato baskets and toys

 

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Happy customer Winkate, rocking her brand new Africrown tank from Creativity and Noise

 

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Woven plastic bags from Senegal, available from Serenity Bags: senebagz [at] gmail [dot] com

 

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Hoodies by Open the Gate

 

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Shoe laces by Open the Gate

 

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Trying on a fabulous corset by Evie Nix (don't ask about the face!)

 

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More ankara/wax print goodies from Evie Nix, including bangles, cuffs and earrings

 

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Wishlist: this green weekend bag  and the yellow Choolips dress, available from Sapellé

 

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Textile recylcing – lavender pouches made from wax print off-cuts. By BURST: burstlondon [at] gmail [dot] com

 

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Beaded bracelets from Sapellé

 

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Loved these shirts, shorts and t-shirts by TYMO

 

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After years of communicating virtually, I finally got to meet fashion designer Fée Uhssi in the flesh! 

 

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Dolls by Verona.C

 

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And the lady Verona herself!

 

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Bibs and booties from the House of Loulee

 

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Lucy of House of Loulee. Last Christmas she custom made some beautiful boots for my friend's 18 month old and a funky sweater for Lusungu.

 

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Story time!

 

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I didn't catch the name of the last band that performed. Let me know if you did!

 

All photos by Lulu Kitololo (except the one of Lulu, taken by Yvonne of Evie Nix), with a little love from VSCOcam.

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Inspired: Prints by Jamilla Okubo

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I love the colour, pattern and personality in these prints from Jamilla Okubo’s series, ‘We The People of the Diaspora – Black Culture Exploration’. African-American/Kenyan native Jamilla is an Integrated Fashion Design student and a self-declared painter, textile artist, designer and graphic artist. 

Regarding her prints, her site reads: 

"The prints, fun as they may be, acknowledge a deeper struggle which is rooted in black culture. She acknowledges the history, but similar to an upbeat song about heartbreak decides to shine a different light on the situation by claiming the story back for herself.”

 

Jamilla Okubo Art Print finalp3_905

Jamilla Okubo Art Print finalp2_905

 

I’m really impressed by Jamilla’s entrepreneurialism. Her prints are on sale online and she’s already received some great press mentions and interviews for her work. In my own experience, the hustling I did before graduation (including spending most of my holidays interning) definitely made a difference when I entered the so-called real world.

Find out more about Jamilla and her diverse work.

 

Images via Jamilla Okubo's website 

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