The head wrap: An #African #Fashion

The two-day annual African fashion extravaganza that is Africa Fashion Week London 2015, celebrated its finale on Saturday.  Showcasing the talents of African and African-inspired designers from the continent and the diaspora. For a 5th year running this event was embraced by London once again. More than just a trend, there is no doubt that African fashion is here to stay. Owning the most colourful segment of the fashion industry, African designers can tell their stories through the woven threads of African print (and non-print) fabrics.

African fashion, headwrap, fashion
AFWL 2015
Photo: Mike Rolls

In addition to shows like this, the driving force behind the crescendo of popularity surrounding African fashion has been Africans themselves! In Africa and across the diaspora, social media has given African fashion a voice, with YouTube vloggers and fashion bloggers sharing their own favourite designs and fashion tips with the world, making African fashion accessible. One of the most notable elements of African fashion which has made a crowning comeback over the years within the diaspora is the head wrap.

african head wraps
On the streets of London people can’t resist a peak: Africa at Spitalfields 2015

Head warps were worn by Africans before slavery (where it was used a symbol of poverty and disgrace) illustrating the wealth and social status of men and the beauty, spirituality, marital and social status of women. As time has moved on, the head wrap has become a feminine accessory ubiquitous across Africa; and known by various names including dhuku  and Gele.

head wrap braided kinks tumblr
Picture: Braided kinks tumblr
head wraps
Picture: Bella Africana Digest

Although the head wrap has been a staple in African traditional culture for centuries, it’s becoming a coveted accessory for the young and old, at special occasions and for every day casual wear.

Celebrities wrapping it up! Solange, India Arie & Eva
Celebrities wrapping it up! Solange, India Arie & Eva

What do you think about the head wrap? Vote below!

Ad+s Diaspora:

An African affect with a colourful perspective

Twitter: @adsdiaspora



Africa at Spitalfields: Love Chin Chin review

Welcome to the first review of the food blog section of this site, featuring a tasty West African snack. Known as Chin Chin / Achomo in Nigeria and Ghana respectively this snack is popular among the African diaspora.

It all started with a sunny Monday, the second Bank Holiday of this month (25th May) is always a welcomed bonus, and Pop Up Africa at the famous Spitalfields Market in the city of London didn’t disappoint!  There was live music, dancers, African drummers, food, clothes, accessory stalls and good vibes. Just want I wanted on a sunny Bank Holiday.

Everyone knows food is a staple in African culture; as well as traditional dishes there were also cake/pastry stalls on display. When there is so much choice, you need to have a strategy!

African market, Spitalfields MArket London
‘Africa @ Spitalfields’: the pop up is popular!

Like any good market it was bustling, so I weaved through the isles making a mental note of which stalls I wanted to explore further and after a few seconds of deliberation my first stop was the “Love Chin Chin” stall.

Chin Chin West African snackI liked the colourful and friendly set up of the stall whose staff were happy to answer questions and share some history of this family run business. Intrigued by the packaging branding, the cinnamon, vanilla and lemon flavours, I bought 2 packs!

£1 for each 70gram pack or 3 packs for £2.50 (I think this was an offer only available at the ‘Africa @ Spitalfields’ market day).

African food snack, food, west African food
Chin Chin Lemon flavour, put a smile on my face!

I remember my mother making this moreish snack when I was young and you’ll be sure to find it at parties, weddings, christenings, naming ceremonies and other social events. It’s easy to get Chin Chin wrong by using too much oil but Love Chin Chin got it right.The right amount of rapeseed oil, the right amount of sugar and the hint of flavours.

Love Chin Chin has provided a tasty and convenient way to get hold of some Chin Chin, when you don’t feel like making it yourself. You can pick up packs at various Tesco stores.

Want some sweetness in your life? Then have some Chin Chin in your life! I actually finished both packs before taking a picture of the snack itself :-), but for some pictures, just pop over to the Love Chin Chin website.

Ad+s Diaspora:

African aspect with a colourful perspective

Twitter: @adsdiaspora


Nigerian fashion jet-setter: Lagos to London direct

Africa is the second largest continent of the world and Nigeria is her largest country, with an estimated population of 163,000,000 (2011). I suppose it’s fitting that Black History Month in the UK falls in the same month as Nigerian independence (1st October 1960). Fifty-two years after this historic milestone, Nigerians seem to have a love affair with the UK, specifically London fashion. Reading the London Evening Standard newspaper, I was surprised to learn that Simi, the young lady featured, spends the equivalent of a decent London salary – £30,000 during six trips to London throughout the year on shopping and partying.

After a century, Alhaji Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa, Nigeria’s Prime Minister, takes the baton of independence from the British. 1st October 1960.

With guidance from a shopping assistant, Simi is on the prowl for the best fashion London has to offer. According to the article Nigerians are the 4th highest foreign spenders in the UK. Some of the goods sought after include Christian Louboutin shoes (and other designer merchandise), clothes from Zara, Topshop, H&M and iPhones. There are Zara and Mango outlet stores in Lagos, but Simi says that the merchandise is ‘a bit last season’ and there is poor variety. She is also seduced by the ‘phenomenal customer service’ in London. Electronics are popular with Nigerian overseas shoppers who trust UK products over fake electronics which pour into Lagos from China. Simi obviously comes from a wealthy family but middle-class Nigerians are not left out of these Lagos to London shopping escapades. Of course Nigerians are not the only beneficiaries of this process; British Airways has increased its excess baggage allowance on London to Lagos flights, ASOS delivers to Lagos for free, while Debenhams in Oxford Street swallows up millions of naira (the Nigerian currency) each year as Nigerians are their biggest foreign spenders.

Naira notes; Debenhams’ best foreign friend!

Continue reading Nigerian fashion jet-setter: Lagos to London direct