Does there need to be a Vogue Africa?

Lagos was the cradle of African fashion a few weeks ago, hosting 2 big fashion shows. Lagos Fashion Week Nigeria (23 – 25th March) Arise Fashion week 2018 (31 March – 2nd April). There was of course, the vibrancy, craftsmanship and distinctive style that has become ubiquitous over recent years in the African fashion industry. Images which only would have been available via fashion outlets are easily accessible anywhere in the world on social media (as you’ll see below).

During Arise Fashion Week 2018, the supermodel legend that is Naomi Campbell said the renowned fashion publication Vogue Magazine should be launched in Africa.

“Africa has never had the opportunity to be out there and their fabrics and their materials and their designs be accepted on the global platform … it shouldn’t be that way.” – Naomi Campbell

We’ve heard the reminder many times that “Africa is not a country”. When we dissect the continent’s textile heritage, we find there are beautiful fashion and style nuances across the continent. While I agree that the evolution and heritage of African fashion should have a dedicated global fashion platform showcasing to the world, it should be born and pushed by Africans – those on the continent and from the diaspora. Just like European fashion is controlled by Europeans.

Any African fashion publication must be sewn together with an integrated narrative identifying the contribution of each African country. It’s about time that African countries develop and control their own narratives without the, filtration and stamp of approval from Western fashion establishments, who have made fashion and style prestige synonymous with Western culture.

The fact that there is no Vogue Africa Magazine is an OPPORTUNITY, let Africa dictate her fashion industry in her own words and realise herself for herself!

Don’t get me wrong I was all here for Edward Enninful and Virgil Abloh rising to coveted gatekeeping positions in Western fashion establishments of British Vogue and Louis Vuitton, but I think it’s time in 2018 that Africans do not wait for the approval of Western fashion establishments to validate their fashion heritage and existence.

Since its first issue in 1892 Vogue has had 126 years to be inclusive. Strutting into the millennium it has tried with the Vogue Italia all black issue in 2008 (masterminded by Edward Enninful) and the latest most racially diverse cover for the May 2018 issue.

vogue may 2018 cover
Credit: Vogue Magazine

However, I think in 2018 African countries should take their fashion destiny into their own hands and be the global gatekeepers of African fashion and heritage. It can be done, yes creating a fashion publication costs money but there are very talented people in Africa and the diaspora that can make this happen and create jobs on the continent.

This is what we should be pushing for (just as is done in Europe) – African fashion controlled and narrated by Africans.

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Featured image: Arise Fashion Week Instagram : @femioso


Edward Enninful Editor: British Vogue

It’s been a ground-breaking week in the fashion industry.

After being described as “an influential figure in the communities of fashion, Hollywood and music which shape the cultural zeitgeist”, Ghanaian, Edward Enninful was confirmed as the new editor-in-chief (EIC) of British Vogue. The first man to hold the position. With the help of his predecessor Alexandra Shulman who ran British Vogue for 25 years, Edward will officially start his role on 1st August.

Edward Enninful. Photo by Mert Alas and Marcus Piggott, as seen in Industrie Magazine.


“Edward is an exceptionally talented stylist who will no doubt bring an exciting new creative aesthetic to the magazine. Every Vogue editor arrives with their own range of talents and experience and Edward is very known, respected and liked within the fashion industry” Alexandra Shulman, British Vogue incumbent EIC

Edward Enninful timeline, starting from the top!

2017 – The first man to be the Editor-in-Chief of British Vogue, aged 45.

2016 – Awarded Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (OBE), in honour of services to diversity in fashion.

Throughout his career, Enninful has been recognised for this contribution and influence on the fashion industry.

2014 – Received Isabella Blow Award for Fashion Creator at the British Fashion Awards.

2011 – Style director of American fashion publication, W Magazine, where he was credited with improving the publication’s relevance and finances.

Edward was pivotal in Vogue Italia’s July 2008 ‘All Black’ issue, featuring only black models (styled by Edward), which sold out in hours.

2006-2011 – Worked for American Vogue.

1998-2001 – Worked for Vogue Italia

enninful word cloud

1990 – Fashion director of British youth culture magazine i-D. Becoming the youngest director of an international fashion publication, aged 18.

Worked as an assistant with stylists Simon Foxton (who scouted Edward) and Beth Summers on fashion shoots.

1988 – Model-scouted on the London Underground tube system, aged 16.

Moved to Ladbroke Grove, West London as a child with his family.

1972 – Born in Ghana, West Africa

Ghana flag
Flag of Ghana Photo: @Bistro22gh Instagram


The Vogue Italia issue was monumental; having a visceral effect on readers disillusioned with an industry perceived as being endemically racist. According to Time Magazine, the original run of the issue (which had four different covers) sold out in the U.S. and U.K. in 72 hours. An extra, 30,000, 10,000 and 20,000 copies were reprinted in the U.S., U.K. and Italy, respectively. Not just featuring black models, the issue had interviews with Film Director Spike Lee and former editor of Vogue Paris, Edmonde Charles-Roux, who allegedly resigned in 1966 when he wasn’t not allowed to put a black model on the front cover. Although heavily air-brushed as all magazines are, the impact of the 2008 issue cannot be trivialized.

black models, vogue magazine, fashion, European Fashion
Vogue Italia 2008 – Black issue Fab Four (clockwise) – Liya Kebede, Sessilee Lopez, Naomi Campbell, Jourdan Dunn

Photos: Steven Meisel

While Enninful’s appointment is very important and his impact on the fashion industry poignant, we can’t expect things to shift dramatically. It will take time.

He is one man, a very influential man, but one man. I hope he’ll be able to withstand the pressure of being the first non-white editor of British Vogue and the expectation that follows, if he is to take the publication in a new direction.

“By virtue of his talent and experience, Edward is supremely prepared to assume the responsibility of British Vogue.” Jonathan Newhouse Condé Nast International, CEO

We know Enninful isn’t shy about displaying black beauty in fashion. In 2015 as the Style Director of W magazine, he styled an all-black spread, shot by renowned Australian fashion photographer Emma Summerton. The aptly named “Natural Selection” spread showcased models with natural hair, featuring Ajak Deng, Amilna Estevao, Anais Mali, Aya Jones, Binx Walton and Tami Williams.

w magazine afro shot
Natural Selection: Screenshot from W Magazine

“If you put one [non-white] model in a show or in an ad campaign, that doesn’t solve the problem. “We need teachers in universities, we need internships, we need people of different ethnic backgrounds in all parts of the industry. That really is the solution.”Edward Enninful

According to a report by The Fashion Spot, covering diversity across New York, London, Milan and Paris fashion shows in all four cities for the Autumn 2017 collections, 72% of models cast in shows where white and 28% women of colour. This is an improvement on previous years, so things are slowly progressing. London came second out of the four cities, behind New York with an increase in its ‘diversity score’.

You could argue that in 2017, black models on the front of magazines and black professionals appointed to top positions within the fashion industry shouldn’t be headline news. But it is headline news, indicating there are still strides to take and work to be done.

I’m routing for Edward and British Vogue to pleasantly surprise us.

Watch this space.

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Bag this one up please!

July has been a pretty good month so far, for those who know me there is always one obvious reason. This month has also seen the start of an actual British summer! The second weekend of the month has been the hottest of the year. When the sun comes out,  like most people I have a little more of a bounce in my step and raid my wardrobe for the hidden gems neglected during the dreary winter months. I’m not really an accessories type of girl, but I do make exceptions! Bright like the summer’s day my handmade N’damus bag was catching the eye of passers-by as I strolled up Brixton Hill against a slight cool breeze, to the Urban Art Fair. I had no idea what to expect at the alfresco Urban Art Fair as it was the first time I attended, but I didn’t expect to bump into Brixton’s finest bag designer, N’dmaus’ Nneka, while wearing one of her creations and I wasn’t the only one! It’s nice that Brixton supports local talent, which stretches far beyond its own borders and even into the glossy pages of Vogue Magazine UK (August 2013 edition, out now)!

Continue reading Bag this one up please!

Music to my ears

The UK’s Music of Black Origin (MOBO) awards took place in Liverpool on 3rd November. I didn’t even know they were being televised and have not watched any of the highlights, but I still have an opinion on it! 🙂 When I was younger I would watch the MOBOs EVERY year; but now things have changed. I do admire Kanya King – entrepreneur, businesswoman and founder of the MOBO awards; born in London to a white mother and black Ghanaian father. Kanya has an inspirational story, like 99.99% of Ghanaian parents she recollects her father’s strong belief in ‘education, education, education and discipline’. Despite losing her dad at the age of 13 and becoming a single mother at 16 she did not let what some may see as barriers stop her from achieving great things. Kanya credits her Ghanaian heritage as a catalyst to her amazing work ethic but admitted that it was difficult for her to complete a university degree being a young mum and later was kicked off her course. Despite this she was able to work for a British television network and through that after re-mortgaging her house set up the MOBO awards from her bedroom in 1996.

Emeli Sundaé on the MOBO 2012 red carpet

Continue reading Music to my ears