African fashion is becoming a global buzz and the fashion world seems to be opening up; the status quo challenged. In the UK there are various designers using African prints as their staple inspiration, which have been showcased across the world including; African Fashion Week London, last year’s NY Fashion week, African Fashion Day Berlino (included African, Afro-Caribbean and African-American designers) and Ghana Fashion and Design week in Accra, which had vogue Italia as its international media partner.
I’ve never watched a full episode of BBC interview program ‘HARDtalk’, but after watching the Ozwald Boateng interview (click here to view) aired earlier this year, the program definitely lives up to its name! Established Sudanese presenter Zeinab Badawi didn’t make Ozwald Boateng (Oz B – I will use this throughout the rest of the post :-)) comfortable and asked some pertinent questions (I suppose that’s what any credible interviewer should do). Some of which, I have wanted to know the answers to for a while.
For me, this year has been quite eventful for African fashion outside of the continent. I am no professor of fashion, just someone with an opinion, but I definitely think the tropical sun shone like a lighthouse on fashion capitals of the world. A few weeks after I started blogging, I met up with a friend in Starbucks (I think this was before their tax avoidance scandal) and she quizzed me about my new path to ‘bloggersville’ and stated “I never, knew you were into fashion!” To be honest I was never ‘not into fashion’, but only started taking a real interest since it became more relevant and inclusive! Every year during the Fashion Week showcase, the usual players receive the most media attention, but this year I felt that African inspired fashion from African and non-African designers was allowed to take a bow on the runway.
Not very inspired by what I see on the high street, I’ve been spending less on clothes/shoes etc; partly because I am waiting for the sales but also because there are few things able to break the magnetic field between my cash and my hands. However, recently I bought some pink leopard print wedge trainers with blue laces (I know what you’re thinking, but trust me they look good! Lol) that were in the sale – I do love a bargain! Anyway, I think the fashion industry is opening up; and it would be nice to see other cultures represented in the mainstream, such as Asian, Caribbean, South American and Middle Eastern…. everyone has a story to tell so why not? We all wear clothes don’t we?
Statistics show that 149,000 British citizens emigrated in 2011; most likely in search of jobs. Britons left for various countries, with favourites being Australia and New Zealand. I suppose with the financial crumbling of Europe, what is the point in staying? With Asian and African economies booming, their British citizens are heading back to see if the grass is greener on the other side.
A friend forwarded me an article by Afua Hirsch, West Africa correspondent for the Guardian newspaper, about Ghanaians in the UK leaving to go back and settle in Ghana. I thought this was quite interesting, especially as I know people who have done exactly that. Historically people usually go back home to retire but now the tide has changed and a younger generation are going back. Opportunity knocks but once and UK Ghanaians are not letting it pass them by.
In 2011 Ghana had the fastest growing economy in the world! While on the surface this sounds great; since becoming the first black African country to get independence the road to prosperity has been littered with potholes.
While things are looking bright for those from the UK seeking new pastures in Ghana, some anecdotal tales I have heard from locals include a lack of nurses in military / private hospitals; so patients’ families hire help if they cannot look after their sick relatives during their stay in hospital. If you go to any NHS hospital in London (or other parts of the UK), it’s highly likely that you will bump into a Ghanaian nurse or midwife, many of them left Ghana in search of job opportunities in the UK.
I did get wrapped up in all the excitement of the Olympics and I think it has been a successful Games for London. As it all draws to a close this will be my last Olympic-orientated post lol!
When I saw ‘Meet the superhumans’ posters on buses and billboards around London, I felt a combination of excitement and curiosity because even though, the first official Paralympic Games (meaning ‘parallel to or running alongside the Olympic Games’) commenced on 18th September 1960 in Rome, I did not know much about the individual athletes or the level of impairment classification system.
I knew that the Paralympic Games would definitely be inspirational and with 2.4 million out of 2.5 million tickets sold before the Games even started I am not the only one! Becoming a medal winning paralympian does come at a cost (like most things in life) but also financial reward as athletes apparently get money for winning medals. However, the technology, from light-weight wheelchairs to carbon fibre blade-shaped prostheses with socket technology is expensive (Stefanie Reid of Team GB has two blade legs at a cost of £12,000 each; to attach them costs an extra £2,000 annually). Running commentary during the Opening Ceremony touched on how difficult it is for developing countries to compete or even make it to the Paralympics (Botswana and Malawi withdrew their visually impaired teams last minute), having said that Sierra Leone did make their debut this year.