Nigerians Do Glamour: Aso-Ebi Series

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My last Aso-Ebi post is still one of my highest read posts, so I’ll be doing a Short Series with the same running theme.  And without further-ado, let the Glamourzans pave the way:

Couture Naija

asoebi3Pretty In Pink

asoebi6Group Glamour

asoebi7

Safariontheblog.com

PYT (Pretty Young Thing)

asoebi8Red & Gold

Naijagists.com

Naijagists.com

Sweet Velvetine

asoebi14All White

asoebi21See how my ladies just dey shine shine, no be small ting O! Doing research on this series always makes me so happy, the Eye Candy whets my sartorial appetite to no end! I love the attention to detail these Glamourzans put into their ensembles: the shade of eyeshadow, co-ordinated accessories…actually lets pause on the Accessories: how inspired are you by what you see above? I know I am!

So who gets your vote?  It’s a tough one but I am going for Couture Naija: I adore the detailing, the fit, the sculpted top, the bejewelled collar top that trails down her bodice….Just Fab!

Anyhoo, that’s my favourite, how about you? Who is your Aso-Ebi Queen?

Lace & Ankara Print Style, Berlin Fashion Week S/S 16, TWAs…

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Hey everyone, I’m in such a good mood! My spirits began to climb the Zenith Ladder when I loosened my big braids and almost collapsed with relief to see my hairline hadn’t taken a beating (like it did in December when I did a braided faux-Mohawk); in fact, my hair grew a little.  To fully appreciate its little growth, you have to see its length in Feb 2015:

bikibuki1And now it looks like this WITHOUT me blow-drying it:

afro4I would love to blow-dry my hair to see how long it really is, but blow-dryers are to me what kryptonite is to Superman, except instead of me losing my super powers, I lose major chunks of hair! Ps I will be writing an article along the lines of, ‘The (Extremely!!) Lazy Girl’s Guide Of Growing Your Hair & Hairline’.

afro1Ok so that’s one reason why I am in a good mood, the other is I just came back from a sunny brunch with the Founder and Editor-In-Chief of Berlin-based, Superior magazine.  I’ve done freelance editorial work for a couple of Berlin-based mags, and just like Goldilocks it took quite a while for me to find my ‘fit’. So far, I enjoy my working relationship with Tom/Superior as we are both interested in the promotion of African Fashion.

During our meeting, Tom asked me to cover Africa Fashion Day Berlin’s exhibition during Berlin Fashion Week S/S 16, which will be presented at the longstanding Premium Trade Show Event.  I will go into more detail about this later…

Now back to me! All you Personal Style bloggers out there that have your husbands, friends and/or minions that are available, camera in hand, ready to take pictures of what you are wearing, I say: How Bloody Lucky Are You?!  I haven’t been thus blessed, so I had to use the opportunity of my meeting with Tom to get snapped in some of my favourite accessories (at the moment!).

afro5All my rings are from H&M, they are having a sale at the moment.  If you are into Statement Rings I suggest you go, Pronto!  You see my diamante ear cuff in the first picture? I am obsessed with them at the moment and I love wearing them to accessorize my TWA, which is kind of Haha Funny, as I bought the little gem in Accessorize.

afro2But my favourite of all of my accessories are my African-inspired Circle Batik Print Necklace and Earrings.  I got them from a fab store in Lagos called, Quintessence.

Yesterday I met up with a friend of mine who will be giving me cooking lessons (Oh Yes!) and he also sells vintage pieces(via his label Just Landed).  After our meeting, we went to his warehouse were I picked up this Lemon Yellow lace blouse.  I love how Summery Fresh it makes me feel, so much so, that as Berlin is experiencing a rare ‘Summer’s Day': I paired with my African-batik print skirt.

afro3And now back to you: how is your week going? Have you purchased anything recently that puts a Summer Spring in your step? Is your hair causing you woe or joy at the moment? Do Tell, I’d love to know!

 

Ask Biki: Which Online Stores Sell African-Inspired Menswear?

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One of the reasons I set up my blog was to offer a consulting service to advise people who had both industry and fashion/style-related questions Consequently, I was mighty pleased when a friend from Berlin sent me a message on Facebook asking…

Question

Hello Biki

I’m having a Style Crisis, maybe you can help me? I´m looking for colourful African-inspired print trousers but I can’t find them anywhere in Berlin, not even on the internet.

Do have any idea where I could find African batik print trousers online?

Ps I love the below Prints!

gernot1Kisses from Berlin

Gideon

Answer

Hey Gideon

First of all thanks for reaching out to ask me this question, I had a lot of fun doing the research!

It turns out that a lot of the online African-inspired stores that deliver to Europe (Berlin) like Agnes & Lola, Myasho.com and Zuvaa.com target women with their products.  However, I did find one store in particular (with London Headquarters) that sells some great Menswear African-inspired prints: Ohema Ohene.

ohema2Set up in 2008, Ohema Ohene (meaning Queen and King in the Ghanaian language of Twi) was set up by London-based founder, Abeena Pokuaa.  The brand’s signature style is to fuse African batik prints with a British edge.

oheme5Having perused their online store, they have a good selection of menswear clothing, including accessories and footwear.  Prices range from about £20 (for accessories mainly) to £240 (for menswear clothing).

oheme4Ohema Ohene are currently having a sale which extends to their Menswear Trousers Section, so head to their e-store and get Clicking!

Biki xx

I really do enjoy using my years of working in the fashion industry and accumulating all sorts of fashion-related knowledge to help and advise people in this manner, so keep the questions coming!

Have a good week! Bisous

 

He Got Style

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Here’s the thing, I love menswear and style.  Back in the Blogging Day, I wrote far more about menswear, focusing on their personal style…

Yesterday I called the lady who does PR for the British Fashion Council, as I planned to ask if she could promote my fashion TV show (Ps the fashion exhibition my program was based on was co-organised by the BFC).  It was then that I learnt that London Fashion Week for Men otherwise known as- London Collections Men S/S 16- had begun, and was to last to Monday 15th June.

According to the BFC ‘all events on the schedule (for London Collections Men)are designed to showcase the breadth of British fashion talent, from the world’s most innovative emerging talents to global menswear brands and Saville Row tailors’.

As Men’s Design & Style is trending at the moment, I’ve decided to turn my eyes to a different city for inspiration-Nigeria- so as to give a nod to the men making me sartorially proud.

Smooth Velvet

Retailtherapyonline.com

Retailtherapyonline.com

Laidback Trad

Bellanaija.com

Bellanaija.com

Feeln’ The Ice Cool Blues

Aomosal.blogspot.co.uk

Aomosal.blogspot.co.uk

Boss Man

man5Ankara Fusion

360nobs.com

360nobs.com

Who is your favourite? For me its a tough one, my eyes keep getting drawn to ‘Feeln The Ice Cool Blues’ but then I do love ‘Smooth Velvet’…  What’s your take?

Watch My Silverbird TV, ‘Fashion Special With Biki John’ On YouTube!

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STV PROMO IMAGEDear Readers, without furtherado, here it is:

https://www.facebook.com/fashionspecialwithbikijohn/timeline

I’d be super grateful, if you could share this link on your social media platforms, I want to raise as much awareness as possible for ‘my baby’.

I’m currently fleshing out a 2nd Edition which will be filmed in London, I call this current edition the Pilot Episode: it was my first time producing and presenting and we had to get all the footage in one day (something I’ll NEVER try and do again).  I’m aiming for the next edition to be a lot more ‘Me’ and have more ‘Me’ in it.

Anyhoo, I’d love you to message me your comments, critique, feedback…tell me what you would have liked to see more or seen less of, if you want me to explore certain aspects/topics of Nigerian fashion or fashion in general…feel free to give me a piece of your creative mind!

Bisous

How To Say ‘Thank You’ Professionally In The Fashion Industry

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011If you have worked in the fashion industry for a good number of years and started from the bottom up, you’ll know that the industry is built on favours and working for free (as a professional).  The latter often occurs when you are a writer or stylist for those ultra-‘cool’ but not ‘paying for a damn thing’ magazines.

In my line of fashionable duty, I’ve done a number of free jobs for various companies, looking back, I did far too much but hindsight is a bitch in 9 inch heels isn’t it? The businesses I have worked for with no remuneration include magazines, designers, fashion show production companies…and it always amazed me how these organisations didn’t have the class, morality or ethical fiber in their being to thank me PROFESSIONALLY. And by this I don’t just mean uttering the glaringly obvious words, ‘Thank You’- in fashion, if one does not have the wages to give accurate remuneration, one is supposed to use their ACTIONS to give thanks.  Actions speak louder than words, baby.

Don’t know what I mean, well depending on which sector of the fashion industry you work in, here are some:

Tips On How To Say, ‘Thank You’ Professionally In The Fashion Industry

1) For upcoming designers who don’t have the funds to pay for models to walk in their fashion shows, it is common to say Thank You to each model by giving out pieces of your collection or distributing goodie bags (with products/brands that show some decent thought went into the gift!)

2) For independently owned magazines who are not able to pay their commissioned writers, stylists PRs and the like, how about giving a few of your best fashion show tickets or party invites to your editors? Fashion week is one of the best ways for independent magazine editor-in-chiefs to extend their thanks to their team.  For lack of a better word, the ingratitude of magazine editor-in-chiefs makes me sick.  I know of one Berlin-based magazine editor-in-chief, who denies his unpaid stylist editor fashion show tickets purely because he is scared of her surpassing him in the industry.

I had a recent horror story: Not too long ago, in a land not so far, far way, I did unpaid PR work to support a London-based magazine launch their first issue in Nigeria.  For this job, one of the major coups I won for the magazine was getting its launch party covered by a leading Nigerian TV network, thus exposing the new company to a large audience to increase their relevance and sales.  However, a few months later when I asked that same magazine editor-in-chief for a favour: to feature a Nigerian designer I was doing PR for on their platform- the editor-in-chief created a whole lot of b.s dog hoops for me to jump through. This is a PERFECT example, of how NOT to say Thank You in the industry when someone has done a big job for you for free.  Shame On You, Ms Editor-In-Chief.

3) Emerging designers, if an individual is doing PR for you for free on a particular project, one way to thank them is by taking them out to dinner.  A newly launched designer recently took me out for dinner to say Thank You for the PR services I did for her, and I was truly touched. Ps Ms Shameless Editor-In-Chief, THIS is how to have Class.  You should never be too busy to have Class.

4)  I’ll now demonstrate another way to say Thank You in the fashion industry.  To promote my Fashion Special TV program which aired in Nigeria recently, I sent out press release to a number of Nigerian blogs.  Many never responded, a few that did quoted RrrrRRrredunkulous charges, however 2 Golden Blogs (which fortunately happen to be the Top 10 most popular fashion & lifestyle blogs in the country), did promote my press release in a timely manner on their platforms for free.

And to show I was thankful, I delivered Goodie Bags in their places of residence yesterday.

016014020How about you guys: what other ways do you think fashion professionals in the industry can say Thank You professionally, if/when they are not able to give remuneration? Have you had similar horror stories of working for free only to get shafted (without the decency of the ‘professional’ at least having the decency to hold your hair back!!)  Do tell, I’d love to know.

 

Creative Job Advertisements: How To Spot The Bullshit

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I’ve worked in the fashion industry in one way or the other for almost ten years now.  Before I decided to take a spin at Fashion’s Wheel, I worked in the Legal sector, therefore it came as quite a surprise when I would go for fashion/creative job interviews, only to learn that the job was either unpaid or offering minor duckets (very little money). And I wasn’t going for internship positions, I’m talking about freelance J.O.B.S.

As time went by I learnt how to decode certain job advertisements and spot the bullshit which is often deceptively encoded.  This was great as I stopped wasting precious time honing the ‘Perfect CV & Covering letter’, preparing for various interview, only to be told by the interviewer (without blinking and a straight face) that the so-called job I had applied for, was one for which I was to get little to no renumeration.

But how did I learn how to spot the bullshit? Can BS ‘job’ advertisements really be translated? Ohhh YesSS they can, and without further ado, here’s how to do so:

If you read a creative job advertisement tailored at professionals (not interns) with the following words:

‘…a fantastic opportunity to work on great projects!': Translation- It’s Bullshit

‘…a wonderful PLATFORM to showcase your work!!': Translation: It’s Bullshit

‘…exciting!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!': Translation: It’s Bullshit

‘…work in a very open-minded and relaxed environment!': Translation: It’s Bullshit

And what advice can you take from this?  If a job advertisement begins to sound more like a trip to Disneyland than an actual job or if you see over-zealous words like , ‘great fun’, ‘super exciting’, ‘ truly wonderful’ and then those words are punctuated by an overuse of exclamation marks: it’s Unpaid/minor duckets, and most definitely Bullshit!

Do any of you know of any other popular words, creative job adverts use to rope you in to work for free?

My 12th Feature In The ‘Independent Fashion Bloggers’ Weekly Roundup

IFB

IFB

Hot Links for Summer

Clearly, everyone around here is ready for warm weather. We’ve got kimono-inspired wraps, turbans, sunglasses, and sundresses, just to mention a few topics on the blogging radar this week. Where I live (San Francisco) it just gets cold and foggy in the summer, so I’m living vicariously through all of your summer wardrobe and beauty preparations. Bloggers are also covering some more sober topics including dress codes and marriage equality. There’s lots of good stuff to peruse so let’s get to the links!

Links à la Mode: May 21

SPONSOR: East Dane: Ferragamo ShoesSuperga, FurlaC/Meo CollectiveBaggu, Citrine Swim, Black leather booties, Veda, Wrap & Cotton dresses

Want to be featured in Links à la Mode?
1. Read the clarified rules and submit your links on this page: Links à la Mode.
2. If your link was selected and you need this week’s code, visit this page: Links à la Mode Code.

Black & Gold Glamour: Naija Wedding Style

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A few weeks ago, I did a blog post on Nigerian wedding, Aso & Ebi styles. My inspiration for this was I had been invited to a Nigerian wedding and for the first time in my life, I wanted to Go Naija Native.  I had this grand plan of choosing a style I liked, buying the fabrics and then getting a tailor to whip me up my first customised Naija Wedding creation.  However a lil’ problem namely-an anorexic wallet-meant I had to go back to the drawing board.  Well to my mother’s drawing board anyway.

Having attended weddings now for donkey decades, my mama (very conveniently) has an assortment of One Size blouses and wrappers with draw strings, so it meant I had a lot of choice.

I ended up opting for a black (embellished with sequins and lace, baby) and gold number. The 70/80s child in me loves that combination.  In the days leading up to the event, I was majorly worried about the outfit because it was so damn uncomfortable and restrictive!  So much so, that I decided that I needed armour to help me get through the pain.  And by armour, I mean make-up. And by that I mean: I got a make-up artist involved!

And without further ado, here’s the end result.

014017004Going Naija Native, was an experience I’ll never forget.  On the good side, wearing the wrapper made me feel like a demure geisha, as I walked, the constriction of the attire forced me to take small lady-like steps, my back was straighter and my head was tilted higher.  I have to admit, as corny as it sounds, I did feel deliciously ‘Nigerian’. Now lets talk negatives: don’t be fooled by the smile on my face in each pic, every pore on my body was oozing with sweat (yes, nice), when the gele was not tumbling off my head, it was giving me a damn headache!!  I could go on but why bother, you get the uncomfortable picture!

As much fun as it was playing the Naija Native Girl, and seeing the coooote glee on my mother’s face when she saw me all Nigerian’d Up: it will be a long time before I step into a blouse and wrapper contraption EVER AGAIN!!

Luckily, there are so many traditional alternatives when it comes to Nigerian weddings, I don’t have to wear a wrapper and blouse (with long sleeves!).  Here are some other gold aso-ebi styles I’ve my beady eyes on:

Bellanaija.com

Bellanaija.com

Fashionpoliceng.com

Fashionpoliceng.com

Anyhoo, back to me:

005I’m currently obsessed with punctuating my outfits with my/Ma’s red patent Prada’s: it gives that unexpected POW-Factor and makes my ensembles not so matchey-matchey.

What do you think of my Naija makeover? Do you have any upcoming weddings? What are you planning on wearing? Do tell, I’d love to know!

Top Accessory For Spring/Summer: The Glamorous Turban

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The history of the turban goes back a long fabulous way.  In fashion, the turban (or draped turban)can be traced back to at least the 18th century.  In the early 20th century, it grew to be commonly known as a symbol of Eastern Glamour.  However, in the 60s and 70s, with the help of designers like Biba and Halston: turbans became a popular accessory amongst Hollywood’s glamorous elite.  Trendsetters and shakers like Barabara Streisland, Elizabeth Taylor, Bianca Jagger and Sophia Loren paved the way for glamour by punctuating their outfits with turbans. At the moment, I’m really feeling the aura and impact of the ‘Glamorous Turban’.  If you follow my blog, you’ll know I’m obsessed with buying Ankara print materials and fashioning them into various shapes and sizes on my head.  However, the particular turbans I’m obsessed with at the moment are from a different beast.  Case in point, see below: 026As the 70s is one of my Go-To decades for fashion, I’m currently channeling Glamozonians like Barabara Streisand by pinning a brooch on my turbans.

noglitternoglory.com

noglitternoglory.com

047

Ps I wore this turban to a party in Lagos, Nigeria recently and guys kept calling me ‘Jasmine’ (from Walt Disney’s, Aladdin):Honey, I’ll take it! For me, turbans are a Spring/Summer MUST- HAVE.   Why?  Well, let me throw a few of their good points at you: 1) This elegant accessory is as cheap as chips, but doesn’t look it: especially when you pin a brooch or feather on them.  In Nigeria, my turbans cost me N2,000 a pop (roughly 6 pounds).  If you look to Asos, their turbans range from about 6 to 10 pounds.  2) Turbans alluringly cover up a bad hair day or a ‘I can’t be arsed to style my hair’ day. 3) Turbans fit any season.  I do prefer them in Spring/Summer as I just think, ‘French Riviera Poolside Glamour’, but turbans can be easily worn in the Autumn/Winter. I mean, they cover your ears, helllooooo… If I haven’t managed to convince you to invest in a turban this season, maybe the chic factor oozing out of these turban-wearing ladies will.

Iddavanmunster.blogspot.com

Iddavanmunster.blogspot.com

turban2

Sydnestyle.com

Noglitternoglory.com

Noglitternoglory.com

Noglitternoglory.com

Noglitternoglory.com

Icovetthee.wordpress.com

Icovetthee.wordpress.com

So now I’ve convinced you to join the Fab Turban Posse for Spring/Summer, it’s a good time to tell you that ASOS is currently selling an assorted mix of turbans.  As stated, they range between 6 to 10 pounds. Get Shopping People: http://www.asos.com/search/turbans?hrd=1&q=turbans

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