Tag Archive | "Designer"

Bunmi Olaye leaves Bunmi Koko

The Nigerian designer who co-founded the fashion label Bunmi Koko

Bunmi Olaye, the other half of the London-based fashion label Bunmi KoKo, has stepped down as Creative Director of the fashion house she started with Francis Udom. The brand has been very successful since its inception in 2009. The Nigerian-born London-based designers were putting Africa on the map, catching the eye of the first lady of the United States Michelle Obama, former spice girl Mel B and Nelson Mandela, to name a few.

Bunmi KoKo has also won several awards including “Emerging designer of the year in 2010” at the Africa Fashion Awards and “Young entrepreneur of the year 2010” and has been featured in publications such as Vogue, Glamour, Cosmopolitan and Arise. Bunmi Olaye is not quitting fashion but rather pursuing a new vision that’s entirely her own. She was quoted saying, “I have not given up on my dream, however the time has come for me to pursue a vision that is entirely my own.”

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2 Minutes with Fashion Designer Keneilwe Mampuru

Keneilwe Mampuru (centre) with models

In 2003, Keneilwe Mampuru started her label, Keneilwe Creations, which is primarily targeted at women who are into new, quirky, but yet sophisticated things. The designs are simplistic classics, feminine, nostalgic Urban-African garments. We sat down with Keneilwe to get an understanding of what motivated her to start her own business:

Tell us about yourself. Where are you from? What’s your educational background?

My name is Keneilwe Mampuru; I am from Atteridgeville, Pretoria. I went to Pretoria High School for Girls, and then proceeded to a private design college, which was undersigned by the Tshwane University of Technology, where I studied Fashion Design. I am currently studying with the University of South Africa (UNISA). I’ve also received assistance from SEDA (Small Enterprise Development Agency) in building my business.

When did you realize you wanted to become a fashion designer?

I’ve always enjoyed sketching since I was still young. I’d draw a human figure and design some   funky clothing for it. In high school my favourite subject was Art; I thoroughly enjoyed Art History. I’ve always had an artistic streak and absolutely loved a dash of colour in everything I touched. I have 2 sisters and we were known to be “fashionable” so it was only natural that one of us became a designer. We also loved music and looked for trendy ideas from our favourite groups, like TLC and SWV in the 90s.

Where do you get your design inspiration?

From my surroundings, I’m mostly inspired by the African woman. They all have a story to tell, from the sister rocking an afro, to the more sophisticated one with a blonde weave, slender, full-figured… there’s a special element that makes a woman, a woman!


What are some of your accomplishments as a designer?

I had quit my job at a well known bank to follow my dream and honour my God-given talent. I’ve always known I’m an entrepreneur at heart and strived to show some of my peers that anything is possible. This year I was approached by TUT to coach the 3rd year students for their Internship programme.

What do you like best about South Africa’s fashion industry?

I like that we have a rich culture and are not at all shy to embrace it. We are highly spirited people and it shows in most of our designers’ work, which gives the SA Fashion industry that unique element. I also like that we are not afraid to express ourselves through colour.

How would you define your personal style?

It’s very comfortable and simple, yet quirky. I’m very reserved so my clothing style resembles that. I have my own style and choose clothing that accentuates my body shape and size. I love accessories and have a fetish for earrings; I like that they can hide those ‘dull days.’

What advice do you have for aspiring fashion designers?

To know that fashion is not only about being fashionable and knowing the latest trends. There’s more to it, like merging creativity and professionalism. Education doesn’t have an ending; they should always strive to learn new things, not necessarily related to the Fashion Industry.Reading in itself opens their minds and broadens their perspective. I would also advise them to travel, see how other continents do things. The possibilities are endless.

Keneilwe is based in Attridgeville, Pretoria. Keneilwe Kreations has a page on Facebook and a Twitter account. Her blog (http://keneilwekreations.wordpress.com) informs clients of their latest offering, developments and trends.

Contact details:  Keneilwe Mampuru (Founder & Head Designer)

Email Address: kmampuru@keneilwekreations.com

Telephone number: (012) 373 0572


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Ozwald Boateng’s S/S 2012 Collection

Ozwald Boateng’s S/S 2012 Collection is for the bold man. African inspired, the collection includes safari hats: a celebration of Africa without drifting far from the trends. He plays around with colour blocking, using  colours like green, khaki, brown, yellow, orange, dark brown and a little  black and white.

Sticking to his trademark, he uses a twist on classic British tailoring, bespoke garments. OB also drew some inspiration from the western American as l spotted some models wearing belted satchels similar to those of the colonial era in Africa; the trend is also used a lot in the big screen, in those western movies set in a small town in the outskirts somewhere, with a sheriff. It goes without saying OB added a modern feel to the trend.

Cotton, linen, and washed up suede are the fabrics used in the collection giving it a smart casual, safari, formal but not-too-serious look.
By Innocent Ndlovu
Twitter: @IamInnocentN
Facebook: Innocent Ndlovu


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A Brush with Fashion at Africa Fashion Week #AFW

This past weekend I attended Africa Fashion Week and was really impressed with the level of fashion in Africa. Soucha, Thula Sindi, Jacob Kimmie, David Tlale, Madam Wokie, Laquan Smith, Tabo Bacar, Lola Faturoti and Bunmi Koko were some of the designers that showcased their collections to a packed Sandton Convention Centre. Tribal print, animal print, chiffon, colour blocking, lace and the Arabic-Persian-Egyptian look dominated the runway.

Cairo-based fashion designer Soucha’s collection was Egyptian-inspired. The collection was made up of slouchy pants, swimwear pieces, lace, head gear and shawls. He went bold on colour using, greens, yellows and reds. Local designer Thula Sindi got a standing ovation for his collection that consisted of lace, print and chiffon. The outfits were elegant and looked very comfortable to wear.

New York based designer Laquan Smith who is  known for his glamorous futuristic designs did not disappoint, if anything he lived up to his title. His range included skirts, dresses, trousers and tops. There were lace pieces as well, ideal for a night out or red carpet event.

Bunmi Koko’s garments oozed texture and comfort. The collection had evening wear, formal wear and a few gowns perfect for a red carpet event. She completed some of the looks with jewellery: neck pieces and bangles.


The big winners were announced at the highly anticipated Africa Fashion Awards, which concluded the runway show at Africa Fashion Week. Jewel by Lisa won the Designer of the Year –Africa award while celebrated British-born fashion designer & film-maker, Ozwald Boateng was announced Designer of the Year – International in these.

Nigerian designer, Maki Oh, won the Emerging Designer of the Year – Africa award, while New York-based, Ghanain-born Mimi Plange won Emerging Designer of the Year – International. Accessories Designer of the Year went to Sudanese-born Maya Antoun.

Part of the Africa Fashion Week,nomination criteria in the Africa Fashion Awards include designers’ work representing the strong emergence of a global African aesthetic along with potential global reach.

Created by Lisa Folawiyo in 2005, Jewel By Lisa has become famous for perfecting the art of using Nigerian Ankara fabric embellished with sequins, crystals and beads into a coveted on trend label.

The youngest and first black tailor to open a shop on London’s Saville Row, Ozwald Boateng, meanwhile, has reinterpreted the British art of bespoke tailoring with traditional craftsmanship and innovation along with his iconic, contemporary twist, vibrant colours and refined fabrics.

New York-born model, businesswomen and fashion pioneer Bethann Hardison was awarded with the Outstanding Contribution to African Fashion accolade while Model of the Year went to Kenyan supermodel Ajuma Nasanyana.

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– All designer pics by Simon Deiner

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Q&A with Laduma Ngxokolo

Laduma Ngxokolo is the young talented designer behind the Maxhosa clothing line. His knitwear collection consists of merino wool and kid’s mohair blend knitwear pieces in different styles such as cardigans, waterfall cardigans, v-necks, shawl collar necks, pull-over’s and crew-neck jerseys. Laduma was one of the three South African designers that recently went to showcase their collection at London Fashion Week. I don’t know about you, but he is definitely one of my three favorite designers at the moment. I get to know the humble designer a little better with a series of emails…


You are one of South Africa’s best fashion designers at the moment. How has the experience been for you so far?

Awesome man! It makes me feel more confident about what I do. I must honestly say it puts me under pressure; fortunately, pressure keeps me going. I still look up to a lot of South African designers who have been around in the industry for a long time.

What does fashion and style mean to you?

I consider fashion as an artistic interaction between people; an environment without fashion would have been boring for me. I understand style as distinctive elements that make one unique from other individuals; it’s a character that one Read the full story

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Q&A with Kelly Esterhuyse

22-year-old designer Kelly Esterhuyse is this year’s winner of the Elle New Talent Design Awards. Kelly showcased her designs alongside 7 other hopefuls at this year’s South African Fashion Week recently. Trend analyst and chief judge of the competition Dion Chang had this to say about the show, “The level of entrants was high this year and the judges faced an enormous task to choose one winner.”

What raised Kelly’s work above that of her companion was her visionary use of a rather neglected South African gem – Mohair. Did you know that South African Mohair is some of the most sought-after Mohair in the world? Despite this fact South African designers have remained rather oblivious to it or they have simply shied away from the challenges it presents as a medium for design expression.

Well Kelly has boldly gone where no man has gone before (I was once a Star Trek fan). She tackled this precarious element and came out the victor. Dion Chang added, “Ultimately what made Kelly’s range stand apart was her ingenious use of a much underutilized resource in South Africa – merino wool.  Knitwear has not appeared in a major way in this competition before and we liked her use of a local, indigenous textile which needs to be promoted.” Read the full story

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London Fashion Week with Stiaan Louw – S/S 2012 Collection

Stiaan Louw is one of my favorite South African fashion designers and you won’t be surprised why. The talented designer recently went to showcase his collection at London Fashion Week.  His Grecian-Arabian-Persian look with a modern and African touch consisting of shorts, slouchy trousers and kaftan pieces of different shapes and sizes and shawls left the crowd with no jaws in astonishment. Stiaan used bright colors like brown, grey and yellow and accessorized some of the outfits with sling bags and jewelry, finishing of the look with Middle Eastern inspired sandals.

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