WHY ARE BLACK MODELS SHUNNED BY THE FASHION INDUSTRY

By Linda Nuamah

I was about to post a blog about shoes, when I decided to have a look at the web shops of some of the major retailers and eCommerce businesses. After browsing for a while, it came to me that these companies hardly make use of black models. The few models of colour that you would come across were either Asian (also not enough of them) or of mixed race. In countries such as the UK and the US, this is not really representative of the demographics of the country.

Model: Simone  Awor - Uganda

Model: Simone Awor – Uganda

I knew in the past Naomi Campbell

Naomi Campbell

Model: Naomi Campbell – UK

and other prominent black models such as Jourdan Dunn,

Jourdan Dunn

Model: Jourdan Dunn – UK

Joan Smalls,

Joan Smalls

Model: Joan Smalls – Puerto Rico

and Chanel Iman

Chanel Iman

Model: Chanel Iman – US

have commented about racism in the industry. The fact that the fashion industry, and particularly the modelling industry, has a prejudice against people of colour is not something new, and is not going to change anytime soon if the mindset of the dictators of the industry doesn’t change. The above mentioned models made comments such as: “You’re a black model. It’s a challenge” or “we already found one black girl. We don’t need you any more or “people in the industry say if you have a black face on the cover of a magazine it won’t sell”.

Ajak Deng Sudan

Model: Ajak Deng – Sudan

The latter is what I find so difficult to believe, as the industry is dictated by its leaders; people buy into hypes created by marketing efforts. You can sell a Bic pen to a person who has one, and don’t actually need one, as long as you create a WANT around that specific pen you are selling. Fashion without the humans behind it, is colour-blind and beautiful.

Ayor Makur Sudan

Model: Ayor Makur – Sudan

The downside of the one-way beauty view is the phenomenon of bleaching the skin among Asians and Africans, as they believe the lighter they become the closer they will get to the ideal beauty image.

Nyasha Matonhodze Zimbabwe

Model: Nyasha Matonhodze – Zimbabwe

By keeping up with this one way perception of beauty, we are destroying future confidence levels of black and Asian kids, and other ethnicities that are not considered white.

So, to the designers, casting directors, editors and retailers, I would like to show you there is more than just one flavour on the menu.

Fatima Siad Somalia

Model: Fatima Siad – Somalia

One retailer that is actually doing it right is Canada based online retailer SSENSE www.ssense.com. That’s one retailer that is embracing diversity and I’m happy to recommend.

Ataui Deng Sudan

Model: Ataui Deng – Sudan

I became an entrepreneur because I wanted to do things differently. The one promise that I can make is that JANET + GEORGE will represent the world and its diversity on its web shop. The best thing about diversity is that we are different, and that is the beauty of it.

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MEN’S SHORTS: DOS & DON’TS

By Linda Nuamah

My favourite time of the season is here; summer is finally here, even in London. As Much as I love the layered dandy look on men in the winter, nothing beats a pair of well shaped legs in shorts, tailored shirt and the right pair of shoes. Just like everything in life, there is a correct and wrong way to do things.

Tom Selleck -  Magnum PI

Tom Selleck – Magnum PI

After all, you don’t want to look like Tom Selleck in eighties hit show ‘Magnum PI’ – yikes.

Here is what to look out for if you want to pull this fabulous summer look off:

DO – Get the right length

Size, uhm length does matter. More often than not, you will see men, young and old, wearing the wrong length size. This is definitely a style killer. While showing off your bare legs, you want to come across as confident and nonchalant, and not creepy and outdated. Your ideal shorts should finish an inch or two above your knee. Anything else is a no-no.

Hugo Boss Clyde Chino Shorts SS2014

Hugo Boss Clyde Chino Shorts SS2014

T By Alexander Wang SS2014

T By Alexander Wang SS2014

Do – The right pair of legs

In a city like London, it can become really tempting to follow all fashion craze. You often see people wearing clothes or trends that don’t do them justice. You don’t want to be one of those people. No matter what your friends and family are telling you – they are lying in your face. Be honest with yourself, when you look at yourself in the mirror; do you love what you see? When in doubt, leave it. It means it’s not your style or right fit – or it’s time to hit the gym and do some squats.

My personal way of shopping is to only buy items that I know it looks good on me. The compliments that you’ll get from the outside world should be an extra, and not a confidence booster. Not all fashion trends should be followed by everybody. It takes a really good pair of legs to pull off shorts, but don’t get discouraged here are some tips:

  • Tall man – Find shorts with longer inseams (Length between your crotch and where you want the shorts to end, an inch above the knee), so you don’t show too much leg.
    Berthold SS2014

    Berthold SS2014

    JC Penney SS2014

    JC Penney SS2014

  • Short man – Find shorts with shorter inseams and aim for a couple of inches above the knee to prolong your legs.
    Onia SS2014

    Onia SS2014

    Orlebar Brown SS14

    Orlebar Brown SS14

  • Skinny legs – Add a couple of folds of the hem to add natural bulk to thin legs.
    Street Style Marocco

    Street Style

    Street Style

    Street Style

  • Muscular with great calves – not a lot to worry here. If you are almost bursting out of your shorts, I wouldn’t advice to add more bulk.
    Tim Coppens SS2013

    Tim Coppens SS2013

    Orlebar Brown SS2015 Bulldog Shorts

    Orlebar Brown SS2015 Bulldog Shorts

Do – Slim fit shirt or polo

What you wear on top is just as important as the shorts itself. Opt for a slim fit shirt with long or short sleeves, or go for a classic polo shirt. To all the hipsters out there, it really looks ridiculous to have your shirt buttoned up all the way at the neck when it’s 25+ degrees outside, so loosen up your buttons.

Slate Blue Patterned Shirt

Slate Blue Patterned Shirt

Colour Block Stripe Shirt

Colour Block Stripe Shirt

H&M White Shirt

H&M White Shirt

Classic Polo

Classic Polo Shirt

Do – To shoe or not to shoe

Personally, I don’t believe in wearing flip flops in public unless you are at the beach or walking back from the beach to your hotel.

Orlebar Brown SS2015 Swimwear

Orlebar Brown SS2015 Swimwear

So in my book, it’s a big no-no. The most flattering shoes under shorts are shoes or sneakers; without socks obviously; not everything you see on the runway should be implemented in real life, after all you are not climbing the Mount Everest.

John Smedley SS2015

John Smedley SS2015

Think of smart and casual loafers, boat shoes, espadrilles, driving shoes, moccasins, and brogues.

Polo Ralph Lauren Loafers

Polo Ralph Lauren Loafers

Orlebar Brown Deck Shoe

Orlebar Brown Deck Shoe

 

Timberland Earthkeepers Heritage Boat Shoe

Timberland Earthkeepers Heritage Boat Shoe

Brooks Brothers Tie Drivers

Brooks Brothers Tie Drivers

Bertie Bowie Toe Cap

Bertie Bowie Toe Cap

Vans Authentic Shoes

Vans Authentic Shoes

Don’ts – Men’s short suit

I’m not really convinced about this fashion trend, and thank heaven I haven’t seen it around. For some reason it simply reminds me of a schoolboy. I mean, why would an adult male want to look like a ten year old?

Christopher Kane SS2014

Christopher Kane SS2014

Don’ts – Season matters

If you live in a country where there is an actual difference between the seasons, then the only time to wear shorts is in the summer, preferably with 25+ degrees. It simply looks better to wear shorts in the summer.

In general looking good takes an effort, but it requires even more effort in attention to detail to look good in shorts. Be honest with yourself, when in doubt; don’t forget to consult your inner self.

Enjoy the summer and be your fabulous self!

 

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I AM WOMAN: CUSHNIE ET OCHS

By Linda Nuamah

‘I am strong, I am invincible, I am woman.’ This beautiful written lyrics by Helen Reddy in the 70’s is a song for female empowerment, but not the kind that makes you feel like you have to disguise your womanhood to be noticed in this male dominated world that we live in. I am woman, is the song that plays in my mind when I see the collection of Cushnie et Ochs.

Carly Cushnie & Michelle Ochs

Carly Cushnie & Michelle Ochs

Cushnie et Ochs is an emerging designer label, founded in 2008 by Carly Cushnie and Michelle Ochs. Carly was born and raised in London, and Michelle born in Calgary, Canada and raised in Maryland, US. They both attended Parsons, The New School for Design, in New York and quickly became friends. After successful internships at Donna Karan, Proenza Schouler, Marc Jacobs, Isaac Mizrahi, and Oscar de la Renta, they attracted public attention when their senior collection was covered in Women’s Wear Daily.  Cushnie et Ochs won the Ecco Domani Fashion Foundation award in 2009, and was named finalist in the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund. The Cushnie et Ochs label is based in New York.

Cushnie et Ochs Resort 2014

Cushnie et Ochs Resort 2014

Cushnie et Ochs SS 2014

Cushnie et Ochs SS 2014

Since the label started, various celebrities such as Jessica Alba, Reese Witherspoon, Karlie Kloss and many others have been seen wearing Cushnie et Ochs. The best surprise came when the first lady of the US, Michelle Obama, who is known for supporting emerging fashion designers (Jason Wu designed her inaugural gown in 2009, and Doo-Ri Chung adapted her catwalk dress to fit the First Lady’s need for a  state dinner dress in 2011), wore a custom-made silk-crepe Cushnie et Ochs dress in 2011. Since then it has opened doors to prominent retailers, who found the young label too risky at first.

Michelle Obama in Cushnie et Ochs

Michelle Obama in Cushnie et Ochs

The Cushnie et Ochs collection is made of sexy classic silhouettes with modern details and timeless elegance. It’s made to shape and sculpt the female form. With strategically placed sharp cuts, these clothes are not made to be worn without confidence. It’s made to feel sexy and elegant, and own that you are a woman. What makes the label so successful, season after season, is that Carly Cushnie and Michelle Ochs have themselves in mind when designing a collection; they design collections that they would love to wear. With this in mind, it’s just a matter of time before the public catches up.

Cushnie et Ochs Resort 2014

Cushnie et Ochs Resort 2014

Cushnie et Ochs SS 2014

Cushnie et Ochs SS 2014

Cushnie et Ochs Resort 2014

Cushnie et Ochs Resort 2014

Karlie Kloss in Cushnie et Ochs SS 2014

Karlie Kloss in Cushnie et Ochs SS 2014

One thing is for sure; my wish for this Christmas is the Cushnie et Ochs dress that even supermodel, Karlie Kloss, can’t stop wearing.

 

 

 

 

 

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LONDON FASHION WEEK 2013 – PART 1

By Linda Nuamah

When thinking of fashion week, you would expect a place full of fashion designers, buyers and press. But with the outburst of fashion bloggers, fashionistas and wannabes, the scene has changed for the benefit of the game. What better way to put it than to call it a ‘Game’? Fashion week is about being spotted, the more extreme your outfits are, the higher the chances are, that you will get spotted. London wouldn’t be London without the dictators of contemporary fashion. After all fashion starts in the street.

London Fashion Week marked its territory on Friday the 13th. The show kicks off twice a year, and host designers, buyers, celebrities, bloggers, press and the beautiful people in the fashion industry. Although the catwalk shows should be the highlight of fashion week, it’s the people that wear the fashion, that are the most important element of the whole happening. Outrageous ensembles, ‘I need sunglasses to look at you’ fluorescent colours, mismatch, nudity, big hairdo, name it; you can find it all at London Fashion Week.

Of all these bold and extravagant people that strut the streets of London Fashion Week, here are some of those that know how to do it in style. For the first time in my life I feel ordinary!

Spotted! Polka Dot Boy

Spotted! Polka Dot Boy

Future Designer Ansella Post

Future Designer Ansella Post

Old Skool Hipster

Old Skool Hipster

The Classical

The Classical

The Beautiful

The Beautiful

The Best Friend

The Best Friend

The New Grace Jones

The New Grace Jones

The New Grace Jones

The New Grace Jones

Another Side of Me

Another Side of Me

The Promo Girls

The Promo Girls

Sista's With Attitude

Sista’s With Attitude

The Strutter

The Strutter

The New Age Hipster

The New Age Hipster

The Bold

The Bold

Meet the Pairs

Meet the Pairs

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ONE TO WATCH: GIORGIO CHIUSSI

By Linda Nuamah

Although Janet + George is about Womenswear and Menswear, I haven’t paid a lot of attention to what is happening in the menswear industry.

Menswear is a challenging industry, but gradually men are claiming their rightful place in the fashion industry. The social taboos of wearing a handbag or even a more colourful jacket, are slowly fading into the past. The fashionable gay men have paved the way for other key influencers such as entrepreneurs, and those with artistic and creative professions, in the age category 25 – 45 years.

Giorgio Chiussi RTW SS2014

Giorgio Chiussi RTW SS2014

So on the menswear side; there is a lot happening. One of the emerging fashion design talent that I was really impressed by is ‘Giorgio Chiussi’. Giorgio is an Italian designer who was born into a family of tailors, going back more than a century ago. His family became known for their bespoke tailoring for men in Italy. While working for the family run business, Chiussi, Giorgio created his first ready-to-wear collection in 2011. His creations are based on bohemian elegance. Giorgio Chiussi was one of the finalist of the fifth edition of the ‘Who is on next? Uomo 2013’ competition, sponsored by Pitti Immagine Uomo, Vogue, and Alta Roma. Although Giorgio did not win, he made my list of one to watch, due to his wearable clean cut collection.

Giorgio Chiussi RTW SS2014

Giorgio Chiussi RTW SS2014

Giorgio Chiussi RTW SS2014

Giorgio Chiussi RTW SS2014

Giorgio Chiussi’s spring/summer 2014 collection, is designed to dress men with elegance, and not snobbery, wanting to be and not appearing to be. The collection consists of shorts paired with tailored double breasted jackets, check prints, uniform shirts, vests and an edgy approach to traditional suits with a tailcoat. This is definitely a collection for the style-savvy trendsetters among us.

Giorgio Chiussi RTW SS2014

Giorgio Chiussi RTW SS2014

Giorgio Chiussi RTW SS2014

Giorgio Chiussi RTW SS2014

Giorgio Chiussi RTW SS2014

Giorgio Chiussi RTW SS2014

Giorgio Chiussi RTW SS2014

Giorgio Chiussi RTW SS2014

For all those that do not want to be mainstream, and dare to be bold, Giorgio Chiussi is the ONE to watch.

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FASHION BEYOND BORDERS

By Linda Nuamah

While Middle Eastern fashionistas are craving for Western designers, Lebanon has his own rising star that goes beyond borders.

Based in the Lebanese capital, Beirut, Zuhair Murad has become a household name among celebrities. Shortly after obtaining a fashion degree in Paris, Zuhair Murad moved back to Beirut and opened his first store in the early 90’s. In 1999 Zuhair Murad entered the international stage and showed his collection on the catwalks of Rome, and in 2001 at the Paris fashion week.

Zuhair Murad Couture SS2013

Zuhair Murad Couture SS2013

Zuhair Murad Couture SS2013

Zuhair Murad Couture SS2013

Zuhair Murad Couture SS2013

Zuhair Murad Couture SS2013

With high emphasis on clean cut sophistication and an ode to old Hollywood glamour, Zuhair Murad was quickly noticed by celebrity stylists as the up-and-coming fashion designer. Celebrities like Beyoncé, Eva Longoria, Jennifer Lopez, Blake Lively, and many others have been praised for their red carpet appearance in a Zuhair Murad creation.

Beyoncé in Zuhair Murad

Beyoncé in Zuhair Murad

Eva Longoria in Zuhair Murad

Eva Longoria in Zuhair Murad

Jennifer Lopez in Zuhair Murad

Jennifer Lopez in Zuhair Murad

Blake Lively in Zuhair Murad

Blake Lively in Zuhair Murad

Zuhair Murad’s creations are inspired by the jewels and beauty of his hometown, Beirut, a city also known as the Paris of the Middle East. The rich history, the Mediterranean feel, and the cultural diversity are all embraced in the beautiful details in his designs.

Zuhair Murad RTW FW2013

Zuhair Murad RTW FW2013

Zuhair Murad RTW SS2013

Zuhair Murad RTW SS2013

Zuhair Murad RTW SS2013

Zuhair Murad RTW SS2013

Zuhair Murad RTW SS 2013

Zuhair Murad RTW SS 2013

Zuhair Murad RTW SS2013

Zuhair Murad RTW SS2013

Zuhair Murad RTW SS2013

Zuhair Murad RTW SS2013

Zuhair Murad RTW SS2013

Zuhair Murad RTW SS2013

To wear Zuhair Murad is to live the 1001 Arabian nights’ moment. The women of Beirut take pride in their day-to-day appearance of dressing up to perfection. With this in mind, I cannot wait to see more of this rising star of the Middle East.

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FUR: YOU LOVE IT OR HATE IT

By Linda Nuamah

Alberta Ferretti Fall 2012

Alberta Ferretti Fall 2012

One of my timeless fashion pieces has been fur. Wearing fur is quite a controversy. You either love it or hate the people wearing it. Before I bought my first real fur, I was in doubt and found that innocent animals were slaughtered just for fashion sake. But I convinced myself that my coat was made from a road kill. The truth is that 85 percent of fur sold today is farmed. On the other hand many communities depend on the fur trade. In Kastoria, Greece, 80 percent of the population is employed by the fur trade, followed by Russia, Canada, USA, Finland, Norway, Poland and Namibia. Although Europeans have taken a stand against the fur trade, demands are really high. The same goes for North America, Russia, and the Far East. China is currently the world’s largest importer of Fur.

Jason Wu Fall 2012

Jason Wu Fall 2012

Although I’m not fond of mass production of fur, I do love the look and feel of fur. Combined with the right clothes and accessories, you feel elegant and luxurious.

Marni Fall 2012

Marni Fall 2012

If you really hate it you still have the option to go for faux fur, which is made out of synthetic fibres designed to look and feel like real fur. It’s not really my thing as it makes you look like a headless chicken. But hey, style is what you choose!

H&M Pink Faux Fur

H&M Pink Faux Fur

H&M Faux Fur

H&M Faux Fur

No matter what your feelings are about real fur; the fact is that it creates jobs and feeds world economies. On the other hand, the animals are treated horribly in these breeding farms. They are kept in tiny cages and electrocuted. But it’s not only fur that is a controversy in fashion, how about cotton or conditions factories in India, Bangladesh, Turkey, China, Vietnam etc. operates in? It goes hand in hand with child labour and exploiting of employees. The cheaper your clothes, shoes and accessories are, the more likely that you are supporting these kind of practises.

Viktor & Rolf Fall 2012

Viktor & Rolf Fall 2012

In my opinion wearing fur is not wrong. However I can choose where I buy it from, and make sure that trade standards is changed. Or should we ban it like in the UK and Austria?

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