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.
I knew in the past Naomi Campbell
and other prominent black models such as Jourdan Dunn,
and Chanel Iman
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”.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
- Short man – Find shorts with shorter inseams and aim for a couple of inches above the knee to prolong your legs.
- Skinny legs – Add a couple of folds of the hem to add natural bulk to thin legs.
- 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.
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.
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.
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.
Think of smart and casual loafers, boat shoes, espadrilles, driving shoes, moccasins, and brogues.
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?
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!