Thursday, August 9, 2012

Ankara Fabric Designs and Styles Illustrated Fashionably

The Ankara pieces stand out like a work of Art.  A creation on canvas, the colours are flashy using the whole spectrum available on the colour wheel. The Ankara fabric patterns too are exaggerated in their expression and doubly accented that you may make them out even from a distance.  And colour blocking is used heavily, and no hue is off- limits as the rich blend of saturated colour abut each other in a stiff competition, yet oh so harmonious in their coexistence.

How far the African textile industry has come.  The original Dutch wax, the Hollandaise, coveted by many and afforded by few.  Turkey seizing the opportunity to make what is now known as Ankara, essentially a more affordable replica of the Hollandaise.  A slightly inferior copy, the Ankara will run when washed, but not anymore, with advancement in dyeing technique.

A fashion designer's treasure, a versatile fabric that lends itself to intricate styling, mostly cotton at it's very core, Ankara is turned into beautiful pieces.  Masterpieces.  Fit for special occasions.  Traditional or otherwise.

The Ankara has arrived, standing on it's own merit, so I will rest my case. For now...

Photo credits:, getty images

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Monday, August 6, 2012

Nicki Minaj in Pink Bikinis, A Lesson in Poolside Manners

Pink Bikini and lime green wig will be the wardrobe choice Nicki Minaj will make for her music video "Starships" filmed in Hawaii earlier on in the year. As the bikini season draws to a close, a subtle reminder that there will be another opportunity next season for poolside lovers to make right.

The science of matching body type to bikini choice summed up as bikini 101, a comprehensive subject way beyond the scope of this blog and so the pictures shown here are for their esthetic value alone.

Where the booty is generous, bikini colour choice ought to be darker shades and full bottom cuts providing as much coverage as possible.  The skirts or boy briefs come to mind.  Unless you are Nicki Minaj and the whole object of the wardrobe is to be as effervescent in colour choice as possible...

Photo credit: justjared,

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Saturday, August 4, 2012

Gabrielle Douglas, The Little Golden Giant of a Gymnast

Gabrielle Douglas stands at a daunting 4 feet and 11 inches tall and weighs some 90 lbs soaking wet at 16 years of age.  The real story is how quickly she rose from a mediocre gymnast to meteoric heights snatching the women's individual all-around gold medal in a clutch performance at the 2012 Summer Olympic games in London.

Gabby started training in gymnastics at age 6  in Virginia, taking after her older sister Arielle.  Her childhood fascination with the sport and years of relentless toil and training to overcome her inconsistencies under the watchful eye of coach Chow Liang will all come together seamlessly on the biggest stage, under the brightest lights, witnessed by the largest audience thus far.

In 2010 it took some convincing before Gabby's mom Natalie Hawkins will agree for her to move from Virginia to Iowa to train under coach Chow, the former coach for Shawn Johnson at the Beijing Summer Olympics.

All that sacrifice away from her Virginia beach home, the home sickness and the moments of doubt  came down to last Thursday night's competition where she chalked 15.96 on vault, 15.733 on bars, 15.500 on beam and 15.033 on floor, living up to her nickname "The Flying Squirrel."

The bubbly teenager with the infectious smile took her position on the podium smiling and waving to friend and foe as she soaked in the gold dust shower.

She represented her self and her sport well at the games and made history in the process.  She is the first  African-American to win the all-around gymnastics women's title, and that no doubt will earn her endorsement deals and name recognition.  Industry experts note that with her killer personality, vivacious energy and winning smile, marketing executive's dream combination, she may well earn 30 contracts over the next decade possibly earning to the north of 90 million dollars.

Gabby on her part says "I just want people to know it took a lot. It took a lot of hard days in the gym and determination, passion and drive.  Gold medals are made out of your sweat, blood and tears, and effort in the gym every day, and sacrificing a lot that you have to do."

Her path has and is not always paved in gold as her parents are currently in the middle of a divorce.  But through it all the tenacity , the physical and mental strength worthy of Olympic Champion should see her through.  The story of inspiration is Gabby's and the students of future success will pay attention!

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Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Food-Inspired Jewellery is a Fashion Fiesta

Mixing food and fashion can get messy really quickly unless the food is tastefully incorporated into jewellery.  The art of wearing your lunch is a fashion trend that will get you noticed.  And trust me there is no such thing as bad publicity in fashion where the object is to get noticed.  And beyond getting noticed, setting the trend in your circle of friends with some of these appetizing accessories might just be worth exploring.

These miniature food-themed jewellery are often made from Polymer clay, a scultable PVC material which contains no clay at all.  Easily categorized as a choking hazard for the underaged, these brightly coloured jewels inspire gourmet ready names like tasty trinkets, chilli charms, cupcake brooches, and burger bracelets.

A quick glance at the pink chicken wing necklace on Nicki Minaj shown above challenges anyone to pull this bold look off and not feel like a chicken wing, takes some courage I tell ya.  So if the pink chicken wing is too rare for your taste, how about some of the vegetarian flavours, like the sliced avocado earrings or the green apple finger ring?  Yup, fruit-inspired jewellery are healthy and haute, so put cherry-topped whipped cream ring on your finger and start strutting.

Bon appetit fahionistas. Bon appetit!

Cherry-topped whipped cream ring

Sliced Avocado earrings

Green Apple ring

Sushi inspired pendants

Sliced Orange earrings

Layered Cake earrings

Cookie Sandwich earrings

Bacon Bracelet

Sliced Strawberry pendant

Photo credit:

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Thursday, July 26, 2012

How Kente is Worn For Traditional Performances

I have done a few posts on Kente presented in contemporary fashion dresses.  The more traditional presentation of Kente is not as extravagant, but no less elegant.

Earlier on in the summer of 2012, I attended  a wedding in Edmonton where this Ghanaian Dance Group from Calgary put on a show for the newly married couple.  The pictures I obtained in the difficult light conditions was nothing to write home about.

But as good fortune will have it, I will attend another wedding one month later which will feature the same Dance group beautifully decorated in Kente Cloth, African Glass Beaded jewellery around their arms, wrists and ankles.

Armed with a camera better suited for tricky light conditions, I had a field day photographing the Dance ensemble as they presented the Adowa Dance, of the Ashanti Tribe in Ghana.

The traditional outfit of the Ashanti people is built around the Kente cloth.  For those traditional occasions the Kente cloth is wrapped around the body just underneath the armpit and secured in place.  The accessories shown here are the African beads, including the Krobo variety...

The two finger wave is a signature Adowa dance move and this group executes so effortlessly on all the elements of the traditional Ashanti dance.

I suspect that a little bit of Azonto dance was incorporated into the Adowa routine from the move captured below. That arm raised to me is textbook Azonto right there...

I struggled to figure out the white fabric print with gold detail worn by these cute dolls shown here without success so I am going to leave it to my more knowledgeable patrons to leave comments below that we can share and learn from.

If you have to have a wedding in the Calgary and Edmonton area, it will be worth using their services to grace your occassion with an authentic Ashanti cultural performance.

The name of the group is Adehyeman mma and you may contact them at through the group's mentor Margaret Boateng (Mama Peggy)

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