Style and Fashion

Summer essential: The ethical t-shirt by Run and Fell

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T-shirts! What’s there to say about t-shirts that has not already been said? It’s a t-shirt, it’s a t-shirt, and a t-shirt! Those were my exact thoughts when I got the invitation to the launch of Run and Fell a t-shirt brand opening a pop-up store in Chelsea, London.

I was convinced there was nothing new for me to learn and write about when it comes to t-shirts. In fact the Style and fashion aspect to my blog is focused on the dapper and dandy look which has no place for t-shirts. Well at least that was what I thought before I read the entire invitation which went on to state the uniqueness of this brand. Simply put, I was wrong.

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The unique concept behind the pop-up store involves directly connecting the customer with the manufacturing process. Customers are becoming increasingly aware and discerning when it comes to the ethics of the Fashion industry. The “big idea” for the RUN&FELL pop-up is to promote ethical garment production, and to enable customers to engage with and explore elements of the production process first hand” said Naomi Jackson (designer and owner of Run and Fell) in her email to me. I don’t know about you but this got my attention. Run and Fell seem to have stepped away from the usual manic consumerism everyone is used to where items of clothing are churn out with little or no regard for the process or the material used to create them. I mean we have all heard of the chaotic and sometimes dangerous conditions (branded sweatshop) in which many items of clothing were made from around the world. Run and Fell’s ethos couldn’t have been further away from this. Phew, what a breath of fresh air. I mean don’t get me wrong, I am sure you would have heard of other brands promoting the ethical side of their business but for a brand to actually be so keen as to draw their customers into the intricate process of how the garment is produced is commendable. To me, this demonstrates care and pride in the product.

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Another aspect of Run and Fell that really spoke to me is the fact that the brand is proudly and unapologetically British. Many brands have in the past spent millions on repackaging their products as foreign before going back to the country of origin to give them a luxurious or exotic feel. Run and Fell does not only fly the British flag, it also proudly incorporate the local spirit and history of Manchester  “our roots are threaded deep into the creative heart of the cotton city, “Cottonopolis” itself” as stated in their story.

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Speaking to Naomi during the evening of the Launch, it was obvious that Run and Fell is not just another brand aiming to make a few quid from the sale of a few t-shirt but was committed to creating a piece of garment she truly believed in. The passion and standards she spoke with was in line with the physical product I had in my hand. The texture was one of quality whiles the designs channelled originality and creativity.

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Run and Fell is a great example of a sustainable ethical garment brand with an attitude of substance and integrity over everything else.

Listen, its summer and everyone needs a t-shirt so head over to Run and Fell’s online store and make yourself a purchase you will be happy with.

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Traditional wedding – The Yoruba way

 

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As summer ushers in the peak wedding season for UK residents, its fitting for me to share some images of an amazing wedding I attended a few months ago between friends of mine Abi and Sam. This was not just any other wedding but a traditional Nigerian wedding.

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Anyone who has ever been to a Nigerian wedding will tell you that they are colourful, lengthy, entertaining, vibrant and big. I mean there is no dull moment in a Nigerian wedding and Abi and Sam’s wedding was no exception. Armed with the knowledge that food and Afrobeat music was going to be in plentiful supply, I was determined to have an amazing time. After all, this would be my first experience of a traditional Nigerian or more appropriately, a Yoruba wedding.

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Traditional African weddings are as old as humanity itself. In fact they are only referred to as such to differentiate them from western style weddings more commonly known as “white weddings”. The term white wedding has its roots from the Victorian era when Queen Victoria wore a white lace to marry Prince Albert in 1840. I don’t know why Queen Victoria thought it necessary to break the norm of wearing coloured garments but this has somehow become the de facto dress code for brides, with the entire ceremony now referred to as white wedding. I guess she has earned herself the title of trendsetter when it comes to wedding dresses.

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Fast-forward to current day, a lot of couples choose to do both white and Traditional African weddings to cater for the Christian religious aspect and to bring in line their traditional identity as is customary in most tribes in Africa. Even though some might argue that traditional weddings are only an engagement ceremony and a prelude to white wedding, I happen to think that they have all the pedigree to make them full weddings depending on how the ceremony is carried out. Anyway, I am not a wedding expert so I will leave that for you to decide.

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What Abi and Sam wore was absolutely beautiful. Not only are the colours vibrant and beautiful, the style encapsulate the tradition of the Yoruba people of Nigeria. Their garments are both made from a special cloth called Asa oke fabric hand loomed in western Nigeria. Asa oke means top cloth in English.

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What they wore

Abi:

Iro – a red with gold floral wrap skirt
Buba – a gold blouse
Gele – a red with gold floral head tie
Earring – Red and gold earring with matching necklace.
Shoes – Christian Louboutin

Sam

Agbada – Red and gold outer wear
Trouser – Cream linen
Shirt – Cream linen
Hat – Red and gold made from Aso oke
Shoes – Jimmy Choo

I am sure you will agree with me that this wonderful couple knows how to mix traditional attire with high end fashion to create a beautiful whole.

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This was truly an amazing ceremony I was honoured to be a part of and if you are not familiar with the Yoruba tradition and custom of marriage, I hope you have learnt something new. If you are Yoruba or familiar to the tradition, feel free to leave a comment below if there is anything you would like to add. Enjoy the rest of the photos.

Congratulations Abi and Sam!

Fashion Week London 2015 – Africa style

Cuts for him met with – Left to Right: Ginny (frogirlginny Blogger), Maggie Smith (model and winner of face of Africa Fashion Week London 2015), and Rene Daniella (Ownbyfemme Lifestyle blogger),
Designed by Soraya Da Piedade. Modelled by Somer Louise

Africa Fashion Week London or AFWL has come a long way since its inception in 2011. This year’s event was held at the Olympia London on the 7th and 8th of August. It is another great example of how the African culture and lifestyle is influencing and taking roots in London as mentioned in my post August in Africa summer festival 15. AFWL is by a wide margin the largest catwalk event in Europe celebrating African styles and designs and has caught the attention of many even beyond Africa and Europe. The show has attracted over 300 hundred designers and more than 40, 000 visitors.

I personally have little reservations about a few designers’ commitment to pushing the art from being a dream to truly becoming an avant-garde were by the framework for future African fashion is laid. Up to the point of typing this post, my research laid bare, for the lack of web presence on some of the designers and exhibitors.
Living in a world where everything points towards digital, its surprising this minority have not tapped into this area to make themselves known.

Nsoromma by Tribal Piece


Notwithstanding, collectively the runway shows for 2015 have been spectacular with many designers pushing the boundaries to widen the horizon of what is expected from an “African” themed fashion show.
It is no longer the case where Ankara and Kente dominates the catwalk to represent the entire continent.
For many years, designers have used these two fabric types to create what they saw as the embodiment of African fashion.
To my delight, this is no longer the case and even for those who use Ankara and Kente have done so in such clever ways as to show a different dimension to the art of designing.

Mary Martin London - Cecil the Lion inspired dress
Mary Martin London – Cecil the Lion inspired dress


A good example is Mary Martin London. Mary Martin showcased some beautiful pieces to include a Cecil the Lion inspired dress. “When I saw the lion on TV I was deeply shocked” said Martin as she was interviewed by the BBC world service. Martin spent many nights working on the dress in time for the show. Other designers who showcased beautiful pieces on the catwalk for the 6:30 show on Saturday were:

Amanda May
Needle point
Soraya da Piedade
Vanelse
Sarah Arthman
Kilumba
Steve Mandy
Nsoromma by Tribal Piece

The organisers did a fantastic job to put this show together and i think it is going to get bigger and better in the coming years. I am already looking forward to AFWL16. As a men’s fashion and lifestyle blogger, i wish there were more men’s fashion designers out there. May be this is an area up and coming fashion enthusiasts need to look into.
Browse through the photos and let me know what you think by leaving a comment

 

A fresh look at the denim shirt

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Today’s look is all about the denim. I know the red tie on this particular look is the one but forget about it for a minute and focus on the denim shirt. All eyes on denim!

Now that I have your undivided attention, let me start by saying that I am assuming every man reading this post has a denim shirt in their wardrobe. Is that a resounding yeah, or a nah? If you already have one then I guess you are winning, but if you do not have one, then I strongly suggest you go out and get one now.

Denim is a garment that automatically conjures the preceding word “casual” in fashion. The denim shirt itself has re-emerged over the past few years as a strong essential in men’s wardrobe. An essential that has done very well for itself when speaking casual. Because denim is so synonymous to casual wear, people rarely look at ways and means to spruce it up for that extra flair.

Don’t get me wrong, a denim shirt by itself (without blazer) with a pair of contrasting jeans or chinos looks good. When worn correctly, it is the stuff casual wear is made of.

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What you may not be aware of is that you can actually build up this strong essential to give you an amazing and relaxed smart casual look. A look that wouldn’t break the bank but still harness the versatility and style required to break the rules on pairing garments. The thing about breaking rules in fashion is that when you get it right, people automatically know that you know what you are doing. You have an edge over others which is what any man with interest in their looks should aim for.

As mentioned, the denim shirt works well as a standalone garment but I personally prefer the idea of using it as a layering garment as I strongly believe that’s when you get the most out of it. You can pair it in many ways appropriate to the season and the occasion.

I have put together a look that showcase my idea of dressing up a denim shirt!

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The look:

Blue jeans
Beige blazer
Washed blue denim shirt
Blue jeans
A pair of beige slip-on shoes to match the blazer
Stripped red tie
Red pocket square

If your aim is to have a more quirky and different looks then I suggest you replace the tie with a bow tie. As I have said in previous posts, the bow tie always delivers a look no other garment does.

And if you are wondering just where or what occasion to rock this look to then I strongly suggest you start with your casual Fridays at work. Because it is casual Friday does not mean you have to turn up at work with an AC/DC worn out t-shirt with converse. I mean all that has its place in your dress code cycle but please leave that for the concerts and gigs. Rock this look on a casual Friday and you are guaranteed to still turn heads when you head to the bar after work.