Monday, January 31, 2011

NO Glossies for Black Girls--DOES IT MATTER?

Champion Double Dutch Girls Jumping High. Image: Seehowyouplay. 
A girlfriend and i were just talking about the dearth of black girls who speak to us and our experience on monthly newsstands.  Rising Media MegaPowerHouse Abi Ishola just posted a thought-provoking and on point episode on just this topic--No Lifestyle Mags for Black Girls 18-34.  Will def leave you wondering outloud...are online-only magazines enough to satiate an entire demographic? Unasked though but looming beyond the a black woman's magazine still pertinent? i mean, yes, i have a lot of hair/cab issues no one else will eva wrap their weave around (that's right! no one else even knows what that means:) but so much more of my voice resonates in the pages of The New Yorker/Vogue than Ebony.  Okey, okey unfair example and yes, i love my Ebony/Essence heritage, but i think there are some really tough questions we need to ask ourselves bluntly and openly if answering any of them really matters to us.  

Wanted! Mario Epanya's Africa Vogue Dream.
Just how many savvy, informed, educated and fashionably fly young black women identify first with color over class? If you're gobbling up ARISE Magazine as eagerly as i--can you honestly say the hottitude there is about cool covers of black folk or about a certain class' lifestyle? Or is it neither and simply that ARISE captures an intellectually elegant but complex truth--that we're as much defined by our black heritage as we are a plethora and infinite series of other identities? 

Reminds me of an exchange with another friend (white) a while ago.  She said she hides her The New Yorker cover on the subway b/c it's such an elite/ #thestuffwhitepeoplelike read. Really? So high esoteric ideas+intellectualism are beyond people in Kibera/Harlem because they are lower income? See the parallel? It's hard bouncing back from any one-dimensional definition of identity.  It's like the insult women's magazines throw at us constantly--concluding that because we're concerned with fashion we couldn't possibly have much room for earnest intellectualism alongside monthly intakes of our high fashion shoegasm. Thank You, Marie Clare/Vogue for knowing and doing better:) And no serious judgement everyone else, you're just mirroring the society we live in, missing an opportunity to shape what+who we could become. Not saying i got or know the answers here, and not saying i'm not stirring the pot, but the thing must be said for exactly what it is, 
Does It Matter That There's No For Black Girls Only Glossies? 


Brendan, we're sining you higher and higher. Image: Rodrigo Araya Plaza, Chile 2007.
Something important happened today. I found out a friend passed away over the weekend. Needless to say, am filled with sadness/rage/disquiet and shock all at the same time. I remind you what you already know, LIFE IS FOR LIVING, Today, right now this moment and this very second. Brendan was 24.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Nerdalicious Is So HOT It's HOT

Yes, I wear glasses. Not everyday, but when the need presents itself, i am well armed and know how to take advantage of the opportunity. A friend once asked me if they are vanity specs--hell!no. i keep a blog noting what i'm obsessing about daily--do i seem like a woman tinged by vanity? LoL. Today though, i ran into a gorgeous woman who swore she was 50, but looked 36. No makeup, no fuss just a fresh face that popped. Her secret? Live Outdoors. Plus, glasses that bring out the best of your features. I immediately zoned into her so perfectly-fitted Ralph Lauren tortoise frames...suddenly seeing a tortoise future for me.

Farm Fashion: LOVE Ladysmith Black Mambazo's Loud Love of Art, More Than Music & So Profound
Image: Ben Williams, BookPhotoSA, March 2008.

Speaking of, heard a great NPR interview of Ladysmith Black Mambazo tonight. LOVE. While you're at it, hear the group's leader Baba Joseph Shabalala tell his story in his own words--it's beautiful.  Their new album, Songs From A Zulu Farm, is charmed with nostalgic childhood songs that will transplant you to forbidden afternoons, swimming in pools with friends when you shouldn't have been, stealing another hour outdoors sheepishly. There's a funny Old McDonald Had A Farm cover in Zulu that should be required listening for all little girls+boys. The absolute sweetest song, Ntulube--Away, You River Snakes--is about singing frogs and snakes out of a pool and wooing tortoises in. LOVE.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Def. Guapa: Extremely Beautiful & Courageous

The Beautiful Ones: Egyptian Young Lionesses Captured by Seyr-u-Zafer
Still, today my heart pounds fast at the flash of a certain image, at the suggestion of a fist in the air, a sixteen year old hoisting stones in youthful revolution against a machine. The ongoing revolt sweeping North Africa harps back to a centuries old call to battle by young lions, the fierce ones, the most courageous and beautiful.  Edwidge Danticat's words in Create Dangerously come to me,  "Someone who (is) guapa (is) extremely beautiful and courageous--courageously beautiful."  Of course, I think too of the radiant, the beautiful life force that was Malcolm X, eulogized so eloquently by Ossie Davis (another guapo) "Our Manhood. Our Living, Black Manhood." Just like me to see Malcolm X and Ossie Davis and Haiti and Edwidge Danticat's soulful lovesong, Create Dangerously and  Soweto June 16, 1976 in the burst of flames enveloping Egypt/Tunisia/Yemen today. and I have so little sophistication on the issues embroiling North Africa right now, but I do know what stirs me and forces a primal surge to want to pray, to offer my words, to want to add my voice to the rising tide singing a chorus.

The Ones We Have Been Waiting For--Today's Soweto School Girls. Image: Liquidpremium, 2008.
Again, Danticat (no guessing how fiercely I recommend this book), "One of the many ways a sculptor of ancient Egypt was described was as "on who keeps things alive". Before pictures were drawn and amulets were carved for ancient Egyptians tombs, wealthy men and women had their slaves buried with them to keep them company in the next life. The artists who came up with these other types of memorial art...may also have wanted to save lives...As the ancient Egyptian sculptors may have suspected, and as (Haitian martyrs) Marcel Numa and Louis Drouin surely must have believed, we have no other choice"

Friday, January 28, 2011

Catch A Fire: KoKOFIFI SHOP SneakPeek

Sneak Peak: KoKOFIFI Closet+ Random Guy Who Had To Get In On It. Image: The Irreplaceable Annie Escobar

Ever been so completely taken, so happily engrossed, so enveloped, so enraptured, so captivated and utterly bewitched by something(/someone?) that even eating seems a strange distraction? i've gotten got and i so, so, so don't want a cure for this disease. smitten by KoKOFIFI. Catch the fire! 

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Winter Wonderland

The White Witch of Narnia. Image: Karl Turley.

We woke up behind a magic wardrobe today, replete with talking snowmen who led us to little snow men lining the white carpet of Madison Square Park.  Alaskan huskies leapt for their wagging tails, beckoning for more turkish delights, which I'd secretly sewn into the hem of my fur-trim coat.

Of course, the city awakened in the light and spell cast by the grande white witch, who is beautiful to behold and queen of the wonderland. It was magic, today. Really magic. A moment stolen from a perfect childhood, holed up all day with The Chronicles of Narnia and other C.S. Lewis delights. A reminder of the impossibility of life, bursting with beauty and winters of wonder. 

If you have not been outside in the snow yet, There's an entire secret garden awaiting you.  Why are you still reading this?

Night White Winter Blossoms. Image: Misahiro Miyasaka. 

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Song of Myself of Girl Crushes & Leggings of Nude

Beyonce Whips Out The Stud Leggings for House of Dereon
18th Century Native American Leggings, Reproduced by Ubercool History
Buff Company Zender Dale Arts in Lake Superior, Michigan. LOVE.
Like most women, I think about what I'll wear a lot. It's not just the big Aha! Cinderella dresses, it's an everyday conversation.  Do i want to look domineering or playful or both? Does this dress spell out easy-going+approachable? Or am i not relaxed enough with this crow-like bow crowning my head? Does it scream too much i worked at this perfect i so don't care look for 4hrs before hitting the bathroom upon arrival and re-arranging it for another hour and not enough wow girl, could you style me too?

And because of this ongoing internal exchange, I live making mental notes on bold beautiful looks that work despite trend dictates and also, noting women (and men) who truly understand the art and thread of a strong but subtle sartorial statement. Growing up, this was really my mother and her gaggle of girlfriends. I remember one of her most fashion-forward friends coming over in nude leggings before fashion insiders discovered even the word legging. I was so engrossed in my nude legging girl-crush, I fumbled through lunch staring at her legs. Everyone must have been mortified, but i was none the wiser, completely infatuated with this rare bird of style. So then, here, a song of myself--"And nothing, not god, is greater to one than one's self is/ I hear and behold god in every object/ yet understand god not in the least/Nor do I understand who there can be more wonderful than myself/Do I contradict myself? Very well then, I contradict myself, (I am large, I contain multitudes.)", Ah! Whitman:)  For such women, like my childhood girl crush, and their romantic epitome of style, i sing a song of myself.

Owning It. LOVE the 21st Century Remake Of A Classic. Native American
Legging/Boots Revisited At The National PoW-WoW. Image: Smithsonian

Nice! Fun Randoms: Leggings

Native Americans wore buckskin leggings to protect bare legs and stay warm. The leggings were made from soft animal skin or cloth and often sported crazy cool beadwork/ painting/show'em your stuff designs. Men tied them in place with garters, women rocked leggings too, but skipped the garters. Cowboys adopted this look on the range.

American soldiers were styling in leggings from the Revolutionary War, through War War II! Seriously, leggings protected you from dirt/mud/ anything that could undermine your hot ankle. Militaries dropped this look when combat boots became an irreversible+
irresistible trend with troops, in like, the 1960s!

Celts been rocking this look since the Roman Empire, when trews were in vogue, with separate pieces for each leg. Matter of fact, Romans nicknamed our Highland Celtic bros "long trousered philosophers." Bet you ain't knowed that. Yup! You been schooled.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011


So, these hot hot hot Jozzie numbers were styled by my very fashion 
forward+fierce sistah friend, Gregsta Lerato Amor
Greg is a wicked marketing/branding queen
who is a Vodacom Color Superhero.  Designed by Skhumbuzo Radebe
whose label is Sdwedwear-sdwedwe is rag in Zulu, so these are rags with tags
Sabelo Mlangeni was behind the lens.

Sdwedwear by Skhumbuzo Radebe. Image:Sabelo Mlangeni


"Let your clothes speak for you, sometimes they’ll say more than 
you need to say and that can be a good thing. 
Be bold and spirited, color the lives of others with who you are"

Sdwedwear by Skhumbuzo Radebe. Image:Sabelo Mlangeni

This fierce (hottie of note. did i say hot? Greg's been making boys
cry since our boarding school days) chic styled the sickedest.
illest looks have just received, from the holy grail of Johannesburg. 


Sdwedwear by Skhumbuzo Radebe. Image:Sabelo Mlangeni
Sdwedwear by Skhumbuzo Radebe. Image:Sabelo Mlangeni

Damn--This shoot is so LIVING/LOVING OUTLOUD. 
I guess it's really no mistake,  LERATO ke LERATO, SHE'S LOVE.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Have You Ever Seen A CwithaD?

Neuva York, Mi Cante, Mi Amor. Image: M. Makhene, 2011.
Who Wants To Shoot The Freak? Coney Island, 2008. Image: M. Makhene.
Living in a city of splendor, its magic, charm and allure can be easy to forget as you wonder from pillar to post on errands and that activity thing called life. One of my favorite writers, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, wrote an amusing story, Birdsong starring the City of Lagos as a character along with a young hot thing who has an affair with a married man. Reading the piece, you get a sense of Lagos' unforgiving humor and irreverent dismissal of any singular definition of who it is--Lagos is illicit lovers making suggestive, wicked smart jokes, "have you ever seen a Cock With A Dick?", Lagos is uptight evangelicals frowning upon atheists uncomfortable praying at work and it's also self-absorbed globetrotters equally concerned about their good taste as with how one looks in grinding traffic driving through Lagos. I'm something of a silent stalker, collecting and devouring everything and anything of letters Chimamanda dreams. The girl's got some serious game.  Check the record, she's part of the uber-elite 20 under 40 handpicked by The New Yorker as literati stars to watch out for. She's also got real love for the foremost city of her home country. Which brings me back to my point--rediscovering why you fell in love with the city you call home. For me, those vows are renewed at every hello again, Madison Square Park, or walking into the sun of soft evening light enchanting those little east village gem streets or big 5th avenue Flat Iron-tourist magnet hype really worth its gas type intersections. New york, i LOVE you.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Hot Hip Highs

Hot Sh!zzle: Boxing Kitten & Osborn Collaboration
Thank the merciful and praise-worthy ancestors for Ms. Jabari who, in her infinite wisdom lead me to a seriously hot hip high this afternoon--Boxing Kitten. A vintage inspiration of bootylicious-blinging shorts (Beyonce/Solange/Alicia Keys among others have rocked Boxing Kitten) and dresses cut with a knife from vibrant West African wax block print fabric, Boxing Kitten is the brainchild of self-taught designentrepreneur + Wesleyan University alumnus (go 'head girl!) Maya Amina Lake. Seriously, the brand is hot and high on everything right about being hip and fluid across different worlds and understanding the inextricable link between seemingly incongruous cultural/design/lifestyle sensibilities.  And what shoes was Ms. Jabari wearing?  Osborns, naturally. Illest thing out of BKLYN eva. Eva. And Ms. Jabari being Ms. Jabari, homegirl gave me a full education on the design elegance and craftsmanship that goes into making each Osborn.  Ladies, fast fashion may have the satisfaction of microwave popcorn, but nothing outshines or outlives quality craftsmanship. To say I LOVE the design collaboration between Osborn and Boxing Kitten is like saying I New York City is a nice little town. Please. Bury me dead in those shoes!

Beyonce & Alicia Keys Rock Out Brazil in Boxing Kitten Fierce Factor Gear

Saturday, January 22, 2011

A Tale I Love To Tell

On Islam: Am Dreaming All Things Bridal By Syrian Designer Rami Al Ali. Forget A Wedding. I'd Rock This Outloud Cocktail Hour, KoKOFIFI Style. 

Mama Africa: Miriam Makeba Captured In Her Effortless Style by Schadeberg.

Great night out in sub-zero weather with friends. Love that our conversation spanned the merits of Ayaan Hirsi Ali's memoir, Infidel (raw/honest/edge)--which should be read alongside the equally outloud The Trouble With Islam Today by another bold woman, Irshad Manji--and ended in a serious musicology lesson that included a playlist I'm dying to plug my earphones into: Bessie Jones (my favorite recent discovery-hypnotically soulful gospel songstress, schooled by Grandpaps, a Negro slave born in Africa. As it happens too, Jones' music is really the backbone of Moby's most catchy tunes), Dirty Projectors (indie-rock band with and underbelly of Malian-tinged guitar strings), Local Natives (afropop fusion served with an organic, locavore preserved taste). And I discovered one of my friends has not heard of Miriam Makeba, pictured timelessly here by Jurgen Schadeberg.  

So where to begin? The fashion sensibility and classic chic? I believe this begins with knowing what you rock best.
Pakistani Designer Maheen Khan's Brilliant Bright Beads, Spring 2010. Image: Khurram Gadezi.

A tale I love to tell--Ayoung Makeba is treated to the full hair updo by mentor/friend Harry Belafonte 
upon her arrival in the US. She's dolled up and bow-tied to look just like the hot little numbers of the day. But as soon as Makeba gets hold of a mirror and fails to recognize her personal signature in the look, she washes out the perm and reverts back to the eponymous short do that's become synonymous with classic Afro-chic. Or should I tell the story of the inspiring artist activist, who received words of comfort and gratitude for her contributions to the struggle from the likes of Nelson Mandela (while he was still in jail), or her moving address to the UN, pleading the case of then apartheid South Africa? Maybe it's best to sum it all by saying, the very first album I bought, the first thing I thought to spend my money on, was Miriam Makeba's Sangoma album. Remains one of the most piercing/evocative/beautiful+enigmatic musical experiences of our time. Are you listening?

Friday, January 21, 2011

I Came. So Saw. And So I Speak.

The Two Os Fashion Loves. First Ladies Jackie O and Michelle O, In India. Image: Getty Images.
I came. I saw and I spoke. Was so delighted to connect at the UN Youth Assembly with fellow South African and Fulbright Scholar, Nomsa Mazwai. Yes, as in Mazwai sister of our beloved beautiful bellower, Thandiswa Mazwai, as in daughter of the Mazwai family, who actually lived in the same neighborhood as my childhood home.  Small world, right? And one filled with some seriously fierce women that make go, WoW! Nomsa is all of twenty-something and has already written a must-read book (can't wait to get my mind deep in a copy)--Sai Sai, Little Girl and alongside larger than life figures such as President Kenneth Kaunda. Will def be hearing more from this wonder woman.

Layla Love In The Raw. Image: Allison Kramer. 

And then there was also Layla Love (birth name!)--a wonderful photographer art spirit whose fire white eyes are electrifying. And the great dame of it all was Ms. Gillian Sorensen, who came over from the 50th anniversary of President JFK's inauguration.  This is the woman whose husband penned JKF's most quoted line, "Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country", but to hear her speak is really to understand where the inspired poet/writer's inspiration was born. For more cool nerd stuff about the day, visit my grown up blog at Social Edge, Africa's Moment.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Power Pumps Please

Serious Power Pumps On My Lust List--Anything Alexander McQueen, Anything Nicholas Kirkwood. Image, R: Jak&Jill.
Funny the things you imagine as power when you're a kid. Ok, so I only had the outfit part figured surprises there, future as world wonder woman would star crazy i'm in charge power pumps and some kind of skirt. Think I still have the same fantasy, with the post-feminist complexities that arise when you realize half your childhood fantasies were just as much a figment of your imagination as they were pollution refinery of all the impressions of "power" the world threw at you.  Anyways, am definitely channeling thoughts of high power pumps tonight as I prepare for addressing the UN Youth Assembly tomorrow.  Cross your fingers I can still pour into the power play skirt--this winter hibernation business certainly does its bit pounding extra plush to my tush.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Some of My Friends Are White

My So Fierce And So White Hot In Red Friend, Kate. Image:  Annie Escobar, NYC 2010.
There are many, many inspiring+note worthy+ohh lala, chase-worthy moments of awe in a day. My favourite hands-down is the amazing people who cross my path. Last year, I met a wonderful woman on the street outside mega-church style retail giant Macy's in nyc.  We made conversation.  Turns out she is behind American Friends of Phelophepa.  If you don't know about the train that brings primary health services to remote villages and communities in rural South Africa...get to know Phelophepa--ain't nothing fierce about a fashionista without a true cause. Then there's the lunch conversation I found myself having yesterday with an enigmatic, beautiful and brain-sunburst academic who understands how to shift American race-relations policy by tackling our prejudices from an emotional vantage first. After all, how can we fix something irrational with rational reason? But really, all of this is to say how blessed I am. For fierce friends, random encounters with strangers on the street and of course, people peeking (listened to Isaac Mizrahi's TED Talk yesterday--he confessed to finding inspiration by following strangers on the streets of Manhattan. OMG--I'm knew i had the genius gene all along, LoL...have been known to speed past traffic red robots ogling a hot pair of pumps!).

Witness: A Woman & Boy. Image: M. Makhene. Soweto, 2009.
And the random encounter of the image here, L?  Was in my hometown, Soweto. Holiday. Acting like a little americana tourist, snapping away. This woman, whom i don't know, insisted i take her picture and made her son (?) pose with her. He was a little shy/felt a tinge awkward. She walked away right after. Will never forget this woman. i think about this image a lot and i remember her, because i believe she wanted me to be her witness.  Well witness i have.

And if you haven't yet read the title of this blog, Some Of My Best Friends Are White: Subversive Thoughts From An Urban Zulu Warrior by Ndumiso Ngcobo--take the plunge and bite. It will bite right back and leave you bleeding laughter in roaring stitches. Also check out, Is It Coz I'm Black? Although i must admit i invented that phrase...imma have to start collecting copyright ca-ching-aling everytime ya'll infringe. Ndumiso, funny or not, ek kyk jou.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

A Sensible Zainy LoveLust: Bokkie Shoes

I Like. I Love! Bokkie Shoes. Image: Bokkie Shoes.

Cape Town based shoe company Bokkie Makoya One Shoes has the absolute cutest throwback to good girl uniform school day comfort. I love the simplicity of design married with  unexpected rich vibrant seShweshwe fabric that's double dose cozy, especially if your grandmother was anything like mine and insisted on wearing seShweshwe dresses and a silk headscarf always; silly aside--I was oh!so shocked to discover my Koko had a full head of beautiful hair under that doek as a kid:) BTW...have you figured out yet Koko (grandma) is also the first four of KoKOFIFI? Major Granny=Heart.Love over here.

Anyways, these little bokkie numbers are prefect to slip your guests if you're planning a wedding/party (your party will really get hot once them ladies kick back the heels) and how could you not stuff a sensibly zainy pair in your carry-all for driving/walking/resting/looking real bok hot? 
Great for Granny too! And can you resist this ultra-sicked out ad campaign? LOVE.

I Like. I Like. Is A Zebra Black With White Stripes Or White With Black Stripes? Image: Bokkie Shoes.

Jozzie, Maboneng, Beloved. City of Lights

Mary Sibande. Her Majesty, Queen Sophie from Long Live The Dead Queen series, Gallery Momo.
Really? You smirk. Johannesburg, City of Lights? Yes, really. Jozzie. The diamond cut City of Lights with more grit, more colour, more va-va voom and "how do youu zay"...more je ne sais quoi...Gasp! if you're French. But seriously, Jozzie is undergoing something of a metamorphosis, awakening from a long if not always quiet or gentle slumber, beating forth steals of light from its splendid cacoon-enwrapped butterfly wings. There is a growing hub of creative energy beyond the epi-centric suburbs, doing up the whole downtown lifestyle experience similar to the urban resurgence most American cities welcomed before the 2008 financial meltdown.

Jozzie, Ever Beloved. Image: Munschroom, 2010.

A favorite hotspot is the Maboneng Precinct, where artists such as world renowned William Kentridge maintain working studios at Arts on Main and where mixed-use development space Main Street Life launched late last year, complete with a boutique hotel, 12 Decades Art Hotel saluting eGoli's rich 120 year history.  Maboneng's resurgent spirit is, to me, as Ace Hotel & Mushrooming Dominion is to the WTF? nebulous urban desert district wishfully included as part of Flatiron but more accurately described as NoMad (for bite and for North of Madison Sqr. Park).  It's also not lost that the main man behind Maboneng Precinct is in so many ways a perfect study of New York success--Jonathan Liebmann--a 20 something lone wolf entrepreneur with a bizarre bold vision and the gall to make us believe in it too.  Maboneng is seSotho--the place of lights. In that word, Africans captured Johannesburg's metaphoric essence--a place of opportunity, adventure, of charting out a big canvas and stuffing it with dreams, if you can catch them from an elusive, star-bursting sky. A place of many bright, and possibly blinding lights. And yes, there you have it. There's nothing to smirk about. Johannesburg. City of Lights.

Mary Sibande from series, Long Live The Dead Queen. Johannesburg, 2010. Image: John Hodgkiss.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Shop What You Love.

Some Birds Feathers Are So Bright...Define Your Personal Style. Image: Drum at Durban July, 2010.

So, you spent all of last night oggling star looks at the Golden Globes last night and all this morning diligently debating--on company time no less--who looked fiercest and why. Let me weigh in--love the deep green grass Monique Lhuillier frock Catherine Zeta-Jones rocked. Also, adore J-Los pink bird Marchesa number she flew to the afterparty wearing. The thing that's really on my mind tho is how do girls like us bring that decadent glamour to our daily dress?  Thought I'd share three simple pointers about how to keep it fresh and clean and you:
Keeping It Fresh & Clean: Robyn Cooke of StyleGuide. Image: StyleGuide.

Shop What You Love, Not What You Want. resist clogging your look with cheap thrills or fast finds. approach everything like fine art. would that dress on your bedroom wall inspire every morning?

It Really Is All About You. forget fashion trends and what magazine/blog editors tell you (including this one) you should love/want. you know your naked body in the dark w/o the mirror. focus on that. ask yourself--does this flatter me? my shape, my size? not the model/mannaquin its hanging on?

Build Your Boutique. i always remember this woman who walked into a room with the crazy hottest shoes i'd seen all season. they were dynamite! but working our eyes up her body was painful. someone wondered outloud if the shoes were on loan from a fashionista friend. the shoes were wearing this woman, she was not rocking the shoes. don't be that woman. upgrade your lookbook. bold buys+elegant standards should always add something fresh to your personal boutique.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Give Yourself Permission to Peform, non-PC.

The Weather Our Models Would Have Preferred...KoKOFIFI Co-Founder (L) Doing Girlfriend w/e in Durban, SA.
Wrapped up our ultra-sublime photo shoot this evening working with some of the fiercest and fabulous-est women alive. Check this, our crew included two science PhD women, a handful powerhouse businesswoman, a social entrepreneur who founded a secondary school, Bakhita, for girls in Tanzania and the woman i'm putting my money on as America's future (did i hear first?) Madam President. It was potent power meets sophisticated cool meets understated sexy meets some serious love+beauty all day served buffet style and let me tell you i never stopped to breath i gorged on so much KoKOFIFI Fierce Factor. 
KoKOFIFI's photo shoot today was an absolute confirmation of what we believe--Give Yourself Permission to Live Outloud.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Smile! Annie Shoots

The Magic Gorgeous Genie Comes Out To Play: Annie Escobar & Ethan Goldwater. Image: Annie Escobar.

In case you haven't heard--where you been?--we are in the middle of KoKOFIFI's first and ever so exciting photoshoot, in NYC! Friday morning was an absolute dream. The shoot was spectacular. 18F. Colder than hell froze over into a crippled cruella. Four girls--two very sexy scientists and two strong seductive sisters.  and Annie. Ah! Sunshine streams in her footsteps. Beautiful Annie Escobar. You have never met a photographer with more life hunger, with a more intoxicating and disarming smile and with eyes that could fire up the sun. She worked the girls into a giggling gala and whipped the set into a fierce frenzy... cantonese window ducks swaying in the breeze, silk french scarfs singing to the wind, bright bold dresses dancing chinatown still. She makes it look so easy and sexy and so damn fun! including working seamlessly with her partner, Ethan Goldwater.

Image: Annie Escobar. Bangladesh, 2010.
Face Power. Escobar for BRAC:Bangladesh, 2010

And the girl's got game. Her photo firm, Annie Escobar Photography is about so much more than just fashion shoots (hey, we ain't judging). I'm talking powerful stories of social change that pack a punch without taking cheap shots of starving Africans and healthy animals. So refreshing! I'm talking about hot stuff like the short she shot and produced for BRAC, the largest NGO in the world.  The film will soon air as a commercial on Hulu. Watch Out Now.

But Oh! Friday was definitely a morning i will long remember. And we get to do it again tomorrow. Are we not the luckiest chicks, eva? Don't worry, we got you too.  I will definitely post some teasers asap and of course, we'll have to introduce you to some of our ever so hot models.

Living the Dream. Loving. Oh! So Outloud.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Soweto Sun, Shining Style

KoKOFIFI's Johannesburg-Based Co-Founder (L) Bringing the Sun in Soweto, January 2011. Image: Kea, Age 6.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Love. Life & Style w/ A Gentleman

MaGents--Bongani,L, Floyd & Elias at a Jozzie Fashion Week show in Kliptown, Soweto. Notice Elias' brown sweather--too sick. And ironic. That style very much mirrors old prisoner garb in South Africa. Nelson Mandela probably wore something just like that against Robben Island winters. And these gents aint even from Williamsburg! Image: Times Live, 2007.
Have you ever considered that us girls are drawn to this whole androgynous agape thing masculanizing everything fashion right now because we just can't get enough of that rare bird--a good man? ( a hard to find, LoL...if you like bite, check out Flannery O'Connor's short story by the same name. My all time favorite though is Good Country People). I mean, what's more alluring than a true, dapper oldschool gentleman who remembers the littlest and zaniest things about you, like why you're drawn to Flannery O'Connor--whose characters always end up floating dead and caught unawares in some bucolic Southern ditch; like how long it really takes you to get ready after the outfit has been chosen (the night before); a gentleman who appreciates your second grade sense of humor with absolutely no judgement (truth be told, his is probably remedial 1st grade) and who knows how to mix just the right hot toddy to make you smile after an exhausting day? Ok, so maybe you don't got that, or maybe you just don't believe in the whole hollywood americana love is a cottoncandy day at the beach after chatting with the parrots at the zoo kindda thing. But, how about a tip of that sexy androgynous hat you're wearing to that gentleman of note, your father, brother, cousin, uncle, friend, your lover or your other, who teaches you in the smallest life moments (your very own merry unbirthdays) how you really deserve to be treated, who makes you live alive with the possibility of life and who schools you with quite assertive swagger, the true meaning of style, of dapper...a gentleman of note.

Pitti Uomo Fall/Winter 2011 kicked off in Florence yesterday. Make sure the gentlemen in your life oggle something nutritious for their style palette this week at The Sartorialist. Selfishly, am in love with Black/White/Red posted yesterday. But seriously, here's to the Gentleman.

I love this car! A beautiful vintage Jag that coughs steady as she goes and rides bumpy like a caravan. My cousin's car.  Someone who like this car, is a true old soul and naturally, a dapper gentleman of note and equal swagger.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Psychadelic Rollercoaster

Indulge Me (Not) Tonight: Something From My Ship-wrecked Art Portfolio.
I live in nyc. In many ways, my life is a dream. A blur, a vision of moving parts entangled in stolen moments, flights of giggles, traces of disappointment and dealing with life. Everything is revved up, more fierce, more action, more to do than you can do, more eyecandy than you can gorge.  I live in a whirlwind, in a blitz of psychadelic roller-coasters jutting against each other at full-throttle speed. Right now, I need a moment of silence, a prayer, a refuge from the impulse to indulgence. I need yoga. Dedicating my practice tonight to you, dear reader (was always spooked by that title, LoL).  But seriously, hope you take something of substance for your soul from the gorgeous hedonistic gluttony that can be fashion.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Converse Compulsory

Pantsula & Society Women. Thembisa, 2010. Image: Alexia Webster. Notice the Loud Colors/Patterns+Converse.
So, fine I'll confess it. I'm a closet nerd. Always been.  I consider reading poetry by Keorapetsi Kgositsile or Walt Whitman fit entertainment any Saturday night, conversation weighing the merits of Lanvin shoes mash up right along a dissection of dialectic materialism.  And what's more fun (and nerdy) than coming up with exciting dissertation themes? Oh! I dunno, say...Creating Sense in Censorship: The Origins, Creed & Influence of Pantsula Culture in Southern Africa.  Our ethnographic research would concern itself with how Converse All Stars became the signature shoe of young urban black classic, when a hard edged rawness and sexual explosiveness began expressing itself in pantsula dance and why a sub-culture built by Sophiatown/Kofifi gangs and marauders clung so tightly to at least the suggestion of gentlemen decorum?

Image: Alexia Webster, 2010.
I'd love to wonder what we'd find, so I'll begin by telling what I know. Pantsula is a way of life: Fast+Fierce+Furious. A code of conduct: Live Outloud+Attitude. And an unmistakable dress code: Converse Compulsory+Sporty (hat) optional.  It's like an inside-out tattoo that's also a dance form that's also a manner of speaking, a way of thinking and also a stamp that says, Ja, i was there and i'm blak and i'm proud and so what? LoL. Seriously, hope you enjoy the pics+video. Def check out Alexia Webster's sick pics of mapantsula doing their thing--midair--in Thembisa township, Johannesburg.

Video: Mozambican Tofo-Tofo Splitting a Spleen at Uffeman77's Wedding, 2009.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Speak Your Dream Outloud

Summer Bliss With The Swiss: I'm Summer Dreaming 
Froze my little tootie this morning taking the whole active lifestyle thing too seriously...there is no tempest fiercer than a nyc winter. !Ai Caramba!  So, I'm back in intermediate hibernation, daydreaming about long summer nights, cool aviator shades and something spicy to the tongue. In short, am drawing an escape hatch in my mind to mzantsi--south africa--climbing through the entryway and what do you know, Msowawa--Soweto--here i come...

A Little Flick I Shot in Soweto, 2006.  Bon Appetit! Music: Sipho Hotstix Mabuse.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Show Me Your UnMentionables-Vandaag!

Bantu Swimwear Leading The Camel To SurfTurf.  Image: The Fader.

Spent this afternoon eating literally the best bacon ever--I wanna die choking on its lard it's so good. Ironically, it's from a little Dutch spot called Vandaag, which means Today in Afrikaans as well as in no, shutup howjaknow? Dutch. Suppose too this was the day singled out to really live for vandaag. Wild animals stormed Union Square, some baring naked butts but the masses just flashing their unmentionables to all insight at the 2011 No Pants Subway Ride, a mission organized by Improv Everywhere.  +200 Kids heating things up in New York City's unforgiving 20F/31C frost, donning up to there thongs, thigh tight trunks, granny-bloomers, long preppy boxers and wobble with this jello-panties. It was a royal riot! 

In other news...Cape Town based lingerie line Ruby, really gives us something sweet to smile about.  My particular 2010 line softspot is the Wallpaper Gold on Black hosiery.  You'll also love the Beading Circle, brainchild of Founder/Designer Robyn Lidsky.  The Beading Circle uses local womens' traditional beading techniques in a contemporary, fashion-forward context.  Ruby just purchased a house in Makhaza, Khayelitsha, which will be used as a work hub for Beading Circle's women. And if you've yet to hear of the Africa-made line by Founder/Designer Yodit Eklund-- Bantu Swimwear--I'm hoping you're somewhere in the Sahara, leading another camel procession, seeking surfable seas and something sweet to smile about.

Hot Unmentionables, Ruby Lingerie Line, 2010. Image: