Monday, February 28, 2011



Holding breathe and finally able to share our KoKOFIFI dream (or the first iteration of it atleast) with you outloud. We are so proud.  Feel like I'm presenting you with my new-born... Handle her with CARE. Shower her with LOVE. And GROW her with us--spank her when she needs it (sorry PC crowd, I'm African, what can i say?) and let the girl know she done good when she did. What them old wise ones say? It takes a village?

Meet KoKOFIFI...La Boutique.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Turning Heads: Qatar Turbans, SePedi Scarves & Fashion Statements

Qatar Royalty: Sheika Moza, Second Wife to the Emir of Qatar. This Woman Gets Fierce. LOVE how she reinterprets a fashion moment to her definition of style and how she wears glamour without overexposed navels+bits. So Alluring!
Vogue Nippon March 2011.
The barrista at uber-hip coffee shop in Hells Kitchen, Culture Espresso Bar, had the absolute hippest turban on--told me it took her more than an hour to complete the splendid contraption.  Honestly, as an African, it was a shock that something so taken for granted would require that intensity of love labor +pins. How many African women do you imagine spending more than 10 minutes tops to get a headscarf perfect? But it did make me think about the universality of headscarfs and turbans as a fashion statement. I'm loving what some bold divas are doing to redefine the look and zap some modern girl glitz to a time-old up-do.

Image at L?  Just Because. Raquel Zimmermann channeling desert inspiration for Vogue March 20011 Nippon.
Tradition. Winnie Malapela on Her Wedding Day. Always Been in LOVE with Pedi Women's Grace & Style Flair. 

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Make Me IT

The Chosen Zulu: IT Chick Noni Gasa Sporting South African Flag (nice!) for Vogue Italia. Gotta Love em Italians...
Last week i showed up at a panel discussion with a yawn-inducing title--something about legal forms (urg!) but i am so glad i went because i got to support my rock-star friend superstar lawyer to social entrepreneurs, Keren G. Raz. Seeing her do her thing made me feel like a proud mom, but also got me thinking about the concept of brand-creation and how being/becoming IT happens to good girls. If you buy the idea that you are a brand, then how do you cultivate that brand and not waste your brand equity on cheap commodities? Ok, the finance lingo makes me want to gag too, but seriously, haven't you ever wondered how IT girls are made? 
American Vogue's Annointed: Pop Magazine Editor in Chief Shala Monroque & Designer Jason Wu.This IT Girl's Style Always Leaves me Hyperventilating for more--Those Turbans Do Me Special Girl-Crush Damage. LOVE!   


I mean, was Garance Dore minding her chores eating Roquefort cheese with honey (picked up a mean smoked Gouda today BTW--def death by dairy for me tonight) when the MAKE IT Style Committee sent her a note of acceptance? Or is being IT just a manner of being?  A certain self-knowing and affirming cockiness that tells you its your business if you out-dress the theatrical cast at their show (i did last nite, hee hee), eat Jungle Oats for dinner and get prudish around too much skin (insert very IT South African Zulu Girl Noni Gasa who does not want to see your untanable body parts).  I like to think that it's the latter, that being IT is owning IT and knowing when to let out that lace-clad animal spirit you keep covered inside.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

If You Look At Me, I Will Dance Like A Butterfly.

Sally Hansen's New Peel & Preen Line. LOVE! How About Them Butterflies?

Probably completely late to this game--never said I was an early adopter--but I am so in love with Sally Hansen's new Salon Effects Nail Polish Strips, launched in collaboration with It-designer Prabal Gurung. The concept is perfect for anyone like me whose intimidated by complex beauty routines and prefers to keep anything outside the outfit (ie. makeup+nails) super simple. Just peel, apply bend and file! That's it.  And the patterns are psychedelic--cannot wait to get my hands dirty with some animal print madness...Nails of Thunder, Hear Me Roar!

Absolute Aside--the butterflies in that design remind me of my theme song from Ghana--Zigi's U Sey Wey Tin.  Seriously that song had me doing butterfly flips I didn't realize I was built to fly.  My favorite, favorite is the chorus, "If you look at me, I will dance like a butterfly, dance like a butterfly" around 2:16 on the video below. I want that on constant loop. Dance Like A Butterfly, Charlie-O!!!

Lifted from Enamel Girl's Blog. LOVE how this chick has a whole blog dedicated to a very serious+
very hot nail addiction. This look is Skinny Jean from the new Sally Hansen Line. Nice!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Model Mania--KoKOFIFI Party

Our LOVE Inspiration: Riku + Total Big Deal Amita Swadhin. Check Out Amita's Very Deep & Powerful Work, Undesirable Elements: Secret Survivors. 

This weekend KoKOFIFI hosted a Thank You party for all the models and photographers who made the KoKOFIFI photoshoot in January the love fest it was. The party was a blitz of gorgeous women (+men:), gargantuan glorious cheeses and giddy giggles. There was so much life lived outloud, love and friendship holding that room up...i honestly wish i could bottle that good and give it to you wrapped in organza ruffles and silk ribbons. Short of that tho, i give you this photo-fest...stamped all over with ListenIn Pictures footprints.

More to Come...Including a Full Reveal of the Dedo Azu Design I Rocked...But you're gonna have to Find+Like us on Facebook to get an inside Scoop...Hugs!
My Boyz! LOVE these Men.
With ListenIn Pictures Co-Founders Annie + Ethan. BTW--He Chopped Her Tresses Too...Mad Talent, Right? 

Style Icon: Plotting & Scheming A Closet Raid Here...
Cannot Get Enuf of The Nate Fashion Knack.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Colour Coded

I just read something about how something approaching ochre is (thankgod) swallowing the grey parade of London pre-Fashion Week streets and becoming a thing, also known as a trend.  Get's me thinking about what it is exactly about a hue/saturation/intensity of light expression that can elicit such a depth of emotional response. Why, for example, do I find Indian fuchsia/burnt orange and bull-charge red such an alluring and seductive combination? Why do warm colors pick up my mood and yellow guarantee me a smile? And why is pewter so damn ugly my body contorts in horrific fits at its mention?

There's something so personal and intimate about our perception of and relationship to colour. It's probably no mistake that one of the first ways we organize our tribes as children is befriending those with similar favorite colours to ours. I still have not fully forgiven the second grade chick who tried to tell me pink+blue were not compelling combos. Yeah? I barked back, and what exactly have you got going for you? Pink and Yellow! I demanded...Pink AND Yellow! Now how am I gonna listen to a girl that don't even get the whole matching colours business? Since when did yellow and pink match?

But, that's it right there. It's not about matching, and it certainly is not about an external aesthetic. It really is personal and inside you. The colors that speak to you have nothing to do with anything other than how cozy/happy/crazy you feel in their embrace. Now colour me orange already. and pink and red and a dash of yellow on the side...

And just in case you've missed it, we launched our Facebook Page this week--FIND us. LIKE us, then really LOVE us by RECOMMENDING us to your fashionable friends. 
And Hey, this is English--colour so has a u!

Monday, February 21, 2011

She Is Woman-Fashion Week Favs

Kareema Mak's Line launched this weekend in Lagos. 
Image: HauteFashionAfrica.
I'm sure you're chewing on & eating up all the pictures dished out from fashion weeks in New York & Johannesburg.

Personally, I'm happily regurgitating every pixel--Am most surprisingly really bonkers for Victoria Beckham's collection. The girl's got game! Seriously. From spicy to mommy to pricey (and worth it)?  I can respect that. As always, thesartorialist has a healthy dose of what you missed in person.
HauteFashionAfrica were all over the Jozzie shows, check them out.

And for a behind the scenes of what who wore then and how, you know we got you!
As for the Nigerian scene this weekend, Am hot and heavy for shift-dress numbers--clean, simple lines and elegance defining the Kareema Mak woman at left, designed by Moyosore Makanjuola. The collection is befittingly christened, She Is Woman. Must! Have!
ReneeQ Bespoke. All Dressed Up for
Johannesburg Fashion Week, 2011.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Friday, February 18, 2011

Christie Brown & Beautiful

Arguably Ghana's most important and pre-eminent designer today, the beautiful and ever-funny Aisha Oububi is at the helm of luxury design house Christie Brown. These hot little numbers are sneak-peeks from Christie Brown's latest collection, unwrapped at Vlisco's coveted bi-annual fashion showcase this month. Yep, it's the inside scoop.

Aisha, Gorgeous Smile & All. How About That Must-Have Denim Jacket? Drool...
We Like. We Like. Christie Brown, 2011. 

Ghana's Rising Star

Dedo Stitching Final Finishes. M. Makhene, 2011. 

Dedo Azu Designs are all about bold prints and strong African accents for the modern woman.  Dedo is as charming as her designs are colorful, playful and inviting. I love the Dedo Azu woman--so so fierce (you should see Dedo behind the wheel, LoL), so out-loud and so much LifeIsLoveIsLife. Expect to see and hear more about this rising Ghana star, on this blog and worldwide. You heard it here first!
M. Makhene, 2011. 
M. Makhene, 2011. 

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Ghana For You..

Neighborhood Buds. Image: M. Makhene, 2011.
Back at it in nyc. Overflowing and bursting at the seams with nothing but Love and Light from Ghana. What I can't describe in words I'm summarizing in pictures here.  The rest you really have to capture in your physical essence...Ghana, here we come

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Glam Girls & Glitz Tees

Renee holding Court in her Labone, Accra Boutique. Image: M. Makhene, 2011.

ReneeQ offers Ghana's leading women bespoke and distinctive looks from a line of one of a kind, dramatic tees to award-winning makeup updos and opulent, seductive accessories. I visited Renee at her beautiful boutique and was inspired to find a grounded, powerful young visionary building an empire with the poise of an under-spoken African woman. The girls was Raised Right and with mad style.

Fine Finishes at the ReneeQ Boutique. Image: M. Makhene, 2011.
Left, ReneeQ's signature tees, which promise "to make you feel ReneeQ gorgeous."
Did I hear an amen?

Monday, February 14, 2011

UnFunny Valentine

To Accra...With Love.

Valentine's Day at The Market. Some Things are just Love.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Sign Me Up!

Greatness in Ghana Seems to Be A Bottle of Something Shapely. Hmm....
Am so in love with the awake colors living in Accra. Have you ever seen so many billboards? Pastors & Church Announcements, Cellphones & Banking, Vlisco Fashions & Milk Maids--everything printable  is signed to a billboard. Maybe a KoKOFIFI Stand Proud. Live. Love. Outloud Shout-Out?

Got Milk? After School. M. Makhene, 2011

What is this advertising, Someone Enlighten Me Please? M. Makhene, 2011. 

Tuesday, February 8, 2011


Ghana. Long sticky nights, cacophenous activity and street lights where you can get fitted in the perfect size 9 men's shoes, a proper hair cut and supper--all before the light changes.  I'm posting from the motherland the next couple days and will have some really hot stuff to drop, so don't miss out.

Sending you Lipstick Jungle Kisses (at least i'm in the tropics:)...

At L, Ghanaian-Nigerian designer Titi Ademola.

Fun Fact:

Ghanaians are encouraged to wear tradition-inspired clothes to work on Fridays, in support of Made in Ghana gear. Thing is Chinese cheap good have been brutal to the local textile industry, which is centuries old but cannot compete with the Chinese. So, wear something celebrating your heritage on Fridays to show your pride and support Made in Ghana. I like. I like.  

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Taking Back The Mother. Ship-GHANA Baby!

Kofi Ansah. Seriously, So Feeling Them mod mud cloth Leg Warmers. 
Must.Have! Drool. Image: Reuters.

So, incredible things are happening all over the african fashion map. Today marks the launch of The Young Designers Association of Ghana. Flygirl Dedo Azu is part of the miracle team sprinkling ashanti-gold glamour all over us. And we so LOVE. IT. Along with Kofi Ansah, design superstar and mastermind of the association. Take back that mothership, case you're lost to the title, i'm reading Lose Your Mother by Saidiya Hartman. Hot Shift-ing. Nuff said.
Monkey See. Monkey Do. 

Friday, February 4, 2011

WILDBLOOM: See Inspire Everywhere

A Flower Blooms. Image: Diyana Kamaruza.

If i was part of the banana republic of Banana Republic, i'd bombard and besiege every nook and alleyway in this city with images of their ad campaign for Wild Bloom, the new fragrance. Stopped me dead in my tracks today and really worth checking out. The Blooms bud and bleed beauty. Behold, here. (look for the upside down woman billowing in pink)

And then i also got this lovely little surprise from KoKOFIFI's Co-founder. Isn't the sign and displacement of it all amusing? Someone had to think of that, people. I'm telling you--inspiration is in the darndest spots.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Don't Speak Funny Languages, In The People

LOVE this guy's stuff. Zwelethu Mthethwa. Go Ahead Bro!

Language can be so thick, and so pungent with meaning it licks thoughts clean. Especially South African language, which is a rich amalgam of all things African, European, and all the little islands between those dots. My favorite expression of our lingo's mutation is the funny translations of African axioms, birth names and little expressions that are otherwise harmless.  Here's my pick of Top 5:

Lost In Translation?
Soweto Home 
Soweto Style. LOVE. Image & Book of same: Mark Larring.
1. Don't eat my jealous--stop being envious of me

2. I am eating joy--i'm living the dream, baby!

3. Fillip is here--Feel it. It is here (world cup fever)
4. You are embarrassing me, in the people--in  public
5. Ditulo, Cheers!

Yes, You Are Still In Soweto, DK most def, Diepkloof. Leave At Your Own Risk.

Me& My Hair: I Paid For It Ain't I?

LOVE. LOVE. LOVE. And have been feeling the hair accessories thing of late. Getcha Fly 

So, i'm getting that quarter month itch--well, it's actually been more like 3 months--to give things a shakeup and get my hair did. A lot has been made about black hair, so i won't do a Chris Rock standup here, but i will say how much i love the freedom to just be and not allow too much of who i am (or not) to be tucked between the tangles of my nappy coils. i think it hysterical how many "keep on, sistah!"s i get when i wear my hair out, sans braids. And the counterpoint to that is amusing too.  i was home in jozzie, celebrating my birthday with my sisters. they suggested dinner at Sophiatown Bar Lounge--LOVE--followed by some shimmy in Newtown. 

Okey worthwhile deviation...Anyone who carries Kofifi's spirit is worth our time and Sophiatown Bar Lounge has a charming little story-
two African brothers (no, not making a conscious reference to their hairstyles:) founded the spot, Rasta and Mzwandile Thabethe.  Love that they got bit by the entrepreneurial bug lending a hand at the family's fruit+vege store. Sweet, right?

Clearly, It's A Hair-Attack. LOVE! Image: M. Makhene, 2009.

Back to the birthday. You know your girl looked fly. Hair did, fitted all fierce, I was def rocking it out.
So i convince my sister to pop into a poetry reading next door, a friend had organized it. i mean, why can't i supplement shimmy+moonshine with some high minded words, right? And here we walk in, store-bought hair gleaming and all. The place heaved such a loud silence. Everyone was in dreadlocks and hot neat little fros atop i'd be dead before i wore anything approaching lipcolor faces. Beautiful, honest. But i will never forget the chill that entered the room when we walked in. Our hair and peanut buttered faces seemed to shout out our otherness, our westernization and probably also our questionable consciousness. No one called me Sistah! that night. No one mistook me for "Queen" or "Empress".
Funny, cuz i was still me, afro/weave/braids or no hair and all.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011


Seek Sole. And So, So Seeking/Lusting That Anna Dello Rosso Inspired Getup. Nice Job, 9W!

The wildest thing i chose to entertain while in kiwiland:) last year is a quote from What Color Is Your Parachute?,"WHAT YOU ARE SEEKING IS ALSO SEEKING YOU". Wild because it sounds like something out of a sci-fi comic book or those skitzy clairvoyants lining the East Village. But also strangely true. Hear me out here. I allowed myself to seek/dream outloud about fierceness+fashion+a life convergence big bang.  All i had was an inspiration board, ie. trashed out magazines (sorry MiNDFOOD--amazing mag btw) and a head crazed enough to believe pithy lines from books with cool titles. But thankgoodness for that gullible me. KoKOFIFI would never have been born without that wildly true quote, without the trip to New Zealand and without believing in magic. So, what seeketh thou, O shoe lusting Hustler-Diva?