Wednesday, February 9, 2011

"Love...It's all we really have."

I'm currently taking a seminar on African Fashion...I like to think I'm a bit of a know-it-all when it comes to fashion (^^), but when it comes to African fashion, I am hopelessly lost. At first, I was very intimidated by the prospect of this class, never having learned any real history or anthropology of Africa in school. But the more I'm in it, the more I learn, the more I'm fascinated!

So life lesson to you, readers: Don't be afraid to try something new. You never know what you'll come away with!

Next week, I have to give a presentation on an African fashion designer and their style. For my presentation, I picked South African fashion designer Nkhensani Nkosi and her line, Stoned Cherrie. As a kind of preliminary review before my presentation, I thought I would share this work with you! After all, fashion is art too.

Nkhensani Nkosi & Stoned Cherrie - Johannesburg, South Africa

"Not for the fainthearted, Stone Cherrie is a lovingly non-conformist revolutionary expression of freedom. Born in 2000, the South African born lifestyle brand has reached Amazonian proportions in the concrete jungles of modern day South Africa."

Okay, I took that quote directly from their website...but don't you just -love- the imagery?? What a fun, bold, vivacious description of their brand!

Nkhensani Nkosi, a prominent actress, t.v. host, and personality in Africa, started Stoned Cherrie after participating in the Face of Africa model search in 2000. When traveling around the continent, Nkosi (who was previously unfamiliar with anything related to business and fashion) " inspired just by the African aesthetic that exists that, you know, I find has always been interpreted by someone else. And at that point I thought, you know, there's space for a African lifestyle brand that would really be an expression of this urban energy and this new, dynamic sense of expression that was happening throughout the continent." (Quoted from interview, here)

Stoned Cherrie makes a point of not only embodying the spirit of "urban African energy," but it also reaches out to embrace history and heritage as a part of popular culture. Embroidery, beading, dyeing, and other texturing and decoration of Stoned Cherrie's pieces are produced by South African crafters, uniting the brand with local artisans.


From the three seasons (and then some) of couture I've scanned through, Stoned Cherrie as a fashion line incorporates bold accessories and accents to flatter powerful feminine silhouettes. You see a lot of cinched natural waists, bright tights and shoes, and a dynamic combination of fitted and flowing pieces. And I won't lie, the Art Kid in me gets all twitterpated seeing all of the fun COLOR! Beading, strip woven cloth, embroidery with words, layers or wrapped pieces...these are elements of traditional African fashion!

- In 2003, Nkhensani Nkosi won Young Business Achiever of the Year in Young Business Quarterly;
- The Fair Lady Fashion Awards voted Stoned Cherrie the Best Women's Brand in 2004 and the Lifetime Achievement Award in 2005;
- Top Success Story of the Year from Top Women in Business and Government in 2005;
- 2006 world ambassador for CATWALK THE WORLD - "Fashion for Food" to fight child hunger.
- Nominated for the Department of Arts and Culture Most Beautiful Object in 2007 (I assume this is for South Africa)
- In 2009, Stoned Cherrie was one of four African fashion lines (The African Fashion Collective) invited to present at New York Fashion Week at Bryant Park

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