New Look: Culture meets Fashion

Salutations Lovely Beings,

I had the amazing opportunity to work on a collaborative post centred around the concept of The Roots of Culture influencing Contemporary Fashion with New Look. I styled and featured in an outfit of the day style shoot in which I wore gorgeous New Look garms head-to-toe. Check out the interview and the looks below:

 

 

 

 

 

 

How has your culture influenced your attitude towards fashion?

A great deal of the entirety of my being is heavily and intricately entwined with the roots of my culture. Though the plural cultures would be more suited. Contrary to the widespread and popular belief, Africa is not a monolith. Mama Africa is showered with an abundance of rich and diverse cultures, all across her plains. For example, both maternal and paternal sides of my family belong to different tribes of people who for years on end have made their homes in the Southern and Northern provinces of Zambia, respectively. The customs, festivals, processes and rolls of the tongues of the Bemba and Tonga people are highly varied and equally as rich and beautiful in their respective cultures. Interestingly, against the backdrop of the various customary differences the creative processes of both cultures celebrate bold colours, lines, textures and patterns which inspire my personal style as well as my designing and creative directing. I draw my inspiration from what surrounds me. I grew up amongst beads of bright hues, chitenges and carefully crafted headwraps standing tall. This has manifested in my every day wear. I always wear Mama Africa, my heart on my sleeve.

*Chitenge is traditionally wax printed cotton fabric worn by women across Zambia around their waists as skirts, around their heads as crowns and even to DIY a ton of crafty bits and bats like textured doormats!

What is the best thing about living in Manchester?

I’ve never felt so at ease within myself and my surroundings in all the cities I’ve lived in so far, as I do in here. All the diverse and wonderful little Mancunian elements fit perfectly together to weave a warm blanket that makes it feel like home. From the small things, like how the brief flashes of sunshine bounce beautifully off the endless puddles dotted around the city centre pavements and the constant orangey-grey tint to the city, cast by the skies and the tall red brick buildings to the general warm and vibrant buzz exuded by the souls wandering, growing, living and loving alongside each other. It’s such a vibrant cosmopolitan city, that I get to experience and immerse myself in many different cultures from across the globe- which is an amazing thing to do in terms of opening oneself up to growth.

Do you ever visit Zambia? If so, what is your favourite thing about going there?

I was actually back in Zambia for a few weeks in June, basking in the winter sunshine! There’s nothing like the sun on your back after a bundle of chilly winter months in Europe. I love the wafting aromas of the markets, the constant buzz of the town centre and a massive plate of nshima. 

*Nshima is the staple food of Zambia. It’s a soft polenta like starch based food, made of maize meal. It’s eaten in the way rice would be eaten with sides of vegetables and meat, traditionally eaten without cutlery but rather by hand.

What is your message to young women trying to get into the fashion industry?

I actually read a quote by Anne White, which is the perfect mantra. It reads;

 “Don’t bend; don’t water it down; don’t try to make it logical; don’t edit your own soul according to the fashion. Rather, follow your most intense obsessions mercilessly.” 

Be true to the fabrics of your being and you’ll attract and manifest a life of love, light and passion, a life you want. 

-What is one thing that you’re always carrying in your handbag right now?

My waterbottle doesn’t go anywhere I don’t go! Stay hydrated and you’ll see your life flourish.

With strong women like Serena Williams and Winnie Harlow dominating their respective fields, how important do you think it is for the fashion industry to celebrate cultural diversity?

Representation matters. In most cases people find themselves being inspired by people, places or things which they share some kind of connection with. Being able to turn on the television and see a beautiful black woman with an athletic frame dominating the tennis sphere and exhibiting self-love, as is Serena Williams is empowering to young black girls who have for centuries been fed toxic narratives which dictate the moulds black women’s bodies should adhere to. As is seeing Winnie Harlow don the cover of many fashion magazines- exhibiting boldness and being comfortable in their skin. It’s so important for the flourishing and development of young black creatives that they be given the opportunity to access channels of inspiration.  

 

 

Love and Light,

B

 

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