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    Boutique Fashion News — fashion

    We’re Loving These Celebrities’ Afrocentric Style!

    Spring is making its tentative first appearances, with tempting sunny days drawing us out of hibernation. Ever the optimists, we’re here for it! We’re getting ready to break out all the vibrant prints that you love. In the meantime, we’ve been delighting ourselves with celebrity-spotting plus African print-spotting. We love it when a star and a print come together. Here’s who’s got our hearts fluttering.

    naomi campbell

    The ageless supermodel Naomi Campbell is the queen of elegance, and she’s been expressing her love of all things African recently, including showing off her elegant style in vibrant African headwraps and traditional facial markings used by some peoples across the continent.

    Image result for ledisi

    Related image

    Image result for ledisi birthday

    R&B and Jazz star Ledisi has inspired us with her bold create-your-own-success philosophy, from the time she launch her own record label when none would sign her, to crafting her individual and distinctive style, not to mention her amazing voice and talent. Ledisi has been our style icon for years, and this week released this image to celebrate her birthday – much to our delight. HBD Ledisi!

    Image result for nicole ari parker cicely tyson

    Actors Nicole Ari Parker and Boris Kodjoe are the picture-perfect couple. We’ve followed the Kodjoe family’s  adventures including their trips to Ghana. We love their wholesome relationship, and their embracing of their African heritage. It was only going to be a matter of time before Nicole succumbed to the irresistable lure of Ankara print – we’re here for it!

    Image result for india arie
    Image result for india arie

    The visionary India.Arie has been preaching the virtues of self love and self care for many years, and has been celebrating African culture with scrumptious red carpet ensembles reportedly made by her Mom (hooray for Mom’s!)  for just as long. We’ve got her latest album, ‘Worthy’ playing on repeat in the office, so we’re a little biased. But what’s not to love about this gorgeous, unapologetic portrait just bursting with colour? Lead on, India!

    HAPPY MOTHERS’ DAY
    To all the Mothers, Sisters, Aunties, Grandmothers, Godmothers and Guardians around the world, striving to create and nurture life and love in the best way they know.

    We Went to Ghana!

    Akwaaba!

    If you thought we’ve been quiet recently, it’s because we’ve been cooking up all kinds of projects for 2019. One of the highlights was our recent trip to Ghana!

    From that first, ‘Akwaaba!’ (‘Welcome’ in Akan) until we waved goodbye to Ghana, we were treated to the proverbial Ghanaian hospitality, our taste buds were tickled with delicious food (ask us about the Nigerian – Ghanaian – Senegalese Jollof Battles), we were kissed by the sun and experienced the vibrancy of a nation with a rich history and a purpose.

    We didn’t pass up on the opportunity to bring back a memento: a photoshoot with talented photographer, Michael Assenyoh and beautiful model Peggy Boateng.

    Peek at some of our gorgeous shots, taken around the iconic Independence Square and the Accra Arts & Crafts Market on a gloriously hot and sunny day (33 degrees!).

    Remember – our sale continues on these beauties, so don’t miss the chance to CLICK & BUY yourself the one you’ve had your eye on.

    What’s that you say? Of course we brought you back a little something from Ghana! We reckon you’ll love these cute tote bags in a vibrant classic ‘Flower’ print – perfect for books, groceries and other bits.

    They’re available online for just £10 – be a good friend and spread the word!

    Click here to bag yourself a tote.

     

    Countdown: CALLEFI Premium Lifestyle Event 20-22 July

    CALLEFI SAVE THE DATECounting down to London’s CALLEFI Lux Weekend & Investment Forum on 20-22 July, 2018, supporting Premium and Luxury Lifestyle Brands of African & Caribbean heritage for tangible social impact.

    Come and enjoy art, fashion, dining, music & culture.

    Sapelle will be showcasing our new ‘Sapelle x Adire’ fashion collection.

    Venue: One Horseguards, London SW1

    Click here for details and tickets: https://www.callefi.com/

     

     

     

     

     

    7 Sizzlers for your Summer Wardrobe

    Sapelle African Print Ankara Top Yellow

    ‘BANANA’ PRINT TOP Pair with: skinny jean, wide leg pants, print-clashed skirt, denim shorts

    Sapelle African Print Ankara Skirt Yellow Blue

    FLIRTY WRAP SKIRT Fun, flirty and timeless. An adjustable tie waistband and neutral colourway make this a wardrobe essential

    prdct koele silver

    SILVER LEATHER SANDALS Beautifully hand-made by our partners in Nigeria

    Sapelle Adire African Print Blue Dress

    ‘FEATHERS’ HAND-DYED ADIRE SHIFT TUNIC The perfect fusion of heritage textile and contemporary design. Hand-made by Adire artisans in Nigeria

    Sapelle Ankara African Print Skirt Blue

    ‘SWALLOWS’ PRINT PLEATED SKIRT A well-loved classic wax print on an easy-to wear skirt that works well for may occasions

    Sapelle Ankara African Print Summer Dress Orange

    ‘TANGERINE & LIME’ PRINT DRESS One of our favourite prints combining easy fit, cool cotton and a bold statement print for vacation, party or weekend chilling

    Sapelle Ethnik by Tunde Aso Oke Handwoven Hand Bag Pink

    ASO OKE HAND-WOVEN & LEATHER HANDBAG Ethically hand-made by weaving artisans in Nigeria, a fusion of tradition and modern design and function

    Deep Roots of the Basotho Blanket

    Basotho blankets

    Right now, dropping the words Basotho blanket into a conversation may draw blank looks of incomprehension from most people. But all that is changing.

    Glimpses of the upcoming Black Panther movie (coming out in February 2018) reveal scenes where the warriors of the Wakanda kingdom are draped in Basotho blankets, casting the spotlight on an iconic feature of the clothing and culture of the small mountain kingdom of Southern Africa, Lesotho.

    Basotho Blankets glimpsed on a scene from the Black Panther movie trailer

    Basotho Blankets glimpsed on a scene from the Black Panther movie trailer

    This is by no means the first time the silver screen has launched a look or a trending style. The relationship between film and fashionista is a long-standing love affair.

    Think Alexander McQueen’s autumn/winter 2007 collection which was inspired by Elizabeth Taylor’s striking Cleopatra outfits. Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner has firmly established the fur coat and pompadour haircut as a cool 21st century look. And Anita Eckberg in Fellini’s La Dolce Vita is at least partly responsible for that enduring fashion staple – the little black dress.

    Basotho Blankets spotted in a scene from the Black Panther trailer

    Basotho Blankets spotted in a scene from the Black Panther trailer

    And now, the Basotho blanket is being showcased and given a brand-new fashion twist by luxury brands like Louis Vuitton; brands dedicated to showcasing contemporary African fashion like yours truly, Sapelle; and Sotho and Southern African designers like Thabo Makhetha celebrating their culture. Chic ponchos, bomber jackets, dresses, shirts and trouser suits are all part of an exciting and ever-evolving collection based on the Basotho blanket.

    SA-based designer Thabo Makhetha's signature textile is the Basotho blanket.

    SA-based designer Thabo Makhetha’s signature textile is the Basotho blanket.

    The Basotho Blanket Backstory

    By no means a relic from ancient history, the Basotho blanket made its debut around 150 years ago. Legend has it that back in 1860, King Moshoeshoe I (pronounced ‘Moshweshwe’) of Lesotho was presented with a wool blanket as a gift from the French. He was so delighted with it that he had a wardrobe makeover, replacing his traditional leopard-skin kaross with the blanket. The King’s look was adopted by his fellow countrymen and women. Not only did it look beautiful, it was also just the thing for the country’s cold mountainous climate. It’s said that the contrasting stripe that is a permanent fixture in the blanket’s print design, started out as a manufacturing flaw but was embraced as a unique feature.

    And so, the Basotho blanket as the iconic garment of the Lesotho people was born.

    Wearing the Basotho Blanket in a ceremonial setting: Semonkong Lodge staff don the attire for the King's visit

    Wearing the Basotho Blanket in a ceremonial setting: Semonkong Lodge staff don the attire for the King’s visit

    Whereas in the west, we grapple with a ‘throw away’ culture, switching fashion styles on a whim, the Basotho blanket has endured for over a century as the traditional clothing of the Basotho people of Lesotho. It boldly symbolises pride in the national culture and traditions.

    The deep roots of Basotho Blankets

    For the Sotho people, the Basotho blanket is so much more than an item of clothing. Its roots are deeply embedded in Lesotho’s history and it plays a major role in its culture and identity.

    Different blankets are worn at significant turning points on the journey from cradle to grave. During their circumcision ritual, boys wear a special fertility blanket and this is replaced by another blanket after the ceremony to acknowledge their transition to manhood.

    Basotho Blankets worn by Sotho people of the Mountain Kingdom of Lesotho

    Basotho Blankets worn by Sotho people of the Mountain Kingdom of Lesotho

    From a young age, girls collect blankets in preparation for their marriage trousseau. For his wedding, a man wears a motlotlehi, and on the birth of the couple’s first child, he gives his wife a serope. Like the kente cloth in Ghana or the bogolan (mud cloth) in Mali, the Basotho blanket is a textile enshrined like a precious jewel in local culture and represents major milestones in a person’s life cycle.

    Collaboration with ‘authentic’ designers.

    With its distinctive designs, the Basotho blanket is also a thing of great beauty, a fact that has not been lost on the global fashion industry. There has been a lot of debate recently about international brands working with heritage design, examining where ‘inspiration’ turns into ‘appropriation’ – read the BBC article on the Basotho blanket issue in the link below. At Sapelle, we believe that respecting the ownership and rights of the cultures we work with is the only fair way forward and so we have collaborated with an ‘authentic’ designer who originates from the Sotho people, Thabo Makhetha to produce our stylish poncho.

    Sapelle x Thabo Makhetha Basotho Blanket in Blue print (also available in Monochrome print)

    Sapelle x Thabo Makhetha Basotho Blanket in Blue print (also available in Monochrome print)

     The future’s bright. The future’s ethical

    There’s never been a better time for fashion companies to rethink their strategies along ethical lines, whether its thinking about the environmental impact or consulting and collaborating with the cultures that originate the designs, and even helping to promote them to as to keep heritage wealth alive and thriving.

    We now know beyond any shadow of a doubt that the food we eat counts. It’s becoming increasingly evident that the clothes we put on our backs need to be part of a radically new way of thinking. For the future to look bright, the universe desperately needs conscious designers who will lead the way in ethical fashion production.

    Read the BBC piece: ‘When does cultural borrowing become cultural appropriation’

    Shop the Sapelle x Thabo Makhetha Basotho Blanket Poncho here

    Words: Yvonne Lloyd

    Header image: courtesy of I See A Different You