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    Boutique Fashion News — modahnik

    Is Kickstarter the Way Forward for Ethical Fashion?

    Ask any business owner in the world today, and they will tell you that times are tough. The economy almost everywhere has gone a bit pear-shaped, consumer spending is much more cautious and finding funding for new ideas through traditional means is extremely difficult.

    evolve7-290x279-2That’s where crowdfunding options such as Kickstarter, come in. It allows small businesses to advertise themselves, gain a fan base and much needed donations and financial support from other businesses and individuals.

    Annegret Affolderbach, of Choolips, started a Kickstarter campaign called “Evolve: A collection without leftovers”.

    The main aim of the campaign and collection was to create beautiful collaborative pieces by bringing together scraps of materials, and work with other designers in order to help reduce the wastage and negative impact on the environment. The collection has a range of products that pledgers receive in exchange for their support, from accessories, women’s fashion to chairs and bunting.

    Did the Kickstarter campaign work? Sadly, no.

    The campaign didn’t raise the full £22,000 target. Why is this? Is Kickstarter a viable way for ethical companies to expand their businesses? The jury is still out, and within the Sapelle team, we have conflicting views about this

    BimeGhWIMAEjtiR.jpg-mediumEthical fashion is indeed a growing business, as many people become more and more aware, but it is still outside of what is considered “mainstream fashion”.

    Kickstarter, in one view, works far more if you are popular, well established, if you already have a fan base that can support you financially. This is what a business needs before it can make the most of what Kickstarter has to offer.

    There needs to be more in the way of advertising such labels. Magazines and fashion TV shows need to move away from their obsession with Gucci, Prada and the like; the vast majority of their viewers and readers will probably never buy anything from those brands.

    As consumers, we should encourage these platforms to show us something new, beautiful and affordable. If you take a look through the “Evolve” collection, I can guarantee that you’ll see at least one item that will make you drool all over your keyboard.

    Choolips-x-Yinka-2Whilst this set-back won’t hold Choolips back from continuing to do what they do best, it could be seriously damaging for less successful business or fledgling designers.

    Kickstarter should have some feature that allows big advertisers to see what new ideas are out there, and help promote something new. Can you imagine a world where you open up a fashion magazine, akin to Glamour or Vogue, and find it full of new, interesting fashion rather than the status quo? This is what I’d like to see.

    If Kickstarter didn’t achieve the goal to raise funds for Choolips, one thing it certainly did accomplish was raise awareness for the Choolips brand itself. This is a platform that attracts viewers the world over, some of whom are businesses seeking ‘the next big thing’ or a potential partner or supplier. If small brands enter the crowdfunding game with brand awareness as the primary target, then they may just achieve a new income stream, or expansion into new markets through their venture. Which isn’t such a bad thing.

    photo-main-2At the time of posting this blog, another ethical African brand is in the middle of its crowdfunding re-launch. Modahnik failed to reach its goal earlier this year, but has come back with a more fortified marketing drive to reach its funding target. With a little over two weeks to go, Modahnik has already had pledges for 77% of the funding target. Will Modahnik achieve the goal of getting 100% funded? We’re rooting for them.

    Click here to view and take part in Modahnik’s crowdfunding campaign.

    Daniela Prataviera & Daphne Kasambala

    Look of the Day: Bold & Beautiful


    How do you wear the dress that speaks volumes? No need to be a shrinking violet when it comes to accessorising. And speaking of violets, we’ve used that very colour for our coat and accessories, to add to that overall bold look. Bag and shoes in a neutral shade keep it all elegantly chic.

    Get the look from

    Modahnik Vlisco print dolman sleeve wrap dress with subtle pleat detailing on the skirt front

    Silver authentic Tuareg earrings, made by a family enterprise in Mali

    Recycled brass and glass ring made in Kenya for Made

    Recycled paper necklace from Ugandan social enterprise Nakate Project

    Coat, bag and shoes from LK Bennett, Hermes and Michael Kors

    Look of the Day: Geo-print Elegance

    lookA look that would turn heads in the capital of style itself, this is effortless yet impactful. Perfect for that day-to-evening transition look so many of us crave.

    Get the look from

    • Sleeveless geometric print dress in luxurious genuine Vlisco African wax print fabric, with amazing attention to detail such as contrast colour slash pocket, from ethical label Modahnik.
    • Recycled paper beaded necklace from Ugandan social enterprise, Nakate Project
    • Recycled brass statement ring made in Kenya for ethical label Made.
    • Layer it up with a tailored coat and glamourous matching bag and boots and you’re ready to stand out in the crowd
    • Coat, boots and bag from Orla Kiely, Sergio Rossi and Heritage Auctions Special

    Kahindo Mateene Revealed as Project Runway Season 12 Designer



    Kahindo Mateene showing her SS13 collection

    For our readers in the US, we’re thrilled to share the news that in the new season of Project Runway, premiering next month, you’ll get to see Kahindo Mateene, the creative brains from one of our featured brands, Modahnik.

    Kahindo will be competing alongside sixteen other designers for a shot at winning the grand prize. We’ll be rooting for her all the way! Check out Kahindo’s designer page on and look out for more updates as the season premieres.

    Check out’s current range from Modahnik, including the elegant dresses below, here.


    Modahnik’s signature style is that of self-assured elegance and glamour

    The Versatility of Ankara

    Ankara is so uncompromisingly vibrant. No, we’re not talking about the capital of Turkey (although we’re sure it’s true of that city too). Rather, the traditional wax-print fabric, known also as Dutch wax print, chitenje, kitenge, khanga, among other names depending on where you are on the vast and varied continent of Africa, and used to make garments for all occasions.


    A shwe shwe-inspired wax print dress, from

    Many African cultures have integrated Ankara fabric and created shapes and silhouettes that give them a distinct identity,  adapted to suit the local taste – a traditional Ankara print dress in Ghana for instance will be very different to a Zambian  or Ugandan one – and yet the common thread remains – the fabric itself’.

    But let’s stop here before we get carried away waxing on about the geneology of Ankara (yes that was an intended pun – but only for those of you still paying attention). We’re actually bringing you a feature all about Ankara (the fabric, not the city) soon. But for now, here’s a taster of some of the exciting cross-cultural appearances we’ve spotted Ankara making  in the fashion world, proving just how versatile it is not only across Africa, but way beyond.

    NOH NEE: Bavaria meets Ankara

    We love the boldness of NOH NEE, the German label that combines the structured feminine Bavarian Dirndl dress with the most exciting and colourful Ankara fabrics, often combining two or more prints to create irresistible pieces that we just want to get our hands on.











    Ankara in the East

    Crossing over into Asia, when you think about it, it’s makes complete sense that Oriental traditional fashion would pair up wonderfully with African textiles. After all, Japanese dress for instance is expressive and colourful, holding nothing back in the use of colour to express opulence, serenity, femininity and a host of other messages to the observer – which is not very different to African fashion. So why wouldn’t  fusion of the two combine well? And here’s evidence of how well it works. Nkwo, the popular UK-based designer who’s been using African prints to create bold, eye-catching styles for a few years now, borrowed some Japanese inspiration to produce this Kimono-style top, to great effect.

    And this is what Cameroon born industrial designer, Serge Mouangue has to say about his innovative Kimono designs in African print fabric.

    “They may appear different on the surface but they do share some cultural similarities. Both societies are very tribal and have a respect for hierarchy and an appreciation of the power of silence. And then there are the differences, In Japan there is no improvisation. Here, improvisation can mean trouble, shame, difficulties. But in Africa, it means life, renewal, health and spirit. The kimono is an icon of Japan, I’m fascinated by the cut and the attitude and poise it creates among women when they wear them.”

    On the Streets of London

    It goes without saying that Western fashion has been playing around with African prints from all corners of the continent, not only Ankara.  The catwalks each season bear testament to that, as do the high streets, increasingly. But we couldn’t help but smile, very broadly, when an institution of conservative British fashion, an icon that has stood alongside the bowler hat and Wellington boots as symbols of  British attire, was given the Ankara treatment this year – the Macintosh as redesigned by Burberry Prorsum. And it looked good too! We’re pleased Vogue’s Anna Wintour shares that view – and if you needed proof that African print fashion has made it into the critical eyes of those in the know, well here it is.


    Ankara in this sense is like an indie band which has now come into the mainstream after years of playing to a fiercely loyal following that knows exactly how good it is. Welcome to Ankara! We think the march of the Ankara continues: we’ve seen Ankara-covered baby buggies, suitcases, handbags, baseball caps, boots, iPad covers, lampshades and sofas. Ankara is fun, it’s bright and it’s expressive. There’s one for every mood and personality: from subdued to vivacious, calm and outrageous, and everything in-between.
    And most of all, now the cat’s out of the bag and it’s proving its versatility and staying power – frankly, we want it to stay that way!

    Solange Knowles in Boxing Kitten’s Ankara bustier

    Get a variety of Ankara-infused looks for all persuasions, visit Sapellé’s online store and express yourself!

    Ankara meets West: Swing dress meets Ankara. Dress by Modahnik, available now at