Monday, December 9, 2013

African Fashion and Community: Dear Curves

Currently, all eyes are on South Africa as the country and the world mourns the life of Nelson Mandela.  Thinking back on Mandela's life, I began to think about what life would be like on the continent (and abroad really) without his influence. And since at the day job I work with (and do a loot of hours) on a fashion brand, it got me thinking about the African influence on the fashion industry.  I wonder how many of these designers, who have been courageous in bringing African fashion, ideas and inspiration to the masses, would have fared without the courage and sacrifice of people like Mandela lighting the way.  

I feel it is very encouraging that Africa and African fashion is front and center lately; the fashion forward Kenyan textiles of Suno, the popular African inspired bridal magazine Munaluchi Bridal, and major brands  like Burberry and Marni have interpreted traditional African fashion prints – such as the Ankara For (which is super fab by the way!). What many of these developments have in common is the desire to bring the Western world African fashion and inspiration, while also choosing to do so in a way that is sustainable and benefits the greater community.

I mean for real? All of this!
I was introduced to the Nigerian-inspired Dear Curves line recently and I have to say, was easy to love!

Dear Curves, is an African inspired clothing line for plus size women is the brainchild of plus size model and fashion designer; Linda Idegwu. The brand strives to promote and represent Africa through fashion and our consistent usage of African wax print fabrics in the most creative way.  In addition, to offering American styling (read: peplums and pencil skirts) for the American curvy woman, the line also helps to create sustainable business for African fabric makers.

Sisi Eko Erle Print Dress

Based in London but with an eye to the street style of Lagos, Nigeria, the Dear Curves girl is urban and fashion forward while always keeping an eye on African tradition.  You can find her dancing the night way in London and New York, or meeting friends for a bite at a local bar (like Dear Curves favorite) Bar Zuma in the Knightsbridge district in London.

I really enjoy watching all of the creativity and diversity of the fashion world and am inspired by the focus of many of the brands to work with and contribute to local communities.  I think that is something we all can take with us--for profit--or not.  Our communities support us. When one prospers we all do.

“ As we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.” 
― Nelson Mandela


Erica Michele