In 2010 we brought you our inaugural list of the 10 Most Influential African Fashion websites. The websites and blogs were selected based on their coverage of African fashion and promotion of African fabrics and fashion trends. Our list contained a curious and eclectic mix of both websites and blogs, some of which were established and had enormous experience in the fashion industry whilst others were personal fashion blogs.
This year we bring you the 10 newest online power players in the African fashion industry. The African fashion blogosphere and websites are always expanding—and the latest talent to catch our computer screens have passion, style and a deep interest in celebrating African fashion.
By Ada Iwugo, Fashion and Lifestyle Editor
Ada has spent most of her career working at some of the world’s most prestigious luxury goods companies, including Christian Dior. She currently works as a Commercial Manager at the World’s largest fragrance company.
Follow me on twitter @mywekulifestyle
Africa Fashion Guide
Africa Fashion Guide is the brainchild of Jacqueline Shaw a professional fashion designer, a visionary and an eco-entrepreneur with a big heart for Africa, Fashion and International Development. Africa Fashion Guide focuses on promoting African fashion and textile industry to the greater global textile industry. The site is arguably the biggest Promoter of African cotton farming and garment manufacturing, Africa fashion and Ethical Fashion on this list. The Africa Fashion Guide website will be moving to AfricanFashionGuide.com along with a fashion book in summer 2011.
MyFashionLife which is a mixture of a blog and an online magazine started as an online diary in 2003. This site is owned by Michele Obi (one of Britain’s Best Fashion Bloggers). MyFashionLife was included in our list not necessarily becouse of its content which is predominantly global but for the inspiration that others could draw from its founder. Michele Obi quit her job to run the site, which has over 150,000 unique visitors a month full time. Michele’s experience on the global fashion scene has been priceless in introducing concepts such as the pop up boutique concept in Nigeria. Michele also runs Verve! a “luxury sample sale” shop, which provides exclusive access to the hottest items of the season.
Shadders is dedicated to African Fashion, Beauty, Art and Designs inspired by Africa. The main focus of the website revolves around timely updates on fashion shows and events. Shadders was established in October 2007 and since then it has expanded to include an exceptional group of contributors (mostly from Ghana and the UK) with lots of profiles on designers and models. As they say at Shadders “We write. We post. You read and We all promote African Fashion.”
J’Adore Fashion is a personal style blog full of inspiration and photos for young fashionistas. The site is worth checking out especially for the smart separates and chic accessories. J’Adore is run by a 20 something year old Nigerian-American, whose taste is impeccable, classy, and sassy.
Style House Files (SHF)
Style House Files (SHF) is a fashion lover’s guide to fashion, style, and beauty from an African perspective. From discovering emerging designers, to establishing initiatives in support of consumer purchase growth such as ‘BuyNigerian’, and signature interviews with fashion creatives like photographer Andrew Dosunmu, SHF remains at the pulse of global fashion whilst staying in tune with all that pertains to African fashion.
The Brown Girls Files
Kenyan born, Joan Erakit is the founder of TheBrownGirlFiles. She excels at projecting her own world view – the key to all successful blogs. This is an eclectic blog that delights in taking the reader into the fashion world of Joan Erakit. She says of herself ” I studied Anthropology as an undergrad and found myself attached to the concepts of body language and self expression. These two concepts have equipped me with the ability to understand fashion, from which I have graduated to the comprehension of style. Style is personal, it evolves with time, and in most cases…rare”.
Gillean Opoku’s blog AFROKLECTIC is a photo and video heavy lifestyle blog with significant African fashion content. AFROKLECTIC is all about the young and the trendy, and that’s what AFROKLECTIC does best. In her own words “Africa is rich textiles, ancient tapestry woven in renowned villages for hundreds of years, strings and strings of coloured beads, adorned all over the body. Africa is the soulful song of a chosen people within novels, poetry, paint, clothing, jewellery and dance.We are an eclectic cohort of designers, writers, artists, performers and entertainers. We are Africans and this is Afroklectic. A place to educate on what Africa is, pushing aside the tired misconception of what Africa is not.”
Africa Fashion Week New York (AFWNY)
AFWNY’s vision is to break through the New York fashion noise and allow diverse and upcoming designers to voice themselves through creative forums. Their mission is to raise awareness and market diverse fashion professional’s talents and skills. What caught our eye is the extent to which AFWNY and Adiree is going about bringing together a plethora of fashion designers and other industry specialists to put together a multi-day event to showcase African designers this year (2011). The promotion and marketing of the event, which in our view will be the event of the year for the African fashion industry has been exemplary. Our feature on AFWNY provides full details of the event.
The Fashion Notebook
The Fashion Notebook (“Beauty Award” in Kenya Blog Awards in 2010) is my Editor’s favourite fashion blog and a brilliant antidote to the froth of most diaspora based online fashion blogs. Nancie Mwai who was recently featured on the MTV Style Blog is the owner of the The Fashion Notebook. She stated recently to AllAfrica that “in Nigeria and South Africa, fashion bloggers have a role to play in their respective industry. I hope that will be the case in Kenya as well” Asked by AfriLove where she intended to be in 10 years, Nancie stated rather emphaticall that “I am hoping that in 10 years I’ll be an editor of a magazine, or better yet, own a fashion magazine. We need more of those in Kenya”.
Milisuthando Bongela is arguably South Africa’s foremost fashion blogger and owner of Miss Milli World Blog. She is a journalist by profession and a recent judge for ELLE New Talent at SA Fashion Week. In an article on What role do fashion bloggers play?, in iFashion (One of our selection for the top 10 Most Influential African Blogs/Websites last year) Milisuthando stated that, “Some really young fashion bloggers have currently got the world’s attention because they have deconstructed the meaning of what it is to ‘know fashion’, they are representing voices we’ve never cared to listen to”. Miss Milli World Blog is a lovely personal blog following Milisuthand’s adventures in South Africa style–from shooting a video for clinique, to attending architecture related events to spending some quality time at the theatre.
Last year’s 10 Most influential African websites were: BHF Magazine, iFashion, I wear African – African Vibes Magazine, Ladybrille Magazine, ARISE magazine Online, FashionAfrica.com, Uzuri, Ciaafrique, Africana Wardrobe Diary and Bella Naija.
These luminaries undoubtedly remain as influential as they were last year. This year’s new 10 should be viewed as new members to this exclusive group!
Next year’s nominations:
Please use the comments section below to recommend nominees for next year’s list.
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