“I” dialed his number. It was quite late here in California. In fact, I stayed up way past midnight so I could get him during business hours in South Africa. “Hello,” he answered after several rings. I proceeded to introduce myself. I told him the months of research I had done and my vision for African fashion in the USA. I told him no one was doing it and as a Western fashion insider, I was tired of the big void in the industry that ignored African designers. I saw the end result: American celebrities would wear African designs and it would be no big deal. The media space would be saturated with coverage of African fashion and it would be no big deal. I wanted to speak to Blacks, Whites, Asians and Indians in America and Europe. Africans did not need to be told how awesome they were. The West, however, needed to hear it.
I told him that I needed him and many like him to make it happen. I could write persuasively but I needed powerful images on par with those seen in the West of Africans in fashion doing their thing. Fashion connects with women, worldwide and that is how I intended to change our image as Africans, one fashion story at a time. Coincidentally, he wanted the same thing. That vision in my head over three years ago, when I made that call, is now a reality. It is what you see before you as Ladybrille. Folks, if you can dream it, you can achieve it. The impossible is possible.
Welcome to Ladybrille Magazine’s March 2011 Spring Fashion Edition! My hope is that as we focus on African fashion this month, where Ladybrille began, every article you read on our website, throughout the month, informs, inspires, excites and pushes you to make your dreams a reality. What better way to really drive home the point than for us at Ladybrille to honor a woman whose legacy illustrates the power of belief? I speak of the one and only IMAN, a fashion icon, activist and humanitarian.
“She is flawless and proof positive of the power of conviction in a world where success can be elusive and out of reach. You have to give it up to Iman. She did it on her own,” is what Michael Palladino, formerly with Henri Bendel and now fashion professor at LIM College in New York, had to say when I placed Iman’s cover on my personal Facebook profile page. Indeed.
If you were wondering who I spoke of in my introduction, his name is Simon Deiner, a prolific photographer based in South Africa. He is our Ladybrille Man of the Month. Simon, since our phone talk, is now one of the most recognizable names in Africa’s fashion industry. He has shared his images with Ladybrille and countless others offline and online. Almost every image from fashion shows and events online has Simon’s name tagged to it. We salute and celebrate him. His feature will be published on Thursday, March 10th, 2011, while Iman’s will be on Monday March 7th, 2011.
There are more amazing features throughout the month like our emerging Artist to Watch Allegra Fletcher, jewelry designer Monalisa Okojie of Nehita Designs and of course loads of African inspired fashions. We are also not quite finished with our coverage of fashion weeks. There are collections from all of the fashion shows since last month we will feature throughout the month. Stay connected with us. “LIKE” our Facebook fan page, follow us on twitter, share with a friend the other side of Africa they never see. Share with them our work on Ladybrille.
Watch Angelique Kidjoe Pay Tribute to Iman at the BET Honors Awarding.
Uduak Oduok, Esq.