LAJA Runway: LFDW 2016

Lisa Folawiyo stays giving me life
Andrea Iyamah can adopt me now
Tears for this David Tlale (South Africa) dress
Aso Oke skirt from Ladunni Lambo (Nigeria),  LOVE
Onalaja (Nigeria) serving elegance
This Odio Mimonet (Nigeria) skirt tho
Omilua (Nigeria) taking mixing print to a new level
Classic Maki Oh (Nigeria)
Oh just another photo from Lisa Folawiyo’s collection
Lagos Fashion and Design Week just took place the last week of October for the span of 4 days. The showcase takes place annually to provide a platform for various African designers to showcase their talent. It was founded by Omoyemi Akerele, a lawyer turned fashion mogul and all round #StrongIntelligentWoman, in 2011. It’s been going strong ever since.
I’ll be sharing my favorite designs with you. At first glance, the common colour trends were black, lilacs, maroons, oranges and surprisingly, pale greens. Hands down my favorite collections was Lisa Folawiyo (Nigeria) here skills in elegantly mixing ankara never seize to amaze me. Andrea Iyamah attention to details and cuts really impressed me, I’ll have everything from the collection please.
David Tlale (South Africa) was another fave with a mostly white and navy blue colour palette and specifically his use of woven fabric (not sure the name, share if you do). Finally, Ladunni Lambo used aso-oke fabric for her designs and did a fab job creating fluidity and volume for such a thick/stiff fabric.
So tell me, which is your favorite look?
See a recap of LFDW here
Photo credit: Kola Oshalusi (Insigna)

Always,

Miss LAJA

BRAG 2016

Twirlll
Miss LAJA X Mummy LAJA 😀
Loved the decor
LAJA X Laquan Smith ❤ 
Mega babe 😀 
#StrongIndependentWomen 
The Honorees
From the latest in #LAJAInNewYork, I had an absolute blast attending the BRAG 2016 Gala. BRAG (Black Retail Action Group) is a non-profit striving for diversity within the fashion and retail industry. It’s lovely being a part of such incredibly intelligent people who are passionate and driven.
My stay was short but sweet (one night), I flew in from Boston and the lovely Mummy LAJA was my date 🙂 The honorees were LaQuan Smith, Terri Hines, Jason McNary and Durand Guion- all with incredibly successful careers in fashion and retail.
Felt like an absolute Queen in my outfit thanks to the Enyabere set and my sick blouse. Gotta love some back action !
Till next time, New York.

Always,

Miss LAJA

LAJA X Forbes

In my LAJA Aniocha wrap dress

Honored to have been selected as a Forbes Under 30 2016 Scholar. It’s a very exciting recognition, cheers to more exciting things to come and thank you all for the support you’ve shown LAJA so far. Much love and have an exciting week!

Always,

Miss LAJA

Sighting: Éclat Collections

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LAJA: So, give us a schpill about yourself.
Kem
i: My name is Olukemi Adeyemi. I am Nigerian and the second child in my family of five. I grew up in Lagos, Nigeria but moved to the U.S for college. I am currently a sophomore at Temple University, Philadelphia and I major in Human Resource Management in the Fox School of Business. I am 20 years old! I love God, kids, food and helping people. I believe life is like a roller coaster ride and I try to enjoy every moment of it!

LAJA: Young minds winning! So what are the motivations behind Éclat Designs?

Kemi: Motivations for our designs are mostly the African print “Ankara” and the love for stylish items with a touch of Ankara. I can see or think of something really nice and come up with ideas on how our prints can be incorporated to make a lovely design.

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LAJA: #Ankaralove all the way! In your journey, what are you most proud of?

Kemi: Right now I’m proud that Éclat Collections has a website! It’s amazing and humbling at the same time to see how far we have grown in one year and six months. The opportunities we have had and where we have been. I would not have believed any of all these would have been possible two years ago. I’m excited and I know it only gets better for Eclat Collections from here!

LAJA: Let’s jump several steps. Where do you see your designs in the next 5 years? 10 years?

Kemi: I see Éclat designs rising as one of the best African Inspired lines. I see celebrities and people from different decent rocking our items! Eclat is working hard to not only be known in the U.S but worldwide. A brand to be reckoned with.

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LAJA: Your thoughts on the future of African fashion?

Kemi: I believe fashion in Africa will become a lasting trend. We have a growing potential and market for fashion in Africa. Amazing talents everywhere and even undiscovered ones. It will be a platform for transformation in different African cities and hopefully a thread that binds us together. We just need to cultivate the habit of supporting and encouraging our own as that is vital for growth!

LAJA: Kudos to you on being a full time student and business woman. How do you handle both while keeping your sanity?

Kemi: Honestly, God has been my strength and biggest motivation. He truly keeps me going and focused when it gets hard and stressful. I’ve also learnt to multi-task and to set my priorities right. For now, my education comes first and then my business. When it’s getting overwhelming I slow down a bit with my business in order to gain balance. My younger sister, Tofunmi Adeyemi, has been my right hand! She’s really awesome and helps with the business. She handles a lot which makes life easier. My friend also Tinuke Faloye, has been of great support as she assists with our social media and designs. It does get stressful sometimes but when you love what you are doing, you’re motivated to keep it going!

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LAJA: Snaps for the prioritizing tip, I agree, it’s everything. Since you give goof advice, what’s your biggest life and career tip?

Kemi: For life, be grateful to God for the things you have, where you are and the people around you. Life can get tough but don’t dwell in your pains and misfortunes that you get so blind to those around you that may be going through the same or worse and fail to lend a helping hand. Everyone has different seasons in life, be present in your life and work towards being a better you.

For career, never despise small beginnings. It may not be smooth at the beginning and you may get discouraged but keep pressing on and going after what you love. Stay true to yourself, idea and build great relationships along the way!

LAJA: I’m a big believer in quotes/proverbs so what’s yours and what does it means to you?

Kemi: My favorite quote is “Charisma without Character leads to Disaster” I love this quote as I believe ones attitude in life is very important and can set the tone of success or failure. Your character can take you to places beyond your imaginations. People may forget your face but won’t forget how you made them feel. It’s not just okay to have a nice face without a nice attitude. Beauty fades but character stays.

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LAJA: It was lovely speaking with you, Kemi. If we want to come say hi, where do we find you?

Come find us on:

Instagram : @eclatcollections / @kemstarr__

Facebook: Éclat Collections

Website:eclatco.bigcartel.com

Email: eclatcollections@gmail.com

I love learning about new brands and personalities pioneering the use of African prints in fashion, art and beyond. If this describes you,  LAJA wants to hear your story. Shoot an email to aaliogo96@gmail.com and we’ll go from there!

Photos provided by Éclat Collections

Always,

Miss LAJA

Sighting: Chukwu “D” Designz

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I met up with the brains behind Chukwu “D’ Designs, Derrick Okeke. While shooting his pieces for this post, I learnt he is self-taught in the art ofankara wrapping and sewing. Talk about determination! Derrick is a Nigerian native and only started creating his designs back in 2015. I first saw his pieces during the African Explosion fashion show I went to last year and got way too excited seeing his shoes glide down the runway. Without much ado, enjoy the causal chitchat and I hope you appreciate this rising talent as much as I do…

LAJA: Tell us about Chukwu “D” Designz. What’s your background?

C: Chukwu “D” Designz are a variety of shoes and custom made clutches hand wrapped in beautiful African textiles. Chukwu “D” is what I used to personalize my business name, which comes from my middle name ‘Chukwudi’ meaning ‘God is alive’ or ‘there is God’. I have always been inspired as a child by African prints by it’s geometrical shapes and boldness in color, in my eyes these prints spoke strength and confidence to me. My designs comes form my prophetic vision of the chosen fabric that will be later crafted on a canvas whether being on a shoe or bag. My background is Nigerian (Igbo) and American. I consider sharing my stories of inspiration on each hand wrapped shoe and bag.

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LAJA: Who or where do you get your inspiration from?

C: I get my inspiration from my Nigerian cultural background, watching numerous of Naija films. Nigerian culture is full of life, energy and love. I am also inspired in the process of how the fabrics are actually made and that each print has its own symbolic meaning.

LAJA: Where do you see your designs in the next 5 years? 10 years?

C: In the next 5 years, I expect to see my designs featured in fashion magazines and worn by many who are inspired by each design that is created. In the next 10 years, I see my designs in stores and advertised internationally. I would love to see my designs to be showcased in a high end fashion show along with other well-known designers.

LAJA: What do you believe is the future for African fashion?

C: I believe the future for African fashion is bright and full of growth that will never lose its trend because African print looks good on everyone!!!

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LAJA: Your favorite piece from your collection?

C: My favorite piece from my collection is my 1st design that I created for my sister (Chinyere) who first gave me my stamp of approval to continue…honestly all of my pieces are my favorite because I put my heart into each design.

LAJA: What is your biggest life and career advice?

C: My biggest life and career advice is to always trust God and believe in yourself. Get connected with a good and strong support system and never give up on your dream because dreams do come true!!!

LAJA: Your favorite quote or proverb and what it means to you?

C: ‘There is no elevator to success. You have to take the stairs’   Author: unknown

This quote means that success only comes from hard work and dedication.  Through sacrifice and loosing countless numbers of sleep I am now reaping the start of success from a business that I have envisioned to prosper and reach many all over the world… miss-laja-african-fashion-4

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Chukwu “D” Designz will be featuring his piece’s in Duke University’s Annual African Cultural Showcase, JABULANI.

Date: Saturday April 2nd 2016 7pm (FREE Admission)

Location: Duke University’s Paige Auditorium.

Learn more about Chukwu “D” Designz

Email: chukwudidesignz@outlook.com

Cell: (919) 523-0066

Love African fashion/African prints and want to share your story? Are you a brand/personality pioneering the use of African prints in fashion, decor, art and beyond? We want to hear your story. Shoot us an email at aaliogo96@gmail.com

Always,

Miss LAJA

Sighting: Kim Shui

  
It’s been the longest time since my last sighting post but I have another interesting one for you today! Last Fridays, I had the opportunity to meet fashion designer, Kim Shui. She had a fashion show titled “The Blue Devil Wears Prada” last Saturday that I was privileged to be a  part of but before I go into that, let’s rewind back to the day before the show.

So, the plan on my end was to connect with Kim, learn about her and her experiences in the fashion show because you know, I also really into fashion as well. Oh, you didn’t know? Well, now you do. So yes, that was the plan. I thought we’d set up a one on one meeting but nope, it was the dress rehearsal for the fashion show the next day. So you’d think this would be obvious considering I actually knew about the show; in fact I was going to “help out” behind the scenes with wardrobe styling but at this point I didn’t know what exactly I was doing. Cutting the long story short, I was shocked I walked into the dress rehersal and I met Kim and her colleague J’Mill (whose outfit I was oogling at the whole time). 

Although I didn’t get to talk to Kim one-on-one for a long time since everyone was running around, it was a great experience seeing what goes in behind the scenes the day before a fashion show. I was able to give some inputs on the music choices for the walks and also assess if the clothings the models had on were flattering on them. We did runs to “practise” changing between scenes because some models had little time between each change. In short, we had to be QUICK. I really enjoyed it! Pretty amazing right? I got photos with the duo and said my goodbyes.

Moving on to Saturday, I got backstage at 4pm (the show was scheduled for 7pm) and then, I discovered my purpose. I was to direct the models by making sure they wore the right outfit for the right scene and lined up on time and accordingly. So basically keeping everyone in check. Now, the situation is that I hadn’t been in situation like this where I basically had to bark out orders at people but I’ll tell you this, as much as it was terrifying, it felt pretty darn good. Haha! I was actually surprised/proud of myself. I worked alongside another colleague who made sure things were running smoothly outside the dressing room so it was nicely shared. I also had the help from the hairstylists and makeup artists plus some models had friends to help them switch outfits.

I zipped, unzipped, buckled and unbuckled a million times and from my point of view, things were far from fabulous behind the scenes. That’s one of the things I really appreciate about fashion; everyone goes through hell to ensure the end results look like they dropped floated down from heaven. There’s so much work that goes on. From an outsiders point, you’ll won’t have the slightest idea when you see those models walking down the runway or those pictures looking so polished. I seriously loved it and if you can’t tell by now, I learnt a greattt deal just working behind the scenes. I really had a good time and Kim/J’Mill were a delight to work with. Just being there alone, I learnt that I do like wardrobe styling/directing life and I’d sure like to do it again. I’ll be honest and say I was a bit intimidated but once I eased into it, I was quite surprised at myself. 
Although Kim and I have different aesthetics in fashion, I was really impressed with her collections. My favorite pieces were from this collection and these jackets are absolutely stunning! It’d be interesting to see how I can blend it with ankara, haha!

Anyways, Kim is the first designer I’ve worked closely with and it was an awesome opportunity. She’ll definitely not be the last but all the best on her endeavors. It’s great finding/meeting a Duke alumni that’s fully immersed in the fashion industry. Woop woop!
Always,
Miss LAJA

Sighting: Godi Godar



Woop woop! Another cool sighting with a different twist! 

Meet Godi Godar, founder of GOConsciousEarth from the Democratic Republic Of Congo (DRC). He came to talk about story, his culture and his works in my french class. I know, I seem to meet really interesting figures in my French class. Cheers to more interesting people and French classes! Hahaha!


In short, GCE is “a nonprofit organization that exists to understand, protect and conserve Earth’s ecosystems and indigenous communities.”GCE

So yes, he is an environmentalist who moved to the States and has been here for 28 years! He founded GCE to help his tribal land against excessive logging and environmental abuse. I could blab more about it but you can read the full story here and here

I was really inspired by his story because not only did he leave his family and community back home to pursue better opportunities but he came back and is now making an impact; starting with his home town. He didn’t forget them.

He speaks French and English so I had the opportunity to ask him a couple of questions. Enjoy, my loves!

What inspired you to start GoConsciousEarth? 
GG: My dearest mother first inspired me with GCE. She called and said “Logging companies are too involved in lake Tumba and what are we doing to protect our ancestral land?” My response and eventually my promise to her was to protect the community’s land rights and we did. Unfortunately my dearest mom passed over two years ago, the same time GCE actually started. I carry this promise with me wherever I go. Secondly, I had a dream when I was 11 years old that one day I would one day leave my tribe and return to help my people. This inspired me a lot.

What is your organization’s greatest accomplishment so far? What challenges did you face?
GG: Our greatest accomplishment is signing two concessions from DRC’s government protecting almost 1 million acres of the most resilient parts in the rainforest from deforestation and climate change. It was challenging especially when dealing with the government.

 Where do you see GoConsciousEarth in the next 5 years? 10 years?
GG: In the next 5 years, GCE would have grown to help tribal communities on basic needs like schools, healthcare, clean water, transportations, foyer centers and many more. In 10 years, we hope for a more global reach with more concessions (acres of land and forests) being protected.


Tell us about someone who has an impact on who you are today. What lessons did you learn from them?
GG: As the popular saying goes “it takes a village to raise a child” so my dearest mother and my tribe in lake Tumba impacted me greatly. When I travel with my church from Chapel Hill throughout world to do mission trips the children, my mother, my family in Lake Tumba impact me the most because they remind me that is my passion and purpose in life.

Any advice for younger people wanting to follow their passions like starting a company?
GG: Believe in yourself, always speak from your heart not from your lips and no matter how people try to put you down, follow your dreams and never give up in life. We all have ability to overcome.

What is your favorite Congolese proverb and what does it mean? 
GG: My favor Congolese proverb is:”Mohai momo mopohe nokola elongi” which means “More than one finger is needed to do the job. It cannot do it alone.”

Always,
Miss LAJA