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Black Girl on the Front Row!

Tag: PRINTS

‘SPOTLIGHT ON: THE WALKING-WORKS-OF-ART OF ‘KWEKU CLOTHING’!’

…So, by now, you might have detected that I am, somewhat of, a voracious Creative-Arts-lover…and that I am especially passionate about using my own platform to promote the excting results of multidisciplinary cross-fertilisation.

Well, fresh from my EC1 and 2 jaunts and the social-media coverage, thereof, I have noticed that I am being ‘followed’…. by a steady stream of funky, new designers on the fashion-block! The most recent label to become a member of the fashion-fabulous Afrow-Family, is that of ‘Kweku (pronounced Kwayku!) Clothing’. The eponymous clothing-line of Ghanaian-born, London-raised, Goldsmith’s graduate, Kweku Quagraine, this is a brand which majors on making purse-friendly, wallet-welcoming pieces of boldly artistic sartorial statements, yet, without the merest mention of a word! So, naturally, yours truly has seized-the-day and taken up the mantle to spread it for him!

At first glance, his menswear and womenswear pieces are striking! Heavy with symbolism, Quagraine thrives on incorporating his Socio-Political scholastic background into his craft and excels in channelling these influences through the joint-conduits of art and fashion-design. For example, the ‘Trigon’ signature, is a triangular motif, in reference to the map of Africa and in deference to his native roots, whilst ‘The Krypt’ is an intriguing metaphor alluding to the differing perspectives, regarding regional identities. His distinctive flair for originality also comes to the fore in the ‘Tribal’ print, in which heritage-patterns from the Ghanaian Ashanti and Ancient Mayan traditions are beautifully-balanced to produce a new KC hallmark. The geometric ‘Colour’ graphic displays a fearless and insistent use of the spectrum, which draws inspiration from unity-in-diversity, as manifested in the London Olympics of 2012. However, Quagraine finds the Natural World as much of a catalyst as that of the Human, evidenced in ‘The Hive’ honeycomb-logo, itself, a nod to such solidarity and unity, in bees.

It is this effortless meandering through parallel universes, which sets Kweku Clothing apart from many others of its emerging counterparts. Will you find such on-trend silhouettes as the ‘body-con’ dress in midi/maxi-lengths? Undoubtedly. Is there a broad choice of sweatshirts, t-shirts, crop tops and vest-tops? Absolutely! But you’d be hard-pressed to find the same capability for siphoning so many global topics into the fashion-world, in such modern, affordable and accessible ways and furthermore, to do so with such a Fine-Art sensibility!

For all of theses reasons and more, am I championing Kweku Quagraine and urging you to WAKE-UP TO ‘KWEKU CLOTHING’….STANDARD!

www.kwekuclothing.com ~ www.facebook.com/KwekuClothing

©AFROW 2013-2019 ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

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TWITTER-TESTIMONIAL FROM KWEKU CLOTHING (@KwekuClothing)!

‘…Thanks very much for such an eloquent and flattering write-up!!’

Creative Arts go OFF-the-BEAT-en track!

All roads led to ‘The Oval Space’, in Bethnal Green, last night, for one of the most anticipated of multi-media mash-ups on the Creative-Arts Calendar, namely, ‘The Shoreditch Fashion Show 2013’! You might remember that I was more-than-a-tad excited at the prospect of attending the event, which was presented by ‘öffbeat’, the Arts lifestyle brand… Well, it was, indeed, an extraordinary display of, what I happen to believe, makes the power of creative-collaboration so undeniably potent.

The moment I entered into the behemoth of this, formerly-derelict, space, pregnant with potential, I immediately sensed a synchronicity between the throbbing baseline, which was disseminating through my central nervous system and the  contractions of imminent, fashion-brand-births! I also found myself marvelling at just how perfectly-balanced a venue it was, being, at once, expansive, with enough room in which to throw and catch shapes, a-plenty, whilst also intimate enough to accommodate the collective energy of a collaborative congregation.

The vibe was rich and distinct. People from all walks-of-life rubbed shoulders, as they shook to the dynamic DJ-grooves and pressed palms with artists and designers, alike, in congratulatory exuberance. However, just like the beats, the meet-and-greets didn’t stop, for these everday-people embraced one another, as well as opportunities to form newfound fashion-friendships.

Co-existing under this banner of ’emergent ambience’ were starkly-contrasting Art-forms. In one corner was housed a formidable frieze of stylised character-outlines, created by self-confessed Narnia-resident, Dom&Ink! These especially-conceived, ebullient images were oft-surrounded by admirers, yet, things took a definite turn, when the quiff-sporting illustrator, and author of ‘Map Of My Heart’, appeared, and encouraged the observers to colour them in! Around the corner, more exceptional Art took my breath away. Wandering guests were bathed in diffused, iridescent light, emitted from the impressive installations, at floor and eye-levels, of SunYin Xiaowen and Aphra Shezma. Others stood, face-to-face, with equally-stunning, Fine Art offerings from Linda Cieniawska, Charlotte Osbourne and Gwyneth Fugard. As I passed by the intermittent onlookers, it was as if their inner energies were mirrored by the pieces, in such a way as to become ‘human glowsticks’ and ‘living wallpaper’ and I recall feeling truly priveleged, not only to witness the effect of such private moments, being experienced in public, but to also be an integral part of appreciating the exquisite talent.

As time grew nearer to the presentation of fashion, which was so on-edge, it felt as if someone were scraping their fingernails down a blackboard, excitement was fuelled by singing sensation, Vince Kidd. All but prowling-the-platform, he delivered Otis-Redding-raw vocals, with a similarly-seasoned prowess, speaking-to-the-deeps with his soul-inspired spin, on life, love and all that lies between. After taking the audience upon a heartfelt journey, Kidd made his exit, stage left, to whoops of delight and enthusiastic applause, leaving the see-through screen to became the backdrop behind which each model would wait, before taking to the runway.

In a bid to further immerse myself into the experience, yours truly took to her second home (for which I didn’t need to find five percent!), the Frow! Suddenly, silhouettes of each collection were backlit-to-perfection, establishing the effect of a ‘fashion-fourth-wall’, as well as indicating that, tonight, something was coming, which was better than good! However, this separation was soon to be aurally removed by bespoke, live collaborations with up-and-coming musicians who, from the stature of their performances, are bound to make increasingly influential impacts in each of their respective genres. First-up, was the amazing singer, Lydia Baylis, who tore-away-the-veil, with a unique set of beautifully-accompanied, sultry, acoustic-folk. Hot-on-her-heels, and before anyone had time to settle into the still, harmonic haze, ‘Kill It Kid’ stepped up and totally smashed the divide, juxtaposing the, previously, gentle mood, with an awesome repertoire of sonic explosions! Both styles brilliantly served to complement the essence of each designer-aesthetic and we were treated to a creative-clash which would put the SS14 ‘print-clash’ trend of any well-known fashion-house to shame!

Models with raked-back, ‘just-got-out-of-bed’ Batiste-hair and fashion-forward, metallic make-up were bedecked in sublime, sheer pieces from the avant-garde world of Marcelo Yarussi, the deftest of twists on masterful, digitally-printed garments, designed by Nicolas Wirth and the cool creations of blank-canvas-white, high-end futurism of London College of Fashion Graduate, Isabell Yalda Hellysaz. The fêted, power-house-of-a design institution was also showcased via the stand-out, all-black, structural apparel from Maria Zhminko, the intriguing, open-weave, cage-like, riffs on body-con from design-duo, Rebecca Morter and Gemma Vanson and the decadent columns-of-kaftans, with concentrated print-formations, from the joint-genius-pairing of Christina Tiran and Victoria Rowley.

As the showlights faded, such superstar-DJ names as the irrepressible ‘Bill & Will’, ‘Shivas Regal’, the A&R-astute founder of Tigermilk Recordings, and idiosyncratic rhythm-maker, ‘Mculo’, were heralded to take-to-the-decks and storm-the soundsystem! With a two-step, here, and a head-nod, there, (but, sadly, before the anticipated arrival of the superb Rufio Summers), I was ready to bow-out gracefully and wind my way through a London-town which, once again, felt like a haven for burgeoning, undiscovered artistry. In fact, I can’t remember a night where so many apparent-strangers were apt-for-sharing, participating and co-creating such a ‘moment’ in time.. It just goes to show that there is a real fashion-fellowship, of sorts, doing-away with the out-dated image of an industry which is, supposedly, replete with back-biting, where only the strong survive, and is redefining it, as one filled with opportunities to go beyond disciplines or regions and traverse brand new terrain! Of course, no industry is perfect, but the ethos behind such events as ‘The Shoreditch Fashion Show’, promotes the commercial as a facilitative route and supportsystem to creativity, whilst maintaining, without compromise, the core integrity of the energy-source from which successful collaboration grows.

So, my deepest gratitude goes out to öffbeat, for providing me with with the chance to be part of such a unique vibe. Further congratulations go out to all other sponsors/ affiliates, both front and back-of-house, involved in delivering this fantastic gathering. Last night was everything it promised to be, an interactive celebration of multi-media expression, par excellence, filled with extraordinary and inspiring examples of Creative-Arts-at-their-best and I cannot recommend ‘The Shoreditch Fashion Show’ to you, highly enough! Neither can I wait to see how öffbeat and partners focus-pull their combined-skills to shine new lights on rising-stars of parallel creative-platforms in 2014!

©AFROW2013-2019 ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

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TWITTER-TESTIMONIALS FROM ‘VIVID FASHION GROUP’ (@VIVIDFashionGrp)

‘One of the most descriptive and all together best blogs we have read!! @A_F_R_O_W please review all our events!’

‘…just re-read your blog on the show, it’s such an honour that what we created came across to you. Thank you for your words x’

MARIA GRACHVOGEL DESIGNS LEAVE YOU FLOATING ON AIR…

Maria Grachvogel is an utter genius when it comes to stylistic superlatives of length and volume and today’s show more than lived up to her global reputation.

Blouses were soft, sleeveless and silver-grey, trousers flowed powerfully, yet gracefully as tidal waves, jumpsuits were elegantly figure-embracing, with  ‘v’, ‘square’, and draped-necks and dresses were maxi-lengthed, columns of grace…

Any departure from her well-loved repertoire incorporated asymetry, most notably in a dazzling dress, the colours of which seemed to have been boldly applied free-hand. The relaxed mood was also illustrated by a tie-front, cross-over jacket, as well as a wonderful, grey leather blouson, masterfully cut, in defiance of the its usually, less pliable properties.

Prints, though digital, had an artisanal touch, seeing steel-grey stripes merging with oak-browns, coffee-caramels saturated into chocolate-browns and pastel-peach to add a subtle drama. A stand-out motif had the appearance of veins from the underside of a leaf and appeared upon skirt and blouse separates, as well as being echoed upon both black-on-white and sheer versions of a floor-sweeping dress.

A glorious gown of the afore-mentioned chocolate brown/ grey variety with a stunning, fishtail train was the last swathe of garment to close a show which, from start to finish, exemplified the polish, poise and versatility typical of Miss Grachvogel’s distinguished design flair and artistry.

Simply put, it was a sublime crescendo to a spectacular last day…

©AFROW2013-2019 ALL RIGHTS RESERVED