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Fashion

Filtering by Tag: Sierra Leone

World Bank Creative Development Reception

Munje Foh

When I started blogging almost two years ago, I never imagined that my journey would include planning fashion events.  The Creative Development Reception was an idea that I developed after participating in a focus group a few months ago for the World Bank's Sierra Leone Diaspora Investment Study.  The goal of the study was to collect data on the trends for diaspora investment (beyond just remittances) in Sierra Leone.  After the study was completed, they planned a full day forum to discuss the results of the survey and needed an idea for a reception to close out the event.  Fortunately, I was able to convince the organizers of the forum that a small fashion presentation would be both an enjoyable closeout to the forum and an excellent demonstration of the potential for sustainable development through investment in Sierra Leone's fashion industry.

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Flashing Lights: Fashion for Relief at NYFW 2015 featuring Madam Wokie

Munje Foh

On February 14, 2015, Naomi Campbell and an array of celebrity guests and models put on the Fashion for Relief show to raise funds for the Ebola affected nations of Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea.  A host of designers donated pieces for the models and celebrities to rock on the runway and Sierra Leone's own Madam Wokie was among those featured.  Philanthropy and community involvement are not new ventures for the brand, as Madam Wokie has been a regular supporter of local groups that provide care packages to Ebola staff and survivors, and before the outbreak developed training and employment programs that assist those displaced by Sierra Leone's civil war.  This time, Madam Wokie's charitable donation of a couture gown for feature in Fashion for Relief came with much deserved exposure for a brand that has taken the culture and craftsmanship of a little country to one of the world's largest stages.   I was invited along to experience Madam Wokie's debut at New York Fashion Week by my friend and creative director of the brand Mary Ann KaiKai.  I did my best to capture the moments in pictures below:

Mary Ann KaiKai with Tyson Beckford

Mary Ann KaiKai with Tyson Beckford

Mary Ann KaiKai with Estelle

Mary Ann KaiKai with Estelle

Mary Ann KaiKai with Jeannie Mai of the Real and NBC

Mary Ann KaiKai with Jeannie Mai of the Real and NBC

We chopped it up with Rosario Dawson and her lovely mom.

We chopped it up with Rosario Dawson and her lovely mom.

Beth Ann Hardison was in the house.

Beth Ann Hardison was in the house.

Mary J. Blige was incredibly humble, beautiful and sweet. Her spirit was just awesome.  Plus check out Rosario and model Chantelle Young-Brown taking a self in the background, lol.

Mary J. Blige was incredibly humble, beautiful and sweet. Her spirit was just awesome.  Plus check out Rosario and model Chantelle Young-Brown taking a self in the background, lol.

We got our mogul on with Russell Simmons.  Super cool guy.

We got our mogul on with Russell Simmons.  Super cool guy.

Mama Diddy was in the house and she came fly too! Her grandson Quincy Combs was in the show and she yelled for him every time he walked.  Too sweet.

Mama Diddy was in the house and she came fly too! Her grandson Quincy Combs was in the show and she yelled for him every time he walked.  Too sweet.

We caught up with the beautiful Cassie backstage.

We caught up with the beautiful Cassie backstage.

We ran into the super sweet Geneva Thomas from "Blood, Sweat and Heels."

We ran into the super sweet Geneva Thomas from "Blood, Sweat and Heels."

We were just about to take our seats for the show when we say gorgeous model Herieth Paul looking amazing in Mary Ann's design.

We were just about to take our seats for the show when we say gorgeous model Herieth Paul looking amazing in Mary Ann's design.

Herieth and her model friend Alewya Demmisse posing. Ha!

Herieth and her model friend Alewya Demmisse posing. Ha!

Brad Goreski and Kelly Osbourne of E's Fashion Police were on the scene.

Brad Goreski and Kelly Osbourne of E's Fashion Police were on the scene.

Rosario posed with actor friend Jeffrey Wright

Rosario posed with actor friend Jeffrey Wright

Bevy Smith was seated right next to us, y'all know I tried to talk her ear off lol.

Bevy Smith was seated right next to us, y'all know I tried to talk her ear off lol.

Cassie looked amazing.

Cassie looked amazing.

Nene Leakes ripped the runway

Nene Leakes ripped the runway

Yazz the Greatest from Empire

Yazz the Greatest from Empire

 The moment we were waiting for, Madam Wokie on the runway!!!!!

 The moment we were waiting for, Madam Wokie on the runway!!!!!

June Ambrose and Joe Zee of Yahoo Style turned up!

June Ambrose and Joe Zee of Yahoo Style turned up!

Naomi Campbell and her star studded model/celebrity cast closed out the show wearing zero t-shirts to represent where we're trying to get in this outbreak, down to zero cases.

 

Overall this was one of the most exciting experiences of my life.  The show was exceptionally well organized and between great music, exciting star appearances and beautiful clothes I didn't want it to end.  I am extremely proud of Mary Ann and what she has built with the Madam Wokie brand.  She remains resilient despite all of the negativity and strife in Sierra Leone and continues to shine a positive light on the country.   The Madam Wokie brand represents the beautiful things that can be produced in Sierra Leone and shared with the world.  The couture gown that was showcased at Fashion for Relief is 100% Sierra Leonean made, from the hand dyed fabric, to the design, to the tailoring and I just couldn't be prouder of it.  The lesson that Mary Ann has taught me is that behind every little (or big) success there is likely a story of immense courage and perseverance which we should keep in mind when enduring difficulties.  If we can just stay focused on the goal and remain positive we can achieve immense success, even when working with scarce resources.  Thank you to Mary Ann, Musu, Wokie and all of the Madam Wokie team for inviting me to experience this with you and a huge thank to Tom for rearranging your schedule to support us at the last minute and taking amazing pictures.

Thanks for reading and feel free to comment or ask any questions that you may have below. - Munje

New Year, Same Resolve

Munje Foh

Hello everyone!  I've been feeling really refreshed and excited about life since the start of the new year. I've never been huge on new year's resolutions because life is in continuous motion until you die so I don't believe that a new year or month is truly a clean slate.  For the most part you wake up with the same problems on January 1 that you went to sleep with on December 31st.  I do find lots of inspiration in the holiday season however and in people's resolve to accomplish more in the next 365 days.   This year I plan to work harder to find and cultivate my talents and use them create a positive impact in the lives of others.  I wish you all the support of the universe and a positive mind as your pursue your goals for the next year,  

On that note, the Foreign Market has some really exciting things in store for the new year!  Hopefully, you've already read about our work with the Fashion Does Good Campaign which will benefit children living in Sierra Leone who have become orphans because of Ebola.  For a limited time, you can support that campaign by shopping Madam Wokie accessories on our site.  Mary-Ann KaiKai, creative director of Madam Wokie has committed to giving 10% of all the proceeds of her accessories sold on this site to our Fashion Does Good Campaign and we couldn't be more grateful.  This is an amazing way for all of us to use things that we love to create a positive impact and I couldn't be more excited.  Lots of accessories have already been uploaded to the site and more are coming so please shop hard and shop early! We all know how quickly Madam Wokie's stuff goes!

 

Here I am casually sporting a Madam Wokie Beaded Foldover Clutch below:

Sweatshirt - DRC Apeparel, last season but similar here

Striped, semisheer button up - Forever 21 old but similar 

Shoes - Michael Kors available here

Leatherette pants - H&M old but similar here

Thanks for visiting, if you'd like to subscribe to this blog so that you'll be notified of new posts please enter your email below :)

It's a Takeover Part 2: Siata's Style

Munje Foh

Hello Everyone!  Thank you for checking out part two of Siata's style:

Style is something that I've always possessed, even from a young age.  Maybe it was the effect of my fabulous aunties whom I looked up to while growing up in Sierra Leone, or the pride my parents took in making sure I looked presentable as a young child.  Either way, I find that style comes instinctively to me.

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BEST DRESSED! : The Annual GWB Commission's Sierra Leone Independence Ball

Munje Foh

I attended the GWB Ball this past weekend with and had an amazing time with my friends and family.  Sierra Leoneans take pride in dressing well so I am always wowed at the amazing designs that I see each year.  Since I'm sharing my love of African and diaspora fashion through blogging now I thought a best dressed list would be a great way to share the experience with people who weren't able to attend.  Please, please don't be offended if you didn't make this list, there was no way to capture all of the beauty that was present that night.  Also, I will add more honorable mentions and better pictures once the GWB Commission releases official pictures.  Hope you enjoy:

Number 10: Shine-shine baby

The fabric of this gown closely resembles Pagne Tissé, a traditional woven cloth made in Senegal.  The golden shimmer was dazzling in person.  I chose this for my best dressed list because the way this woman styled a traditional fabric to fit her body was exceptional.  I loved all of the details from the ruffle placement to the tiny loop and knot closure at the nape of her neck.  She neatly accessorized with a golden wrist cuff and clutch, and red lipstick with demure make-up made her look effortlessly sexy.  

The fabric of this gown closely resembles Pagne Tissé, a traditional woven cloth made in Senegal.  The golden shimmer was dazzling in person.  I chose this for my best dressed list because the way this woman styled a traditional fabric to fit her body was exceptional.  I loved all of the details from the ruffle placement to the tiny loop and knot closure at the nape of her neck.  She neatly accessorized with a golden wrist cuff and clutch, and red lipstick with demure make-up made her look effortlessly sexy.  

Number 9: Laced with Grace

This floor length lace gown with a dropped waist gathered skirt was a definite show stopper.  Her elegant tresses and alluring gold accessories made it impossible to look away, definitely a top look of the evening.

This floor length lace gown with a dropped waist gathered skirt was a definite show stopper.  Her elegant tresses and alluring gold accessories made it impossible to look away, definitely a top look of the evening.

Number 8: African Angel

IMG_0455.jpg
This heavenly blue gown with asymmetrical silver lace embellishments was eye catching and creative.  I loved her choices of short hair, a tiny embellished clutch and pure confidence to accessorize this look.  

This heavenly blue gown with asymmetrical silver lace embellishments was eye catching and creative.  I loved her choices of short hair, a tiny embellished clutch and pure confidence to accessorize this look.  

Number 7: Accessory Lady

Accessories can make or break an ensemble and in this woman's choices definitely MADE it!  This simple cotton design was made magnificent by the exceptional cut and fitting.  The gold geometric earrings, platinum blonde close cut and straw circular neckpiece gave this look the perfect balance of traditional and edgy.  The accessory that topped it all off? Her radiant disposition; she exuded happiness and we couldn't resist her glow.

Accessories can make or break an ensemble and in this woman's choices definitely MADE it!  This simple cotton design was made magnificent by the exceptional cut and fitting.  The gold geometric earrings, platinum blonde close cut and straw circular neckpiece gave this look the perfect balance of traditional and edgy.  The accessory that topped it all off? Her radiant disposition; she exuded happiness and we couldn't resist her glow.

Number 6: Diamond Cut

This young lady exemplified the elegance and excitement of the GWB Ball with her styling of this embellished wax print cotton gown.  The fit of the gown is flattering and sleek and the cutout design and spiked pixie cut add a youthful flare.  Her choice of gemstone accessories and a white clutch finish the look in a way that is sassy yet refined.  This would be what Halle Berry would look like if she was 25 years younger and from West Africa! 

This young lady exemplified the elegance and excitement of the GWB Ball with her styling of this embellished wax print cotton gown.  The fit of the gown is flattering and sleek and the cutout design and spiked pixie cut add a youthful flare.  Her choice of gemstone accessories and a white clutch finish the look in a way that is sassy yet refined.  This would be what Halle Berry would look like if she was 25 years younger and from West Africa! 

Number 5: It's a tie! The sister Act: 

I am officially in ankara heaven.  This sister combo slayed these cotton fabrics, with one choosing a sweetheart neckline, impeccably placed pattern over a fitted bodice with drop waist skirt, and the other choosing a similarly shaped gown with strategic cutouts and a sewn-in choker.  I couldn't stop staring at either gown and I think they were equally fabulous.

I am officially in ankara heaven.  This sister combo slayed these cotton fabrics, with one choosing a sweetheart neckline, impeccably placed pattern over a fitted bodice with drop waist skirt, and the other choosing a similarly shaped gown with strategic cutouts and a sewn-in choker.  I couldn't stop staring at either gown and I think they were equally fabulous.

Number 4: Embroidered Envy

Intricate embroidered details do it for me every single time.  This mint green and pale pink embroidered and floral embellished gown was striking, feminine and bold.  Accented with gold accessories and a curly coif this look was absolutely regal.

Intricate embroidered details do it for me every single time.  This mint green and pale pink embroidered and floral embellished gown was striking, feminine and bold.  Accented with gold accessories and a curly coif this look was absolutely regal.

Number 3: Queen of the Night

When the official pictures are released I promise to post a front view of this fabulousness but until then you'll have to feast of this side view of Queen Sai!  The design of this gown appeared to be quite simple, a strapless, fitted, slim cut cut gown with a neatly sewn cape that was wrapped around her shoulders and tucked in at the top left and right side of her strapless gown, but I promise that the shimmering lace fabric she choose was nothing short of breath taking.  But you can alway count on Sai to slay.  Check out her personal style and high fashion blog: www.becauseiamfabulous.com when you have a chance.

When the official pictures are released I promise to post a front view of this fabulousness but until then you'll have to feast of this side view of Queen Sai!  The design of this gown appeared to be quite simple, a strapless, fitted, slim cut cut gown with a neatly sewn cape that was wrapped around her shoulders and tucked in at the top left and right side of her strapless gown, but I promise that the shimmering lace fabric she choose was nothing short of breath taking.  But you can alway count on Sai to slay.  Check out her personal style and high fashion blog: www.becauseiamfabulous.com when you have a chance.

So I've already told you how I feel about embroidery right? I just couldn't get enough of this embellished gown with sweetheart neckline.  It was demure yet sexy and this young lady's side-swept curls, bare neck and red pout were just perfect accents.  I loved this look.

So I've already told you how I feel about embroidery right? I just couldn't get enough of this embellished gown with sweetheart neckline.  It was demure yet sexy and this young lady's side-swept curls, bare neck and red pout were just perfect accents.  I loved this look.

Number 1: Belle of the Ball

This lady was the Belle of the Ball in more ways than one.  The GWB Ball was her brainchild and she is one of the principle organizers of the event, but that isn't the reason that she tops my list.  She's number one because I honestly didn't see anything more radiant the entire night.  She absolutely glowed in this low cut, form fitting gown and it wasn't just the sequins.  Everything from her honey auburn hair and bronzed make-up, to her sleek accessories culminated to make her best dressed in my book.  Way to slay Mariama!

This lady was the Belle of the Ball in more ways than one.  The GWB Ball was her brainchild and she is one of the principle organizers of the event, but that isn't the reason that she tops my list.  She's number one because I honestly didn't see anything more radiant the entire night.  She absolutely glowed in this low cut, form fitting gown and it wasn't just the sequins.  Everything from her honey auburn hair and bronzed make-up, to her sleek accessories culminated to make her best dressed in my book.  Way to slay Mariama!