Category Archives: Fashion

K is for…

MYCHAEL KNIGHT


Knight is best known as the fan favorite from Season 3 of the hit show Project Runway, but that won’t be the last of him. He launched his self named fashion line in 2007 at BET’s Rip the Runway, which was described by many critics as hip hop chic. In 2008, he followed that with Kitty & Dick (check this link for pics… but we are trying to keep this PG), a male and female lingerie line and his signature fragrance MAJK. MAJK is a unisex fragrance conceptualized by the designer himself, and is currently available for sale on his website. This guy is definitely on the move… something this former military brat is more than prepared for.

Knights unisex fragrance MAJK.

Knight in inspiring for his tenacity and his humbleness in the face of all the publicity. We all know he was a prominent contestant on Season 3 of the acclaimed tv show, but most people do not know that he auditioned and was rejected for season 1. He didn’t give up, kept working and tried again. We are luck for his success that time. Knight had also been creating fashion lines for years, starting off in college making costumes for his peers. Eventually, this grew to include prom dresses, costumes, and other stage regalia around Atlanta. For those, who may scoff at some of choices in clients… his plan seems to have worked. He is now on the verge of being a household name.

Knight's Ready to Wear design for Project Runway's 2007 show at NYFW.

Model in Knight's collection for BET's Rip the Runway.

His name has been repeated throughout the Atlanta fashionista scene over the past few years, with many trying to make the claim that the city will be the next big thing in fashion. His designs have graced the red carpet (he calls it autographing ladies) being beautifully showcased by Tweet, Toni Braxton, and Ms. Keri Baby herself often featuring bright color and classy silhouettes that are still fun and flirty.

Braxton on the red carpet in a Knight design.

After making his official debut last year, things have been relatively quiet, with Knight’s name generally popping up on the Internet for his public appearances. Hopefully that means he has been hiding away creating something great! His Winter 2012 line is slated to debut this month (hopefully he will be making some Fashion Week appearances this week… keep your eyes open). Until then get your dose of his creative designs at his website www.mychaelknight.com.

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All Black Everything: Holiday Gift Guide

With the holiday season quickly approaching, we here at All Black Everything thought we’d offer up some fun suggestions for the artist or designer in your life, with our very own Africana twist.  2011 was a great year for the black creative mind and created some wonderful books, exhibits, shows, albums, and products. Sure to bring a smile to all!

Books:

African Metropolitan Architecture by  David Adjaye| $100   ISBN # 978-0847837168

This is the latest book from the world renown architect.  It documents contemporary African architecture and cityscape in vibrant photographs.  The book was personal project for the author/designer, who spent the last decade visiting and documenting all the major cities in Africa, fifty-three in total.  The collection comes in 7 volumes and is sure to be hit with the photographer, urban planner, or designer in your life.

available here

  One Day It’ll All Make Sense by Common and Adam Bradley| $25  ISBN # 978-1451625875

This is the memoir of the actor and emcee Common aka Rashid Lynn.  It chronicles his life from his childhood on the Southside of Chicago to  his current life of premieres, movie sets, and performance.  Known for his conscious hip hop style, the book provides a great introspective into the mind of the artist.  This is Common’s first book for adults.  Perfect gift for anyone who is a lover of music or film.

available here

   The Legends of Hip Hop by Justin Bua| $34.99   ISBN #978-0061854972

Justin Bua is better known for his vibrant art pieces utilizing his unique urban look.  This book takes his genius and goes one step further, cataloging the great masters of this musical art. It profile fifty hip hop icons, each with a biography and a portrait completed in Bua’s iconic style.  If you know any true fan of hip hop, graffiti, or street art, this book will be a great addition to their coffee table.

available here

New African Fashion by Helen Jennings| $35    ISBN # 978-3791345796

From the editor of ARISE Magazine, the premiere publication in the world of African fashion come New African Fashion.  The book serves as a guide to honor the new wave of high fashion designers coming out of the country.  It covers the history of African fashion and how it has influenced the modern designer, highlighting the current artists ripping the runways and pages of the fashion world.  The book includes lines and products that are African inspired and African made.

available here

  200 Something by Tiffany Millner| $10    ISBN # 978-0615448947

Tiffany Millner is a registered architect currently practicing in Philadelphia.  The book is a collage of memoir, journal, and inspiration; chronicling the authors thoughts and emotions on her career path.  The title references the number of African American female architects practicing in the United States.  This is a great gift for the architect, artist, or feminist who is finding her voice. This is Millner’s first book.

available here

Music:

   Undun– The Roots| $12

This is the latest release from perennial favorites the Roots.  As the first conceptual album from the alternative rap band, undun is the fictional narrative of Redford Stephens, a hustler.  The story chronicles Stephens’ life in reverse from his ultimate demise to his birth navigating themes of morality and vitality.  True to form, it is a sonic vacation, highlighting the many musical talents in the group.  This is the Roots 11th studio album.

available here

   The Dreamer, The Believer– Common| $12

Set for a December 20, 2011 release, Common’s ninth album arrives just in time for the holidays.  Produced and c0-written by hailed producer No I.D. The first single from the album, Ghetto Dreams, featued Nas and was released during the summer of 2011.  In interviews Common has said this album was inspired by his life.  Fans can look forward to appearance by Maya Angelou and crooner John Legend.  Dates for the album’s tour have recently been released.

available here

  Chamber Music Society– Esperanza Spalding|$14

For those who haven’t heard of Esperenza Spalding, your time has come.  The  27 year old musician made headlines in 2011 when she won for Best New Artist at the 53rd Grammy Awards, becoming the first Jazz artist to win the prestigious honor.  Her impressive musicianship is expertly performed across an array of instruments, her music a modern myriad of jazz and neo- soul with influences from classical and Latin music.

available here

   Break of Dawn– Goapele| $9.99

R&B songstress Goapele’s latest album has been two years in the making.  The fourth release from the singer marks her return to the music scene after a 5 year hiatus.  Look to expect a more grown up sound, with the content of this record conveying a much more seductive and suggestive vibe.  Reflected by the cover art, Goapele is not holding anything back this time around and its sure to move all who listen.

available here

  The Dreamer– Etta James| $10.99

The latest studio production from the icon will also be her last.  In the twilight of her over 50 year career, the blues singer delivers more of her moody, soulful sounds.  The collection of covers represents a ride array of genres and eras of music, showing that at 73, James is still up on the times.  One highlight on the album, is James’ rendition of Otis Reading’s “Ciggarettes and Coffee” guaranteed to make you sink into the depths of your own emotions along with her.

available here

DVD:

  The Black Power Mixtape; MPI Home Video| $25

This documentary was a hit at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival.  The film is and in depth look at the evolution of the black revolutionary movement within the black community.  The footage was by Swedish filmmakers and had been lost for year, beautiful edited by Swedish director, Goran Olsson.  Look forward to video featuring Martin Luther King, Angela Davis, Huey P. Newton, Stokely Carmichael, and Eldrige Cleaver.  The movie also features commentary from many black icons.

available here

   Beats, Rhymes & Life: The Travels of a Tribe Called Quest; Sony Pictures Classic| $30.99

This film is a portrait of one of the most famous rap groups in history.  Directed by Michael Rapaport, the documentary features interviews with all of the members of Tribe Called Quest.  Following the group during their 2008 reunion tour, giving a behind the scenes look at the group dynamics and journey during the year.   The documentary is an in your face and realistic portrait of the group members showing their progression as artists and ultimate differences.

available here

  Hidden Colors: The Untold History of People of Aboriginal, Moor, and African Descent; King Flex Entertainment| $30

This informative documentary looks at the history of the African Diaspora around the world.  An often overlooked and under told story of people of Africa descent in regions like Asia and Europe.  Featuring commentary and interviews by many of the premiere scholars voices in black studies, this dvd is the perfect gift for the suppressed revolutionary, history buff, or great thinker.  It is sure to foster strong sentiments of black pride and open eyes to some rarely shared information.

available here

   Jean-Michel Basquiat: The Radiant Child; New Video Group| $30

An homage to the great artiste, The Radiant Child features a real look at the gone to soon Basquiat.  The documentary provides an introspective into his radical life as well as the New York art scent of 1980s. Its authenticity comes from the lost footage of Basquiat covering all aspects of his life.  The film moves chronologically, so you see his evolution as both a creator and a man, commemorating his short life.  Its has this raw, pure energy, allowing viewers to really see the legend’s human side.  This dvd is sure to  inspire the inner artist in us all.

available here

   Mooz-Lum; Vivendi| $20

This indie fan favorite got a lot of press when its marketing went viral in the past year.  Written by new director, Qasim Basir and produced by Danny Glover, the story follows a college bound young man, Tariq, who has been raised as a strict muslim in the time around 9-11.  Starring Evan Ross, in a critically applauded role as the title character.  It provides an interesting perspective on the often misunderstood religion.  The film was the winner at the 2010 Urbanworld Film Festival.

available here

Events:

   FELA! The Musical National Tour| dates and prices vary

After an exciting year on Broadway, the acclaimed musical is now headed to a city near you!  The show’s success led to a London production and Tony wins for Best Choreography, Best Costume Design for a Musical, and Best Sound Design for a Musical.  The show follows the life of activist and performer Fela Kuti  in 1977 when the Nigerian government was trying to cease his performances.

available here

  Alvin Ailey Contemporary Dance Theater National Tour| dates and prices vary

The modern dance company, known for its groundbreaking choreography, is currently in its 53rd season.   The 2011-12 season marks the first year for new Artistic Director, Robert Battle.  Features include 6 new pieces, as well as fan favorites like Revelations and Night Creatures.  Sparking a new era for the company, it is sure to provide something new for seasoned Ailey supporters and impress those new to the amazing talents

available here

  Pariah, Focus Film Features| dates and prices vary

This contemporary drama premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in 2011 and is slated for its US release on December 28, 2011.  It was awarded for its Excellence in Cinematography at the festival.  The film is an extension of a 2007 short film by the writer/director Dee Rees and was executive produced by Spike Lee.  The plot follows Alike, a 17 year old Brooklyn teen as she embraces her sexual identity as a lesbian.  The lead actress, Adepero Oyure was nominated for the Independent Spirit Award for Best Female Lead.  The film also Best Independent Film and Best Breakthrough Performance for Oyure at the African-American Film Critics Association

available here

   Kinyarwanda| dates and prices vary

Also premiering this year at Sundance was Kinyarwanda, the first film from Alrick Brown.  The film one the World Cinema Dramatic Audience Award.  Based on the true accounts of muslims in Rwanda during 1994 genocide, the films tells the story of hope and human compassion during that time.  Weaving six stories together, the movie gives a more comprehensive and real narrative of the lives of many Rwandan’s during that tragic time in their history.

available here

Essence Festival 2012 Weekend Passes; July 6th- 8th, New Orleans, LA| $120- 750

Every summer, music fans flock to the Big Easy for one of the largest black musical festivals in the United States.  With sessions, events, and parties for all, it is well worth the vacation days to check it out.  This year Weekend passes went on sale before the Christmas Rush, making them the perfect gift for a romantic getaway, reunion with old friends, or fun loving girls weekend trip.

available here

Items:

   Beats Colors by Dr. Dre| $350

The ever popular headphones are now available in an array of colors, so you can have a pair of Beats to match every outfit.  The SOLO model features high-definition and noise canceling audio clarity.  Its super deep bass make it perfect for catching every nuance of a great hip- hop meat, the trance inducing baselines of a complex jazz composition, or the electronic hype of a dance beat.

available here

  Scratch Art Artists Trading Cards by Scratch- Art| $7

Keep up with the latest trends by giving the gift of these artist trading cards.  Traded like baseball cards, they came out of the mail art movement.  Today they are wallet sized pieces of extraordinary art.  Combined with the elementary fun of scratch art, this activity provides an opportune moment for revisiting your inner child.

available here

    Lami Li Traveler’s Journals| $28- 43

These colorful journals are ideal for the writer, sketcher, poet, traveler in us all.  Handmade in Nepal from the bark of the Lokta tree, these eco-friendly journals help support rural economic development in the country.  Great for those who strive to live more sustainably or have an altruistic streak focused on social justice.  They include 150 bound pages of handmade paper that are acid free  and perfect for archival ink.

available here

   Obama 2012 Holiday Ornament|$40

Show that you are in for the long haul with your support of the 44th President in his re-election campaign with this festive Holiday ornament.   The rhodium features the names of the President and Vice Pres in an intricate design.   Find this and more at the Obama 2012 store to display your political stance in style.

available here

Charter Membership to the National Museum of African American History and Culture| $25- 1000

Slated for it 2015 opening, the much anticipated addition to the Smithsonian campus and National Mall is being designed by some of the world’s premiere black architects.  Help it become a reality by contributing to the campaign to raise the $250 million needed to build by becoming a Charter Member.  For your efforts, you get your name listed on the electronic wall at the museum and to say you contributed to a piece of history.

available here

Hope this extensive list has you rethinking some of your last minute gift ideas for that creative presence in your life!  From the ABE Staff, we would like to wish all of our readers and their families a Happy Holidays… we look forward to bringing you exciting new content and features next year!


Designer Spotlight: Alex Folzi

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Summer has arrived! People begin to travel and having the right accessories becomes increasingly important. In preparation for my Summer expeditions, my search for new luggage lead me to discover Nigerian born, Toronto based designers Fela Fagbure & Fola Fabure, aka the Fagbure twins. These young gentlemen are the creative minds behind Alex Folzi.

"We have loved and followed fashion right from childhood." - The Fagbure Twins

Getting started in January 2010, the uniqueness of the brand is the originality of genre. While most other modern accessories designers are making sunglasses and jewelry, Alex Folzi creates a line of vintage inspired briefcases & trunks for men and women. Brightly colored with an effortless frame, these cases are a nice addition to any outfit, year-round. Look at all the Colours!

Recently, the brand collaborated with Canadian artist Ojo Evelyn to produce a limited edition of African Inspired Summer T-shirts to be sold exclusively online. Five fashion illustrations (see below), drawn by Ojo Evelyn will be hand printed on 100% organic cotton tees with interesting cuts and sewing patterns. Which design is your favorite?

Alex Folzi x Ojo Evelyn :: Limited Collection Inspired By African Prints.

Want to get moving with Alex Folzi? Stay up to date with the designers on their blogs, look out for discounts on Twitter, place your orders on the website and become a fan on Facebook!

Website: http://www.alexfolzi.ca/
Twitter: @AlexFolzi
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/AlexFolzi
Tumblr:  http://alexfolzi.tumblr.com/
Youtube: http://www.youtube.com/alexfolzi

***All photos taken from the Alex Folzi Tumblog***

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Designer Spotlight: Bunmi Koko

Bunmi Olaye is a Nigerian born fashion designer living in the United Kingdom. Her designs caught my attention one day as I was doing my daily runway searches. Being Nigerian myself, I was immediately enraptured by the ‘Ekpo’ that opened her Spring/Summer 2011 show above, but the impeccable clothing and styling that followed are what made me want to share her fashion story with you.

Bunmi Koko was founded in March of 2009 with zeal for innovation in art and fashion. Each piece is handmade with pristine detailing and clean lines. Named Emerging Designer of the Year-International at Africa Fashion Week in 2010,  Bunmi Koko proceeds to be a successful multi-faceted luxury lifestyle company with specialties in women’s fashion and a sister company in artistic illustration. The name, meaning “God gave me my other half”, was inspired by the designer’s first name ‘Bunmi’ (meaning ‘God gave me’ in Yoruba) and the affectionate nickname given by her partner, Francis Udom; “Koko” (meaning ‘my other half’ in Efik), another Nigerian dialect. The distinctive designs of Bunmi Koko are influenced by the Nigerian and Scottish heritage of the two co-creators (Udom’s ancestors are from Scotland).

Francis Udom & Bunmi Olaye of Bunmi Koko, Ltd.

Included in the company’s repertoire is women’s ready-to-wear, couture, bridal & evening wear; with a growing portfolio of products ranging from menswear, kidswear, lingerie, accessories, eyewear, swimwear and footwear and beauty products. The illustration side of the business continues to grow as well creating hand drawn gift cards, book covers, CD covers, movie posters, editorials, advertising, and special projects. Most recently, the designer was asked to offer expert commentary on the royal wedding dress in conjunction with the launch of her new mini-capsule Bridal couture collection. Watch it now below!

Of the many accolades Bunmi Koko has acquired, one in particular stands out for the pair. In July 2010 Bunmi Olaye and Francis Udom received a personal invitation from Nelson Mandela to come to his private home and receive his blessings. “Just talking to him was an awesome and very humbling experience,” Olaye says.

Bunmi Koko pictured with Nelson Mandela at his private home in South Africa

Mel B wearing Bunmi Koko on multiple occasions

First Lady Michelle Obama wearing Bunmi Koko

In just a short time, Bunmi Koko has garnered international press and remains a leading force in African couture fashion. To learn more about Bunmi Koko be sure to visit the website www.bunmikoko.com, shop the bridal and couture collections online, become a fan on Facebook, and follow on Twitter @BunmiKoko.

…and please leave a comment below!


Sister to Sister: Michelle Obama & Tracy Reese

Many cities across the country have seen better skies and weather in the past few weeks. I for one was happy to spend my walk to work sans jacket, trendy frozen drink in hand as I wandered through a park. Spring is upon us my friends. Here comes the season where we shed those unwanted down jackets and stop hiding under layers and layers of pants. For both men and women worldwide Spring brings the promise of everyone’s favorite fashion trends: dresses, skirts, and open toed shoes. Easter Sunday typically brings us our first taste of spring colors and hemlines, and as expected, our First Lady came running out the gates with a winner!

Mrs. Obama donned a bright floral dress for the White House Easter Egg Roll. She looked stunning in yellow, ushering in the new citrus hued trend for this spring. In the black community, Easter is your time to shine in your Sunday best. Everyone was dressed to the nines this weekend and I was delighted that Michelle chose a piece by the talented Tracy Reese. As we all have read and heard by now, many people in the community have accused the First Lady of not supporting black designers. Despite the naysayers, I love the relationship between Reese and Obama. Every time Mrs. Obama wears one of Tracy Reese’s designs she looks absolutely stunning. Michelle also donned a red, tribal print frock by Reese on a recent visit to Brazil, ushering the spring trend for tribal patterns and earthier, rusted colors.

In the past, Michelle has rocked Reese on the cover of people magazine at on state visits abroad. Reese who is always playful with print and colors is a great choice for the first lady to look chic and fashion forward while still tasteful in styling and cut. The colors and prints Tracy uses in her creations also always seem to pop against us browner toned. In the fashion world, Tracy Reese is best known for her dress designs that complement a range of body types season after season.


Reese is one of the best-known black women in the industry for over the last decade since she launched her brand in 1998. Tracy was born in Detroit and attended Parson’s University, where she graduated with an accelerated degree. She went on to work in fashion for noted icons such as Perry Ellis. She now heads her own house and sits on the CFDA Board of Directors. You can see more of her designs and shop her collection here: Tracy Reese.

Spring and Fall 2011 Collection from Tracey Reese NYC

Ushering in the spring trends, I was excited by many of the items in Tracy’s vision for Spring 2011. Looking forward towards the fall, I know her Fall Collection will be a hit when the weather cools and I for one will be trying to get my hands on this purple skirt! As for our leading lady, I look forward to more sightings of Mrs. Obama in Reese’s gorgeous designs. And I for one, still wish Tracey’s inaugural designs had made it fruition, even if for another occasion. Michelle would have been stunning in that blue trench coat….

One thing for sure, we are sure to have many more great fashion moments to come from both of these amazing black women!


Designer Spotlight: LaQuan Smith

“When it comes to women I understand their essence and my designs allow her to make history” – LaQuan Smith

At 22 years old, LaQuan Smith has taken the fashion world by storm and swiftly proven himself to be a major player in women’s ready-to-wear. Although sewing since the age of 13 when his grandmother gave him a Singer sewing machine as a Christmas gift, it wasn’t until 2008, after a tough battle with cancer, that he began to truly explore his design talents.

Designer LaQuan Smith

After graduating from high school Smith decided to use his own wits to break into the fashion world. Using a little bit of hustle and a great deal of talent, LaQuan Smith got an internship with Balckbook Magazine in New York City. Through his connections at the magazine he would find out about exclusive fashion events and show up wearing his own designs. After creating a small buzz for himself, Smith got his big break, debuting his collection at the Society of Illustrators gallery during New York Fall Fashion Week in February 2010. Word of Smith’s Balenciaga-inspired tops, neoprene dresses and ruffled denim jackets spread and he was soon creating custom pieces for top celebrities and supermodels including Tyra Banks, Selita Ebanks, Rihanna, and Alicia Keys just to name a few.

The following Fashion Week season in September 2010, Smith got major press with celebrity guest models Cassie, Deborah Cox, and Serena Williams wearing his designs in an intimate showing. This is when I was first introduced to the young talent; watch this video from his Spring/Summer 2011 collection entitled ” A Storybook Path” and choose which of his designs is your favorite!

LaQuan Smith has received the F.O.C.U.S. for Life Service Award for surviving cancer and not letting the trauma of such an experience hold him back from his passion. His success has allowed him to showcase his collection both domestically and internationally with fashion shows in Atlanta, Georgia | Philadelphia, Pennsylvania | Athens, Greece | The Cayman Islands | Johannesburg, South Africa | Dakar, Senegal | Bogota, Colombia | and The British Virgin Islands. Take a quick look at the finale from his runway show at Semana Internacional de la Moda de Bogotá 2011 (via Fashion Radical News)

To learn more about Laquan Smith, view past & present collections, watch more interviews, and stay up-to-date with what he is doing, you should follow him on Twitter @LaQuanSmith — become a fan on Facebook — & visit www.laquansmith.com


In the News: “Amar’e Stoudemire Jumps Into Fashion”

Today, Women’s Wear Daily announced a fashion collaboration between women’s Ready-to-Wear designer Rachel Roy and New York Knicks superstar Amar’e Stoudemire. Whether you are a sports fanatic or a fashion faithful, this is one business deal to be enthusiastic about!

Amar’e Stoudemire and Rachel Roy. (Photo By: Thomas Iannaccone, taken from: WWD)

The two first met back in November where talks of a potential partnership were initiated. Stoudemire, being quite the dapper dresser off the court, has always taken an interest in fashion and had a natural ability to put it all together. “Fashion is very attractive, which fuels me and makes me want to give it more importance,” Stoudemire tells WWD.  The pair describe the line as “casually chic”.

The logo of the Collaboration. (Photo By: Courtesy Photo, taken from: WWD)

“I am channeling a girl that goes to sporting events,” said Roy, “She needs something that is modern, something that represents her in a way that doesn’t look like it just came out of a sporting goods shop.”(source: WWD)

Although still in the early stages of development, the line is predicted to launch in September of this year in select Macy’s stores, and on macys.com and NBA.com. Items will be priced at retail for $45 – $250.