Happy 1st of the Month Everyone! No, No, No — Happy Women’s History Month!! I decided I’d show some love to five African women designers who have encouraged me to love the skin I’m in by making beautiful beautiful clothes! So following my post last week ‘For Girls Whose Thighs Touch’ I received so many emails and messages from other thigh-touching sisters about how the piece meant so much to them and how they felt they could identify with so many of the issues raised…but —- *surprise surprise* — many of them also wanted to asked me about —-CLOTHES! Just what do women over size 14 wear? Well, for starters I can say TIMES HAVE CHANGED! With the rise of super cool fat-shionista’s like Gabi Fresh (who I adore!) we aren’t wearing Mumu’s or clothes sewn for us by our grandmother’s tailors.
Now as a Nigerian woman I have to say I feel like style is in my DNA. Anyone who know’s Nigerian’s knows that they like to ‘dress’. From jean’s and tees to buba and iro, lace and shokoto — Naija’s like fashion! And while there has been more and more African fashion available on the interwebs from young and upcoming designers very often these clothes don’t go beyond a size 12. So, just what does a fashion-loving-bright-print-wearing-step-outside-of-your-comfort-zone size 14 - 18 (depending on my mood) African woman like me wear? Here are are few of my favourite African designers that make clothes in my size…
1. CHiCHiA — I have a love-love relationship with this brand. I absolutely adore everything CHiCHiA and in 2009 I was honoured to be the brand’s official muse (which I wrote about HERE). CHiCHiA is a funky, eclectic, bright line created by Tanzanian-born Christine Mhando. The best part about CHiCHiA for me, is that Christine doesn’t leave ‘us’ out and makes her clothes in a variety of sizes (and if there isn’t something in your size that you absolutely love, just drop her an email I’m sure she’ll consider custom making it for you! :)
p.s. Two things you should know: 1). I am wearing makeup in this pic and DO NOT look like this everyday LOL and 2). The outfit I’m wearing below (is a Size 16 UK) and is from her 2010 Autumn/Winter Collection but she’s just put out a spring/summer collection that’s to die for!
2. MAKSI Clothing
Again, I’ve written about my beloved MAKSI before HERE. Founded and run by two Ghanaian sisters, Abynnah and Nana Darkoa Sekyiamah MAKSI has come to be known as a sort of African H&M. With really comfy and cool clothing. It is definitely my go-to brand when I’m looking for something edgy and elegant (see pic below) and also something a bit more casual. Again, they do not forget us and all of the coolest pieces coming in a range of sizes (up to an 18-20 I believe). You can find out more about MAKSI here (but I should also say their men’s collection is exquisite! I have been eyeing a few pieces from the men’s line to add to my wardrobe *hint hint*)
*The outfit below is a Size 16/18 UK
3. mina danielle - I happened upon this line quite by accident a few years ago and quickly became a groupie! beyond the fabulous clothes i was inspired by what mina danielle stood for:
“here at mina danielle, we are cognizant of the marginalized bodies of the world and those left on the margins. at mina danielle, we choose to challenge the notions of beauty. because we allow our clients to self identify, our goal is to create a space and canvas for womyn from around the world, of various shapes, sizes, religious affiliations, races, ethnicities, sexual orientation, trans identified, inter-sex, age and (dis)ability. whether marked or unmarked mina danielle celebrates and accentuates the beauty that is the human body. so go ahead enjoy the mina danielle experience. clothing is now not only fabulous, but political. this is what re(defy)ining looks like. this is mina danielle.”
YAS!!!! I am super excited to soon own my very FIRST mina danielle piece and the 2013 collection will be online soon!
4. Rue 114
Now, I discovered Rue 114 on tumblr about a year ago and have steadily lusted over every single piece! The brainchild of Ghaniain designer Serwah Asante Rue 114 runs from sizes 0 – 32 (there is something for everybody!) Her motto is,“Great style should be available in all sizes because fabulous, fierce, kick-ass women come in all sizes!”. I adore the skirt below and am looking forward to owning some of Serwah’s pieces in 2013!
(nah-KIM-u-lee): originates from Uganda; means flower. Nakimuli, in my mind, is a label that epitomises ’youthful,’ ‘fresh,’ and ‘funky’. Designed by Tennille Nakimuli Shanae McMillan, Nakimuli is an exclusively limited quantity-produced ready-to-wear clothing line for young women that is youthful, fresh, and funky. About her line Tenille says:
“We aim to go beyond the traditions of women’s fashion and explore more of the imagination, what could be rather than what should be. The world we live in often dictates what we should wear and creates millions of it. We at Nakimuli want to create a fashion revolution: replace the cookie cutter model with one that embraces individuality, comfort, and fun. Become your own trendsetter. Dream. Explore. Dare.”
So I hope you enjoyed this post as much as I enjoyed writing it! :) I hope you leave feeling inspired and beautiful! Now go check out and support some of these sisters rockin’ us out in some amazing gear!