Tag Archives: AFRICAN

Meet The Fashion Designer Who Escaped A Civil War In Sierra Leone To Launch A Contemporary Fashion Label In The UK That Is Set To Change The World


Born in the Eastern town of Kono, Sierra Leone Isatu Harrison was raised by her entrepreneurial single mother with her 3 siblings. Whilst living in Kono, civil war broke out which put her community in danger. Her entire family had to escape from the civil war in Kono and moved to the capital of Sierra Leone, Freetown.


Despite being uprooted from her family home, Isatu had a happy upbringing and knew that there was much more to Sierra Leone than the war which seemed to define it at the time. She grew up watching her mother design outfits for herself and others using traditional West African tie-dyed prints. In a country with no welfare system, Isatu’s mother worked hard to ensure that her family did not have to struggle and Isatu hails her mother as her biggest inspiration and influence. Despite there being very few opportunities, particularly within the fashion industry in Sierra Leone, Isatu was encouraged to pursue her purpose and developed her gifts as a fashion designer.
Although her passion for fashion was still at the forefront of her mind, when Isatu arrived in The UK in 2001 she studied a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology at South Bank University and subsequently an MBA.  The corporate world overshadowed the creative world and Isatu undertook a number of management roles in HR within the private and public sectors – including Transport for London.


After starting a family with her husband, and having a daughter who now has a budding career in modelling, Isatu could no longer ignore her true calling; fashion. She invested her savings and started her own fashion label, Izelia which interweaves the two cultural landscapes of Britain and Sierra Leone.


Isatu officially launched Izelia at Africa Fashion Week in August 2014 and London Fashion Week in the same year. By drawing from her Sierra Leonean heritage Isatu has created a modern and sophisticated range of ready to wear pieces. Izelia is a brand for those who want to make an impression in stylish and colourful outfits with high quality fabrics and structured tailoring. Each piece features a new twist on African-inspired fashion and Isatu’s own signature style of design.
By combining colourful African tie-dye and prints, Izelia brings a taste of Sierra Leone to the British high street. Having seen the impact that civil war can make on communities, Isatu wants to be at the forefront of a new generation of ‘AfriCapitalists’ – African entrepreneurs driving growth, awareness and development in Africa, through marketing and selling the best that Africa has to offer.

Isatu opened a boutique last Winter (2016)  in East London where she organises training programmes and apprenticeships opportunities for immigrants / first generation citizens in fashion design.


“I intend to inspire and assist women in rural Sierra Leone, be a voice for these women and young creatives. Whilst the brand is becoming well entrenched in the UK, as an African, I feel I have a role to play in the economic development of my continent. Through Izelia, I wish to invest long-term in Sierra Leone’s private sector and I am interested in developing manufacturing, as well as production factories and establishing additional outlets in Africa. I am proud to be among a growing crop of entrepreneurs who are creating employment opportunities and bringing economic growth to our countries across Africa” – Isatu Harrison

Isatu is set to take the fashion industry by storm in the UK, Sierra Leone and across the world.

 

By: Ronke Lawal

Rok Studios Launches Nollywood TV Channel on Sky

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Nollywood Reaches for the Sky as it Brings Awesome Original movies & TV Series to 10m UK Households.

Lagos Cougars – Latest 2014 Nigerian Nollywood Drama Movie

BTS_Padita Agu, Mercy Aigbe Gentry & Mary Njoku
Padita Agu, Mercy Aigbe Gentry & Mary Njoku

Rok Studios, the award-winning Nigerian film studio, is set to launch a brand new Nollywood channel on Sky TV, on Thursday 29 September 2016. The channel which will be on 344 is  programmed with thousands of hours of Rok Studios-produced originals, including Husbands of Lagos, Desperate Housegirls, Losing Control and Cougars. The new channel for Sky customers in the UK will bring the latest and best Rok Studios produced TV shows, movies and magazine shows to Sky customers 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Desmond Elliot
Desmond Elliot

Rok on Sky will be available as a free-to-view channel for all Sky subscribers – that’s around 10 million homes in the UK. Showing awesome originals, such as Single Ladies, Banks Chronicles and Bloodline, as well as some of the most recent smash hit movies including Walking Away, Aso Ebi and Forever. Rok viewers will be the first to watch new and exclusive homegrown Rok content, before it goes anywhere else.

Annie Idibia & Paul Apero Papero
Annie Idibia & Paul Apero Papero

The new Sky channel will be fully programmed, produced and developed in-house, by Rok teams in Lagos and London. Heading up Rok is Mary Njoku, an award-winning Nollywood actress and film producer who’s spent over 12 years at the heart of Nigerian filmmaking. The new channel will be supported by Iroko, the VC-backed African technology and entertainment broadcaster and content distributor.

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Speaking on the launch, Rok CEO Mary Njoku says: “Nollywood’s appeal is truly global; it is not just for Africans, but for film fans in general. As a production house, we have been obsessed with curating amazing African content and telling African stories our way, and with the launch of Rok on Sky, we can bring our stories to millions more.  This channel is an unashamed celebration of all things Nollywood, but more than that, a celebration of African stories – in our own words, with our own characters, with our own drama”.

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“In its short but busy history, Rok has become synonymous with edgy, distinct content, depicting the full gamut of Nigerian life. Rok is fortunate to have worked with so many of the screen greats – the likes of, Mercy Johnson, Mercy Aigbe Gentry, Ini Edo, Desmond Elliot, John Dumelo, to name but a few. These actors are instrumental in bringing our storytelling to life. We are also blessed to have a dedicated, hard-working and creative production team, who work tirelessly to ensure we release amazing content. Together, as the Rok family, we are now bringing our beloved Nollywood content onto its biggest platform yet – Sky”.

Rok will lead Nollywood fans in the UK to content they’ll love, and whilst the typical Nollywood audience is currently made up of a predominantly African and Caribbean demographic, those behind the channel hope to attract an even broader audience, thanks to the hyper-modern, original content.

Timed to celebrate Nigeria’s 56th Independence Day anniversary, Rok on Sky will launch with a bang on the 29th September, followed by a Gala launch in London at 8 Northumberland on 30th September. Nollywood glitterati, including Alexx Ekubo, Chioma Chukwuka-Akpotha, John Dumelo, Oge Okoye, Mercy Aigbe Gentry, Ini Edo, Annie Idibia, Yul Edochie, Jackie Appiah, Nse Ikpe-Etim, Patience Ozokwor, Segun Arinze, Funke Akindele and many more have already been confirmed on the guestlist, with a red carpet hosted by presenter Denrele Edun.

Mary concludes, “We have so many Nollywood stars travelling to London to celebrate the launch of our new channel; this is unheard of until now. London won’t know what has hit it – Nollywood is going to take over the city. We’re also hoping to see many of our fans at the Rok on Sky gala launch as well – we are eternally grateful to all the Rok fans who’ve been with us along the way”. #RokOnSky

BY: Maria Adediran www.rok.ng