Tag Archives: Fashion

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

Tina Lobondi Showcases At We Are Africa Fashion Extravaganza

Tina Lobondi
Tina Lobondi

The Department of Arts & Culture, as part of its Africa Month Festival, hosted  the We Are Africa Fashion Extravaganza on 27 May 2015. Appointing African Fashion International (AFI), the leading fashion promotions company in Africa, to coordinate the Fashion Extravaganza. The event, held at the Museum of African Design in the fashionable and culturally diverse Maboneng area in Johannesburg, featured fashion designers from across the continent.

Tina Lobondi
Tina Lobondi

The evening celebrated the style, design and heritage of the African continent. Showcasing designers include Taibo Bacar (Mozambique), ARAPAPA at Santa Anzo (Uganda), Sindiso Khumalo (South Africa), Alphadi (Niger), Sophie Zinga (Senegal), Tina Lobondi (DRC), Kiko Romeo (Kenya) and MaXhosa by Laduma Ngxokolo (South Africa). Garments, rooted in African heritage and re-imagined in a global context, were showcased on a runway, worn by models from South Africa, Nigeria, Rwanda, Zimbabwe, Tanzania and the DRC.

Tina Lobondi
Tina Lobondi
Tina Lobondi
Tina Lobondi

Fashion and clothing is a central aspect of cultural identity. In further celebrating this, guests were be given the unique opportunity to view a fashion exhibition of garments created by The Carnival Company – in conjunction with the Department of Arts and Culture – as part of We Are Africa Month celebrations. These garments are inspired by the diverse African heritage, particularly African masquerade and carnival attire.

Tina Lobondi
Tina Lobondi

The evening’s event was held together by Master of Ceremonies Gaetano Kagwa, a Ugandan media personality. Alongside the fashion showcase, Xhosa songstress Simphiwe Dana and spoken-word by poet Naima McClean, known as the First Lady of Urban Cool, performed, bringing together the evening’s celebration of African culture. Adding to the cultural experience of the night, Sanza Sandile (a Swaziland-born chef known as the ‘king of Yeoville’) served a “journey through African cuisine”, his take on Afro-fusion cooking with a modern twist.

Tina Lobondi
Tina Lobondi

The We Are Africa Fashion Extravaganza was part of the exciting programme for Africa Month that took place throughout the month of May. Africa Month is a festival of ideas and cultural exchange, organized by the Department of Arts & Culture. It provided a platform and network for conversations about the African continent. These will go beyond the challenges to successes experienced and a recommitment to work for the continued development and integration of the continent. The theme for this inaugural Africa Month, launched by the Minister of Arts & Culture, Mr Nathi Mthethwa at Freedom Park (Pretoria) on 1 April 2015, is We Are Africa – ‘Opening the doors of learning and culture to promote peace and friendship from Cape to Cairo’.

By Marica Quarsingh

Kelly Rowland Scorches At Houghton’s Runway Show – NY Fashion Week

Oh my giddy aunt! Kelendria takes the plunge as the temperature plunges! Almost tempted to hand over a hot flannel for her to place on her oh so frozen chest, a momentary pause is required as this diva looked scorching hot already. Daring to bare – I would if they [two breast friends] weren’t already warming my knees.

Kelly Rowland gave things some serious swag in a shimmery tailored jacket and the widest palazzo pants in same fabric that just went with the wind! Talk about wide, statement and some. Teaming this with a plunging silk shirt, girlfriend sure knew her A-Game was on as she attended Houghton’s runway show for NY Fashion week.

To complement her look, she teamed her ensemble with gold accessories, an edgy churned bold gold necklace with gold tassels, rocking web-mesh gold earrings and hold it….those gold stilettoes. Someone fan her down she is too hot!

The four time Grammy winner turns 33 next week and we can’t wait to see what look this purrrfect cat knocks out for us.

By: @LovingMedia

Image Credits: Sam Deitch [REX], Mireya Acterto [GETTY]

Shibumi Style – Effortless Glamour and Modern Decadence

Shibumi offers classic fashion with a boho chic twist. Luxurious fabrics – cashmere and silk – combine to create infinitely wearable pieces – coats, jackets, waistcoats and sumptuous dressing gowns.

All the styles are available in a delectable choice of colours and fabrics – from cashmere and silk to pure plain or embroidered silk.

New in is the playsuit – a fun, 70’s inspired sik playsuit that wouldn’t be out of place in Studio 54.

This season sees the return of the brand’s most popular designs – the Grace, the Juna and the Nehru.

The cashmere Grace coat is one of Shibumi’s most popular styles. Knee length and single breasted, best worn open, with a half belt at the back, a revere collar and vents at the sides,  the Grace works for formal and everyday wear. The Grace is £295.

Classic devotees will love the Juna jacket – a Chanel style box cashmere collarless jacket with bracelet sleeves. Over a t-shirt and jeans or over a little dress, the Juna adds chic without being overbearing.

Other favorites include the short Nehru (£265 for long or short), which works for all ages, and offers a more classic cut for everyday or for special occasions. The full length statement Aquila coat (£375) is simply stunning – and can’t be bettered for a boho-chic vibe that will work from festivals to formal.

For dressing down and relaxing, the extraordinarily decadent cashmere dressing gowns seduce, warm and caress. Available in five colourways – Wedgewood, Imperial Red, Eau de Nil, Crimson Red and Verdigris, the dressing gown is £225 and comes in small, medium and large.

Designer and owner Ruth Guise says “I want to provide women with pieces that look and feel fantastic – and last beyond a trend. Classic styles with gorgeous fabrics provide an individuality that works for every women, regardless of age or shape.”

Born into a family of creatives and tailors. Her grandmother, also called Ruth, was a couture dressmaker, and Ruth spent her childhood watching and learning how to create a chic dress from a simple piece of fabric.

A fully bespoke service is also available.

Shibumi is available online at www.shibumistyle.com and at shows and events across the UK. Please check website for details.



Kirin Atwal Is The Hottest Kid On The Block.

London based womenswear and accessories designer, Kirin Atwal is the hottest kid on the block. British born (Dubai heritage), Kirin creates unique ‘handmade’ luxury over-sized handbags/travel bags in leather and 100% cashmere or silks for her womenswear collection.

Exhibiting her first collection this week during Graduate Fashion Week (Earl’s Court 2, London) and showcasing both her womenswear and handbags lines along with eclectic and accomplished collections created by her fellow graduates from BA Honours Fashion and BA Honours Fashion Textiles at the Truman Show this Friday (7th June, at 6pm – Truman Brewery – F Block G1), hosted by Middlesex University.


Jeu de Couleurs – VLISCO inspires Again!

Sartorial chic sets the tone for this collection. Sharp lines provide a fabulous frame for Vlisco’s exuberant prints, while exaggerated shapes show off the collection’s interplay of form and colour. The collection features four coordinated colour stories, which allow designers to make matching outfits.

This 60’s inspired cape dress shows off the whole fabric, with the print starting on the shoulder and finishing on the hem. The simple, square shape provides a stunning backdrop for the geometric print.




A simple shift shape makes the most of the bright colours in this bold all-Java outfit. The strategic placing of the playful print creates a flatteringly feminine shape. Give this just-above-the-knee style a chic spin with high-heeled sandals, a colourful clutch and a matching scarf.






Like the expressionist art that inspired the fabrics, this outfit ignores all the rules. It teams a bomber jacket style with voluminous sleeves, while adding a slouchy-chic fit to tailored trousers. Effortlessly elegant, this urban look in an oversized print is sure to get you noticed wherever you go.






Constructed entirely from 100% silk fabric, this floaty tunic top beautifully accentuates the painterly feel of the trompe l’oeil print. The edge line of the scarves creates a stunning contrast seam feature, incorporating the famous Vlisco border trim. Team with sleek slim-line trousers and simple high-heeled sandals for a contemporary look.




Mixing up different patterns in the same colour family creates an eclectic effect. Here, a geometric pattern, a swirly floral and a playful print have been combined in an outfit that features both sharp en soft sartorial touches.







Statement prints are still at the top of the fashion hit list. Use them to dramatic effect by placing the fabric symmetrically, so that the design repeats itself at the shoulders and sleeves. Featuring a beautifully placed floral motif, this piece uses the darker fabric on the side panels to create a sleek, slimming silhouette. Team with classic black accessories to set off the vivid colours.



Complicated to construct, but dazzlingly simple in effect, this outfit is an ode to the terrific art of tailoring. Perfect placement of the fabric in this cape dress allows the print to continue uninterrupted in a bold, beautiful line and leap to life.







Strong, sharp tailoring in a bold ball print creates a fabulously feminine suit that brings together the best of both worlds. This style is an excellent example of Vlisco’s contemporary approach to style. For a polished look, wear with simple accessories, such as high-heeled sandals and an oversized clutch in matching colours.

Team street style with red carpet glamour for the ultimate in high-low contrasts. This bold jacket in degradé floral print looks great with a long, flowing gown in photo print silk. Mixing up different patterns in the same colour family creates an even more playful effect.

Inspired by cheetah print, this sophisticated fabric puts a contemporary spin on classic style. The cut-out shoulders of this polished piece add an ultra-feminine touch. Mix up your accessories to wear this dress to a business lunch or when heading out to after work drinks.






This gown radiates elegance with its high halter neck, wide skirt and feminine open back. The combination of the graphic wax print with a flowing photo print silk fabric creates a dramatic contrast.




This fashion-forward outfit was inspired by menswear tailoring. It is sure to make you feel comfortable yet chic. The 100% silk suit in vibrant fuchsia and sky blue is an ode to colour blocking, a major theme of the Jeu de Couleurs collection. The edge line of the scarves creates a stunning contrast seam feature, incorporating the famous Vlisco border trim.





This retro gala dress features a stunning asymmetric cut, which works wonderfully with the sloping shapes of the geometric print. Simply add a tonal clutch and towering heels to complete the look.









Sharp lines provide a fabulous frame for Vlisco’s exuberant prints in this outfit. The cut of the 60’s inspired top provides a stunningly simple canvas for the bold pattern of the fabric. Team with sleek slim-fit trousers in a contrasting print and an oversized bucket bag to create an elegantly eclectic mix ‘n’ match look.




This piece features the same print in two different colours, punctuating the vivid colour palette of the Jeu de Couleurs collection. A refined and elegant look is achieved through the precise placement of the fabric so that the pattern continues in another colour. The darker fabric has been used on the side panels to create a sleek, slimming silhouette.





Fashion’s florals are in full bloom in this feminine dress, which plays with colour and form to create an interesting silhouette made of square, pointy shapes that softly drape. Made with almost a whole yard of fabric, the dress echoes the colour blocked theme of the Jeu de Couleurs collection to perfection.



We Can Do It!

 ‘We Can Do It…’ Fashion Industry Apprentices Create Youth Employment Legacy

Ahead of London Fashion Week, Apprentices at Fashion Enter are encouraging young people across the country to consider become apprentices with their ‘We can do it’ rallying call.  This marks the opening of applications for Creative Skillset’s new Higher Level Apprenticeship in Fashion and Textiles.

Bucking the trend of rising youth unemployment in the UK and in response to the success of their ‘Made In Britain’ clothing label, Fashion Enter has boosted employment opportunities for young people by increasing its intake of apprentices for Creative Skillset’s Fashion and Textile Apprenticeships and relocated to larger factory premises in North London.

Regional training providers such as Huddersfield Textile Centre of Excellence and KTL, based in the Midlands, report an increased interest from employers keen to adopt Creative Skillset’s Fashion and Textiles apprenticeship to ensure a motivated and skills focussed workforce for the future of the industry.

Kristen Lucas, 19, is one of four of Fashion Enter’s current apprentices and recognises the opportunities the apprenticeship is giving her. “The apprenticeship is so much better than I ever imagined it would be,” said Kristen.  “I am learning so much and it is opening my eyes to all the different options available in the fashion industry.  And I get to earn as I learn.”

Annie Warburton, Head of Partnerships at Creative Skillset, said: “With signs of a renaissance in UK clothing and textile manufacture, it is essential employers can attract and train highly skilled workers if they are to seize new market opportunities. Creative Skillset is proud to have developed pioneering Apprenticeships in Fashion and Textiles, and to work with leading businesses and trainers to equip the new generation of talent with skills for creative and commercial success.”

Jenny Holloway, Managing Director of Fashion Enter said: “We are all committed to the apprenticeship programme and now the Higher Level Apprenticeship in Fashion and Textiles provides new and exciting opportunities for both the individual and the fashion industry. Apprenticeships are 100% right for the current economic environment; employers need people that can ‘do’! On the job training is invaluable to success especially in garment manufacturing for that all important ‘Made in Britain’ label.”

Sophie Glover, Head of Technical Services at ASOS said: “ASOS prides itself in being passionate about people and developing talent for the future. It was because of this that we jumped at the opportunity to work with Fashion Enter on the roll out of the first Creative Skillset National Apprenticeship Scheme in apparel in January 2011.Our first Apprentices have successfully completed their courses and one of these Apprentices was such an asset that she is now a permanent employee at ASOS, as Assistant Technologist on our specialist departments. We would like to consider that we have developed a solid partnership with a collaborative approach to this fantastic opportunity for young people.”

On Tuesday 12th February, Fashion Enter will host an Apprenticeship Open Day at its Fashion Studio at the University of East London at the Knowledge Dock Business Centre bringing leading High Street Stores, clothing manufacturers and potential apprentices together with Creative Skillset for an informative workshop and job fair. On Thursday 14th February, The Factory will open its doors from 10.00am to 15.00pm for visitors to review the new facilities and meet the team.


Textile Manufacturer Teams up with British Fashion Designer to Showcase Prestigious Fabrics

Leading British textile manufacturer Hainsworth has teamed up with a top designer to showcase its growing work with fashion houses.
Anita Massarella Design Couture was commissioned to produce the stunning ‘Hainsworth Coat’ made with the firm’s iconic Bright Scarlet Doeskin.
A tightly milled steep twill base cloth with a long lasting lustrous finish, Hainsworth Doeskin has superb drape and handle. Widely used for military mess dress and garments, the traditional British fabric is made in the 229-year-old Yorkshire mill from one of their finest blends.
M&S model Amy Hanson was photographed wearing the Hainsworth Coat at the mill where the fabric was made.
The coat is intended to raise the profile in fashion circles of the specialist mill which is the luxury fabric supplier to the world’s royalty including Queen Elizabeth II. It has exclusively supplied ceremonial woollen cloth to the Ministry of Defence which can be seen on the iconic Royal Guards outside Buckingham Palace and was worn by Prince William on his wedding day.
The Hainsworth coat was made from four metres of Bright Scarlet Doeskin and a metre of Grey Collar Melton. The Melton fabric was originally produced in Leeds by Kate Middleton’s ancestors, the Luptons. William Lupton & Co. Ltd became part of Hainsworth in 1958.
While the coat has initially been produced as a one-off, Hainsworth said it would be interested in manufacturing commercially subject to demand.
Tom Hainsworth, Managing Director of Hainsworth, said: ‘It’s an exciting time for us and we are looking forward to working with more designers and high-end retail houses not just in Britain but across the world. There is a genuine recognition of the quality of British fabric along with an interest in its heritage and history.
‘Military styled fabrics come into vogue on a regular basis for both men and women and designers like the fact our fabrics have been used to clothe the actual British military for years.
‘We have the capacity to deal with large or small orders and pride ourselves on being able to manufacture onsite in the UK where we have complete control of the production process.’
Anita Massarella said: ‘It was fantastic to work with Hainsworth and to be able to use the very best quality materials that money can buy to design this full length coat.
‘A team of five spent over a hundred hours creating it using traditional tailoring skills and handwork.’
Several high profile designers are using Hainsworth fabrics for autumn 2012.
Christopher Raeburn, who used Hainsworth fabric to create his Skater Coat as part of his 2011 Winter Collection British range, said:
‘A British textile company that carries every process in-house, from raw wool to finished cloth, is so rare to find. Hainsworth should be proud of what they are producing.’

DivaScribe Loves: Logue London

Introducing LOGUE London

Sophisticated new luxury fashion label, made in England with the finest British fabrics and accessories, launches first capsule collection aimed at chic city-living women

Epitomising feminine glamour and including easy timeless dresses suitable for day through night, LOGUE London launches this January with a classic capsule collection. The aim – to provide easy staple pieces in luxurious British fabrics for city life.

LOGUE London is the brainchild of Emma Logue, former Morgan Stanley banker and luxury brand specialist whose career includes experience at LVMH. Dissatisfied withthe clothes available to women in her sector, she wanted to find a fittingly sophisticated alternative to the female executive’s standby – the suit. She wanted to bring simple glamour to her wardrobe.  Her solution was to design it herself.

LOGUE London’s first collection for spring/summer 2012 is a capsule collection of six chic, button-through, knee length dresses available in fabulous different colours from elegant cream, soft green and black to vibrant blue, red and delphinium. These tailored dresses come lined in silk, fashioned from the finest British silks and cotton shirtings. Stand out features on some designs showcase intricate stitching and detail as well as couture fabric buttons and belts.  Her unique and exclusive collection has been highly anticipated.

Logue says:

“With so much international travel indifferent time zones and climates, I was on a neverendingquest to find the perfect solution to suit my lifestyle.  It also had to be versatile enough to get me from the plane to business meetings and even cocktail hour and dinner.   I needed a chic and elegant one piece – but something not too sexy.  In LOGUE London this is what I’ve created – a timeless, easy yet chic brand for city-living women”.

LOGUE London dresses range from £255 to £365 and are available to buy online from 3rd February 2012.  The autumn/winter collection will soon go to production and will feature 15 new designs using luxurious cashmere, suede and leather fabrics each including the flash of colour as well as new quirky linings. Although the A/W collection diversifies the brand to include day, cocktail and evening dresses, blouses, tops, jackets, coats and opens theaccessories line with fabulous belts – LOGUE London stays true to its roots continuing the button-through dress collection as a staple of the brand.