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Monday 24th of June 2024

Nairobi, Kenya

The Changing Face of Prom in Ugandan High Schools

Prom, a hallmark event in the lives of secondary school students, has seen a significant transformation in Uganda. Traditionally, prom was a relatively low-key affair, but over the years, it has evolved into a grand celebration that reflects changing societal norms, cultural influences, and the growing importance of social media. This evolution mirrors broader trends in the country’s education system and social landscape.

Increasing Popularity and Extravagance

In the past, prom in Ugandan secondary schools was a simple event with modest decorations and basic entertainment. However, today’s proms have become much more elaborate, mirroring Western influences and global trends. Schools now invest significantly in creating memorable experiences, often hiring professional event planners, decorators, and entertainers. Venues are chosen for their ambiance and capacity to host grand celebrations, and themes range from classic elegance to contemporary chic.

 

Fashion and Attire

Fashion has become a central aspect of prom in Uganda. Students now view prom as an opportunity to showcase their personal style and make a statement. Long, elegant gowns and tailored suits are the norm, with many students opting for custom-made outfits. This shift reflects a desire to emulate global fashion trends and present a polished, sophisticated image. Schools like Gayaza High School have instituted dress codes to ensure that students maintain a level of decency and propriety. As a school representative stated, “We dictate that they must have a long, decent dress—that is the standard now at Gayaza because we want them to present themselves as ladies.”

Role of Social Media

The advent of social media has had a profound impact on the nature of prom in Ugandan secondary schools. Platforms like Instagram, Facebook, and TikTok are flooded with prom photos and videos, turning the event into a highly anticipated social media spectacle. This digital exposure has raised the stakes, encouraging students to go all out in their preparations. The need to capture the perfect prom moment has led to greater investment in professional photography and videography.

Cultural Sensitivity and Modern Values

Prom in Uganda has had to navigate the delicate balance between modern values and cultural sensitivity. While the event increasingly incorporates elements of global pop culture, there is a conscious effort to maintain cultural respect and integrity. This is particularly evident in dress codes and behavior guidelines. Schools are mindful of how their students are portrayed both within and outside the school community, aiming to uphold the institution’s reputation and the student’s dignity.

Economic Considerations

The growing extravagance of prom has also brought economic considerations to the forefront. While some families can afford the high costs associated with modern proms, others may find it financially burdensome. Schools and communities are becoming more aware of this disparity and some have introduced measures to ensure inclusivity. This includes subsidizing tickets, providing rental options for attire, or organizing fundraisers to support students who may not have the means to fully participate.

Educational and Social Impact

Prom is more than just a glamorous event; it plays a significant role in the social development of students. It provides a platform for students to practice social etiquette, build confidence, and celebrate their academic achievements. Schools often use prom as an opportunity to teach important life skills, such as planning, budgeting, and social interaction. As the event becomes more prominent, its educational and developmental potential is increasingly recognized.

The changing face of prom in Ugandan secondary schools reflects broader societal shifts and the dynamic interplay between tradition and modernity. What was once a modest celebration has transformed into a major social event, influenced by global trends, cultural values, and the pervasive reach of social media. As schools navigate these changes, they aim to create an inclusive, respectful, and memorable experience that celebrates the achievements and potential of their students. This evolution signifies not only a shift in how prom is celebrated but also an adaptation to the changing aspirations and realities of Ugandan youth.

Content Courtesy of NFH Digital Team

Blazing a Trail: The Enduring Legacy of Iman Mohamed Abdulmajid

Blazing a trail is the standard operating procedure for Iman, a supermodel, businesswoman, and activist whose impact continues to resonate with current and future generations. Her influence is so profound that it holds these generations in a kind of reverent awe. Through three insightful conversations with contemporary trailblazers Keke Palmer, Precious Lee, and Aurora James—each carrying Iman’s torch in their own unique ways—Iman delves into what it truly means to be an icon for the ages.

The Supermodel: Redefining Beauty Standards

Iman’s journey as a supermodel began in the 1970s, a time when the fashion industry was not as diverse as it is today. Her striking features and regal presence quickly made her a favorite among designers and photographers. But beyond her physical beauty, it was her intelligence, poise, and resilience that set her apart. Iman not only broke barriers for black women in fashion but also redefined beauty standards worldwide. She used her platform to challenge stereotypes and advocate for greater inclusivity within the industry.

In her conversation with Keke Palmer, a multi-talented actress and singer known for her advocacy and authenticity, Iman reflects on the importance of representation. She emphasizes how seeing someone who looks like you in positions of power and influence can inspire and empower. “It’s not just about being seen,” Iman tells Palmer, “but about being seen as multifaceted and capable.”

The Businesswoman: Building Empires and Opportunities

Beyond the runway, Iman has proven herself as a shrewd businesswoman. She launched her own cosmetics line, IMAN Cosmetics, in 1994, targeting women of color who were often overlooked by mainstream beauty brands. Her business acumen and understanding of her market allowed her to create a successful brand that catered to a diverse clientele long before the concept of inclusivity became a trend.

During her dialogue with Precious Lee, a pioneering plus-size model and advocate for body positivity, Iman discusses the importance of creating spaces and opportunities for marginalized groups. “It’s about more than filling a gap in the market,” she says. “It’s about recognizing a need and addressing it with authenticity and respect.” This conversation underscores Iman’s role as a trailblazer not just in modeling but in entrepreneurship as well.

The Activist: Using Her Voice for Change

Iman’s activism has been a cornerstone of her career. She has used her voice to advocate for numerous causes, from human rights to environmental issues. Her commitment to social justice is evident in her philanthropic work and her public statements on issues that matter. Iman’s activism is not performative; it is deeply rooted in her experiences and her desire to make the world a better place.

In her exchange with Aurora James, the founder of the 15 Percent Pledge and a visionary designer, Iman elaborates on the responsibility that comes with visibility and influence. “Being an icon means using your platform for good,” she explains. “It’s about leveraging your influence to bring about meaningful change.” This discussion highlights how Iman has consistently used her platform to uplift others and fight for equality.

An Icon for the Ages

Iman’s conversations with Keke Palmer, Precious Lee, and Aurora James reveal the many facets of her legacy. She is not just a supermodel, businesswoman, or activist; she is a symbol of resilience, innovation, and empowerment. Each of these women, in their own right, carries forward Iman’s torch, embodying the values and principles she has championed throughout her career.

Iman’s impact is seen in the diversity of the fashion and beauty industries today, in the growing number of women of color entrepreneurs, and in the voices advocating for justice and equality. Her legacy is a testament to the power of perseverance, vision, and unapologetic self-expression.

Through these wide-ranging conversations, Iman unpacks what it truly means to be an icon for the ages: it’s about breaking barriers, creating opportunities, and inspiring others to follow in your footsteps. Her trailblazing path continues to illuminate the way for countless individuals, proving that true icons are timeless, their influence enduring far beyond their own time.

Content courtesy of NFH Digital Team

Eko Fashion Connect 1.0: A Confluence of Creativity and Industry Insight

Xa! International, in collaboration with Idozi Collective, proudly presents Eko Fashion Connect 1.0 under the engaging theme “In Conversation With,” featuring renowned fashion industry leaders Ovo Ogufere and Blessing Achu. This exciting event is set to take place on Saturday, June 29th, at the Idozi Collective Studio located at Block 114A, Plot 4, Akiogun Road, Victoria Island.

Event Details

Date and Time:
Saturday, June 29th, from 12:00 PM to 4:00 PM

Location:
Idozi Collective Studio, Block 114A, Plot 4, Akiogun Road, Victoria Island

Registration:
The event is free for all fashion creatives, but prior registration is required to attend.

A Day of Inspiration and Learning

Eko Fashion Connect 1.0 is meticulously designed to be both fun and educational, targeting a diverse array of fashion creatives. Attendees will include designers, models, scouts, show producers, press, talent managers, fashion illustrators, makeup artists, hair stylists, photographers, stylists, and fashion enthusiasts. The event aims to provide a platform for these creatives to engage in meaningful conversations, share insights, and forge valuable connections.

Key Highlights:

1. Interactive Conversations: Engage with industry experts Ovo Ogufere and Blessing Achu as they share their extensive knowledge and experiences.
2. Q&A Sessions: Gain clarity on pressing industry questions directly from the leaders themselves.
3. Group Discussions: Participate in collaborative discussions to explore new ideas and trends in the fashion world.
4. Networking Sessions: Connect with peers and industry veterans to build lasting professional relationships.
5. Fun Photo Sessions: Capture the moments with fellow creatives and industry icons.
6. Surprises: Enjoy unexpected elements and giveaways throughout the event.

Vision and Purpose

Eko Fashion Connect 1.0 was conceived out of a strong desire to give back to society with a specific focus on the fashion industry. The event aims to discover and nurture new talents while providing an invaluable opportunity for rising stars to connect with key industry players. By fostering an environment of collaboration and innovation, the event hopes to contribute to the advancement of the fashion industry in Nigeria.

About the Speakers

Ovo Ogufere
Ovo Ogufere, the CEO of Xa! International, is a multifaceted professional with over two decades of experience in the fashion industry. His roles as a fashion consultant, show producer, talent manager, and entertainment lawyer have made him a pivotal figure in the industry. His insights and guidance have helped shape the careers of numerous fashion creatives.

Blessing Achu
Blessing Achu is the Founder and CEO of 360 Creative Hub. With over 10 years of experience in entrepreneurship and business development in Nigeria’s telecommunications sector, she has successfully transitioned her skills to the fashion industry. Her passion for fashion and her deep understanding of the industry’s needs led to the creation of 360 Creative Hub. She is also a Goodwill Ambassador for the Nigerian Student Fashion Design Week, a mentor to aspiring entrepreneurs, and an advocate for leadership among young women.

 

Eko Fashion Connect 1.0 promises to be an enriching experience for all participants, offering a unique blend of education, inspiration, and networking. This event is an unmissable opportunity for fashion creatives to gain insights from industry veterans, connect with like-minded professionals, and take their careers to the next level. Join us for a day dedicated to the celebration and advancement of fashion in Nigeria.

Register now and be part of this transformative event that is set to leave a lasting impact on the fashion community.

Fashion Brands Embracing Audacity in Style, Spirit, and Materials

Why blend in when you can stand out? This week, we spotlight three distinctive fashion brands that boldly redefine style through their unique approaches and innovative materials.

Archival Apparel: Classical Music Meets Edgy Fashion

Classical music and cool T-shirts are not typically synonymous. Archival Apparel, however, aims to change that with their vintage-inspired shirts for the discerning fashionista. “We launched with a classical music collection to bring some much-needed edge to the genre’s apparel options,” says Michael King, one of Archival Apparel’s resident design enthusiasts.

Their offerings include a tee for Wagner’s *Der Ring des Nibelungen* featuring Swiss-inspired interlocking geometry and a Prokofiev ‘Skull’ tee, which King notes, “captures our mission to create designs that are unexpected and unembarrassingly cool.” Other designs celebrate composers like Shostakovich, Béla Bartók, and Stravinsky, portraying them as the rock stars they truly are.

Archival Apparel started as a group of friends passionate about graphic design, music, and the arts. Disappointed by the existing t-shirt market, they decided to create their own, resulting in widespread popularity and plans to expand into jazz, soul, art, literature, and film collections.

Future Monsters: Rock ‘n’ Roll with a Halloween Twist

Blending alternative, horror, and rock ‘n’ roll, Future Monsters’ fashion line has earned the moniker “creepy couture.” Founder Zachary Dial explains, “Our aim is not only to compete but to excel, creating premium statement pieces that stand out in an industry of rampant disposability.”

Future Monsters focuses on small-batch manufacturing with high-quality fabrics, reflecting Dial’s admiration for rock icons and vintage punk fashion. Driven by a passion for horror movies and a gap in the market for affordable rock-inspired looks, Dial created a brand that marries rock, horror, and punk seamlessly.

Signature pieces like the Pugsley Raw Neck, the vintage-inspired Lurker Cap, and the silk chiffon Harlequin Button Up highlight the brand’s commitment to timeless, versatile fashion.

Alex Crane: The Breezy, Natural Alternative

Alex Crane’s eponymous brand revolves around the concept of feeling “breezy,” achieved through 100% plastic-free clothing made from natural materials like flax, coconut, organic cotton, and banana leaves. “Natural materials are more breathable, more luxurious, more dynamic,” Crane explains.

A former corporate apparel designer, Crane launched his brand in 2017 with a commitment to creating environmentally friendly clothing. His latest release, the Alta Suit, is made from 100% French linen with corozo buttons, offering an unstructured, unlined suit that feels fresh and natural from the first wear.

Crane’s journey from corporate disenchantment to entrepreneurial success underscores his dedication to producing high-quality, sustainable fashion.

These three brands—Archival Apparel, Future Monsters, and Alex Crane—demonstrate that fashion can be daring, expressive, and environmentally conscious. By embracing unique styles and sustainable materials, they offer refreshing alternatives for those looking to make a statement.

Innovative Threads: An Exclusive Interview with Munyengango Jean De Dieu, Founder of DK Heritage Ltd

Munyengango Jean De Dieu is a Rwandan artist and the innovative founder of DK Heritage Ltd, a fashion house renowned for its unique fusion of traditional African aesthetics and contemporary design. With a deep passion for cultural heritage and modern fashion, Munyengango has carved out a distinctive niche in the fashion industry, earning acclaim for his visionary approach and commitment to empowering African artisans and models.

Born and raised in Rwanda, Munyengango developed an early interest in art and design. His formative years were influenced by Rwanda’s rich cultural heritage, which played a significant role in shaping his artistic vision. From a young age, Munyengango was fascinated by the vibrant colors, intricate patterns, and symbolic meanings embedded in traditional African textiles and attire. This cultural appreciation would later become the cornerstone of his fashion philosophy.

Munyengango’s passion for fashion and design led him to establish DK Heritage Ltd. The brand was created with a mission to celebrate and preserve African cultural heritage while innovatively blending it with contemporary fashion trends. DK Heritage Ltd stands out for its dedication to showcasing the beauty and diversity of African textiles, designs, and craftsmanship.

Ann Mumbi: Brief introduction about yourself and your fashion house (Brand)
Munyengango Jean De Dieu: I am Munyengango Jean De Dieu, a Rwandan artist and the founder of DK Heritage Ltd, a fashion house that blends traditional African aesthetics with modern styles. Our brand is dedicated to celebrating African heritage through bold, innovative designs.

AM: As a fashion designer in Kenya, what are some of the specific challenges you’ve encountered when working with models, and how do you overcome them?
MJDD: One of the significant challenges I face is matching models with the right outfits. Sometimes it’s difficult to find the perfect fit, but we overcome this by holding fittings to ensure each model looks their best in our designs.

AM: Can you discuss the process of selecting models for your fashion shows or campaigns and the criteria you look for in potential collaborators?
MJDD: When selecting models, I consider the outfits and the concept of the event. For collaborations, I look for a shared vision and passion between myself and my partners. It’s crucial that we align on our goals and creative direction.

 

AM: How do you ensure that your designs are inclusive and suitable for a diverse range of body types and sizes?
MJDD: I create designs based on the measurements of our models to ensure inclusivity and suitability for various body types. This approach ensures that everyone looks and feels great in our clothing.

AM: Have you faced any difficulties in finding models who accurately represent the vision and aesthetic of your brand, and how have you addressed this challenge?
MJDD: I haven’t faced significant difficulties because I take the time to select models who can embody our brand’s vision. By working closely with them, we achieve the desired look and feel.

AM: Can you share any strategies you use to foster a positive and collaborative relationship with models during fittings and photoshoots?
MJDD: Open communication is key. I make an effort to converse with my models, motivate them, and discuss their future careers. This builds a positive atmosphere and strengthens our collaboration.

AM: What steps do you take to ensure that the models wearing your designs feel comfortable and confident on the runway or in front of the camera?
MJDD: Comfort and confidence start with the design process. I always consider the comfort of the models when creating outfits, ensuring they can move and perform with ease.

AM: How do you navigate the balance between artistic expression and practical considerations when designing garments for models to wear?
MJDD: Balancing artistic expression with practicality is essential. As an artist, it’s important to merge creativity with functionality, making it easier to produce wearable yet visually striking designs.

AM: Can you discuss the importance of communication and teamwork between fashion designers and models in bringing a collection to life?
MJDD: Effective communication and teamwork are crucial. Models bring our designs to life on the runway, so it’s essential that we share our experiences and work passionately together to achieve the best results.

AM: Have you encountered any issues related to diversity and representation within the modeling industry, and how do you address these concerns in your work?
MJDD: Sometimes models may feel competitive, but as a designer, I encourage teamwork and unity. By fostering a collaborative spirit, we can overcome these challenges and promote diversity.

AM: Can you share any experiences where you’ve had to adapt your designs or styling to accommodate the needs or preferences of models?
MJDD: There have been instances where a model might refuse to wear a chosen outfit. In such cases, we adapt by selecting different attire that suits them better, ensuring they are comfortable and confident.

AM: How do you incorporate feedback from models into your design process, and how does this collaboration influence the final outcome?
MJDD: Models often provide valuable feedback, which I incorporate into my designs. Their input helps refine the final product and ensures that it meets both aesthetic and functional requirements.

AM: Can you discuss the impact of social media on the relationship between fashion designers and models in Kenya?
MJDD: Social media has greatly facilitated connections and collaborations. It allows us to showcase our creativity and reach a wider audience, making it easier to network and promote our work.

AM: What initiatives or changes would you like to see within the Kenyan fashion industry to better support models and designers alike?
MJDD: I would like to see more government support in terms of lower taxes and more opportunities to export our products and services. This would significantly boost the industry.

AM: How do you ensure that the working conditions and treatment of models involved in your projects align with ethical standards and values?
MJDD: I prioritize the health and safety of my models, ensuring that our working environments are safe and comfortable for everyone involved.

AM: Can you share any stories of overcoming challenges or obstacles in your collaborations with models and the lessons you’ve learned from these experiences?
MJDD: There have been times when models arrived late. To solve this, I cover their transport costs, ensuring they arrive on time and we maintain a smooth workflow.

AM: What measures do you take to ensure diversity and inclusivity are reflected not only in your designs but also in the models you choose to represent your brand?
MJDD: I select models of various sizes, typically medium and small, to represent the diverse range of body types and ensure inclusivity in our brand.

AM: How do you address the issue of body image and self-esteem within the modeling industry through your work as a fashion designer?
MJDD: I ensure that the models’ appearances complement the outfits perfectly. Fitting sessions are crucial for addressing body image concerns and boosting self-esteem.

AM: Can you discuss the role of fashion designers in promoting positive body image and self-confidence among models and consumers alike?
MJDD: As a designer, creating outfits that attract and empower audiences can significantly boost the confidence of the wearer. It’s important to design clothing that makes people feel good about themselves.

AM: Have you implemented any specific policies or practices within your brand to support the mental and emotional well-being of models?
MJDD: I haven’t implemented specific policies yet, but I plan to focus on this in the future to ensure our models’ mental and emotional well-being.

AM: Can you share any insights into the process of creating garments that are both visually striking on the runway and practical for models to wear?
MJDD: The process begins with creative design, selecting the right materials and accessories, and taking precise measurements. After completing the outfit, we hold fittings to ensure practicality and visual appeal.

AM: How do you ensure that your designs empower models to express themselves authentically and confidently?
MJDD: My models often express delight in my unique designs, which empowers them to wear the outfits confidently and authentically, making them eager to work with me again.

AM: Can you discuss any instances where you’ve collaborated with models to challenge traditional beauty standards or perceptions of fashion?
MJDD: I create unique outfits for showcases that challenge traditional beauty standards and surprise the audience, promoting a broader acceptance of diverse fashion aesthetics.

AM: What do you hope to achieve through your collaborations with models, and how do you envision the future of fashion modeling in Kenya?
MJDD: I hope to elevate my brand and the modeling industry by fostering collaborations that help both designers and models grow. I envision a future where Kenyan fashion modeling thrives globally.

AM: How can clients contact you, and can you share your contact details and social media handles?
MJDD: Clients can reach me through my social media platforms. I am available on Instagram and Facebook, and they can also approach me directly for collaborations.

AM: Who inspired you, and who do you admire working within the fashion industry in Kenya and internationally?
MJDD:My father is my inspiration. I aspire to work with passionate designers both in Kenya and internationally, continually pushing the boundaries of fashion.

 


DK Heritage Ltd. is more than just a fashion brand; it is a movement that seeks to empower African artisans and models by providing them with a global platform. Munyengango’s vision is to create clothing that tells a story—each piece is meticulously designed to reflect the rich history and vibrant culture of Africa. His designs often feature bold colors, striking patterns, and modern interpretations of traditional African symbols and motifs.

Navigating the fashion industry in Kenya, where DK Heritage Ltd. is based, has not been without its challenges. Munyengango has faced obstacles such as matching models with the right outfits and ensuring inclusivity in his designs. However, his commitment to excellence and innovation has enabled him to overcome these hurdles. Under his leadership, DK Heritage Ltd. has grown to become one of East Africa’s leading fashion brands, with a strong presence in both the local and international markets.

A key aspect of Munyengango’s work is his focus on inclusivity and empowerment. He is dedicated to creating opportunities for models and artisans, ensuring they are fairly represented and appreciated. His approach involves close collaboration with models, taking into account their feedback, and ensuring they feel comfortable and confident in his designs. This has fostered a positive and supportive environment within the DK Heritage Ltd. team.

Munyengango is also committed to giving back to the community. He advocates for government support to reduce taxes and create more opportunities for local designers and models. Looking ahead, he aims to expand DK Heritage Ltd’s reach, further promoting African fashion on the global stage and continuing to innovate in design and production.

Inspired by his father and driven by a passion for fashion, Munyengango admires and seeks to collaborate with other passionate designers both within Kenya and internationally. His goal is to continue learning and growing, bringing fresh ideas and perspectives to the fashion industry.

Munyengango Jean De Dieu is a visionary leader in the fashion world, dedicated to blending traditional African heritage with modern fashion trends. Through DK Heritage Ltd, he has created a platform that not only showcases the beauty of African culture but also empowers models and artisans. His journey reflects a deep commitment to innovation, inclusivity, and cultural preservation, making him a prominent figure in the African fashion industry.

The interview highlights Munyengango Jean De Dieu’s thoughtful approach to fashion design and collaboration with models, providing insights into his brand and vision for the industry.

Content courtesy of DK Heritage Ltd & NFH Digital Team

President William Ruto Inaugurates First Vivo Fashion Store in Atlanta, Georgia

Atlanta, Georgia — In a landmark event highlighting African innovation and entrepreneurship, President William Ruto officially opened Vivo Fashion Group’s first U.S. store at Atlanta Station Mall on Tuesday, May 21, 2024. This historic occasion marked a significant milestone for the Kenyan retail fashion giant as it expanded its footprint beyond Africa for the first time.

President Ruto, in his speech, celebrated the achievements of Vivo Fashion Group and its co-founder, Wandia Gichuru. “This is not just a win for Vivo, but for Kenya and Africa as a whole. It showcases the global potential of African brands and the entrepreneurial spirit that drives our continent forward,” he remarked. “The powerful story of Vivo Fashion Group demonstrates the impact of visionary enterprise and spotlights the role of women in leadership, business, and entrepreneurship.”

Wandia Gichuru, the CEO of Vivo Fashion Group, co-founded the company 13 years ago. President Ruto praised the company for its remarkable journey and growth, stating that it is now one of East Africa’s largest fashion brands. “The bold colors, striking patterns, vibrant textures, and meticulous designs that surround us reflect the diversity and rich history of Kenya and the African continent. Your designs beautifully merge traditional and modern African styles and symbolism,” Ruto added.

Vivo Fashion Group designs and manufactures all its products in Kenya and operates 25 outlets throughout the region, employing more than 380 individuals. Ruto also highlighted Vivo’s successful participation in the Nairobi Securities Exchange Ibuka Program. “Through the program, Vivo should find it easier to access various equity or debt capital markets to finance business growth and further development,” he stated.

The grand opening in Atlanta was a vibrant affair, attended by a diverse audience of dignitaries, business leaders, and fashion enthusiasts. The store’s entrance was adorned with Kenyan flags and vibrant African patterns, creating an atmosphere that paid homage to Vivo’s roots while embracing its new international chapter.

Wandia Gichuru expressed her gratitude and excitement at the event. “To see our brand, which started in my living room in Nairobi, now opening a store in Atlanta, is truly a dream come true. This moment is a testament to the hard work, dedication, and passion of our entire team and the support of our loyal customers,” Gichuru said, her voice filled with emotion.

Guests at the opening were treated to a showcase of Vivo’s latest collection, which seamlessly blends African style with contemporary fashion trends. The new store features a wide array of clothing and accessories, emphasizing Vivo’s commitment to quality, comfort, and affordability.

President Ruto’s state visit to the United States, at the invitation of U.S. President Joe Biden, is the first by a Kenyan president in two decades and the first by an African leader in 16 years. The President’s visit began at the Atlanta University Center and will continue in Washington, DC, where he is scheduled to meet with President Biden to discuss trade and security partnerships, including Kenya’s pledge to lead a multinational mission to restore order in Haiti.

The opening of the Vivo store in Atlanta is not just a business expansion; it symbolizes the breaking of barriers and the forging of new paths for African enterprises on the global stage. As Vivo Fashion Group continues to grow, it remains rooted in its mission to empower African women through fashion and to bring the vibrancy of African culture to the world.

Photos by Nesh Maina, Office of the First Lady, Republic of Kenya & NFH Digital Team

Met Gala 2024: Everything They’re Wearing On The 2024 Met Gala Red Carpet And Who Wore The Best Dress At The Event.

One more Met Gala to add to the collection today. With the theme “Garden of Time” and the title “Sleeping Beauties: Reawakening Fashion,” celebrities, designers, and stylists alike occupied the Upper East Side for the 2024 Met Gala. The greatest red carpet trends (apart from lace, corsets, and leather) included birds, loads of florals, and tributes to John Galliano. Stylists combed into the archives to find looks inspired by gardens for their themes. The Loewe crew, which included Taylor Russell, Greta Lee, and Josh O’Connor, was astonished, while Tyla ruled the red carpet in Balmain. Zendaya debuted two looks. Loewe? It’s all explained here.

Who walked the red carpet at the 2024 Met Gala?
Chris Hemsworth, Jennifer Lopez, Bad Bunny, and Zendaya appeared first as hosts. And thank God, Zendaya gave us two Met Gala moments when we really needed one! When Tyla arrived wearing a “sand” outfit, she essentially walked the red carpet. Ayo Edeberi, Lauren Sanchez, Taylor Russell, Omar Apollo, Mike Faist, Gracie Abrams, Nicholas Galitzine, Rachel Sennott, and Angel Reese were among the many notable first-timers in attendance. Additionally, Shou Chew, the CEO of TikTok, and Jonathan Anderson of Loewe were honorary chairs. Surprisingly, though, none of the major TikTokers made their red carpet appearance.

Who did you think looked the best at the Met Gala?
We adored Gwendoline Christie in a bespoke Maison Margiela, Emma Chamberlain in a Jean Paul Gaultier, Zendaya in a John Galliano, Jennifer Lopez in a custom Schiaparelli Haute Couture, and Gigi Hadid in a Thom Browne. See our most creative, bizarre, and terrible looks here.

What was the theme again?
The Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum of Art chose a slightly less contentious option following last year’s tribute to Karl Lagerfeld. “Sleeping Beauties: Reawakening Fashion,” an exhibition organized by the Costume Institute, focuses on forgotten and delicate clothing. Current pieces by designers Phillip Lim and Stella McCartney are on display, along with archival designs from fashion icons like Elsa Schiaparelli, Yves Saint Laurent, Christian Dior, and Haut de Givenchy, to mention a few. Regarding the dress code (yes, they do differ), it focused on “The Garden of Time” and offered participants the option to play with the garden aspect or give a reference to the past with more vintage designs and artifacts.

Did Rihanna Show Up?
We lost out on Rihanna when she first announced she would be there, but a source later revealed to People that she is sick. Although disappointing, the event concluded on schedule.

The Met Gala 2024 unfolded on May 6, with attendees bedecked in enchanting ensembles, perfectly aligning with the event’s theme, “A Garden in Time,” inspired by the exhibit “Sleeping Beauties: Reawakening Fashion.” Leading the charge were luminaries such as Jennifer Lopez, Zendaya, Chris Hemsworth, and Bad Bunny, who graced the iconic steps of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in support of the museum’s Costume Institute. As guests traversed the red carpet, anticipation mounted over who would defy conventions and whose attire would etch itself into the annals of Met Gala history.

Amidst the allure and intrigue surrounding the event, we meticulously documented over 160 celebrities and their sartorial choices. From daring creations that push the boundaries of fashion to timeless classics exuding elegance, every ensemble promises a captivating visual feast. Would any appearances rival the most controversial outfits of all time, or would they ascend to the pantheon of the best-dressed? As the evening unfolded, the suspense was palpable, with speculation rife about surprise guests and the stalwarts of the Met Gala circuit, including luminaries like Blake Lively and Sarah Jessica Parker.

Our live blog chronicled each momentous arrival, capturing the essence of Fashion Prom in real-time. From the captivating red carpet debuts to the intricacies of each ensemble, no detail was overlooked. Following the main event, our curated list of best-dressed celebrities provided insights into the most captivating and trendsetting looks of the evening. And for those craving more, our coverage extended to the exclusive afterparty, unveiling a trove of unseen photos capturing the essence of post-Gala revelry.

Stay tuned as we unravel the captivating tapestry of fashion and spectacle from the Met Gala 2024, where every moment is an ode to creativity, extravagance, and the enduring allure of haute couture.

Content courtesy of The Cut & NFH Digital Team

The Evolution of Fashion in the Era of TikTok: A Transformative Influence on Style and Consumerism

As the potential for a TikTok ban looms, the platform takes center stage at fashion’s pinnacle event, the Met Gala. A pivotal scene from the iconic movie “The Devil Wears Prada” encapsulates the intricate machinery of the fashion world. Miranda Priestly, portrayed by Meryl Streep, presides over a pivotal decision on photo-shoot looks, illustrating how choices in elite fashion circles trickle down to shape consumer preferences. This enduring monologue not only elucidates the workings of the fashion industry but also underscores its profound societal influence.

The emergence of TikTok as a sponsor for this year’s Met Gala has sparked discussion, particularly in light of legislative actions potentially affecting the platform’s operations. Moreover, Vogue’s alignment with TikTok reflects a broader shift in fashion dynamics, where the platform has propelled fast fashion and unconventional trend cycles to the forefront, redefining the landscape of sartorial influence.

While Instagram revolutionized fashion by democratizing access to trends and fostering influencer culture, TikTok’s impact has been more disruptive, fundamentally altering the traditional hierarchy of fashion influence. No longer solely dictated by designers or marketing executives, fashion trends now emerge organically from the platform’s diverse user base, epitomized by the likes of trend forecasters like Mandy Lee.

The synergy between TikTok and the rise of ultrafast fashion, epitomized by brands like Shein and Zara, has reshaped consumer behavior, with online shopping becoming both an activity and a performance. Unlike traditional e-commerce platforms, TikTok’s algorithm-driven content facilitates the exploration of eclectic trends and aesthetics, transcending conventional fashion narratives.

TikTok’s influence extends beyond mere trend dissemination; it has become a cultural barometer, reflecting and shaping societal attitudes toward fashion. From cottagecore to indie sleaze, the platform has incubated and popularized diverse aesthetics, challenging the hegemony of established fashion norms. Moreover, TikTok creators have emerged as influential arbiters of taste, democratizing access to fashion knowledge and discourse.

Despite initial skepticism from traditional fashion houses, TikTok’s ascendancy has compelled brands to reassess their engagement strategies, with an emphasis shifting toward authenticity and relatability. Creators like Charles Gross and Izzi Allain have bridged the gap between luxury fashion and everyday consumers, demystifying haute couture and fostering a more inclusive dialogue around style.

Ultimately, TikTok has democratized fashion discourse, empowering individuals to participate in shaping trends and challenging established fashion paradigms. As the industry grapples with evolving consumer preferences, TikTok remains at the forefront of fashion’s transformative journey, heralding a new era of style, democracy, and creativity.

Content courtesy of NFH Digital Team

Meet the Women Changing the Face of Fashion in the Era of Female Designers

Empowering Female Designers, Vogue Celebrates Women’s Contributions in Fashion, In an era where female designers are making significant strides in the fashion industry, questions persist about the obstacles they continue to face in securing their rightful place. Vogue, a beacon of style and influence, shines a spotlight on a diverse array of women whose talent, creativity, and impact defy gender stereotypes and speak volumes about their contributions to fashion.

The pages of Vogue serve as a platform to celebrate the achievements of female designers from around the world, showcasing their innovative designs, groundbreaking concepts, and unwavering determination. Through compelling narratives and stunning visuals, Vogue champions the voices of these trailblazing women, amplifying their stories and highlighting the unique perspectives they bring to the table.

From established fashion houses to emerging labels, Vogue’s coverage encompasses a global spectrum of female talent, representing diverse backgrounds, cultures, and aesthetic sensibilities. These women are not only shaping the fashion landscape but also challenging the status quo, pushing boundaries, and redefining industry norms.

Yet, despite their undeniable talent and contributions, female designers often find themselves confronting systemic barriers and biases that hinder their progress. Vogue’s coverage delves into the complex dynamics at play within the fashion industry, exploring issues of gender inequality, lack of representation, and the persistent challenges faced by women in positions of leadership.

Through thought-provoking interviews, insightful commentary, and thoughtfully curated features, Vogue sparks important conversations about the need for greater inclusivity, diversity, and equity within the fashion ecosystem. By amplifying the voices of female designers and shedding light on their experiences, Vogue advocates for positive change and strives to create a more inclusive and equitable future for all.

In celebrating the achievements of female designers, Vogue reaffirms its commitment to championing diversity, empowering women, and fostering a more inclusive fashion industry. With each issue, Vogue reaffirms its dedication to showcasing the talent, creativity, and resilience of women who continue to shape the world of fashion and inspire generations to come.

Sarah Burton, Alexander McQueen

Last October, Burton departed the label she oversaw for 13 years with a show that was a glorious tour de force, underscoring her strengths: scalpel-sharp tailoring and exquisite artisanal effects.

Nadège Vanhée-cybulski, Hermès

You likely won’t know her because, as always with the storied French house, the team comes first. But her impeccably made clothes resonate with intimacy and intelligence.

Louise Trotter, Carven

For Trotter’s 2023 debut for Carven (founded in Paris in 1945 by Marie-Louise Carven), she played to her own strengths and those of the house: fashion and functionality, writ large.

Rachel Scott, Gaëlle Drevet, Aurora James, Emily Adams Bode Aujla, Catherine Holstein

Stephens Auditorium: The Fashion Show members reflect on Midnight Bloom

The 42nd annual Fashion Show commenced with grandeur on April 20th at Stephens Auditorium, marking a celebration of creativity and innovation within the student designer community. With this year’s theme, Midnight Bloom, as their guiding muse, more than 75 student designers embarked on a journey of artistic exploration and expression.

Reflecting on the culmination of months of meticulous planning and dedication, key figures from The Fashion Show’s committees shared their perspectives on the event’s orchestration and the relentless efforts invested behind the curtains.

Madeline Hayes, serving as the Marketing Director and a senior in marketing, expressed her awe at witnessing the fruition of the students’ endeavors. “This was my first year involved in The Fashion Show, and the experience was nothing short of mesmerizing. Witnessing the culmination of talent, dedication, and hard work showcased by fellow students left me profoundly inspired,” remarked Hayes.

The evening unfolded with a blend of retail therapy, as merchandise adorned the venue, alongside poignant speeches delivered by committee members, collaborators, and faculty members. Following the spectacle on the runway, a poignant moment ensued as committee members themselves graced the catwalk, a symbolic gesture acknowledging the collective effort behind the organization’s marquee event.

Emma Allen, a member of the marketing committee and a sophomore in English, shed light on the transition from spectator to participant, underscoring the exhilaration of contributing to a landmark event. “Partaking in the show was undeniably more demanding, yet infinitely more gratifying. The culmination of efforts on the day of the show, coupled with the recognition received during the runway walk, epitomized the essence of reward,” shared Allen.

The marketing endeavors, spearheaded by Hayes and her team, encompassed a spectrum of initiatives aimed at garnering campus-wide and community attention. From orchestrating pop-up displays to facilitating collaborations with local businesses, the marketing committee left no stone unturned in amplifying the event’s reach.

Alejandra Palou, director of the Visual Merchandising Committee and a sophomore in apparel, merchandising, and design, elaborated on the collaborative efforts undertaken to create an immersive experience for attendees. “Our committee’s endeavors extended beyond conventional realms, from installations across campus to strategic partnerships with local vendors. Witnessing the fruition of our collective vision was profoundly rewarding,” shared Palou.

Abigail Klauer, director of the Fashion Show’s design committee and a senior in apparel, merchandising, and design, offered poignant insights into the camaraderie and resilience exhibited throughout the event’s preparation. “One cherished memory from this year’s event was the camaraderie shared during the early morning hustle across campus. Despite the challenges, the experience fostered lasting bonds and memories,” reminisced Klauer.

Beyond the glitz and glamour of the runway, various committees worked tirelessly behind the scenes, hosting Fashion Week events, orchestrating stage decorations, and providing invaluable support to models and designers.

As Emma Allen aptly summarized, “The Fashion Show 2024 epitomized success, underscoring the collective prowess of each committee. It’s a testament to the remarkable achievements possible through concerted efforts in a student-run production of such magnitude.”

Content courtesy of IOWA State Daily & NFH Digital Team