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ARISE: African Promise Collective – The Rundown



698810762309_0_ALBLouisa Kinoshi, International Scene Editor and Cornelia O’Dwyer, BN New York Correspondent were at the African Promise Collective and spoke to the designers, models and celebrities.

Here is the detailed scoop from the African Fashion Collective by Louisa:
Timeline of Events

August 31

Official invite arrives in the mail and it looks much better than last year.  We have to RSVP with the press team by that evening. However, getting seats this year was an easier and much streamlined process.

Day of Show


Getting ready and it’s still pouring heavily. Cornelia and I decided on black dresses with tuxedo jackets. Scraped the heels–boots and flats it is!


Arrive at the tents. The tents feel even much more different this year it’s obvious there are less fashionistas attending the shows. Due to the economy, many designers have decided either not to show at NY Fashion Week or to present  at a separate venue.


Got our backstage passes and we are immediately greeted by beautiful people. The make-up team from MAC was in full force and the models were looking amazing. We quickly chatted with Tyson Beckford who is being his usual jovial self. Cornelia spots him changing for the show…he is so HAWT!

We spotted Tyson Beckford & Ladybrille's Uduak backstage

We spotted Tyson Beckford & Ladybrille's Uduak backstage


More backstage action

Model Pose

Model Pose - smile with your eyes!

Supermodel in the making Chanel Iman smiles for the BN cameras - that's her cute bf Tyga with her

Supermodel in the making Chanel Iman smiles for the BN cameras - that looks like her cute boyfriend Tyga with her

The ever gorgeous Oluchi

The ever-gorgeous Oluchi


We chatted with Folake Coker (Tiffany Amber) and Lisa Folawiyo (Jewel By Lisa) backstage. Lets say first and foremost these designers themselves looked so good.

Tiffany Amber backstage

Tiffany Amber pieces pre-runway

Click to see our interview with Folake

Folake Coker made her own fabrics this year and was influenced by the designs of Nigerian fine artist, Kolade Oshinowo.

Jewel by Lisa pieces pre-runway

Jewel by Lisa pieces pre-runway

Click to see our interview with Lisa

Lisa’s collection was inspired by the edge and the urbanity of New York women.


Moved to front of house and immediately saw Damon Dash in the front row. Melody Thornton of Pussycat Dolls, Amerie, Sean Paul and Betty Irabor and Korto Momolu were also in attendance.


Damon Dash was seated right in front of the BN girls!

Oh its Amerie

Oh its Amerie


Project Runway's Kortu with BN's Cornelia & Louisa


Editors from the top magazines were also in attendance including VOGUE, Essence, Oprah, Fader and more.

And of course our BN Fab Girl of the night, Chalya Shagaya was definitely representing at the show.

BN Fab Girl, Chalya Shagaya in Deola Sagoe

BN Fab Girl, Chalya Shagaya in Deola Sagoe

It’s really a strong statement for African designers to be able to show consistently. African fashion is not a fluke but is here to STAY. The ARISE team had a major challenge this year. How do you maintain the momentum the show built up from last season  and engage an even more diverse audience? The sophomore show for ARISE, the African Promise Collective was able to still maintain excitement and exhibit creativity in these challenging times. Check BN again soon for the official review of the actual show.

Louisa getting a piece of the red carpet action

Bella Naija's Louisa getting a piece of the red carpet action

Cornelia’s Review

I had been looking forward to the ARISE show for the last couple of week so it was great when the day finally came. It was a rainy and messy day in New York and my hair was a frizzy mess so the first stop for me was backstage “hair and makeup”. The show was fun packed and everyone around seemed to know exactly what they were doing and even those who didn’t, did a good job acting. It was chaotic but I was immediately calmed by the smile of gorgeous Tyson Beckford who happened to be the first person I saw. I said hi and quickly got into “work mode”. Chanel Iman who is just effortlessly fab was across the room getting her make up done whilst chatting with a gorgeous male friend – I think it was her boyfriend Tyga. She has a great personality and even told me to take another photo once she had finished her make up which she gladly posed for. After bobbing and weaving through the mad house I couldn’t help but notice Lisa Folawiyo’s attractive humility as she posed for the cameras (she was the only designer who had gift bags by the way) unfortunately only “front row” got to go home with that. Folake of Tiffany Amber was also very down to earth and willingly struck some top model poses for the Bella Cam 🙂 Melody Thornton of the Pussycat Dolls was super friendly and gave me a quick back rub – I met her assistant later who apparently thought he “secured” her front row seat and asked if I was the one he had to speak to about that (I wish!) Amerie was spotted looking gorgeous and very engaging. She was super impressed with the Tiffany Amber collection and David Thale pieces and I witnessed her taking photos. I spoke with her after the show and she was “very excited to be at the event and wanted almost all the clothes she saw”. Lola Ogunnaike was there with her hubby Deen Solebo, Dr. Doyin Abiola, Betty Irabor along with the Genevieve Magazine team and representatives from most of the major media power houses were also in attendance. It was a fabulous show and I loved it but I was way too tired to hit the after-party at the Plaza which was extremely crowded I hear. See you next season!

Striking a pose with Melody of the Pussycat Dolls

BN's Cornelia O'Dwyer striking a pose with Melody of the Pussycat Dolls

ARISE Editor, Helen Jennings

ARISE Editor, Helen Jennings

The ThisDay Style Team pose with ARISE publisher Nduka Obiegbena

The ThisDay Style Team pose with ARISE publisher Nduka Obiegbena

JBL Giftbags

JBL Giftbags

Dr. Doyin Abiola @ ARISE

Dr. Doyin Abiola @ ARISE

ARISE Promise of Africa models

ARISE Promise of Africa models

Folake Folarin-Coker of Tiffany Amber poses for BN

Folake Folarin-Coker of Tiffany Amber poses for BN

All Photos Above Shot Exclusively for Bella Naija

Press Shots

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Press Video


  1. bubbles

    September 13, 2009 at 4:03 pm

    omg!!…great coverage cornelia and louisa….
    bellanaija did us proud…
    once again!

  2. Zenna

    September 13, 2009 at 11:29 pm

    ok first thing i noticed oprah’s correspondence are there too…hope she is considering taking her comment on nigeria back or else nobody needs to suck up to her

  3. Genny N

    September 14, 2009 at 2:51 pm

    What was Oprah’s comment on Nigeria, Zenna my dear? That woman too dey do sef.

  4. Boogie

    September 15, 2009 at 6:32 pm

    Why does that chic in the pic with Melody of the Pussycat Dolls have her mouth scrunched up? I’m Confused…

  5. Bola

    September 27, 2009 at 5:04 am

    amazing- and i mean, Tiffany Amber’s amazing!

  6. Bukky

    September 27, 2009 at 1:53 pm

    why does Melody Thornton look like a guy in this pics

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