There are a lot of great African fashion bloggers out there, and in acknowledgment of how instrumental they can be in promoting African Fashion and our love for fashion, we at BN Style decided to do a mini-series profiling 5 amazing blogs. WE Blog Fashion provides an insight into African fashion bloggers as we look into their blogs, their fashion, and the individuals behind them.
To start-off this mini-series,we chose the gorgeous girls behind stylebyqueens.co.uk. Tobi and Kike testify to loving “everything about fashion from dressing up, to reading about it to being it” and one only needs a few minutes on their blog to figure this out. StyleByQueens has grown to be their own little nest, where they showcase African designers, and invite readers into their world of fashion; from their stylish wardrobes to their personalized fashion tips.
Read on, as I talk Fashion, StyleByQueens, and much more with Tobi & Kike.
Ijeoma Ndekwu: What made you guys decide to start StyleByQueens?
StyleByQueens: It was mainly the pressure of law school and the sheer fact that it was consuming our lives in an unhealthy way. We’re both avid fashion lovers and we love to dress up. We wanted something fun we could do on the side and starting a blog was the best way to do that.
IJ: What was your idea for “StyleByQueens” when you conceived it?
SBQ: We didn’t really have any concrete idea of what we wanted the blog to be about. We were just two fashion lovers sharing our fashion favourites. Ideas for the blog sort of came up as we went along and we started incorporating other things into it. We started focusing a lot more on up and coming designers as our readership grew, we also started doing a lot more features on designers and other bloggers, giveaways and generally anything that helped us meet other people and interact a bit more with our readers. All in all, we kept and still keep it true to what we like.
IJ: How long has it been running?
SBQ: The blog has been running for just over a year now. It feels like yesterday!
IJ: What has been the response so far?
SBQ: It has been overwhelming. We’re always a bit surprised that people are even remotely interested in anything we have to say but they seem to be. Initially it was just our closest friends that were logging on. Now we have a host of readers around the world – America, South Africa, Nigeria and the list goes on; we get about 25, 000 to 30, 000 hits a month which is definitely a lot more than what we anticipated. Of course we get negatives responses to what we do, but it’s part of putting yourself out there, not everyone will like what you do. But SBQ will keep going regardless. We’re so thankful and grateful to everyone that supports us!
IJ: What does fashion mean to you?
Kike: Fashion is simply wearable art. It goes beyond creativity and innovation; it’s way bigger than that and actually a bit difficult to explain in words but it is such a beautiful thing.
Tobi: It’s hard to explain in words, but it makes me so happy. Not in a materialistic way but, I really appreciate talent from the big named designers right to the less well known ones. Anything that is beautifully tailored to perfection makes me smile. Fashion is my art.
IJ: And style?
Kike: Style is an expression of your personality and what you consider fashionable. Fashion is one thing, but putting it together really well -now that’s style.
Tobi: Style is knowing what you love coupled with knowing what suits your body, with a dash of confidence.
IJ: Is there anything you’ve worn in the past you now find dreadful?
Kike: Jelly Shoes! Mine were particularly dreadful because they had glitter on them. I would end up having glitter all over my feet after taking them off. I couldn’t go anywhere without them back then, but now, not so much!
Tobi: Of course – Yes. Probably too many to remember.
IJ: What are your most favourite stores and why?
Kike: I really love Topshop. I feel like they cater to my style in particular (most of the time at least). I love what they’ve done with this Season’s colour-blocking trend; it makes me a bit more adventurous with colours. I also love H&M (Trend), Zara and this Swedish Brand –Cheap Monday; they have some really random and unusual/edgy pieces that just add that extra factor to an outfit. I’m really big on Urban Outfitters –from t-shirts to Vintage Levi’s, they have everything I need!
Tobi: Cos, Zara, H&M (Trend). These brands speak to my style, which is well, tailored pieces with a twist. Cos stocks amazing dresses I can wear to work, but they always have an extra something that takes it from being a boring 9-5 dress to something I could wear to any smart event. I visit H&M Trend every week, that’s how much I love it! At Arise Fashion Week people would ask me “who am I wearing?” My answer was always H&M Trend people refused to believe me! But H&M Trend makes beautiful pieces that are wearable but so different at the same time. I call Zara, the grown up sexy store, that’s exactly what it is!
IJ: What are your favourite designer brands and why?
Kike: I love Celine with all my heart; I call it ‘clean’ fashion in my opinion, their collections are always so classic and chic but sometimes edgy at the same time. I really love it when designers surprise you but still stay true to themselves and Celine tends to do that almost every season. I also love Rachel Roy; she always brings something new with each collection but at the same time staying true to the “glamour” theme that runs through each time. She makes very wearable pieces and I think that’s very important when it comes to fashion. Couture is not for everybody (it’s definitely not for me, I’ll tell you that)! Alexander Wang and Jason Wu are also favourites of mine. I absolutely love Lanre Da-Silva Ajayi, her clothes are just gorgeous and I love what she does with beading and embellishments. I think she’s extremely creative and she’s one designer that I can safely say expresses herself through her designs, pure sartorial elegance. I am patiently waiting for the day I can afford to buy clothes from any of these designers though, without having to go on a dry fast for most of the year, till then I’m more than happy to drool and ogle at their pieces!
Tobi: Alexander Wang is just the epitome of cool. I also love Prada, Stella McCartney, Philip Lim, Felder Felder. All of these designer brands make statement pieces that are very understated and simple.
IJ: What’s the fashion accessory you can’t do without?
Kike: I would definitely say my collection of bracelets. I tend to wear a lot of bracelets and wrist adornments in general. Each of my bracelets has some sort of sentimental attachment so I never leave the house without them and it does not matter to me whether or not they match my outfit. I usually wear all of them on one wrist behind my watch, but I was starting to look a bit ridiculous with almost 15 different pieces on my wrist, so I’ve moved a few of them to my right wrist now. Hopefully I can let go of some of them soon.
Tobi: Statement Jewellery, I don’t like my outfits too fussy, but I love to make my accessories stand out
SBQ: We think so, yes. So far we’re just enjoying it because it’s something that we both enjoy doing and it really does help us de-stress so if it’s something we get to do for a long time, then we’ll be more than happy to. We’re both growing up and moving into different stages of our lives, we will always love the blog. So we will always make time for what we love.
IJ: Any future plans for the blog?
SBQ: No major plans for world-domination just yet! We do have some exciting plans to take the blog to the next level but still maintaining that ‘personal’ feeling it has right now
IJ: Do you intend to work in Fashion later on?
Kike: I definitely want to work in Fashion at some point in the future. Currently I’m doing a Masters in Intellectual Property Law and there is a lot on Fashion Law involved in the course in terms of protecting ideas and what not, so it’s definitely something I would love to a career out of. I do have this dream to do something big in Fashion over the next few years, but I’m too scared to share it just in case it does not work out. By the grace of God it does work out and I can share it when it becomes a success *fingers crossed*.
Tobi: I love fashion, but from the sidelines, I like participating and watching with no pressure. So it is very unlikely but you never know! I work in the world of financial services, work is busy but so exciting at the same time, a completely different world to fashion, I carry around the Financial Times and Elle magazine and people laugh at me, but that is me! Who knows what God has in store for me!
Tobi & Kike put together a Day and Night look for our fabulous BN readers based largely on this season’s “colour-blocking” trend. I absolutely love these looks, It’s a great mix of colour and loving the accessories.
All bloggers featured during this mini-series, will be asked to put together at least one look. BN readers are encouraged to recreate these looks and send in photos of their recreations to firstname.lastname@example.org. These photos will be featured at the end of the series. I look forward to receiving your emails. So get inspired, get recreating! xx
Follow me on twitter: @ijeomandekwu