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.
Gillean Opoku is an Australian born Ghanaian, final year Visual Communications student and also the founder of the blog Afroklectic . She describes her blog as a “creative vent, a platform for African-Australian creative, a place presenting all things African and creative, a place to educate on what Africa is, pushing aside the tired misconception of what Africa is not”.
Read on for more on Gillean Opoku and AfroKlectic.
Ijeoma Ndekwu: What made you decide to start AfroKlectic ?
Gilean Opoku: I was frustrated that we didn’t have a Design/Fashion/Lifestyle blog in Australia and there were African-Australian people around me who were starting to show their creative side. I thought they needed a platform to showcase their talent to the rest of the world. I had built up a large digital archive of African associated things and it was like I had an opinion on everything I collected or I was always able to link it to something else. I also needed a platform to communicate my thoughts/opinion, creative work and ideas. I was not a fan of writing, but blogging seemed like the best way to combine all these elements in one location and present to a global audience!
IJ: What was your idea for “AfroKlectic” when you conceived it?
GO: I didn’t really have an idea of what I was doing. I knew why I was starting AfroKlectic but I wasn’t sure where I was going. I just thought I would try it and if it failed then I would find another avenue. When I started, I thought I would get over blogging after a few months and abandon it.
IJ: How long has it been running?
GO: Since January 2010
IJ: What does fashion mean to you?
GO: To me, fashion is the process of turning items into art pieces adorned on the body. From the design, to the production, to the person wearing the piece. It’s all part of the process!
IJ: And style?
GO: Style is personal expression.The way one co-ordinates the items onto a body to define who the wearer is.
IJ: Who are your style icons?
GO: Solange, Shingai Shoniwa & Miroslava Mikheeva-Duma. They use their bodies as blank canvases and present masterpieces!
IJ: What are your most favourite stores and why?
GO: At the moment I love H&M, Topshop and Selfridges, because they are not in Australia at the moment!!!! I also love Reiss, Whistles and Cos. I love their clothes, but it’s the overall sleek look of the brands which I adore. From clothing, to store presentation, to catalogues!!! I am a fan of ASOS because you can get great brands like Ted Baker, Karen Millen all in one location.
IJ: What are your favourite designer brands and why?
GO: I love the richness and vibrancy of Lanvin and Stella McCartnery, the edginess and rebellious look of Vivienne Westwood and Alexander McQueen, the quirkiness of Marc Jacob’s designs and the sophistication of Oscar De La Renta and Zac Posen. I can’t leave out the African brands like Boxing Kitten, Suno, Ituen Basi just to mention a few!
IJ: What fashion item do you splurge on?
GO: A Mimco handbag or wallet.
IJ: What do you think is the biggest challenge to African Fashion fully penetrating the international industry?
GO: I think the biggest challenge is the global fashion industry not taking note that African fashion is alive and kicking. It feels like high-end designers design African inspired collections as if African fashion and the materials used are ancient practices no longer in use!
IJ: Is Afroklectic something you see doing long-term?
GO: Yes!!! Afroklectic is now my alter-ego, it’s become apart of me. Like how Sasha Fierce is to Beyonce!
Gillean Opoku on the look she put together: In Australia, we are going into winter. So I put together a chic and classic night look basically out of my wardrobe. The kind of look you would rock on a dinner date with your girlfriends or even for an edgier work look during the day. I chose this gorgeous French Connection silk top paired with tapered pants from Topshop, topped off with a classy tote from Mimco and black platforms from French Connection.
It’s a very chic look and screams understated glamour!
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
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