Debut Collection (2020)
When putting together my debut collection 'This is Me', it was really about just letting myself go and my imagination run wild. As a black stylist and designer working in a white dominated industry, I had always felt stifled and held back when it came to my work, so as an artist, this was my chance to really go for it and see what came out.
After 20 years experience working in the fashion industry, my transition into art came from a frustration I had been feeling with the fashion industry. The lack of diversity in fashion when it came to how visuals including black models were styled and depicted in mainstream media, left me uninspired and sometimes angry. As a mother of 3, there was also a personal need to create and share images that would inspire and empower my children and the next generation. I didn’t want my children, especially my daughter, growing up with a misconception of beauty, perpetuated by Western media.
I felt our style and beauty wasn’t acknowledged, understood or appreciated. We are made to believe our features, skin tone, hair and body types were not attractive enough and didn’t fit into the Western idea of beauty. Instead, black models were either made up to look like white models, or seen as a contrast token.
Our culture is full of style, colour, beauty, prints and texture all wrapped in confidence and pride. This was missing in the catwalk shows I went to as a student and still missing in the editorial shoots I was hired to style 2 decades later. This was my motivation to create the types of images I wanted to see.
As fashion is my first love, my inspiration always started with accessories or fashion pieces, hats, glasses and jewelry. My first series of work didn’t have any plan or particular researchmbehind it, I just styled and designed as I normally did at a shoot, but instead of working on a live model, I was now working on a digital canvas. During the creation of my first series, I was also going through a very spiritual awakening. I was practicing positive thinking, self confidence and the power of manifestation, so when it came to choosing titles for each piece, such as 'Patience', 'I can’t be stung by you' and 'Let go of your past', it was all about capturing moments in my life at that time and as each piece was complete, I let the piece choose titles that spoke to it.
I want this collection to bring a smile to your face, fill you with pride for your culture, or fall in love with black beauty and culture, give you confidence to own who you are and experiment with colour and embrace it into your own everyday life.
Thank You Credits
I have collaborated with some amazing designers and artists to produce my work, I want to thank them for trusting me with their creativity, designs and skills.
Jewellery artist Anita Quansah
Jewellery artist Moyo by Bibi
Hat master Maxhatter
King of photography Emmanuel Oyeleke
Models Ajara Leigh and Uju Marsha