The Uuuhs and Aaarghs of my life

Archive for the ‘Fashion’ Category

THE ANKARA FABRIC

image

An Ankara print dress by RED MUS that I wore during a fashion shoot at the Kuona Trust Art Center in Nairobi

 

Did you know that the famous African Ankara fabric originated from the Netherlands under the name “Dutch Wax”?

In Nigeria, Ankara (also called the “African Wax”) had only been used by low class citizens as a cheap alternative to special occasion outfits.

 

Brian in a blue shirt with touch of Ankara print

Brian in a blue shirt with touch of Ankara print. For special occasions

 

This was the case until the then Nigerian President Obasanjo embraced Ankara for his official wardrobe. He was known as a Nigerian cultural ambassador. Importation of foreign fabrics was banned and so Nigerian designers had to make do with what they had available; Ankara.

Susan in a dazzling orange dress and clutchbag with a touch of Ankara print

Susan in a dazzling orange dress and clutchbag with a touch of Ankara print

 

After years of modern day expression of the African Wax, this beautiful print made it’s way to international fashion runways and a massive following by Hollywood celebrities.

 

Hollywood songstress Solange Knowles rocking an Ankara print outfit

Hollywood songstress Solange Knowles rocking an Ankara print outfit

 

Also, much as the capital of Turkey is called Ankara, this has got no relation with the wax fabric.

 

Kevin in a red shirt with a touch of Ankara print. Casual wear.

Kevin in a red shirt with a touch of Ankara print. Casual wear

 

Regardless of it’s production in the Netherlands, what matters most is the history and level of importance associated with the Ankara fabric by Africans. It is our pride and we wear it bold!

 

I totally loved wearing this Ankara outfit with heaps of retro vybe.

I totally loved wearing this Ankara print outfit with a retro feel

 

How’s that for a quick history lesson?

Viva Ankara Fashion!

 

Love,

Ayuma.

 

Advertisements

Modelling meets Charity!

image

When a good friend tagged me onto a Facebook post about a call for models for an upcoming charity swim marathon, the first thing that crossed my mind was, “When was the last time I put on a bikini?”

image

But when reason settled in, I realised that I was just trying to look for a reason to shy away from wearing a bikini. But when I later accepted the Facebook event invite by Evgeniya, the event planner, I was struck by inspiration.

Evgeniya posted photos of talent auditions at a place called Huruma which some consider to be a slum area in Nairobi. The children looked so happy and I could not resist smiling as I scanned through the photos.

I had no plans for the weekend and this was a chance for me to be part of an amazing charity event that involved children… I was sold and ready to walk that runway to make the day as great as intended.

image

But if there was something I did not understand, it would be what a Rotary club is all about. To be honest, I always thought it was one of those old clubs full of old and retired expatriates who play Bingo during vacations on a fancy yatch. I know… I have watched too many movies starring old people 🙂 This is why it was surprising to know that there was a Rotary Club in Nairobi. I thought, “There aren’t any docking stations in Nairobi!”

Sad… I know. Later on, I did my research and found out that Rotary International is a global village of neighbours, friends, and community leaders. They team up to create initiatives that promote positive change and resilience in various communities around the world. So far, the village comprises of about 2.2million members. Nairobi’s Rotary Club is currently headed by David Hastie (President: 2013-2014).

image

So what made this year’s Rotary Swimarathon special?

Well, it is because of the unfortunate return of Polio in Northern Kenya. Since 1985, Rotary has led the battle against Polio and the club wanted to support the End Polio Now immunization campaign. This also led to the teaming up with the Nairobi Swimmers Association (NASA) to bring together swimmers on Sunday, 23rd February 2014 to swim non stop between 3 and 4pm. The swim marathon happened at the same time globally! 🙂

image

To add to the fun, there was an inspired serving of entertainment by Sanchat Trust Restart groups which included an amazing choir, break dancers, sensational salsa dancers and lovely little models doing the catwalk. These talented groups of young people had travelled from Gilgil to showcase their great talent and to appreciate the Nairobi Rotary Club for their support.

image

image

image

image

To add some icing on the cake, there was a spicy catwalk by professional Nairobi models showcasing Mohamed Bana’s Kikoy swimwear collection and gowns for auction.

It had been long since I last strut on the runway but I had so much fun with the models that it all came naturally. None of the models asked for payment as we all understood that it was for charity and we all enjoyed and cheered-on the little ones as they did their catwalk.

image

image

image

So where did all the money go to?

A third of the proceeds from the event went to supporting the End Polio Now campaign, another third went to Nairobi Swimmers Association (NASA).

The remaining third went to supporting Rotary charities in Kenya, including:
1. Eye camps for free cataract operations in rural populations.
2. Energy saving jikos (traditional stoves) for schools who provide free lunches to students.
3. Sanitary and water schemes for slums and schools.
4. Providing bed kits to primary school children, in partnership with Sleeping Children.

image

At the end of the day, I felt so blessed to have been part of such an inspired event. Some members of the public had
paid an entry fee of Ksh. 1,000 and students above 18years had bought tickets worth Ksh. 500 to be part of the event.

A feeling of warmth and fulfilment runs through me when I remember the little ones from Gilgil modelling and the young drummers from Huruma who were our musical guide as we spiced up the runway with Mohamed’s tasty fashion designs.

Pots of joy!

If you fancy Mohamed Bana’s designs, you can reach his fashion store through mobile: +254739632804

Check out more event photos here.

With Love,
Ayuma.

Forgotten Daughters

You know you love books when you literally compare your life situations with experiences of book characters. Well, I am part of the list! I have been singing along to the Song of Lawino by Ugandan poet Okot p’ Bitek.

As a young Nairobian lady, I have been brought up with what my culture and society perceives as admirable qualities of a woman. But somehow, these qualities seem not to be enough for my fellow citizens who happen to be African men. I find myself constantly compared with the white-skinned and horse-tail-haired ladies from foreign lands.

What happened to the complements I used to receive from the boys I schooled with in primary school? Those who used to make fun of their mothers’ wigs knowing that they looked better with their natural hair? Those who found it showy when girls stole a smear or two of their mothers’ red lipstick?

Well, these are the boys who have grown into the men I was once promised to marry. At a young age, I watched closely in excitement knowing that one of these silly boys would one day man-up and refine their boyishness into manliness. Oh! What a rude shock I’ve got over the past few years. Let’s take a trip into the life of today’s girl living in the city jungle.

The Cry of Nairobi’s Lawino

Over the years, it has clearly been communicated that the natural African girl isn’t enough. It’s as if Nairobian girl fell for a cultural con! Somehow, the language she speakS with her men has changed. Childhood dreams have changed. Values have changed. African philosophies have changed. The approach to religion has changed. Even general preferences – physical, sexual, emotional – have changed.

It’s heartbreaking to see the Nairobian girl forsake her years of learning from her mother on how to be a good African woman. The old lessons just seem not to work anymore. She does not despise the foreign woman’s ways. She is just envious of how Tina seems to always have it easy.

She doesn’t need to wrestle to comb and straighten her hair. She doesn’t have to apply chalk to lighten her skin. She doesn’t have to depend on school to edit-out an African accent. Her lips are naturally red and her body fat is seen as curvy and not fat. She cusses a lot, shows off so much of her fair skin without societal alarm. She jumps onto him in public, passionately kisses him and this somehow keeps him committed to her. She lives in his house, not caring if at all he’ll propose marriage, she just enjoys living in the moment.

Should Nairobi’s Lawino do the same to salvage her love for her childhood friend?

Well, she has seen Nairobi’s Ocol in his true colours! Even the matatu driver wants a woman like Beyonce – a woman who seems to have long forgotten her African roots. The images on billboards, matatu surfaces, bedroom posters, screensavers, high-end advertisements and men’s fantasies… are all influenced by Tina and her foreign mystery.

Doesn’t Tina miss the attention from men from her homeland? Does she have to prove that she can win on both sides? Should Nairobi’s Lawino now turn a blind (coloured) eye and start a relationship with men from Tina’s land?

After all, Tina’s men seem to love Nairobi’s Lawino’s never-ending African curves, the soft black wool on her hair, the sensual swing of her African dance, the strong features on her face and even the idea of bearing beautiful children from both worlds.

But this isn’t a sure path as it’s one that she’s been jealously judged and warned by her society to avoid, in hope that Ocol will come to his senses in good time. She’s also not sure if the foreign man will want her to look like ‘what’s familiar’ to him. Might she need to look like the skeletal girl with artificial black hair on the international fashion magazines? Will she have to wear a plastic smile like a dressmaker’s dummy?

Well, there’s no definite answer for what today’s daughter of Nairobi doubts about her culture. There’s no prominent trace of the battle she silently faces in her heart and mind.

But I dare you to do just one thing – one tiny little thing. Let Nairobi’s daughter know that she’s beautiful just as she is. One might be surprised with the outcome.

Storymoja Hay Festival 2013 (19th - 22nd September)

Storymoja Hay Festival 2013 (19th – 22nd September)

NB: The Storymoja Hay Festival is on September 19 – 22, 2013 at the National Museums of Kenya. Follow @SMHayFest on Twitter, and Storymoja Hay Festival on Facebook for updates on guest authors, events, pre-fest events and tickets.

African Fashion Rocks!!!

WELCOME TO LA MAR

There’s a wild animal in each one of us!

We live in this modern jungle called Nairobi where the survival for the sleekest is the rule of game.

La Mar - Splash of Colour

La Mar – Splash of Colour

LA MAR celebrates two official years of online shopping for authentic fashion accessories which are all custom-made!

La Mar Designs - Photography by Ben Kiruthi

We believe in the beauty of bringing out the best features of each animal in us with a dash of African flair: the rockers, the rooted African, the nostalgic retroman , sporty dudes & dudettes, the dynamic artist, the boardroom giant, you name it, we’ve got somemething for everyone!

La Mar - Mosaic of a Woman Dance

La Mar – Mosaic of a Woman Dance

There is a wide range of accessories to meet your fancy!

La Mar - Mosaic of a Woman Professional

La Mar – Mosaic of a Woman Professional

Men’s fashion, Women’s fashion, Kids’ fashion and even Home and Office accessories.

La Mar - Men's Fashion

La Mar – Men’s Fashion

La Mar - Fabulosity

La Mar – Fabulosity

La Mar - Kids' Collection

La Mar – Kids’ Collection

La Mar - Office and Home Wall Piece

La Mar – Office and Home Wall Piece

Our team is driven by a pure mix of creativity, fun and an adventurous smashing of rules to come up with fantastic pieces that leave each wearer of our designs feeling absolutely fabulous.

Faces of La Mar

Faces of La Mar

Having started from simple beginnings, LA MAR has now grown into a dynamic online shop through the LA MAR Facebook Page with thousands of fans from across the urban jungle. Like our page NOW and indulge in our rich serving of glamour!

La Mar - Standing Out

La Mar – Standing Out

It is said that a picture speaks a thousand words. So let La Mar blow your mind away with the thousands-of-words captured in the gallery below from the LA MAR Gallery.

Enjoy!

LA MAR PAIRINGS

La Mar - Fun Times Piece

La Mar – Fun Times Piece

La Mar - Safari Pairing

La Mar – Safari Pairing

La Mar - Date Night Pairing

La Mar – Date Night Pairing

La Mar - Afrique Pairing

La Mar – Afrique Pairing

LA MAR RINGS

La Mar - Ring Collection

La Mar – Ring Collection

La Mar - Rings

La Mar – Rings

LA MAR LONG NECK PIECES

La Mar - Funky Neck Piece

La Mar – Funky Neck Piece

La Mar - Men's Neck Piece

La Mar – Men’s Neck Piece

La Mar - Funky Fun Neck Piece

La Mar – Funky Fun Neck Piece

LA MAR EAR PIECES

La Mar - Button Ear Piece

La Mar – Button Ear Piece

La Mar - Ear Piece Fun

La Mar – Ear Piece Fun

La Mar - Ear Piece

La Mar – Ear Piece

LA MAR WRIST PIECES

La Mar - Charm Wrist Piece

La Mar – Charm Wrist Piece

La Mar - Wrist Mix

La Mar – Wrist Mix

La Mar - Men's Cuff Piece

La Mar – Men’s Cuff Piece

LA MAR ANTIQUE PIECES

La Mar - Brass Neck Piece

La Mar – Brass Neck Piece

La Mar - Bold Antique Neck Piece

La Mar – Bold Antique Neck Piece

La Mar - Aluminium Neck Piece

La Mar – Aluminium Neck Piece

La Mar - Antique Neck Piece

La Mar – Antique Neck Piece

LA MAR BROOCHE

La Mar - Brooche Piece

La Mar – Brooche Piece

LA MAR BAGS

La Mar - Fuschia Clutch Bag

La Mar – Fuschia Clutch Bag

La Mar - Clutch Bag

La Mar – Clutch Bag

LA MAR GIFT CARD

La Mar - Gift Card

La Mar – Gift Card

More from the LA MAR Gallery:

La Mar Beginnings

La Mar Spring 2013 Men’s Collection

La Mar Spring 2013 Women’s Collection

La Mar Fall 2012 Collection

La Mar Kid’s Collection

La Mar Home and Office Collection

La Mar Weddings

La Mar Bag Collection

La Mar Mosaic of a Woman Photoshoot

Out of the Shadows Fashion Catwalk featuring La Mar designs

Do you like what LA MAR has got for you?

Place your order NOW and get a free delivery within Nairobi!!!

Contact us on +254 787 148 198

We do welcome your feedback.

Keep it LA MAR!

🙂

La Mar - Logo

La Mar – Logo

Yours Truly,

Ayuma.

Amazing Zanzibar!

Have you ever longed for a holiday for quite some time only for reality to constantly strike you with demands, demands and more demands? Well, that was me for quite a number of years but little did I know that one awaited my indulgence in April 2013. I recently found out that I had been booked for a flight to Zanzibar for a business trip. You can only imagine how my eyes welled, for I never thought that the day would come this soon. I could finally accomplish my dream travels to Zanzibar! Why the emotion? Well, let’s just say that I had been longing for a Zanzibar holiday since high-school. It may seem fairly naïve but I guess once a girl, always a girl!

 

 Image

Sea Cliff Resort & Spa

The best thing about this trip is that it barely hit me that I was working during my stay at Sea Cliff Resort & Spa added to the importance of pursuing a job that I love. I had a great time bonding with my colleagues and discovering their great sense of humour. I got the chance to build friendships with some of the other hotel guests which was amazing as we still communicate. The staff members were polite, the themed dinners at Mangapwani Restaurant absolutely scrumptious.

Image

Mwangapwani Restaurant Poolside – Sea Cliff Resort & Spa

 

The venue was breath-taking with scenetic traditional Swahili architecture, tropical plants gracing the landscape, the Jetty Bar that literally floats atop the Indian Ocean, a lovely beach by day and crushing waves by the ocean cliff by evening.

Image

Jetty Bar at Sea Cliff Resort & Spa

 

There’s also a mini-beach within the hotel compound, bicycles available for cycling and even a gym that I escaped visiting out of laziness…Haha! I had the chance to enjoy a Jacuzzi in my room and this added to my indulgence.

Image

Jacuzzi in Executive Room – Sea Cliff Resort & Spa

 

The conference facilities were excellent and perhaps this explained why there were so many international guests flocking in for business conferences! Other guests incuded families from all around the world enjoying a summer holiday and even some couples possessed with love on their honeymoon. There was enough for everyone to feast on at the great location!

 

Meeting the Locals

I learned so much from the locals in Zanzibar during a tour to some of the CARE International humanitarian projects. It was clear that I came out as a city girl since my Nairobi Kiswahili called for assistance with translation into the heavily Arabic Swahili spoken in Zanzibar. I got empowered by the strength and resilience of the ladies who fought tradition to pursue a wholesome life for their families and protecting the dignity of their daughters by daily breaking sweat to educate them. Early marriages are often the trend on the island and due to lack of proper girl-child education; homes are often dependent on men as bread-winners. The main project feature tree farming, jiko (ceramic stove) making and butterfly farming. We had a great chat with the project beneficiaries and even managed to receive great shopping tips from the ladies. We women and shopping!

 

Shopping Experience

Oftentimes, many go to StoneTown to shop where prices are hiked due to its popularity as a tourist centre. Instead we went with our driver to do some shopping and it was funny how he got into the shopping fever to a point of recommending which dress I should buy for my mother and the Swahili make-up that would best suit my yellow-skinned little sister. A funny guy he was, but he was really helpful in the bargaining process at the Daraja Market where locals do their shopping at friendly prices. We had to make sure that we had Tanzanian currency to access goods or services and we had done this as soon as we arrived at Kisauni Airport. Also, we were advised to keep watch of our money as the market is busy with activity, hence easy location for pick-pockets; merchants following potential buyers in the streets, motorbikes hooting for way, vendors unpacking fresh catch from the sea, children running around and the jobless corner with individuals offering shopping-errand services in exchange for money. It seems crazy but funny at the same time for I thought that I had transposed to a typical Indian market. Luckily, we had a great shopping experience with great buys at awesome bargains. My family members now have something cool from Zanzibar and I was lucky enough to actually find a lovely dress that touches my toes, which is often a shopping challenge for me in Nairobi!

 

Hard to Say Goodbye

Image

Sea Cliff Resort & Spa in Zanzibar

As I sat down on the terrace, enjoying my last moments at the hotel, I decided to post a Trip Advisor travel review about my amazing Zanzibar experience. Whether they approve it or not, all I know is that one has to experience it personally to understand the emotional attachment triggered by this little island of mine – my island of escape to great adventure. You bet I’ll be back!

PS: This post had to come early, I couldn’t wait 🙂

Yours Truly,

Ayuma.

Rugby Meets Fashion & Luxury

Yesterday was a fun day!

I coordinated a photo shoot with my good friend, Esther Neema, who’s been polishing her photography skills at the RFUEA Grounds which is a rugby union stadium off Ngong Road.
Fashion and RUGBY??? (I thought)

But Neema sure has an interesting artistic sense so I trusted her with this shoot once more.

We reached the red gate of the venue but I was so afraid of a random rugby ball hitting my little head atop my skinny neck…Haha!

But as soon as I saw the lovely green expanse of the field, it was confirmed that Neema knew what she was doing. It’s beautiful! Perhaps the reason why Peter Abuoga, the Harlequins Club Manager, seemed a bit sentimental about it. He informed us that it’s a rare standard-sized rugby ground in the region.

As soon as our models arrived, the photo and fashion magic began. These are some teaser shots of the fashion shoot!

(For final photos, check “Belle Photography” Facebook Page)

Belle Photography at RFUEA Grounds

Esther Neema of Belle Photography at RFUEA Grounds

Belle Photography at RFUEA Grounds

After the photo shoot I asked Abuoga where the Harlequins fans can hang out as they watch their favourite players in action. He then led us to the Quins Bar & Lounge next to the private Quins Club.

The venue is simply dazzling! It was an initiative of the rugby club to keep their fans at home with the stars. Some of the features include a fully stocked bar with quality brands, a variety of sitting arrangements, a lovely ambiance and decor, a classical-themed lounge with a private smokers area and whats-more a great serving of music entertainment.

So all Harlequins Rugby Club fans have a place to hang-out as they cheer on their favourite team close by!

Take a look…

Quins Bar & Lounge
By Michelle Ayuma

Entrance to the Quins Bar & Lounge
By Michelle Ayuma

Classic themed Lounge area
By Michelle Ayuma

Music Entertainment at Quins Bar & Lounge
By Michelle Ayuma

Bar Area at Quins Bar & Lounge
By Michelle Ayuma

Great use of space and colour at Quins Bar & Lounge
By Michelle Ayuma

This venue can be a perfect place for a private party and is available for booking. For more information, contact:

Peter Abuoga

Harlequins Club Manager,

Tel: +254 737 242 168

Email: peter.abuoga@kenyaharlequins.com

Tag Cloud