Why Every Nigerian Girl Should March

We March so that the girls who come after us can walk freely, and run without being chased.

If 2018 was a chapter in a history book, it could be titled The Year of Female Activism, and aptly so.

The #MeToo and #TimesUp movements raised awareness on sexual harassment in workplaces for women worldwide.

2019 was the year of Serena and the catsuit, and the Women’s March Anniversary.

It was the year that women in Saudi Arabia were legally allowed to drive, and even closer to home. It was the year Ethiopia and Rwanda and South Africa both named their first 50% female cabinets.

‘Good things arrive in multiples’, just as movements worldwide were being transformed from ideas to action.

In Nigeria, on the 20th of October 2018, @MarketMarch opened a twitter
account, and its first tweet –

‘The loudest way to tell women that they don’t really have a place outside homes is to allow public spaces to remain so unapologetically unsafe for women’ – @MarketMarch Click To Tweet

…sounded like something straight out of a UN document.

The Twitter account – a creation of Brand identity designer Damilola Marcus, immediately blew up, receiving massive support from popular activists on social media, celebrities, and regular citizens who could either relate or at the very least understand why the Market March needed to happen.

It also received support from groups like YALI, Whole Woman Network, and
several media houses.

Marcus, when interviewed previously, stated that her prior attempts to galvanize action from law enforcement officials on sexual harassment in markets, were met with the reply: It was not a ‘common problem’.

Going to the Market in Nigeria is sometimes a war. Your armor is comfortable footwear (for ease of movement), covered up clothes, (to avoid sweaty fingers) and if you’re a woman, definitely no short skirts, unless you have a ‘strong mind’.

Purchasers are often dragged, and upon resistance, insulted with sentences often chock full of sexual innuendo. And yet, it is not uncommon to find the traders leading a protest to our protest.

The first #MarketMarch took place in December 2018 at Yaba Market, Lagos.
Marchers then, just like us, were called prostitutes and lesbians.

Just like us, they were injured, manhandled, heckled, thrown at, cursed at, for protesting the rights of female to walk unobtrusively in a public place.

Public transport in Enugu Nigeria requires fortitude.

A journey time of 30 minutes is easily tripled once you factor in wait time in bus parks, constant stops, and roundabout journeys.

Nevertheless, I and three of my friends set out on a journey from Agbani -which for all intents and purposes is on the outskirts of Enugu- to Ogbete Market to participate in the Market March on Saturday the 23rd March 2019. With approximately 40 marchers, male and Female, indigenes and visitors, united by a common cause.

On my first trip to Ogbete, the tour guide proudly informed me that it is the biggest market in the State, abundant in all, and lacking in nothing – a shoppers haven.

The market march reached its climax at the clothes section of the market, populated by predominantly male vendors. One man called us Lesbians, and others then pitched in to deliver a fervor- filled ‘Holy-Ghost fire!’. Repeatedly.

All the while making lewd remarks at us. In some other quarters of the market, we faced passive aggression. A man stroking the arm of a marcher holding a big ‘No Touching’ sign, all the while looking her directly in the
eye, smug smile intact.

Or a wheelbarrow pusher deliberately and quickly driving his machine through our midst. But it wasn’t only the men.

A woman queried us softly in Igbo ‘Are we not human beings too? Why should we not touch you?’ and another, still in Igbo lowly snarled

‘You should tell the girls to dress better when they are coming to the market’

But it was not all negative. We received thumbs-up signs from some female traders, quiet nods from the male vendors, and the occasional ‘Well done’ or ‘Yes!’

Some, in solidarity, chanted back at us ‘Nwanyi bu Ife’ or ‘Nwanyi Bu ike’ which in its simplest translation means ‘women matter’.

The market leaders, predominantly men, wore our shirts and marched with
us. They led chants and spoke with the traders at different parts of the market, as they guided us to open spaces where we could address crowds. They largely acted as chaperones.

On three different occasions, when the chants at the Market March turned rhythmic, the market women danced with us. It is not often that ‘twitter activism’ results in real-world action, and yet, the March has defied all rules to become a national movement.

Testimonies from the first March at Yaba started pouring in almost immediately after. Too many to name, they all echoed the same sentiment:

The March had changed something.


My fellow Marchers were not particularly special people. We were University Students, traders, women’s rights activists, and white collar workers.

Some of us did not speak Igbo, but we learned the chants to perfection on that day.

We were united by sweat and a common purpose.

In Nigeria today, marching is more than a sport. We March so that the girls who come after us can walk freely, and run without being chased.


How Black Millennials are Moving to the Organic Lifestyle

Kinky hair, coarse hair tied up in a bun, and natural hair that can be styled into endless patterns to rock those Ankara outfits are not just great, they look fabulous.

All over the world black women are reclaiming their roots and redefining what it means to be beautiful.

This generation of young black women is demanding a wider variety standard of beauty. We are letting the world know – “we get to be our own beauty standard, not someone else.”

We can all remember a time in our lives where our hair had to be dragged and stretched after our hair strands have been deconstructed by relaxers.

Now, organic hair is the standard, and this shows that we can decide what’s cool and what’s not.

The millennial generation is a unique one, we are not just absent-mindedly taking in everything given to us by the media.

We want to make an impact, and we are doing it in many ways, one of those ways is switching over to a more organic lifestyle, and here’s how we do it:


The Water Challenge – The Life Challenge

In an effort to drink more water, we bring to you the water challenge. Here’s what we do. For a chosen amount of days, (usually a month) we pledge to take just water or to take a stipulated amount each day.

We ditch our favorite drinks, soda, release ourselves from the addiction of carbonated drinks and we like, okay, for this time, for just this stipulated amount of time we would take just water.

It’s usually great to do pair up with a boss lady like you, what gets to remind you daily, have you drank your glass of water.

Before you go buying tons of products and organics, flush out toxins in your system with water and watch that skin glow and pop.

We can decide what’s cool and what’s not – @onukogufavour Click To Tweet

What’s fashion if we destroy the earth in the process?

Can clothes be fashionable and sustainable? Can clothes save the world, or change the way we do things?

Is it possible that a piece of item we wear can be made from materials that are renewable and do not take from our natural resources but give back?

There’s a word for that, it’s called Eco-fashion.  According to Stepin.org, Eco-fashion is about making clothes that take into account the environment, the health of consumers and the working conditions of people in the fashion industry.

Young people are choosing to build businesses that promote ethical fashion and balances the impact of an industry that does not harm the earth.

No plastics please, we’d rather save the earth

More than 8 million tons of plastic is dumped into our oceans every year. How this is our problem?

Plastics take thousands of years to decay, as these plastics particle break down, they are able to get into fishes and wildlife we eventually eat. Direct toxicity from plastics comes from lead, cadmium, and mercury which are overly dangerous to our health.

A friend of mine arrived in a Tanzanian Airport and was shocked that she couldn’t get through with her plastic cups, all over the world, the government is tightening the entry of plastics in its borders and businesses are doing the same.  

People are switching over to a healthier lifestyle. You can do it too. Read more… @onukogufavour Click To Tweet

Every action no matter how small can save us from the plastic tragedy. Here are a few habits that are fun and chic…

  • We have our fun straw bendable straws
  • We bring our bags from home when shopping, yes we are that cool
  • Organic wraps instead of plastic bags, cool.

Choose natural, one product at a time

From natural hair care products to natural beauty products, we switching up those alternatives.

The African beauty care industry is a billion-dollar industry and black women are beginning to take a fair slice of that pie.

Beauty products made by black women for black women are emerging into the markets, they are not just a great way to support a MotherLand mogul in your community, they are better alternatives to the paraben filled products in the market.

A beauty blogger, Sike Gbana reviews great products for skin and hair. You’d find a list of beauty entrepreneurs on our blog, which we have gone through the pains of listing out for you.

Know what materials your products are made of

And if it came from illegal poaching or through the effort of child labor, we don’t want any of that, we have our ears and eyes open and on the lookout for businesses who not only have great products but possess a good ethical standard to back it up.

If you’re on the other side, are you thinking of making a switch?

How can we support businesses and entrepreneurs who are daring to create a healthy trend? What ways are you switching your glow up? Is there a business in your community you know that is all about living an organic lifestyle? We want to hear from you.


Give us a shout out on social media.

How to rock these 5 Corporate Styles effortlessly

At the concluded MET Gala, head swooped and ears buzzed, we saw fashion statement from the future, from Queen mother Serena Williams’ magnificent dress, to Tracy Ellis Ross’ – Mirror in the wall black emblem.

We are trying to not mention Cardi’s overflowing regalia and Lupita Nyong’o statement headgear. Nonetheless, Zendaya was the star of the ball or MET rather.

She came dressed in an outfit that lit up from a wave of a magic wand. With her very own fairy Godmother or father.

Wouldn’t it be great if we all had fairy godmothers that would wave a wand at our swarthy wardrobes and Gbam, we are all glammed up.

While we are still waiting for a fairy godmother/Wakanda father, we put together a number of ideas and ways you can switch up.

Let’s take a more practical approach to our wardrobe.  These makeover and outfit ideas are for that goal-getter who knows she can slay and deliver at the same time and is doing just that, while she might be able to stretch her budget.

This boss lady wants to be in the know of fashion trend, she wants to be creative and classic, turning both eyes and heads at the meeting, for her we’ve set up an array of methods to switch that glam up

We don’t leave the entrepreneur out, she’s making boss moves, she’s running from an event venue to meeting with her clients.

She wants to make sure everything works well for her small business, and she wants to look like she means business to clients. She can’t bust a thousand box on clothes.

What ways can she creatively switch up the narrative off her wardrobe from “please-help-this-newbie-entrepreneur” to “here’s -why-you-should-invest-in-my-business entrepreneur”.

The Statement Stiletto

A stiletto can transform your look from plain to classic. First, it elevates your status, gives you more moral to look people in the eye, and a statement stiletto draws eyes from your heels all the way up to your face.

A statement stiletto can be stylish while remaining formal. They usually stand out in just one color. A bright red is an all-time favorite, a neon green will go too.

Whatever you choose, make sure to pair them off with soft brown colors and power glasses. Make a statement without saying a word

The Formal Ankara

What better way to stand out than in an all in one Ankara print pants or skirts. While you rep the Wakanda nation. you bring with you that extra sauce and excitement that is otherwise drab in a suit and tie setting.

Note: Ankara prints can get busy so it’s best to pair them off with single color, mainly white or black and minimal accessories.

The Stylish Joggers

Whoever told you pants can’t be stylish lied to you. There are days when a Motherland Mogul has to be on her feet, moving around to keep things in check, trying to meet up and staying all late to make orders move in the next morning.

This is certainly no time to do a catwalk.  When you really need that flexibility jump in from one car to another, a jogger’s gat you baby girl.

It’s light, free and flexible, allowing you to be comfortable all day long. Paired with a jacket you can quickly make the switch from entrepreneur to the boss lady

The Classic Pants

Pastel pants come in all shapes and colors. Single-colored pastel pants bearing softer shades like woody brown or pastel pink are great together.

Layering a turtle neck tee shirt or a tank top underneath the statement jackets makes your outfit pop.

It’s easy, soft and comfortable and you can always switch from feeling classic in a jacket to party style in a tee-shirt styled into a crop top to fit at a party.

However you choose to wear it, this outfit works for different occasions.

The Multipurpose Jacket

A bright colored jacket Is a must for any wardrobe. There’s barely anything you can’t rock with it. A bright colored jacket can be worn on a little black dress, a dinner gown, or even with a corporate dress.

You can pair it up with a tee-shirt and you make a unique fashion statement. And if you dare, mix it up with sneakers or all stars.

Now you have it, survey your wardrobe to find combinations that work.

Here are 3 tips to help you recreate a new wardrobe in a week.

  • Ransack your wardrobe, you would probably find a statement piece you didn’t know what to do with or a jacket you forgot from a long time ago, now is the time to bring out the slayer in you.
  • Pair each outfit by color and accessories them.
  • Next, you’d want to take photos of each outfit you think cuts the mark, scan through your Mirror, Mirror on the wall, and select the dopest of them all.

Here are a few online thrift stores you can get clothing from, all of which can be found in Mall of Africa.

  • Zara
  • Boho
  • Pretty Little things
  • Budget shopping Fashionaova

All outfits and dresses in this article can be found at StyleAmira’s fashion and lifestyle page. You can also find them on the gram.

Till next time, let us slay together.

10 MUST HAVE ITEMS FOR A YOUNG PROFESSIONAL’S CLOSET


In 2016 I moved back to my home country, Sierra Leone. Yes, sis— that tiny country on the coast of West Africa, no one knows much about.

Sierra Leone has a population of approximately 7 million people, we have government institutions, a growing and healthy private sector dominated by the mining, agriculture, hospitality, and the FMCG industry— as well as a large NGO presence.

With a range of middle-management and administrative job options so close, yet so far out of the reach of Sierra Leoneans.

None-the-less I was determined to learn the political, economic and social landscape of the country, work for NGO’s whose mission statements I believe in, and start my own business!

The only problem was that, at my big age of 24, I had no young professional wear!

I was coming out of a two-year job in a tech start-up where we wore jeans to work every day.

I quickly learned that to go on job interviews, or meetings with potential investors and clients for my own start-up, I needed affordable yet good quality business casual items in my closet.

Below I will share with you my the top 10 items that saved my interview and client meetings game for two years of freelance consulting and building a start-up.

Illustrating each item is the fabulous and unparalleled stylings by Fatouma Haidara, also known on the gram as @the_fashionartist_.

1. The high-waisted paper bag trouser

A good quality high-wasted trouser in black or dark/navy blue goes with almost every professional shirt and even casual shirts.

This piece changes any outfit from the casual to – “I’m fresh out of an important meeting” look.

The tip here is that it cannot be a tight fit or fitted trouser. The slightly loose wear allows you to run around flexible all day from meeting to meeting as most bosses do.

2.  The cotton poplin shirt

Every woman needs this in every color! Start with the basic office blue and work your way from grey to every color under the sun!

Even a basic office blue with different patterns like stripes and polka dots works. You can collect these over time. But if you find a store where they’re on sale, stock up!

3. The flounced/satin/silk blouse

There are a million and one materials, cuts, colors, and designs to buy this in.

Essentially, what’s great here is that its a stylish yet comfortable shirt that can be worn with many different kinds of bottoms while maintaining a professional/work-based air about your outfit.

4. The black ballet shoe

Practical, comfortable and transferable! This is best for work when fully covered (no peep toes— most offices and interview spaces have either a written or non-explicit policy against this anyway).

It is best to get this shoe in good quality leather (or good enough quality) so that it lasts long.

I had an all-black one from Aldo with an alligator texture and a small gold zipper in the back, and it lasted me 3 years of daily wear!

5. Closed-toe low-heeled pumps

Neutral colors like black, beige and nude are a good place to start. This has the same appeal as the black ballet shoe, however, I recommend having at least one or two of these because some offices require them for meetings.

I find pumps most essential for networking events and conferences, they add an extra layer to my self-esteem for some reason.

6. The non-fitted high-waisted knee-length (or below) pencil skirt

Yes oh, this one is mad specific because I find that if just one part of it is off, it doesn’t hold the professional gaze that I’m going for.

Pairing this with any kind of top or a classic round neck jewelry piece is a quick and easy young professional look for your more relaxed days.

7. The blazer

You may not work at a bank or in a law firm— but trust me, a blazer always comes in handy one day or another!

8. The Longchamps Pliage

This one is a bit of a splurge and a luxury I know! But if you have something similar then go for it!

What you truly need here is a black medium to a large sized handbag that is light even before you fill it with your planner, your lunch and your laptop!

Carrying bags all day can be heavy, you want something easy on the shoulders. The pliage is also waterproof for those Harmattan/rainy season days.

But if you don’t have access to one, then any good leather bag should do. Black is a practical color because it goes with every outfit.

9. The Pleated Skirt

I could go on and on, but the skirt speaks for itself. This is my favorite piece for a work presentation, networking events and lazy days when I don’t want to be confined by more fitted clothing.

It’s such an elegant piece, without even trying.

10. Your business card

You know how they say “you’re never fully dressed without a smile”? Well for a young professional— you’re never fully dressed without your card!

Not only does it allow potential employers to easily contact you but it’s a great avenue to use to ask people for their own business card in exchange for yours— so that you can send that follow up email and call later!

Haidara is the Malian founder and CEO of the interior design firm Haii Designs and her work can be found on Instagram at – @haiidesigns_interior.

In all aspects, Haii Designs, blends the traditional and modern birthing innovative and “never seen before” designs. Along with her clean, modern, and lively spatial designs, I have long been drawn to Haidara’s grown and #BossLady fashions! If you’re looking to purchase your next office ruling inspiration piece and jewellery after this article, explore tribia-by-hd.afrikea.com or @tribia.by.hd on Instagram.

5 fashion tricks to boost your attraction level

It is no longer news that some people are usually attracted to others based on how well they appeal to their minds.

The attraction can be physical, emotional, sapiosexual or sexual in nature.

But I will like to talk to you about how well you can kit up physically and still attract the right partner.

First, let me start by saying that there is no perfect person out there for you. But there are people who fit your ideal description of what you want in a man.

MR Right is simply a high-value man who knows what he wants, takes responsibility for his life and is on a journey to building great relationships too.

A lot of ladies are attracted to well-fitted men, with broad shoulders, and great fashion sense. If you want this type of man, it is not a bad idea, but you should understand that such men would want a classy attractive woman too.

That means you should look as classy as he would look too. If you are not conscious about how you look, you may miss out on important opportunities in other areas of your life.

Trust me, some people do not have the patience to know your content, they are merely moved by sight except they have an opportunity of being around you to see what else you can offer. So packaging matters a lot.

First impression is good, but it doesn’t have to be the final say but what about making sure your first impression is likable?

Let me share with you 5 areas to pay attention to look more attractive and classy to Mr. Right.

1. KNOW YOUR BODY TYPE

Should I confess to you? I just found out about my body type last year in 2018.

While growing up, someone once told me that I had a male figure and I felt bad about it. And then later, I began to compare my body with others. I wondered why I had broad shoulders and a small waist.

Don't wear a dress because it fits another person, you should be more concerned about how well it'll fit you too – @NikeFolagbade Click To Tweet

Most jackets and tops I wanted never fit me and I wasn’t conscious of the style I could blend so I simply copied the trend and close friend’s style.

I found out about body types in a learning class and I was like wow! I didn’t know that I had been buying the wrong dresses.

That could be you too. You should not wear a dress because it fits another person, you should be more concerned about how well it will fit you too.

Learn about your body type and wear what fits you.

Other types of body types are the apple, pear, inverted triangle body types, and so much more. Now that I know, I buy my dresses strategically.

So appreciate your body type, wear what fits you and flaunt well with a great style.

2. DO SKIN CARE ROUTINE

Gone are the days where skincare used to be expensive. You can actually do some organic regimen by watching them on YOUTUBE.

Not all skin care routine can fit your skin type so you may need to talk to a skin expert to know which suit your skin.

A clear and bright skin adds more to your beauty plus eating good food, fruits, and plenty of water makes perfect sense to look good.

3. YOUR SMILE AND BODY POSTURE

What is the point of having beautiful skin and body if you cannot smile and develop a good posture?

A lot of times, men are attracted to your smile and that can be the signal they need to know you are approachable.

If you are always keeping a straight face, you may have fewer people socializing with you. So put on some smile and carry yourself well.

4. ACCESSORIES

Do you know there is power in using a touch of accessories?

It can range from neck pieces, wristwatches, bangles, sunglasses, hats, scarf, statement bag, etc. it is all about adding a touch to your style and making a statement with it.

How well do you invest in accessories?

5. MAKE UP

There is something about adding a touch to your face. It makes you look more natural.

It doesn’t mean you cannot be a team natural but lighten up your face and that may be the difference you need.

When you start paying attention to how you look, you will be surprised at the kinds of attention you will get.

I know work schedule can be tight and you have no time, but you can use your mobile phone to do the necessary research and update yourself.


What will you start doing differently?

The Importance of a ‘Capsule Wardrobe’ and Tips on How to Build One

Do you always find yourself shopping for clothes and shoes that you never wear? Or you have clothes in your wardrobe that you have not worn in over a year?

It may be time to declutter your wardrobe.

One of the benefits of the minimalistic trend has been the adoption of a capsule wardrobe.

The term “Capsule Wardrobe” was coined by a London Boutique owner, Susie Fox, who owned a boutique called “Wardrobe” in the seventies.

If you are wondering if a capsule wardrobe is a right decision for you, here are a few reasons to consider:

You are looking to revamp your style

Your style changes with the different seasons in your life such as school, work, college parties vs. the networking cocktail events and you may, therefore, find that your current outfits do not fit your current season in life.

It is important to always evaluate your fashion needs with your current situation for example when it is time to get the classic LBD/LWD in exchange for the shorts that were your party outfits in your college days.

As you are maneuvering this new season, keep your purchases to a minimum in order for you to identify which style works for you best.

You want to save money you spend on shopping

If you are an impulsive shopper and you always find yourself shopping outfits that never seem to fit into your current wardrobe – It may be time to consider scaling down on your wardrobe and your shopping.

The best part about scaling down on your wardrobe as an impulsive shopper is that you will control your spending habits and that will help you save on that extra coin.

The beauty of a capsule wardrobe is that you will get a clear picture of what your style is and it is, therefore, easier to shop with your style in mind.

You want to reduce on the amount of time you spend picking out an outfit

Whether you are dressing for work, a date, a cocktail party or any other event, you want to minimize the amount of time that you take to dress.

The lesser the pieces in your wardrobe, the lesser the time that you will spend choosing an outfit.  

The essence of a capsule wardrobe is in adopting the pieces in your current wardrobe that you love to wear and that you feel great in.

These pieces are your staples for what would ideally be considered a season (3 months) after which you switch them up as the season changes.

If you come from a tropical area, then your wardrobe will change depending on whether the season is rainy or sunny.

Tips to building on your wardrobe for each season:

Go through your closet and pick the pieces that you frequently wear

There are the basic pieces in your wardrobe that you love wearing and feel great in which are the pieces that will be your first choices.

These will include; outerwear which will depend on the season, bottoms such as jeans, skirts and shorts, tops and shoes.  

Create a base for your wardrobe and build on your pieces

This will be in the form of the classic white and grey tees, button-down shirts, dark colored pants, classic pencil skirts.

The base that you choose mainly depends on your lifestyle and your day-to-day activities.

The pieces that you pick to build on your wardrobe will be determined by the base that you choose for your base.

Clothes, Design, Fashion, Fabric

When shopping, consider purchasing statement pieces that transcend “fashion” and can be incorporated into many outfits

A capsule wardrobe is one that is meant to minimize your clothes into a small collection therefore when shopping ensure that you get classic pieces that transcend style seasons.

Your best bet is to switch up on your outerwear and shoes while maintaining the basic pieces.

Annesophie Achera: Bringing African fashion to the forefront of the retail industry

Annesophie Achera is the founder and creative director of AAchera Designs, a chic African fashion brand born in Nairobi, Kenya in 2011.

She created the unique clothing line for women to feel bold, vibrant and confident and has since taken her brand across the region to Rwanda, Ghana and across the pond to the US and the UK.

Annesophie takes pride in her designs as they show her love for the African print and African culture unabashedly.

A fashion force to reckon with, Annesophie has had quite the journey and in this article, she shares her eagerness to do a lot more for the burgeoning fashion industry in Kenya.


On how my career in fashion began…

A few years back, I would make my own clothes to wear to family functions, and would always get positive responses about the clothes I designed.

People always wanted to know where I got this dress or that top and it became so frequent that I started getting a few orders here and there and with the constant push from my family, I decided to start my own line.

Being in the company of my cousin Liz Ogumbo, a well-known fashion designer based in South Africa and my mentor also got me very interested in the fashion industry.

Having worked with True Love magazine as a stylist also helped me learn my ways around styling people from all walks of life.

What inspired my fashion line – AACHERA…

I’m very passionate about fashion and style and I personally like dressing for occasions – every day is my runway.

That is what inspired me to create a line for both myself and for people out there who love fashion and want to look and feel confident in what they wear.

I currently have two fashion lines. One is a luxury line which mainly has stock for occasions – this was inspired by wanting and appreciating the finer things in life.

I recently rebranded the line and what inspired that was the need to have local fashion businesses in the retail space, I felt the need to fill that gap and bring African fashion to the forefront of the retail industry.

My thoughts on the fashion scene in Africa…

I think the fashion scene on the continent is doing quite well. I always say Africa is the new luxury at large as a brand in itself.

The industry is really thriving in West and Southern Africa and it is picking up quite fast in East Africa as well.

I have done business in Kenya, Ghana, Rwanda, and the US and England – so as a designer in Africa, you have quite a big market, especially in the diaspora because they tend to prefer locally made clothes to support their own.

The African Development Bank (AFDB) stated that fashion in Africa is sustainable mainly just by the virtue of creating employment opportunities for our own here, especially for a lot of women and creating a positive working environment.

How I think the fashion scene in Africa can improve…

One challenge I think we face a lot is the challenge of production, and this is something I am constantly working on and gradually overcoming.

It is a case of either growing your in-house production team or taking your designs to the factories and that is always a challenge if you are a small business.

I wish we could have more people taking in small – scale orders so that the businesses that are just starting out can still get the same quality of clothing.

My fashion do’s and don’ts…

Don’t – wear clothes that do not fit.

They give the impression that you’re either not too confident with yourself and it kind of reflects badly on you as a person.

What you wear says a lot about you without you having to say anything at all.

Do – have a good base/foundation to your dressing.

By this, I mean what you wear inside your clothes should also be as good as what you wear outside.

Wearing the right size bra, good clean underwear, provides a positive base for what you will wear on top of all that.

Your style should be a reflection of who you are. Lousy foundations = a lousy fit = lousy confidence.

Don’t – rush into trends

I prefer to make classic pieces that can be worn for a long period of time.

Trends tend to die out quick and you end up wasting money and time on pieces that won’t serve you a long time. Buy clothes that you intend to keep forever.

Quality over quantity any day.

Do – have a signature style.

Be known for something. You don’t need to be a fashion designer or a stylist to be known for that particular style.

How does one get to know their signature style? One should ask themselves various questions like who are you really?

What do you like to do? What do you stand for?

My top 3 fashion icons, locally and internationally…

  • Asiyami Gold
  • Elie Saab
  • Michelle Obama

What motivates me to create and develop new designs…

My motivation comes from different things. I look to different cultures, I try to learn and understand them to appreciate what they offer in terms of creativity.

When I travel I take time to engage with different people from different parts of the world and get to learn the history of the place and the people and understand why certain things are done in a certain way.

All this inspires my designs in one way or another. Some of my collections stem from a personal story that I’m relaying in my work.

AAchera is basically made to incorporate African cultures into the design and telling an African story through our textiles and collections. When it comes to designing, I look a lot to the seasons we experience.

I use different colors according to the season and pick small elements fro what is trending that I add on to the main classic piece that will be the end result.

My advice to those wanting to start their own fashion line…

  • Don’t give yourself an excuse not to start. Just go for it and start. Know your strengths.
  • I knew my strength is in styling so I used that to get my start in the fashion world.
  • Don’t procrastinate – be consistent.
  • When necessary take breaks and you don’t have to explain why, because as creatives we tend to get into a rut or a creative block from time to time so taking a break to get your juices flowing again is not a bad thing.
  • Know your why. If you always remember why you started, no matter what happens or comes in your way you’ll always keep it pushing and keep going because you know your why.

What’s next for the future of AAchera Designs…

We just rebranded in 2017, we had been on a break since 2014.

It’s been a great two years so far of growth and constant learning and I think moving forward, we want to be very consistent and soon have an AAchera Retail outlet.

I want to be able to create clothes for women in all sizes in a retail space. I want the company to grow both locally and globally and continue creating awareness of the versatility of African Fashion.

I want to particularly have a prime presence in East, South and Western Africa with outlets being put up in various cities on the continent.

My biggest lesson in life and business…

Always have written agreements for proof/reference. Be it with suppliers of textiles, employees, any form of business interaction for clarity and all reference in the future, in case things go south. 

Do not make assumptions, communicate clearly.

I’m glad to have learned this early in my business life even before re-branding, and it has saved me a lot.

This has worked well because you end up minimizing your losses and everything is clearly written out for future reference.

It may have cost me earlier in my journey, especially being a young designer in the industry then, but moving forward it has been an effective and important lesson learned.

My mantra in life…

To see a change, you need to become a living, breathing asset to everyone you know and a true advocate to everything you believe in.

It can get stressful, hard, but these are things that are getting you ahead so keep at it – be consistent, practice patience and keep learning.

One thing I recently learned is to do business with people who inspire you.

Chioma Ogbudimkpa: On creating Redbutton and using Green Fashion to meet the SDGs goals

Chioma Ogbudimkpa is a certified project management professional who has served in different capacities and projects across 5 countries and different industries.

She has put in over 9 service years in FMCG, Consulting and Real Estate.

Chioma is also a sustainability advocate and a Green Champion. She has been actively involved in the ‘Going Green’ Initiative from the YALI Network since 2015.

She started her entrepreneurship journey with the launch of her women’s wear label, Redbutton in 2017 to explore her creative side.

Following this, Chioma has received a seat at the table of various local and international platforms; she is a ‘She Leads Africa’ (SLA) Accelerator beneficiary of 2017, a 2018 Tony Elumelu Entrepreneur and the winner, Creative Business Cup Nigeria 2019.

She will be representing Nigeria at the Global Creative Business Cup in Denmark this July. She’s also an alumnus and beneficiary of the Nigeria Creative Enterprise (NICE) program 2019 powered by the British Council.

She has a Bachelors in Project Management Technology and a PGD in Strategic Management & Leadership. Chioma loves to cycle and play scrabble at her leisure time.


There are several ways to stand out. Look around you, look inside of you, talk to people that have the capacity to help you discover new territories – @chiomaredbutton Click To Tweet

What led you to fashion at the beginning and what led to the switch to sustainable fashion

My mum owned a fashion house back in the 90s, that’s where and when I started to sew, sketch and play with fabrics.

I found that I was always stitching something (till date..lol), my mum’s tailors were tired of me because nothing they make for me stays the same. I loved to experiment and add my own touch here and there.

It was fun and engaging so I continued on this path up until I started working in the corporate space. I made my work clothes and sometimes, people wanted me to make clothes for them when they realized I made the dresses myself.

It was extracurricular until 2016 when I decided to start the business properly. I enrolled in Martwayne fashion school while I was still working, just to get a professional grasp of fashion designing and the business of fashion. Following that, I launched Redbutton in 2017.

Because I am a Green Champion, it was only natural for me to incorporate sustainability into my fashion brand. I started to research ways I can be green, while still maintaining fundamental design principles.

There are several ways I have built in ethical fashion principles in my processes, including using recyclable paper packaging, ensuring minimal waste, ethical production processes and fusing sustainable materials.

What are the possible career options here?

It’s quite evident that the Africa fashion space is experiencing the highest rave she has ever had, and doesn’t seem like it will decline anytime soon.

The demand and interest in the over $50bn industry have been incredibly progressive which also implies that there are tons of career opportunities, even in a sustainable fashion.

Some common ones are textile producers (in knitting, weaving, dyeing, etc). Even here in Nigeria, we are yet to scratch the surface in exploring our indigenous woven fabrics from different tribes.

We also have fashion designers, illustrators, machinists, thought leaders in ethical fashion (not very popular in Africa but there are) who are consultants, show curators, editors, etc.

Where do you see this line of business taking you?

Building a strong ethical fashion brand that promotes African craftsmanship and design innovation, and of course, a profitable fashion business that will birth several other ethical fashion advocates and workers is my overarching goal.

Our zest for color, patterns and the intricacy in our embroideries are phenomenal and it appears we are not exploring what we have enough.

This is what I want to project to Africa and the world by exploring eco-friendly materials and African art.

What are the challenges in the fashion business, and how do you manage them?

Production is slow and expensive. But I have realized through this journey that the process and result are far more important than the speed.

It’s also more expensive to run, because eco-friendly materials are not exactly cheap (more expensive than regular fabrics), meaning that your pieces will not be cheap.

But once you can properly project your value and find your target market, you will be just fine

You use water hyacinths for some of your products, why water hyacinths? What was the reception like at the UN?

It was just an experiment, to be honest, I didn’t expect that it will be this serious o..lol!

I was researching on sustainable fabrics, something different from our woven fabrics, I bumped into this social innovation enterprise who also up-cycles waste for furniture and home decor pieces.

I found that water hyacinths can be dried and woven into panels like our Aso-oke.

I said, ‘I never saw anyone try this out in fashion, is it even possible?”

The fact that it wasn’t popular in Africa drew me further into the research. I tested it and realized it could work but the dress will be dry clean only, no machine wash.

We are constantly exploring more eco-friendly materials we can fuse into our designs to create statement pieces.

Some of the water hyacinth pieces we fused with Adire were showcased at the 4th UN Environment Assembly in Nairobi and received resounding acclaim from assembly members and delegates.

We were published in the Kenyan dailies and featured on the UN Environment news updates. Between April and today, we have shipped over 50 pieces to the US and UK, following the contacts made from the UN event.

This is a testament to the fact that, even though our designs have the African aesthetic, they are also globally appealing.

Got any advice for younger fashion entrepreneurs?

Some say the industry is saturated, well maybe in some context. But also remember it is growing incredibly and the demand is looming.

There are several ways to stand out. Look around you, look inside of you, talk to people that have the capacity to help you discover new territories.

You can tweak your strategy, innovate, and position your brand for opportunities that are strategic to helping you grow. Not just for fashion entrepreneurs, the journey is HARD, trust yourself and trust the process.

Look for strategic collaborations, that’s one of the easiest ways to gain traction. – @chiomaredbutton Click To Tweet

I still have feelings of self-doubt, but I constantly remind myself how far I have come and how possible my dreams are.

Where can we see, follow and support your work?

You can follow our updates and see our pieces on our website, and our Instagram handle is @redbuttonng.

To follow my not-so-fun and unstructured personal stories, my Instagram handle is @chiomaredbutton.


The Afropole Presents The Wax Print Festival Ghana: June 14 – 16

What does it mean to Build Black Globally?

The Afropole, founded by Amma Aboagye has got answers.

Amma believes that as the continent’s influence is experienced worldwide through food, music, and fashion, it is no surprise that various sects of blackness such as Africans, Caribbeans, Afro-Latinos, African Americans, Afropeans share similarities.

With the objective of addressing market inefficiencies, The Afropole is a brokerage that connects African and Afrodiasporan businesses within the food, beauty, and creative industries.

Through events, communications, merchandise, and business advisory, The Afropole aims to build trust and community, develop resources and enrich value chains to Build Black Globally.

It has now become more obvious to tap into said similarities and likeness and celebrate our differences while encouraging unity through shared economics.

About the Wax Print Festival…

The Afropole’s Wax Print Festival is an event that provides an opportunity to showcase the creativity of African and Afrodiasporan businesses across the textile value chain in order to build those connections. The Wax Print Festival showcases all of the elements that The Afropole believes can Build Black Globally.

With the recent controversy with Christian Dior, it is reaching a point where Africans and Afrodiasporans are unable to claim ownership or worse still claim inspiration about their own wax print industry: there is a continued surge of big brand names claiming ownership through trademark legalities.

African or African-inspired textiles have key attributes that reflect our identity, heritage, ancestry, and dynamic cultures thereby making it hard to pass off these textiles as someone else’s. As it happens, there is an ongoing conversation about wax print that has people asking:

Is Wax Print African?

Through the Wax Print Festival, we hope to unpack prejudice and uncertainty about the topic, create informative experiences, and encourage new opinions about Wax Print and African textiles overall, in order to foster ownership and coordination in the industry.

What to expect…

Attendees of the festival should leave the event with informed answers to the aforementioned question that will spur them to take decisive actions to develop and innovate within the local textile space.

The Wax Print Festival will be a three-day, cashless event powered by over 30 partnerships meant to add range and texture to the authentic African and Afrodiasporan experience attendees will have.

This includes giveaways and other fun activities leading up to the event days. The festival will also feature the following:

  • Exhibitions divided into four bits dubbed, The Past, The Present, Intersections, and The Future.
  • Live demos on kente weaving, batiking and  bead making
  • The best food and other vendors across the region within the marketplace
  • Music concerts each night
  • Film
  • The Quick Stitch Station which will be a fashion design kiosk where attendees can have clothing made from a menu within the duration of the time spent on the grounds
  • Open Spaces described as good-natured conversations done in “un-panel style” about the African wax print industry.

All this excitement is happening within the milieu of containers that make the artistic setting of The Untamed Empire.

It will make its mark as part of the official “ Year of the Return” celebrations being promoted by Ghana Tourism Authority under the Ministry of Tourism and Culture and is an opportunity for diasporans to also engage in this meaningful work.

The Wax Print Festival will be a positive step and mark made towards Building Black Globally.

Need Tickets???

The Wax Print Festival tickets are categorized into three types: Daily tickets, All Access tickets, and VIP All Access tickets.

To purchase your early bird tickets please visit Egotickets or Wax Print Fest websites.

Get 15% off your ticket purchase to the Wax Print Fest – using our discount code WPFSLA.

The SLA team will be at the Wax Print Fest, so ensure to get your tickets now to save big. See you there.

Whether the wax print is African or African-Inspired, The Afropole’s Wax Print Festival is an event for Ghanaians, Africans and Afrodiasporans alike to claim and celebrate what African textiles mean for us culturally and economically.

Memoirs from the Forbes Africa Leading Women Summit 2019 – dedicated to women by women

Getting an email that I have been invited to attend the prestigious Forbes Africa Leading Women summit on International Women’s day was everything I hoped for in 2019.

I had to make sure that I made the relevant arrangements to ensure that I was a part of this.

Forbes Women Africa hosted their 4th edition of their Leading Women Summit in Durban Kwa-Zulu Natal, and the event theme was – New Wealth Creators: the female entrepreneurs who are making a profit from unconventional ideas and industries.

In addition to this, these phenomenal women are those who have created an impact in their various spaces by transforming a market or company, or innovating a product or service and are pioneering their organization(s) in generating new untapped streams of income.

The nominees will have achieved positive financial results, have adopted sustainable development initiatives, increased shareholder value, created jobs, and have sound management and corporate governance, together with a set of values such as integrity, vision, and leadership.

The idea of a new wealth creator, as described by Forbes Women Africa includes emerging industries that are disrupting the global landscape.

What was this year’s summit about?

The Forbes Africa Women Leading Women Summit 2019 took place on International Women’s Day (Friday, 08 March) at Durban’s Inkosi Albert Luthuli International Convention Centre and hosted around 500 influential women across the continent.

Having been selected to attend last year’s summit with only 120 women at the Hyatt Regency in Rosebank, I was blown away by the platform provided by Forbes Women Africa.

I was at an event dedicated to women by women and was taken aback by the caliber of women I got to interact with. Women such as Prof Thuli Madonsela, Vivian Onano, Rolene Strauss and other phenomenal women across various industries.

This year, the summit brought together women that are disrupting their industries and introduced them to their first ever Forbes Women Awards. It also celebrated a collection of female entrepreneurs on the African continent running businesses and social enterprises that are new, radical and making an impact on the economy.

Women from different industries and sectors and those who are changing the African business and societal landscape.

The Keynote speaker was none other than supermodel & activist Naomi Campbell, who believes that Africa is one of the leading continents in the world.

“Africa means a lot to me, and right now I feel that it is a time where in my industry that this continent is recognised by the fashion industry in having their footprint here” – Naomi Campbell

I totally agree with her and believe that many industries feel the same. Africa is growing and it is indeed where organizations, people and economies should be investing in.

My experience at the summit

My mentor, Vivian Onano was attending the summit too and we were both taken away by the presence that filled Durban’s Inkosi Albert Luthuli International Convention Centre.

From women in government, CEO’s from various sectors, women in sport, fashion and television, it was a day worth celebrating.

There were great women across the African continent spoke at the event including Linda Ikeji, Simidele Adeagbo, Noëlla Coursaris Musunka, Gugulethu Mfuphi, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma and more.

The day ended with the Forbes Africa Women Leading Summit Gala Dinner & Awards where remarkable women on the continent who have made significant strides to only change their industry but shape perception of Women across a variety of sectors we recognized, such as Sho Madjozi, Discovery Vitality Ambassador Caster Semenya, Arlene Mulder, and other phenomenal women, full list available here

My Takeaways

Being a woman in Africa who’s passion lies in women development and empowerment, this summit was the best experience ever.

I am committed to being involved in initiatives like this that are dedicated to women in Africa and abroad. It was such a thrilling experience meeting phenomenal women, making life-long connections and being able to be in an environment that celebrates and puts women who are doing such great work in the spotlight.

I strongly believe that more organizations should be involved in such initiatives, looking at where women are going, the impact women are having on their networks, communities, industries and the world.

Watch the full video here.