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April 19 2014

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3 posts tagged "L’Uomo Vogue"

Franca Talk

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Vogue Italia editor Franca Sozzani has been hard at work fulfilling her duties as the first-ever Goodwill Ambassador for Fashion 4 Development, producing the African issue for L’Uomo Vogue and initiating global commerce partnerships with retailers like Yoox.com. Yesterday, she made her way to NYC for a roundtable discussion at the United Nations to talk about the organization’s progress and upcoming projects. She was joined by other fashion heavyweights committed to creating jobs in communities and sustainability around the world through fashion, including EDUN CEO Janice Sullivan, president of the Accessories Council Karen Giberson, and F4D founder Evie Evangelou.

Of the experience thus far, she told Style.com, “I learned that nothing is impossible. I already knew, but now I am sure.” She continued, “We met so many young people [while traveling around Africa], some of them are very talented and some are not—not all of us could be the editor in chief of a magazine, everyone has a different story. But I put this group of designers together and they made a good collection and it sold out in two weeks on Yoox.” Sozzani admitted she has identified several talented African designers who might some day land their collections on the runways in the major fashion cities and that she’s currently working on a partnership with Saks to showcase some of these designers. For now, however, the plan is still in its earlier stages. “We don’t have money to make a showroom for them yet. I am the showroom,” she said, laughing.

In the meantime, they are striving to establish fashion business partnerships in Africa like China and Brazil have set into place. Sozzani pointed out, however, that the situation in Africa is not like China. “No one ever told them the richness of their work is worth more than they are getting paid for their craft,” she said. She has started trying to change that by prompting major designers to create small collections and have them produced in Africa. “It doesn’t mean the clothes will look African, it just means they are being produced there and creates more jobs. Lots of designers are joining us on this,” she said. On the subject of major designers, it was announced that the organization has a big project lined up with the likes of Donatella Versace and Roberto Cavalli, with more details coming on that soon. When reminded that while she was talking about her latest do-good endeavors in Africa, the menswear shows are still in full swing, she responded, “I am not missing the men’s shows; I don’t like them at all. To see a beautiful woman walking down the runway is so different. Some men’s collection are really nice (Prada’s was amazing), but some are just ridiculous, you know?”

Photo: Courtesy Photo

Is Africa Fashion’s Next Big Thing?

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What’s the next big thing in fashion? Lately, signs are pointing to Africa. For starters, Franca Sozzani dedicated the entire May issue of L’Uomo Vogue to celebrating the continent’s intrinsic allure and creativity. This year’s International Herald Tribune Luxury conference will examine the growing African middle class as an emerging consumer as well as the region’s potential for manufacturing. And last night, Essence editor in chief Constance White led a panel discussion entitled Design Africa, where she and political journalist Chika Oduah held forth with Rogan and Loomstate co-founder Scott Hahn, Suno head of production Nadiyah Bradshaw, and Bantu swimwear designer Yodit Eklund about the future of design on the continent.

The consensus: There’s plenty to be done, but the potential is great. “China did not become China overnight,” Bradshaw said, going on to explain how at Suno, she helps Max Osterweis and Erin Beatty find ethical workshops and factories and effectively create needed job opportunities in places like Kenya. Panelists mused on the potential of African manufacturing and hoped that one day, a “Made in Nigeria” tag would be as highly regarded as a “Made in Italy” or a “Made in France” one.

In the meantime, people like panelist Enyinne Owunwanne (the founder of online African fashion retailer Heritage 1960) are working to promote Africa’s rising design stars. Owunwanne works with promising up-and-coming designers including Jewel By Lisa and The Summit, as well as artisans in South Africa, Nigeria, and Rwanda, which she features on her site. “Until recently, Africa has largely been underserved within the global fashion and design scene, but the continent has always been chock-full of amazingly talented designers and artists,” Owunwanne told Style.com. “It was only a matter of time before the world stage started to give due recognition to the talent stemming from Africa. Diasporan trailblazers such as Duro Olowu and Ozwald Boateng set the stage for an appreciation of African designers. The fashion industry has barely tipped the iceberg with African designers and inspiration coming from the continent, though. There is so much more to discover—this is truly just the beginning!”

Photos: Courtesy of Passion Projects NYC

allow us to introduce sasha fierce

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L’Uomo Vogue celebrated its Sean “Diddy” Combs cover story on Italian time. Which means that by 8 p.m. (2 a.m. Milan time), 1Oak was already filled with Champagne, Cîroc, and models dancing on couches. The Meatpacking District club dressed up for the occasion, sporting billboard-sized shots of Combs from L’Uomo‘s October issue. Combs himself looked dapper in a three-piece Sean John suit, sporting some quirky accessories: a bow tie, a pocket watch, and an arm in a sling (no comment on the injury). It didn’t stop him from getting down with a who’s who of hip-hop royalty, including everyone from Eve to Cassie, Diddy’s Bad Boy labelmate and rumored love interest. Jay-Z and Beyoncé put in an appearance and then headed out—perhaps to celebrate the pop queen’s name change. Taking a cue from her party host, Beyoncé yesterday announced that she will now be known as Sasha Fierce, the alter ego she describes as her “more sensual, more aggressive, more outspoken, and more glamorous side.” It seems Ms. Fierce wasn’t quite ready to come out to play, however, as Beyoncé avoided the dance floor. It was no matter—Zac Posen had already taken the title in a lavender suit that matched L’Uomo editor in chief Franca Sozzani’s blouse.

Photo: Johnny Nunez/WireImage