3 posts tagged "Yodit Eklund"
The Webster founder Laure Heriard Dubreuil returned to Miami last week for Mercedes-Benz Swim fashion week. Between parties at her store, shows by the beach, and laps in the pool, she found time to send back a few snapshots from her trip.
After a stormy flight from New York, I finally got back to the Sunshine State for Mercedes-Benz Swim fashion week. I started the first official day with an early a.m. swim in the Soho House pool—swimming like a shark around the runway in the middle of the pool! Afterward, I joined Mary Kate Steinmiller and Jade Frampton at the Raleigh Hotel for the Mercedes-Benz Bespoke event, where we made jewelry from Mercedes-Benz leather. I kept the piece Mary Kate made for sale at The Webster!
After a very busy day, I went full-on Swim week look for the Vogue and Clarins party at The Webster: a Theyskens’ Theory mermaid-inspired dress and Charlotte Olympia aqua fish-skin pumps. I was so happy to see all of my swimwear designer friends like Lisa Marie Fernandez, Yodit Eklund of Bantu Wax, and Tori Praver. Once the event was over, I met up with Kim Kardashian and Kanye West at the Delano Beach Club Midori Beachside Bash, where Kim was having her portrait painted live in front of the crowd. Continue Reading “In The Swim: Laure Heriard Dubreuil at Miami Swim Week” »
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!”
Bantu’s Yodit Eklund is out to no less than change the perception of Africa worldwide. “I’m trying to export African beach culture,” the Ethiopian/German designer, who currently splits her time between Africa and Paris, explains. Popular perceptions of the continent tend to focus on the grisly aspects—strife, privation, the AIDS epidemic—and skim the better ones. But it is also a surfer’s paradise. Morocco alone has 11 different surfing magazines, and countries like South Africa are major surf destinations.
Since founding Bantu, her swim line, in 2008, Eklund has dedicated herself to spurring African production (the line is designed and produced entirely in Africa, primarily Ethiopia, Cameroon, and South Africa, though she’s planning to open her own small factory in Cote d’Ivoire) and mixing the continent’s traditional materials, like wax cloth, with modern shapes and updated prints. For her Resort collection, she played with Malian tie-dye; for Spring, a deep-sea theme reigns, shot on a recent visit to Cote d’Ivoire for a lookbook that could easily pass for a travel magazine spread. For the new range, which will hit retailers like Barneys, Opening Ceremony, and Net-a-Porter as well as her own online shop, launching in February, Eklund is expanding her offerings, too: For the first time, Bantu will have bermuda shorts, short-sleeve shirts, and a beach-ready pair of coveralls. That’s not to say a full ready-to-wear launch is forthcoming. “I think the whole collection thing is overdone,” she says. “That’s not so African; Africa is what you need. There’s no dry cleaners.”