Style

Geometric Menswear With An African Feel: Chelsea Bravo

This is about African menswear label Chelsea Bravo's new collection, inspired by Japanese architect Junya Ishigami.

"My influences stem from my emotions, feelings and a desire to express an idea. I love draping, which is developing garments on a mannequin, and I really enjoy working with shapes, playing with cut and creating garments unconventionally. This element to my design ethos is a constant stimulus to new collections and an inspiration." Chelsea Bravo in an interview with The Fashion Potential.


Emerging menswear brand Chelsea Bravo made our eyes sparkle with its vision and creativity. Inspired by Japanese architect Junya Ishigami, designer Chelsea Bravo's latest collection Dysfunction boasts a geometric touch and an African feel. Loose and oversized pieces combine with well-fitted designs; some of them resemble a modern boubou — the traditional, flowing wide-sleeved dresses worn by men, mostly in West Africa. Innovative and contemporary, we love the contrast between plain natural colors (white, grey, beige, blue) and bold structured shapes.  "A collection inspired by dysfunctional emotion, geometric architecture and central African dress.​" Chelsea Bravo is definitely a menswear fashion visionary and we'll be keeping an eye on her next projects.

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Music

6 Samples From 'Éthiopiques' in Hip-Hop

A brief history of Ethio-jazz cultural exchange featuring songs by Nas & Damian Marley, K'naan, Madlib and more.

This article was originally published on OkayAfrica in March, 2017. We're republishing it here for our Crossroads series.

It's 2000 something. I'm holed up in my bedroom searching for samples to chop up on Fruity Loops. While deep into the free-market jungle of Amazon's suggested music section, I stumble across a compilation of Ethiopian music with faded pictures of nine guys jamming in white suit jackets. I press play on the 30 second sample.

My mind races with the opportunities these breakbeats offered a budding beat maker. Catchy organs, swinging horns, funky guitar riffs, soulful melodies and grainy and pained vocalists swoon over love lost and gained. Sung in my mother tongue—Amharic—this was a far cry from the corny synthesizer music of the 1990s that my parents played on Saturday mornings. I could actually sample this shit.

The next day, I burn a CD and pop it into my dad's car. His eyes light up when the first notes ooze out of the speakers. “Where did you get this?" He asks puzzlingly. “The internet," I respond smiling.

In the 1970s my dad was one of thousands of high school students in Addis Ababa protesting the monarchy. The protests eventually created instability which lead to a coup d'état. The monarchy was overthrown and a Marxist styled military junta composed of low ranking officers called the Derg came to power. The new regime subsequently banned music they deemed to be counter revolutionary. When the Derg came into power, Amha Eshete, a pioneering record producer and founder of Ahma Records, fled to the US and the master recordings of his label's tracks somehow ended up in a warehouse in Greece.

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