Style
Photo courtesy of Afua Rida.

The Influencer's Insight: Afua Rida Is the Stylist Passionate About Telling African Stories Through Fashion

Our second feature in this four-part series highlights Afua Rida—the Ghanaian fashion influencer who wants the world to recognize Africa's impact on fashion.

"The Influencer's Insight" is our four-part series for April's theme "The Hustle." The series features women content creators who've achieved influencer status through their social media platforms. These influencers will give their insight on how they built their brand, challenges they've faced, influencer marketing tips and more.

The second part of the series features Ghana's own fashion influencer, Afua Rida of Styled by Rida. ICYMI, read part one here.

Afua Rida of Styled by Rida is the Ghanaian fashion influencer, stylist and consultant thriving in a world where Africans are excluded from global fashion conversations. She's a force behind her nation's fashion industry and has partnered with Christie Brown, Mina Evans, Meena Official, Mythhouse, Maxhosa, and Lanre Da Silva. The impact of Rida's reach on social media even landed her a feature on CNN's African Voices.


Rida recognizes the continent's influence on fashion "through its colors, animals, water, prints and patterns." She has a fervor for fashion in Africa and is excited to share it's stories. She says she lives life in color and style. "Fashion is a money making industry," she states. "Fashion is culture and culture is life."

Photo courtesy of Afua Rida.

The start of her blogging journey began in August of 2015, where she was on vacation and then returned home to start shooting content for her platform. The first dress she dawned was from Lisa Folawiyo. She says she had no expectations and certainly didn't think her audience would grow to her current 95,000 followers.

Today, Rida continues to be enamored with what she does—to shine a light on the creativity coming from her home. Her blog is centered around fashion, "how to wear" tutorials, and self-confidence. Rida explains that in a typical work week, from Tuesday to Sunday, she's in meetings with designers, styling, breaking news regarding new collections, and is in and out of showrooms pulling clothes. Before sundown she takes full advantage of the lighting to shoot looks. She finds her fresh content through research, designer platforms, and audience feedback. To deal with people's short attention spans, Afua advises content creators to "understand technology, use short and concise posts, implementing photos with color, videos or boomerangs."

It's important to note her family frowned upon her career at first and despite it, she's forged a notable path for herself. We all know first hand how weary our families are of "relaxing and trusting you can make a living in the arts."

Photo courtesy of Afua Rida.

"Styling and blogging is a new concept in Ghana," Rida adds. "Education is important. I'm constantly proving myself." People have to understand and believe you can sell their product and Ghanaians are definitely taking notice. In 2016, she won the Fashion Blogger of the Year award at Glitz Style Awards.

Rida wants to tell vivid stories from every corner of Africa and hopes to partner with Mozambique's Taibo Bacar, Chloé and Australia's Zimmerman. The bombshell is well on her way.

Afua Rida leaves us with three tips for those who are looking to revamp their wardrobe below:

  1. Adapt your style to your location: "My style evolves depending on where I am," Rida explains. In Montreal, where she schooled, her color palette was simple: white, black and grey. In Nigeria, she dawns jewels. In Ghana, wax prints reign supreme. In Italy, the shoe on her foot is critical.
  2. Don't knock it until you try it: "So many questionable trends come out but you won't truly know if you like them unless you try them."
  3. Discover the best gems where you least expect it: "A one-of-a kind piece can appear at the market, a souk or an unknown boutique."
Audrey Lang is an alumna of Northeastern University and a Boston-based site merchandiser. A surveyor of life who's enamored with all things fashion, art and Africa, keep up with her on Instagram and Tumblr.
Design

Nkuli Mlangeni-Berg is Delicately Weaving Her Name into the International Textiles Space

Recently awarded 'Best New Talent' by Monocle, Sweden-based South African textiles designer Nkuli Mlangeni-Berg talks about her unique ongoing collaborations with African designers and her tremendous love for weaving.

Weaving is one of the oldest practices in textile production. Expertly interlacing yarns over a loom to produce a variety of fabrics is something South African designer Nkuli Mlangeni-Berg knows all too well. The recent recipient of Monocle's "Best New Talent" award, Mlangeni-Berg's love for the African continent, its burgeoning textiles industry and the empowerment of its artisans is at the fore. Succinctly put, she's putting African designers in the textiles space on the map.

Born and bred in Kagiso, Krguersdorp — and having established herself in one of the world's elite design hubs, Sweden — Mlangeni-Berg is currently on a mission to channel back the resources, now, at her disposal to fellow designers across the African continent. Collaboration is at the heart of her craft, one she takes very seriously.

The beauty of her childhood experiences, her Zulu-Ndebele roots and love for South Africa guides Mlangeni-Berg's unique creations that often leave her audience struck by their distinct beauty. In 2017, the designer's Sankara Rug, which referenced the now popular Ndebele patterns and traditional reed dance, was named the "Most Beautiful Object in South Africa" by Design Indaba – a remarkable accomplishment for the then upcoming designer.

Mlangeni-Berg is a huge advocate of weaving the past and the future together, as well as connecting the old with the contemporary. We caught up with her to discuss being a multi award-winning designer, her current projects and her grand hopes for Africa's textiles design space.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

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