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.
Style
Photo courtesy of Shekudo.

Made In Africa: Shekudo Is the Accessories Brand Putting Nigerian Craftsmanship & Artisans First

Shekudo founder Amy Akudo Iheakanwa speaks in-depth on the challenges of relaunching her brand in Nigeria and more.

Shekudo is the brainchild of Nigerian-Australian designer Amy Akudo Iheakanwa. She uses textiles to create luxurious accessories that draw women in. Where Nigeria offers her her aesthetic, her Australian background contributes to the way she markets her free, easy-going products. Produced in Lagos, Shekudo prides itself on local artistry and social responsibility. It's purpose is to employ artisans and expose the craftsmanship that is alive and well in Nigeria.

Iheakanwa co-founded the brand with Shetu Bimpong but is now the sole creative director, and the February repositioning of the Shekudo has been critical. The brand is now backed by inspiring and necessary narratives of all sorts. It is the story of a founder who has embarked on a journey of self-discovery. It is the story of finding inspiration in the kaleidoscope of colors found in the bustling city that is Lagos. It is the story of Nigeria's 500-year-old aso oke process. It is the story of the number of hands that contribute to making a shoe, bag, or earring from scratch and a community of weavers, silversmiths, shoemakers and carpenters.

Though in its early stages, Iheakanwa has great plans to expand her production and incorporate community through training and capacity building for destitute women with limited options and skills available to them. With today's African diaspora serving as the frontrunners of cultural influence, brands like this one can only shine.

We sat down with the founder of Shekudo to learn more about the brand.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

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The Influencer's Insight: Kamo Mafokwane Is the South African Content Creator Pushing Brands To Value Influencers

The final feature in our four-part series highlights Kamo Mafokwane—the South African fashion and beauty blogger who's steadfast in developing her craft.

"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 final part of the series features Kamo Mafokwane of fashion and beauty blog, WILLKATE. ICYMI, read part three here.

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Image courtesy of Lula Ali Ismaïl

'Dhalinyaro' Is the Female Coming-of-Age Story Bringing Djibouti's Film Industry to Life

The must-watch film, from Lula Ali Ismaïl, paints a novel picture of Djibouti's capital city through the story of three friends.

If you're having a tough time recalling the last movie you watched from Djibouti, it's likely because you have never watched one before. With an almost non-existent film industry in the country, Lula Ali Ismaïl, tells a beautiful coming of age story of three young female Djiboutian teenagers at the cusp of womanhood. Dhalinyaro offers a never-before-seen view of Djibouti City as a stunning, dynamic city that blends modernity and tradition—a city in which the youth, like all youth everywhere, struggle to decide what their futures will look like. It's a beautiful story of friendship, family, dreams and love from a female filmmaker who wants to tell a "universal story of youth," but set in the country she loves—Djibouti.

The story revolves around the lives of three young friends from different socio-economic backgrounds, with completely varied attitudes towards life, but bound by a deep friendship. There is Asma, the conservative academic genius who dreams of going to medical school and hails from a modest family. Hibo, a rebellious, liberal, spoiled girl from a very wealthy family who learns to be a better friend as the film evolves and finally Deka. Deka is the binding force in the friendship, a brilliant though sometimes naïve teen who finds herself torn between her divorced mother's ambitions to give her a better life having saved up all her life for her to go to university abroad, and her own conviction that she wants to study and succeed in her own country.

Okayafrica contributor, Ciku Kimeria speaks to Ismaïl on her groundbreaking film, her hopes for the filmmaking industry and the universality of stories.

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Stogie T Enlists Nasty C, Boity, Nadia Nakai and More, for ‘The Empire of Sheep’ Deluxe Edition

Stream the deluxe version of Stogie T's EP 'The Empire of Sheep' featuring Nasty C, Boity, Nadia Nakai and more.

Stogie T just shared a deluxe version of his 2019 EP The Empire of Sheep titled EP The Empire of Sheep (Deluxe Unmasked). The project comes with three new songs. "All You Do Is Talk" features fellow South African rappers Nasty C, Boity and Nadia Nakai. New York lyricist appears on "Bad Luck" while one of Stogie T's favorite collaborators Ziyon appears on "The Making."

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