Style

Madagascar Fashion Photography: Coco Masombika's 2015 Collection

Malagasy designer Coco Masombika debuts her 2015 collection, shot by French Madagascar-based fashion photographer David Bioux.

Words by Netzayet Itzea & Alyssa Klein


The fashion of Malagasy stylist Coco Masombika merges the past and present with a marriage of traditional embroidery that combines cotton, linen, wool, mulberry silk and Madagascar's natural pigments. "Madagascar is rich in color, culture, and recycled materials," she tells Okayafrica. Her work, she mentions, is "drawing, painting and finishing with a relentless search for new materials and patterns." For Masombika's 2015 collection, she's teamed with French photographer David Bioux on a vibrant outdoor shoot. Bioux, who only took up photography after relocating to Madagascar in 2012, tells us "Malagasy designers are very creative and above all very active. The capital has no shortage of parades to present new trends and collections by these talented artists." He cites 20+ year veteran Pierrot Men and Rindra Ramasomanana as two of the country's biggest photographers, along with Nanouh Rahajason and Hoby Ratsimbazafy. See photos from Coco Masombika's 2015 collection shot by David Bioux above.

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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