Lime interview - Beauty & Lifestyle
Kiki Kamanu- trends are sooo last season
Semper - Azeez -Harris
If Lime is going to celebrate Africa then there is no way that we could forget the unique, bold and vibrant fashion of Africa with one of the designers making African fashion popular Kiki Kamanu a former model.
Her innovative designs and cuts have made her highly sought after-shows for London Fashion Week and features on CNN are just the tip of the bubbly designer’s CV.
Kiki kindly gave me a bit of time to talk fashion (of course), the truth behind the glamour and her next collection ad Africa.
It seems you were destined to be involved in fashion in some way?
I guess so. I began as a five year old model with my twin sister on a TV show. Then I began modeling professionally when I was discovered by FORD modeling agency at the age of 19 and began modeling professionally. I always designed my own clothes which would draw attention from strangers in fashion conscious cites such as Tokyo and Paris. Totally unfulfilled, I decided to focus on my passion, creating wearable art and I have not looked back since.
How hard is modeling and the business of fashion particularly from a designer's point of view?
Fashion design is a constant challenge because you have to continue reinventing yourself, and remaining relevant to your clients. As soon as my collection comes on the runway I am already planning the next one- no rest for the weary. As a former model, the most challenging aspect was to always keep your eye on the prize which is keeping the client happy.
Is the fashion world as glamorous as it seems?
It is very glamorous once the work is done but some people go in there and they are tired or suffering from the effects of the night before but it is a job and so once you are professional then the life of the fashion industry can be fantastic.
Is the fashion world inherently racist or is that a misconception?
When a client/campaign comes to the agency they will say we need thirty models two blondes, two black, one Asian and two brunettes. People think it is the agencies that are like that but it is not it is the campaigns that make these particular requests. The industry is colour based I do not want to say racist but at the moment that is how the market is.
Have things improved despite what people may think?
There have been vast improvements in the last ten to fifteen years with the amount of black models or dark skinned models doing campaigns like Victoria Secrets. Asian models who are dark are also doing very well Lakshmi she is doing so well and she is everywhere doing Versace and Gucci to name but a few.
On another issue what are your feelings about the term “real women”?
There is not one type of body and I really do not like the term “real women” because not all women are size16 and not all women are size 4-so I am size 4, am I not a real woman because I am not a size 16-the key is creating clothes that accommodate everyone?
So getting onto you, when you started out what was your ethos behind the fashion you wanted to bring?
For me and it still is the fact that my clients do not look like anyone else. I want with friend to an event and someone else had exactly the same outfit she had to hide. I always make sure that my outfits are elegant, sexy and fun. That is what I started out with and that is what I maintain with all my collections.
Is your African heritage at the centre of all your fashion?
I do not always use African fabric but what I do use is the whole idea of African colour so everything in my collections has a colour and vibrancy.
What is your current collection?
My fall/winter 2013 Collection is called Elegance Meets Attitude. I have returned to my love of prints and continued with my affair with luxury stretch fabrics. I also used dip dyed chiffon to bring out the Kiki Kamanu woman’s sensuality-bold reds blend delicately with black stretch lace which hug a woman’s curves effortlessly.
What can we expect from your next season of clothing?
For my summer 2013 I plan to continue with my prints and possibly with a lot of silk and chiffon.
What do you think will be the trends for next year?
African All stars
Where is African fashion right now?
The best place to be for fashion is Africa now! The world is embracing African inspired prints, ARISE, FAB Magazine, are all celebrating our talent.
King of the Crops
Natty finding freedom