Sometimes you find the best things when you’re not searching. Scratch that, most times.
Hi, Ugonna here…
Before you proceed, I’d like to let you know that there are lots of jpegs. Ciao!
In the quest for comfort and standards that we think fit into the persons that we are or choose to be identified as, we might miss out on what’s most important. And that is our roots, where we came from.
Sometime in May, I teamed up with my favourite photographer and I as his muse to create this production titled ‘The Afrocentric Style Alien’.
Couple of weeks prior to this shoot, we had discussed some concepts over the phone, most of it via chats and we shared pictures. Truth is, it wasn’t exactly clear what we wanted but we had a common base regarding the concept which would guide the creation process.
When I think Afrocentricity, I visualize an African woman oiled up in oils and shea butter with a Fro’ hair glistening as the sunsets hitting her cheekbones and creating a silhouette on her figure. For some reason, this has always been the picture created in my head and I love it.
So the concept behind this shoot was : NOTHING. The day before I was still battling on what to wear for the shoot and the evening before I started trying out looks. He had just come into town and was leaving the next day,so there was little or no time for props and to design locations which was our initial intention.
With my look, I knew I wanted something androgynous and what speaks Androgyny more than a Men’s suit. So, I raided my dad’s closet for his old suits and tried them but they didn’t give me the feel and look I wanted. So, I dished that.
I went to my Mum’s and found this check blazer and tried it on and it was perfect, not too big but just oversize enough!
Step 1 down.
I initially wanted to go for something sparkling like a short dress or something as my inspo was the vixen from Show You Off By Wurld (which is one of my favourite music videos by the way). But unfortunately, I started shopping late and couldn’t find something similar.
Luckily, as I was strolling past a couple of stores on my way home, I found this Net blouse and I just copped it without even wondering how I’d pair it.
Here’s a great hack to having an eccentric wardrobe : Buy the weirdest thing you see in the store and don’t think about how you’d style it, just yet. It always works out, eventually.
I already had these pants which I like to think that it falls into the mix of an Athleisure and Classic style categories. The stripe by the sides is typical of most sport wears and sweatpants while its fabric being Chiffon-like like most office pants were the reasons why I placed it in this unique category which I like to call CLAEISURE.
With my hair, I was clueless if I do say so. I had just did a trim a few days back as I noticed how hard and brittle it was and it wasn’t exciting at all.
While dressing up in the morning, it just occurred to me to come it up into an afro and do a dramatic makeup look with it.
Very Michael Jackson, Very Freddie Mercury. But still The Ugonna.
Thick brows to accentuate the look and messy eye shadow and I felt ready. Accessories with skull rings and my Yellow nails just bright enough to put the entire look together.
I threw in this VR glasses from Miniso won at a DigiClanAfrica hangout last year for props since the backdrop plans we had didn’t work out and I felt it was just the right touch of eccentricity that we needed to create this Alienated look.
Photography: Iyke Anyanwu
Styling: Yours, truly.
Pants, blouse: The Thrift Hub
Shoes: My Shoe Plug.
Nails: Boss Nails
Afrocentricity is focused on pro-black society. It is on the creative, social and political activities of African history.
Chale Wote Street Art Festival held in Ghana is one that is Afrocentric and I always love forward to the fazhun every year following up using #ChaleWote.
It is now a trend for most international brands to indulge in cultural misappropriation and I’m starting to think that they do it for the attention or the outrage which highlights their brand for a while, before which they eventually apologise. Brands like H&M and even luxury brands like Stella McCartnery and Marc Jacobs. The Afrocentric fashion used to be first seen as weird, backward, not innovative, archaic, ancient, ugly, hideous and all what not. But all of that has now been translated into art, with the collective seen as not just fashion but an influence in the lifestyle of the culture owners.
We took our culture and transformed in into a lifestyle that can be reckoned. Recently, there is almost no major fashion brand that hasn’t in one way or the other incorporated the Afrocentric culture into their design. Sadly, most times without reference, credit or acknowledgement often time presenting it as original idea.
Can you now see how the misfits have now become the stars of the event?
I’d to know what your ideas are on Afrocentricuty and cultural misappropriation. Please leave your comments below.
Thank you for reading as always.