It’s no secret that every woman, young or old, conservative or trendy, likes to be told that they look good, that they are beautiful. They relish the accolades and bask in the euphoric attention they receive. The desire to appear fashionable, beautiful, and stylish may differ among women, but on a fundamental level, most, if not all, women want to look good when they dress and appear in public. Every woman relishes themselves in moments when they are the one that keeps the heads turning when they walk by or enter a room full of people. However, looking good often comes at the cost of staying abreast of trends and upgrading one’s wardrobe to keep up with the fast-changing fads of the fashion macrocosm. This then puts them under pressure.
“The way a woman carries herself and the way she dresses ought to promote the following types of words: modesty, discretion, wisdom, beauty, elegance, and refinement, but not sensuality, luxury, extravagance.” — Paul Washer.
Despite being expensive at times, keeping up with trends can also put women—especially young and naive women—in a position where they compromise some of the values that they use to raise them. The rat race to look alluring could get out of hand in many ways that lead towards a dark path. Some young ladies and even some older ladies have gotten themselves in a pickle for going too far in the pursuit of attention and hotness by the way they dress. For instance, hypothetically speaking, take a 16-year-old girl invited to a ‘grown-up’ party. She instantly feels the pressure to look and act like a grown-up to not be identified as underaged. She slips on a revealing and risqué dress and applies makeup to accentuate her appearance and make her look grown and ‘sexy.’
At the party, she gets accosted by men who assume she is in her twenties. The attention is an ego boost for her, so she plays along until she finds herself in an uncomfortable or compromising situation with a man who seems wired and ready to get something; she isn’t enthusiastic about giving. At that moment, she realizes that she is no longer willing to be the ‘adult’ she is dressed as, and she thankfully escapes the situation unharmed. This is a common situation among many young girls of this era. Some are not as lucky as the girl in this story. Many ladies, young and old, sometimes become victims of sexual abuse and harassment because of their provocative dressing arising from their inordinate affection to keep up with the fashion trends and their pursuit of attention.
“Modesty is the color of virtue.” — Diogenes.
Of course, there is no excuse to harm anyone based on how they are dressed but looking at the prevailing fashion trends we see on our streets and television; perhaps it is time to ask if we are going too far with suggestive dressing. Are our youths putting their best foot forward with the way they dress? Have we lost every ounce of modesty when it comes to dressing? Is the desire to ‘show some skin’ becoming more of an obsession with public nudity? Can our youths look good and dress modestly simultaneously, or are the two concepts mutually exclusive? The answer is an emphatic YES! It is possible to look fantastic and decent at the same time. The ability to combine these two makes a woman appear classy, intelligent, and respectable. Below are some tips to achieve that balance.
5 Tips for Achieving Modest Hotness
Women are created with grace and beauty. We see it in the various body sizes, types, and shapes. We see it across various ethnicities and races. Women are like flowers that attract the admiration of all. They are like gems that deserve placement in the coziest labyrinths of hearts that are warm and full of respect. Media and social media has a way of trying to make all women look a certain way. The truth is that, the beauty of women come in all shapes, sizes, types, across various ethnicities, races, religions, etc. The culture of body shaming should become a thing of the past.
“Modesty is the conscience of the body.” — Honore de Balzac.
Having said all this, utmost decency and respect should characterize the way women carry themselves. In the words of Paul Washer, “The way a woman carries herself and the way she dresses ought to promote the following types of words: modesty, discretion, wisdom, beauty, elegance, and refinement, but not sensuality, luxury, extravagance.” Embrace modesty; it is the conscience of your body as espoused by Honore de Balzac. There is no need to fish for compliments by being overly sensual in your dressing. Let your beauty speak for itself in modesty. You can attain hotness in the sphere of modesty. But how can this be? Let’s take a look at some tips:
#1 Tip—Know Your Body Size, Type, and Shape
As a woman, your body has a shape and conscience. You should know what matches your body size, type, and shape. When you understand your body type and frame, you will dress appropriately, beautifully, and comfortably as you accentuate your look. Women of all sizes have varied body types and shapes. First, there is the Pear-Shaped Body Type or a Triangle Shape. Second, there is the Hourglass Shaped Body Type or the Curvy Shape. Third, there is the Apple Shaped Body Type of the Inverted Triangle Shape. Fourth, there is the Athletic Shaped Body Type or the Rectangle or Straight Shape. There are ways to dress to celebrate and emphasize your shape and look for each body type and shape. Learn, dress, and be modestly elegant. Wear clothes that make your mold stand out without looking cheap, tacky, or trashy.
#2 Tip—Consider the Dress Combinations You Choose
How we look is the key to our success. However, getting that perfect dress combo is usually hard to attain and can frustrate many ladies at times. So, it will pay off to study ways to combine your dresses. An example is by gaining some understanding of blending dresses and outfits well using hues in various circumstances. For instance, to be the center of attraction, dress in clothes with considerable bright color swatches. Reserved colors (e.g., white with gravel or brownish hue) give off a business-like air. To infuse a look of sophistication, accent your dressing by adding gold accessories. Unmistakably, to celebrate your feminine looks, wear pink. Grey colors combine well with some secondary colors (e.g., green of all tones) and can be a good base for an official appearance. If you want to look aristocratic, wear blue. Here is another example, consider a very tall lady wearing stilettos and a short gown—she is bound to get the wrong kind of attention. So, consider what you would be combining the clothing you wish to wear with. Understand your accessories and how best to use them to empower your dressing.
#3 Tip—Plan for the Weather and Environment
Ever seen a woman walking around and struggling to get her gown down past her knees while the wind blows? Ever seen a lady struggling to get her dress in order before boarding a public vehicle? Have you ever seen a lady on stilettos and trying to walk with a group through a field with soft earth? Before wearing some clothing and accessorizing yourself, consider the conditions which lay in wait for you on the way. For instance, if you are going hiking, don’t wear high-heel shoes—wear flat shoes that will enable you to walk the ground with ease. Is it going to be a rainy day? Then consider wearing or carrying a pair of rain boots as you leave your home, or at least go with an umbrella. Consider the terrain, discuss transportation requirements, and consider whether that dress and combined accessories are the best ideas. Now, plan again.
#4 Tip—Dress Elegantly, Not Shabbily
A skimpy and unpolished dress may seem fashionable. However, this might send a wrong signal about your character and integrity if you wear it in the wrong situation or circumstance. For instance, a lady dressing suggestively at home could be okay in a romantic or sensual situation with her spouse. However, wearing a suggestive short miniskirt or dress at work can make you become an object of staring eyes, which can obstruct office professionalism. Hence, there is a need to be conscious of over-sensualized dressing that is inappropriate in some situations.
“When virtue and modesty enlighten her charms, the luster of a beautiful woman is brighter than the stars of heaven, and the influence of her power it is in vain to resist.” — Akhenaton.
Some ladies totally love wearing extremely tight-fitting attires that leave little to the imagination. Some of these ladies relish seeing men drool as they stare at them. They keep the heads of constant admirers turning. In the guise of wanting to look good, ladies willingly make themselves the objects of attention—most times to attract, impress, or even seduce. Dress modestly. There is no need to dress and cross provocative boundaries in public always. Be elegant in the way you dress—don’t be shabby. However, always remember that a refined dress sense commands more dignity than one that is too suggestive. Also, remember that a woman considered to have dignity is deemed to be a lot more attractive.
Some occasions require different types of outfits. A bikini is revealing but is an appropriate outfit to wear at a beach or pool. In the same way, you would attract unwanted attention for cluelessly wearing a skirt suit to the beach. A strapless mini dress may look right for a night out at the club but would rightly be frowned upon should you wear it to church or work. Be deliberate when you select what you wish to wear. Yes, you have a great body type and shape, and you want to dress to kill. However, do not ruin your personality and reputation by dressing inappropriately for different occasions. In your quest for attention, be sure that you are not sending out the wrong signal to the world. It’s where you are going that should determine what you wear. Have some common sense when it comes to your choice of how you dress. Do yourself a favor and be deliberate. Be appropriate. Be modest. Be beautiful.
“Modesty is not only an ornament but also a guard to virtue.” — Joseph Addison.
Finally, it is imperative to emphasize that a woman should be free to wear whatever she wants, provided that no laws be broken. Remember the tips that we have shared via this piece. First, understand your body size, type, and shape. This knowledge will allow you to make a better judgment of what suits you best. Second, consider how you combine what you wear. Among other things, understand the hues and accessories that you use to accent your style. Third, plan for the weather and understand the terrain. This will guide your appropriate dressing decisions and habits. Fourth, dress elegantly and don’t be shabby. Don’t be known as the lady who is always seeking lewd attention on all occasions. You may be sending out the wrong signals and will gain the wrong attention. Finally, the fifth tip is to be comfortable; however, be sure you dress appropriately. However, it is also pertinent to remember that we create impressions in other people’s minds based on how we appear. It makes sense to look our best while maintaining some level of modesty. You can call it ‘modest hotness.’
Top 20 East Asian Models that Have It Made
Asia is one continent blessed with more than just rich culture, heritage, and lovely landmarks. It is a continent with the benediction of a diverse array of beautiful and handsome people. Asian models are currently making waves in the modeling industry; their unique, alluring, and sophisticated look make them stand out as some of the most sought-after models. Read on as I share the top 20 Asian models making waves.
Asia is one massive continent blessed with more than just rich culture, heritage, and lovely landmarks. It is a continent with the benediction of a diverse array of beautiful and handsome people. Asian models are currently making waves in the modeling industry; their unique, alluring, and sophisticated look make them stand out as some of the most sought-after models, as we will see in this piece.
“I think the rise of Asian models is an absolutely beautiful thing.” — Tyra Banks.
Because of the vastness of the Asian Continent, there is no way we could cover the chronicle of beauty that spawns from this continent in one article. According to the World Atlas, no other continent comes close to it in terms of landmass and human capital. It spans 17 million square miles, and there are about four billion people live within this mass. There are five major Asia regions: Central Asia, East Asia, South Asia, Southeast Asia, and Western Asia. However, there is also a non-major component that we can tag as the sixth region, North Asia.
The World Atlas establishes that East Asia is one of the five regions of Asia and is located east of Central Asia with its eastern border following the East China Sea. Eight countries make up the region: China, Mongolia, North Korea, South Korea, Japan, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Macau. There are over 1.641 billion people in this region, representing 22% of the world’s population and 38% of Asia’s population. East Asia has some of the world’s most advanced technologies, which has led to its economic growth. We see this growth in the Fashion world too.
Collectively, Asians are a beautiful race, irrespective of the Asiatic Region in question. However, their beauty ideology differs from that seen in Western and other cultures. Caucasian communities love celebrating their vacation “sun-kissed” tans. Blacks celebrate their dark skins (See our article, 20 Dark Skin Models that are Thriving). According to Byrdie, in many Asian nations, the paler your skin tone, the more alluring the perception.
However, the onus of this article is not to delve into the various hues of Asian beauty! Like we have seen, the continent is very vast, and the ideology of beauty spans within the nations that make up the continent. We celebrate both the pale and sun-kissed Asians, who thrive in their modeling careers through their unique and intricate looks. However, in this specific article, we will concentrate our exploration on the models that come from East Asia. We are here to celebrate East Asian beauty. In other pieces to come, we will explore the remaining regions of Asia one after the other.
Top 20 Asian Models that Have It Made
Contrary to popular opinion, there is more to being a model—it is not just a walk in the park. It requires a cartload of effort on the individual that toes the line of the profession. Models must cultivate exceptional confidence, be versatile, expressive, and be picture-perfect. A lot goes into being a model, irrespective of your race. Although being a model can be stressful, stifling, and competitive, models worldwide have managed to stand out and are making waves. Some models have created names for themselves, going from just advertising and promoting brands to becoming sought after and recognizable names in the industry.
“Modeling, for me, isn’t about being beautiful but creating something interesting for people to look at and think about.” — Kylie Bax.
Over the years, many East Asian models have stood out as exceptional and at the top of their game. Their unique, alluring, and sophisticated look make them stand out as some of the most sought-after models in the industry, giving due recognition to some of these names. In no particular order, here are the top twenty East Asians making waves in today’s world of style and fashion.
#1. Liu Wen
Dubbed by many international press outlets as “China’s first bona fide supermodel,” Liu Wen is the first Chinese model to walk the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show. She is also the first East Asian to be on Forbes magazine’s annual highest-paid model list. Liu Wen has also appeared on the American Vogue twice—making her the second and first Chinese model to do so, respectively. She is currently the Global Ambassador for Chanel Beauty. Like Liu Wen, let us aim to ace it as we rise in life. Her Instagram pages tell her story of beauty. Check it out. Click Here. For a more detailed discovery of her walk and work, check out Liu Wen.
#2. Zhao Lei
One of the world’s leading Asian models, Zhao Lei, is a 24-year-old Chinese model. He has gained international attention by modeling for labels, including Dolce & Gabbana, Cavalli, and others. He has appeared in top global magazines like the August Man, GQ China, Hercules. Zhao was once the face of Vogue Hommes Japan. Zhao has ranked among the Top 50 models list on Models.com. Learning from Zhao’s life and career, we can always aim to be the best we can be in our own lives. His Instagram pages tell his story of good looks and sophistication. Check it out. Click Here. For a more detailed discovery of his walk and work, check out Zhao Lei.
#3. Fei Fei Sun
One of the fashion house’s most sought-after models, Fei Fei Sun, is a Chinese model. Fei Fei went into full-time modeling in 2008. She’s one of the first East Asian models to appear solo on an Italian fashion publication (i.e., the Vogue Italy cover in January 2013). She is also ranked Top 50 by Models.com and is a spokesmodel for the prestigious Estee Lauder, as reported in Bazaar. Her Instagram pages tell her story of class and elegance. Check it out. Click Here. For a more detailed discovery of his walk and work, check out Fei Fei Sun.
#4. Jae Yoo
Jae Yoo is a 31-year-old South Korean model. Models.com ranks him as one of the hottest and the top sexiest models. He has walked for top brands like Calvin Klein, Hugo Boss, and Kenzo. Jae has also advertised and campaigned for top brands Tiffany and American Eagle. For a more detailed discovery of his walk and work, check out Jae Yoo.
#5. Du Juan
According to IMG Models, Du Juan made her debut in the Spring of 2006 at the Paris Haute Couture. She was the first East Asian model to go on the cover of French Vogue. After being told she was too tall to be a dancer, she became a model by chance. Du has worked with many renowned photographers and agencies and has appeared on Elle, V magazine, Allure, and several others. Du Juan made her acting debut in the American Dreams in China. She has been featured in several other movies too. She is the first Chinese actress to appear on the cover of the Fashion Bible. Du has the most record of any celebrity or model to appear on Vogue China. Du’s Instagram pages tell her story of class and sophistication. Check it out. Click Here.
#6. Hikari Mori
According to the Tokyo Weekender, Hikari Mori is on a mission to spread the energy and beauty of the Japanese culture via her modeling and acting careers. Daughter to a Japanese father and an American mother. The Society Management establishes that she is the granddaughter of a renowned Japanese designer, Hanae Mori. Her style is effortless, and she is nothing but beautiful. She is a successful model, actress, television host, and designer. The Society Management establishes that “She has worked with the most prestigious brands such as Shiseido, Tiffany & Co, Gucci, and Dolce & Gabanna, as well as graced the covers of Vogue and Grazia China.” Hikari’s Instagram pages tell her exceptional beauty and grace. Check it out. Click Here.
#7. David Chiang
A top international model, David Chiang is a Taiwanese-Canadian model. A college graduate, David made his modeling debut in 2010 for the fall Alexander McQueen show in Millan. He stands out uniquely for his long flowing black hair and androgynous looks. David has walked for many known designers such as Dior Homme, Nina Athanasiou, Darkoh, Malan Breton, etc. He has appeared in over sixteen different magazines all over the world. His Instagram pages tell his story of unique looks and sophistication. Check it out. Click Here. For a more detailed discovery of his walk and work, check out David Chiang.
#8. Tao Okamoto
A supermodel and actress, she is one of Japan’s most distinguished models. She was one of the faces of Ralph Lauren. Aside from campaigning and advertising for many top brands, she was one of the Japanese Vogues “Women of The Year” in 2010 and one of the most prominent faces in Japan. According to IMDb, Tao Okamoto made her film debut as Marifo Yashida, the female lead, in The Wolverine. She has starred in other top movies from around the world since her debut. Her Instagram profile tells her story of exquisite beauty and class. Check it out. Click Here. For a more detailed discovery of her walk and work, check out Tao Okamoto.
#9. Philip Huang
Philip Huang is a highly sought Chinese-American supermodel and designer. As established on his website’s About Page, not only does he model, but he also “designs and produces contemporary clothing with an artisanal touch that merges indigenous knowledge passed on from generations from artisans in the Northeast of Thailand. He does so via the use of plant-based dyes, organic fibers, hand-made textiles, and accessories.” He has walked for many luxury brands such as Gucci, Jean-Paul Gaultier, John Galliano, Dolce & Gabbana, to mention but a few. He is ranked an icon by Models.com. He is signed to a top modeling agency and is also making waves in real estate. His Instagram profile tells his story of class and creativity. Check it out. Click Here. For a more detailed discovery of his walk and work, check out Philips Haung.
#10. Devon Edewenna Aoki
As one of the unique faces in the modeling world, Devon Aoki has been making waves in modeling since she turned sixteen. Daughter to a Japanese father, Hroaki Aoki, the former Olympic wrestler and Benihana restaurant magnate, and Pamela Hilburger, Jewelry designer mother. Devon replaced Naomi Campbell as the face of Versace. Top advertising companies like Hugo Boss, L’Oreal, Kenzo, and many others have featured her work. The American-Japanese model has also walked for top brands, Balenciaga, Chanel, and several others. She has also landed roles in movies like 2 Fast 2 Furious, Arrow, Sin City, etc. Her Instagram profile tells her story of class and creativity. Check it out. Click Here. For a more detailed discovery of his walk and work, check out Devon Edewenna Aoki.
#11. Dae Na
Ranked as one of the Top 50 models on Models.com, and on the Money List, the South-Korean supermodel is one of the most prominent faces in the international fashion world. He appears in several top brand campaigns and features in several editorials like the American Vogue, V Man. Dae was also the face of Vogue Hommes Japan and Glow Thailand. His Instagram profile tells his story of good looks. Check it out. Click Here. For a more detailed discovery of his walk and work, check out Dae Na.
#12. Soo Joo Park
Soo Joo Park is the first Korean-American female model to be a L’Oreal spokesmodel. She is ranked as a “Money” girl by Models.com and has appeared on Vogue, CR Fashion Book, Glamor, etc. She has walked with numerous agencies and appeared in many Ad Campaigns from many big names. According to IMDb, she is DJ. She played Sutra on the Netflix drama series Sense8, and he graduated from the University of California, Berkeley, with an Architecture degree. Her Instagram profile tells her story of sophisticated charm and grand elegance. Check it out. Click Here. For a more detailed discovery of her walk and work, check out Soo Joo Park.
#13. Daisuke Ueda
Daisuke Ueda is the first Asian model to appear on the cover of Vogue Hommes Japan. He is the spokesperson for the clothing company Gap and has appeared on Dolce & Gabanna, Giorgio Armani, and several other labels. Daisuke Ueda has appeared on various major fashion editorials and has walked for many famous designers—too many to mention all. His Instagram profile tells his story of sophisticated charm and grand elegance. Check it out. Click Here. For a more detailed discovery of his walk and work, check out Daisuke Ueda.
#14. Xiao Wen Ju
According to IMG Models, Xi’an, China native Xiao Wen Ju is well-known for being high-spirited, always gives off youthful zing, and with infectious humor. She is the first Chinese model to be the face of famous brand Marc Jacobs. Xiao has walked for some of the world’s most renowned brands, such as Prada, Lanvin, and others. She was also the fifth Chinese model to walk in a Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show and was ranked twenty-two on models’ Top 50 Female 2012 model’s list. Her Instagram profile tells her story of sophistication, color, and glamor. Check it out. Click Here. For a more detailed discovery of her walk and work, check out Xiao Wen Ju.
#15. Satoshi Toda
Satoshi Toda is one of the most famous Japanese models. Satoshi has modeled in various editorials—Vogue, Homme Style, Bite Magazine, GQ China, etc. He has also walked and campaigned for many top names and brands as John Galliano, Tommy Hilfiger, Christopher Shannon, David Hart, GAP, Theory, Prada, etc. His Marilyn Agency page tells the story of his good looks and charm. Check it out. Click Here. For a more detailed discovery of his walk and work, check out Satoshi Toda.
#16. Chiharu Okunugi
Chiharu Okunugi, known as the top model of Tokyo Fashion Week, is a Japanese model of repute. Chiharu has appeared on many editorials such as Vogue China, Vogue Japan, Vogue Italia, Pop Magazine, etc. She has walked for BCBG Max Azria, Richard Chai, Kenneth Cole, Yigal Azrouel, Rag & Bone, Helmut Lang, Hermes, Akris, and Kenzo, etc. Her Instagram profile tells her story of elegance and class. Check it out. Click Here. For a more detailed discovery of her walk and work, check out Chiharu Okunugi.
#17. Hao Yun Xiang
A top Chinese model Hao Yun Xiang is a top model for labels like Calvin Klein, GAP, Lane Crawford, and several others. On Models.com, he is on the Top 50 Model, Hot List, and Money List. He has also campaigned for Vogue Me China, GQ China, and many more famous editorials and designers. His Instagram profile tells his story of good looks and class. Check it out. Click Here. For a more detailed discovery of his walk and work, check out Hao Yun Xiang.
#18. Margaret Zhang
Margaret Zhang, the Australian-born Chinese, is a photographer, stylist, and fashion influencer. She has worked for many top brands and was the face of Clinique’s. She has received several awards and is currently Editor-in-Chief (EIC) of Vogue China, making her the youngest EIC at Vogue at 27 years of age. According to Vogue, her Instagram at the time of this writing Social Media following is at 1.4 Million followers. Her profile is also a testament to her glamour, beauty, and poise. Vogue establishes that she is a film director, creative director, photographer, stylist, writer, and sometime model. To learn more about this young fashion multihyphenate, visit her website. Click Here.
#19. Noma Han
One of the most popular and established faces in the modeling industry, Noma Han, is a South Korean model. He has campaigned for many top label brands and appeared in editorials for Schon Magazine, Teen Vogue, WWD, and many others. His Instagram profile tells his story of good looks and class. Check it out. Click Here. For a more detailed discovery of his walk and work, check out Noma Han.
#20. Sui He
The Victoria’s Secret model is one of Asia’s top models. The Chinese model and actress is the first East Asian model to open a Ralph Lauren runway show and the second Chinese model to walk the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show. She is also the first relatively unknown model to appear on W Magazine’s art issue cover. According to IMDb, Sui He is also a Shiseido brand fashion model. She made her debut in film in 2014 in Temporary Family. Her Instagram profile tells her story of grand elegance and sophistication. Check it out. Click Here. For a more detailed discovery of his walk and work, check out Sui He.
A round of applause for the East Asian lineup of beauty and sophistication! You can all agree that all the models featured here exude a lot of glamor and elegance. Asia has become a leading power in the fashion industry, and its models are leaving some of the most prominent marks ever. From top runways to gracing the cover of prestigious publications and editorials, Asian models are making waves in the modeling industry.
“Modeling is not just a skill but an expression that tells a story.” — Unknown.
Are there some East Asian Models that you would have loved to see on this listicle? Would you please let us know at the end of this piece in the comments section? If we gain a lot more suggestions, we could come up with “Part II” of this article and survey the lives of more East Asian models who have it made. We will also be looking at more models from the other Asiatic regions, so keep an eye out for that soon.
[Article edited by the EIC]
Top 20 Dark Skin African Models that are Thriving
Dark skin models are beginning to change the way we perceive beauty rather than get used to stereotypes that have been presented to us for decades. Please read more as I share the top twenty dark skin African models that are thriving.
Over time, a lack of cultural diversity in the fashion and modeling industry has posed a considerable challenge, especially for those with dark skin. Dark skin or chocolate black skin is not an aberration. All human skin tones are unique. In all logical commonsense, all humans are beautiful in their skin. However, common sense is not always expected. Many stereotypes have been created, and no one wants to be boxed or seen in a particular way that can clip their wings from flying. Despite these challenges, few have been able to get past these challenges to become iconic figures.
“The black skin is not a badge of shame but rather a glorious symbol of national greatness.” — Marcus Gavey.
From being bullied for having dark skin to body shaming or being called a thug, some people have had it rough and have refused to let that get to them. Instead, they turned the tides in their favor and became role models that influence and inspire change in the industry. Dark skin is not a disease but its beauty that the world is beginning to recognize as unique and different. With melanin popping, black models today have made many admire a dark skin tone that screams “hot and classy” or “dripping handsome.”
Top 20 Dark Skin African Models that are Thriving
If you love to spend some minutes on social media, you will agree with me that there’s been a lot of dark-skinned popular models that keep springing up and getting a lot of fans by the day. While some still receive critical remarks for their skin color, others in these circles remain influencers and advocates for cultural diversity and inclusions in the industry. As of today, these top twenty dark-skinned models keep making waves in the industry. I will introduce them to you in no particular order.
#1. Khoudia Diop
Known as the Senegalese Melanin Goddess and the new face of diversity in beauty, Khoudia has built her career and fame in the modeling and fashion industry. She was once bullied about her color years ago, but today the world loves the way she carries herself like a goddess with a striking skin tone worth praising. Khoudia Diop is a true testament to Benjamin Disraeli’s words, who said that “Courage is fire, and bullying is smoke,” her beauty, poise, and elegance are the fire in the fashion industry. She indeed is a Melanin Goddess. Her Instagram pages tell her story of beauty. Check it out. Click Here.
#2. Duckie Thot
South Sudanese model, Duckie Thot, started her career in 2013 when she entered for Australian Next Top Model. She worked hard to build a career in the modeling industry, working with big names like Victoria’s Secret, L’Oreal Paris, and Rihanna’s makeup line, Fenty. She definitely is the embodiment of the words of Pele, a former Brazilian professional footballer, who said that “Success is no accident. It is hard work, perseverance, learning, studying, sacrifice, and most of all, love of what you are doing or learning to do.” Her Instagram pages tell her story of charm. Check it out. Click Here.
#3. Anok Yai
Anok Yai is the first Sudanese lady to open a Prada show after being discovered at a university home party. According to The Washington Post, the photographer, Steve Hall, took her picture at the Howard University homecoming celebration, and the modeling agencies came calling. According to models.com, she is ranked as one of the top 50 models in the fashion industry. She has appeared in several brand campaigns and has worked with big names in the fashion industry. She is a testament that your breakthrough in life can come in unexpected ways. Her Instagram pages tell her story of glamourous looks. Check it out. Click Here.
#4. Adut Akech Bior
Adut rise to stardom from being a black refugee has been an inspiring story to many black girls. Despite being told that she would fail when she started her modeling career, she kept pressing forward against all odds. This South Sudanese model is one of the most sought-after models in the fashion industry after getting her big break in 2016 with Saint Laurent. Her story tells us to press forward to attain our dreams even in the face of opposition. Her Instagram pages tell the story of her chocolate class. Check it out. Click Here.
#5. Alek Wek
Alex, a south Sudanese-British model, and designer have been known for her influence on how black beauty is perceived in the industry. She is one of the first dark-skinned African models to appear on the cover of fashion magazines in the mid-90s and participate in shows and campaigns. It’s always amazing to be a trailblazer in life. Her Instagram pages tell the story of her delectable charm. Check it out. Click Here.
#6. Nyakim Gatwech
Nyakim is a Sudanese model whose dark skin has given her fame on Instagram and in the modeling industry. She is also known as the Queen of the Dark, and she has worked with big brands like L’Oreal. She didn’t give in to peer pressure of bleaching her skin to be accepted, but she glowed and took pride in her color, which has made her who she is today. She lives and epitomizes the words of Zoë Isabella Kravitz, an American actress, singer, and model, who said that “Beauty is when you can appreciate yourself. When you love yourself, that’s when you’re most beautiful.” So, learn to love yourself for who you are as a person. You don’t need to change who you are to shine. Nyakim shines resplendently in her darkness. Her Instagram pages tell the story of her dark grace. Check it out. Click Here.
#7. Ajak Deng
Deng is a Sudanese whose parents were refugees in Kenya after escaping the south African civil war. Her family moved to Australia in 2005 and shortly after that she pursued her career modeling. It wasn’t easy at first due to her dark skin, but with time, she started working with big fashion brands and inspired other black ladies to pursue their dream in the fashion industry. Persistence is key to achieving any kind of success. Her Instagram pages tell the story of how beautiful dark skin models can become. Check it out. Click Here.
#8. Ataui Deng
Ataui is a Sudanese model who began her fashion career in 2008 at the age of seventeen. She is also the niece of Alek Wek, who used her fame to help push Ataui’s career to the top. Ataui is also very close friends with Ajak Deng—they are often mistaken as sisters, but they are just close friends. Her career kicked off, and she became a media focus due to her color and rising popularity in her youth. Ataui Deng’s Facebook page and her Instagram pages tell the story of the beauty of blackness. Check it out. Click Here.
#9. Grace Bol
Grace Bol is a Sudanese model whose fame started when she walked the runway in Victoria’s Secret Fashion show in 2017 and 2018 after fleeing South Sudan’s civil war. Despite where she came from, she worked hard to build her fame and fortune in the industry alongside big names. She teaches us that we should never allow our past circumstances to dictate who we eventually become in life. Her Instagram pages are a testament that black is gorgeous. Check it out. Click Here.
#10. Maria Borges
From IMG Models, she was born in the Angolan capital city of Luanda during a civil war. She lost her mom at eleven. Her motivation to model was to be a means to earn extra money to save for college. The Elite Model Look Angola competition of 2010 was her stepping-stone to where she is today. Maria has a unique black skin tone and is the first to flaunt her natural hair in Victoria’s Secret’s fashion show. She has also worked with several big names in the fashion industry. Maria Borges’ Facebook page, and her Instagram pages radiate the beauty of her unique hue and glow. Check it out. Click Here.
#11. Broderick Hunter
In 2014, Business Insider (Australia) named Hunter as one of the sexiest Instagram stars alive. He started showcasing his modeling skills on Instagram, which opened some doors for him in the fashion and TV industry. Broderick Hunter’s Facebook page, and his Instagram pages radiate his unique hue and handsomeness. Check it out. Click Here.
#12. Adonis Bosso
Adonis, the Ivorian-Canadian model from Montreal, is known for his signature septum piercing (i.e., a piercing at the septum of the nose. It is a thin cartilage wall that separates your right and left nostrils in the center of your nose). He has been a great black model who has worked with big fashion brands, including Dolce & Gabbana. Adonis wants to represent something more rather than be boxed into the pre-existing stereotypes. He teaches us that ambition is the fuel that nudges us forward to become the best we were created to be in life. Adonis Bosso’s Facebook page, and his Instagram pages show the impressiveness of the dark skin that compliments his unique cuts. Check it out. Click Here.
#13. Staniel Ferreira
Staniel Ferreira has a unique heritage mix. According to Gerrard-Israel Amenyanyo of www.gbaafrica.net, Staniel is an African Chinese. His family stems from Macau, China, and they migrated to Guinea-Bissau in West Africa. According to Staniel, “money doesn’t have a color.” After his first big break, Staniel has broken barriers five years after starting his career in an industry that barely accepts cultural differences or quality. He is a lesson on persistence. We must always press on towards our dreams—even in the face of denial. Staniel Ferreira’s Facebook page and his Instagram pages celebrate his exquisite mix of two continents—Africa and Asia. Check it out. Click Here.
#14. Corey Baptiste
According to the Encyclopedia of Fashion, Corey was born in Brooklyn, New York. He is half Trinidadian and half Grenadian New Yorker. Corey is known to be a “Money guy.” He started his modeling career at the age of nineteen, having his first deal with DKNY. He is now the face of Kenzo. He has worked with big fashion names despite the huge challenge to climb up the ladder as a black model. He strongly believes in practicing his craft, which is a lesson to us all—practice sure makes perfect. Corey Baptiste’s Facebook page and his Instagram pages establish that he has terrific dark skin and bone structure. Check it out. Click Here.
#15. Valentine Rontez
With special appearances in Elle and V magazine, Valentine Rontez is a black skin model who has walked the runways for Philipp Plien, Balmain, and Versace, to mention but a few. According to Melanin Wonder, “from getting fired from his former Doorman job at the Gucci Store on 5th avenue New York to finding God, building his faith and courage with God’s promises,” Valentine is indeed a melanin inspiration. He is an advocate for equality among people of different skin colors. In his statement to models.com, “Regardless of my color from the outside, I’m a human being, we should all be looked at and respected the same.” Valentine Rontez’s Facebook page and his Instagram pages are a definition of how good dark skin looks. Check it out. Click Here.
#16. Sacha M’Baye
Dark skin and good-looking Sacha is both a model and a soccer player (i.e., footballer) from Senegal who started his modeling career in 2011 as the face of Burberry. Since then, he’s been one of the most sought-after models in the industry. According to EverybodyWiki, his passion for soccer is yet to materialize fully on the pitch but settles to semi-professional matches. He is a lesson that we can diversify our potentials. His Instagram page is a definition of how good dark skin looks. Check it out. Click Here.
#17. Leonardo Taiwo
Leonardo is a Nigerian-American model you will describe as the total package. He is tall, dark, and handsome. He always takes the runway by storm and has worked for big names like Nike, Calvin Klein, Vogue Italia, etc. His Facebook page and profile reflect how good dark skin models look. Check it out. Click Here.
#18. Bakay Diaby
Bakay is originally from Guinea, and you can find him in most fashion shows. He has worked with notable fashion brands and walked in shows for Fendi, Michael Kors, Missoni, 22/4, Maison Martin Margiela, Melinda Gloss, Kenzo, Marc by Marc Jacobs, Lanvin, AMI Alexandre Mattiussi, Paul Smith, just to mention but a few. His Instagram page is a statement of the excellent look of blackness and dark skin. Check it out. Click Here.
#19. Akintayo “Ty” Ogunkoya
Akintayo is a UK-based Nigerian model who has made a name for himself in the industry. He is distinguished by his messy afro and cat-like green eyes. He has walked for big fashion brands like Versace, DKNY, Dior, etc. The sky is only the stepping for all this black goodness. His Instagram page is truly a testament to the excellence of blackness. Check it out. Click Here.
#20. David Agbodji
David is originally from Togo and has always had an interest in sports and art. He has built his career from scratch to the stardom he is currently experiencing as a black model in a vast industry. He has worked with several big names, including Hugo Boss, Louis Vuitton, D&G, and more. His Instagram screams the handsomeness of blackness. Check it out. Click Here. You can also follow him via his website. Click Here.
“When they told you that black was evil and darkness was negative, guess what? They lied.” — Sherry Bennett.
Being a runway star or fashion icon in an industry with limited cultural diversity can be particularly challenging. The concept of otherness hinges especially on skin color, and these dark-skinned models have been able to fight the stereotypes to become renowned models that we all admire in the fashion world. They have inspired a lot of us that, indeed, nothing is impossible. Which dark-skinned model did I leave out? Tell me in the comment section.
5 Nuggets to the Classic Male Look
The classic male look for me is when a man steps out looking neat and fresh. The hairdo, hygiene, smell, confident carriage and handshakes, exquisite dressing and spotting of the one-off footwear, to mention but a few, play a role in the donning of the classic male look. To find out more, please read all about it.
Man as creation was made in His image. And we can reasonably guess that God Himself is neither loud nor unkempt. Look at the royal families of countries where they are still recognized, and you will realize that no matter how common the kings and princes would like to appear in public amid their people, you can always spot them by their demeanor and appearance.
“Since it is often said that the first impression matters, men should take care of their faces, which enhances their good mien.” — Udo Nwankwo.
The watchword to achieving that perfect look of a gentleman is called MODERATION. In the words of David Gilmour, the English songwriter, guitarist, and singer who was a member of the rock band Pink Floyd, “Everything in moderation—that’s what I live by.” Anything in excess is not good, even when it comes to the dressing of the menfolk. By nature, a man is more reserved in dressing and deportment than a woman, a factor of import for the classic male look.
The Classic Male Look
The classic man is impeccable when it comes to dressing—not overly loud, but exudes a sense of moderation in every sense—think the Duke of Cambridge with an ounce of a royal flair, ceteris paribus. The stipulation of the classic male look usually focuses on just the nuggets that follow the dressing alone. However, this piece’s point of difference is the traditional male look embodies more than just the dressing alone.
“You can be me when you look this clean.” — Jidenna, Classic Man Song.
Embracing the classic male look is an ideal. It is all about embracing the standard of a clean look that commands respect. The way we dress, look, smell, and general output as men to the world spells who we are and how people will take us. The way we look, and dress will define how people will generally address us as individuals. The following points I present in this piece are not rules but generally accepted as they concern men. So, what comprises the classic male look? Let’s delve into this. Let’s go:
#1. Neat Haircut
The first nugget to a classic male look is a neat haircut. With your eyes open, the first part of the body that people get to see of someone whom they are meeting for the first time is the person’s face. You first make eye contact with your host or guest before any other thing else. Since it is often said that the first impression matters, men should take care of their faces, which enhances their good mien.
Before you even think of putting on that designer dress, you must first have the FRESH looks to complement it. And one of such ways to do so is to have a sharp-looking haircut. Cut your hair or take care of it (if you wear dreads or any other hairstyle which does not require regular trimming). Doing so accentuates the vibrant vigor of your male looks that goes a long way to complement a dapper dressing etiquette.
The frequency of your haircuts or taking care of your hair should be at least once a week without fail, whether you spot the skin cut or not. As an African, regularly touch up the length of your hair if you keep an Afro hair. If you keep cornrows or braids, keep them moisturized and clean. If you keep locs, keep them moisturized and wash when dirty.
If you grow beards, then buy a beard oil to maintain it and keep it soft and fresh so that it won’t be like an iron brush, and remember to have a clean shave whenever you get a haircut. By so doing, you can maintain a clean and classic look. On the other end of the spectrum, a clean-shaven face is often the first step to a well-groomed look for those that don’t keep beards. Also, unless you are planning to win an Oscar for bearding (or for keeping the fullest beard), then you shouldn’t trim it.
Still, on the face, care should be taken to trim the hairs in the nostrils. To cut nasal hair, use a small cuticle or embroidery scissors or an electric nose hair trimmer. It is unsightly to see some men with hairs bursting out of their nasal passage like it’s another set of beards. Such hair-filled noses would have difficulty in taking in fresh air or breathing more efficiently.
The second nugget that is critical to the classic male look is personal hygiene. It is a known fact that you feel very uncomfortable when you inhale the body odor of some people out there or sniff their bad breathes. Dental health endorses brushing teeth, flossing, and cleaning the tongue twice a day before breakfast and after meals at night. Embracing the classic male look requires that you become conscious of the above-stipulated facts.
Some men live in countries located in tropical regions, which makes them sweat even for the slightest reason. Living in the tropics makes it essential to shower daily. Failure to do so will make such an individual reek with a very unpleasant odor that will make people around them uncomfortable. The fact remains that whether you live in a hot or cold region, men should bathe at least once a day. It keeps you fresh and clean, which helps in elevating your confidence.
Grown hairs in the underarm if left unshaved smells, leaving an unpleasant manly odor causing a whiff of foul smell to be released anytime a man raises his hands. Hence, shaving once every week (or every two weeks) is highly recommended. A stylish man must use a deodorant first before spraying cologne to limit the likelihood of a loathsome effluvium. A clean under-arm alone does not guarantee you an all-day freshness. Instead, a sufficient application of deodorant, preferably a spray or roll-on (whichever cuts it for you), is highly advised. After that, you may still splash a small amount of body spray (that is optional).
A Classic Man (as a matter of needs) must apply a good cologne. Some of them last for few hours, and some last longer; it all depends on choice. Again, apart from your outfit, there are some body parts where you can spray your cologne. Such areas include the back of your ear lobes, back of your wrists, and elbow joints. However, I do not recommend bathing yourself in cologne or spray deodorant. Too much of a good thing can become offensive in itself. Like I mentioned earlier, the key to the classic male look and feel is MODERATION.
Lastly, this is not an advert, but my brand of deodorant is Lynx. In the Lynx brands, my preference is the specific brand Lynx 3X Africa Deodorant Body Spray 150Ml. I always buy some and restock on this regularly. If you are a fan of this brand, let me know what you think about it in the comment below.
The third nugget to a classic male look is the handshake. The most widely used form of greeting among two men is the handshake. According to Mark Skousen, the American Economist and writer, “In my lifetime, as a younger man, you were assumed to be an honest person. Your word was your bond, and a handshake was as good as a contract in business.” The handshake is a ritual that means a lot to men in many cultures.
Now imagine the resentment on the faces of your fellow men as you extend your hand to greet them, and the men spot full-grown fingernails or slightly over-grown nails on you? Why do you allow them to become overgrown? Do you do so to have your nails now become screwdrivers or some sort of tool? Keeping long fingernails would often lead to dirt and germs lurking underneath those nails.
I have seen some men that ‘graduated’ from keeping long nails to GROWING CLAWS! Even owners of domestic animals or birds often clip the talons of their pets, talk less, human beings. So to see a man’s overgrown fingernails is downright ugly and uncool. Get a manicure already. Show some sense of class and hygiene, as a matter of fact.
Some men argue that they leave their grown nails so they could pick particles of meat from their teeth, so what’s the role of a toothpick or floss? Frankly, that is bizarre. Or what do you say about the men who use their nails to dig dry boogers in their noses? They do it with so much motivation that they look like they’re trying to pull a scab from a healing wound? You could hurt yourself and give yourself a nosebleed. Once again, it is grotesque if you ask me.
Ask the ladies; most of them will tell you that long nails on men’s fingers or toes are a huge turn-off for them. So, try and get yourself a manicure or a pedicure, and nudge yourself towards a classic male look. So that when next you extend your hand for that firm handshake, do so in confidence, not worrying that you are spotting an ugly fingernail.
If I just called your number in the preceding paragraph, when it comes to digging your nose in the search for the lost and buried treasure of boogers. Here’s my advice—moisten your nose by scooping water in your palm and ‘sniffing’ it in to soften that dried nasal mucus while bathing and then blow them out. That’s one hack you can use to take them out with ease.
Also, don’t chew your nails off. You can simply use a razor blade or nail clipper/cutter to achieve this (NB. Not meaning to advertise again, for me, I really like the one by Hawatour—the Hawatour Nail Clipper Set). You should cut those nails of yours (at least once every two weeks) and save yourself of germs the lurk underneath those fingernails or fungus that could embed themselves in your toenails. Well-trimmed fingers and toenails are minor details that go a long way to make you look SPRUCE.
As a Classic Man, you can step up your whole look occasionally by doing a full manicure and pedicure as stipulated above. You can do this indoors or visit a salon. It’s imperative to keep your palms and feet in healthy condition. Call it metrosexual or whatever you choose, nothing beats the classic look and a man who tries to take care of themselves. It beats being retrosexual, as both words were first coined in 2003 by the British Journalist Mark Simpson.
The fourth nugget of the classic male look often hinges on the dressing. There are often staples that define the classic male look. According to the Nordstrom Trunkclub, some of the common ones are as follows: the tailored navy suit, the button-down shirt, the tie, the blazer, the cashmere sweater, the jeans, the polo shirt, the khaki pants, the black T-shirt, and the cap-toe oxford.
Whether you like the native outfits from various nations, in my case, Nigeria, or the formal Western style of dressing as mentioned above, there is one classic rule that you must take note of, to say the least. The rule is that your clothes must not sit so loosely or slackly on you, and they must also not be too tight on you that will require you to need the help of another person before you can pull them off. Remember, the perfect gentleman does his thing in MODERATION—that is the keyword, ceteris paribus.
Let’s talk about pants, for example. Whether your dressing style is either formal or casual, a flawless male look is one that the waist of your trouser fits just well on you, not so tight that you find it hard to sit or too loose that you are finding it difficult to hold it up. Men should allow some space in their groin area so that that vital part of the body can be healthy.
A well-fitted trouser should not be more than one inch extra than your waistline because it will make it challenging to keep a tucked shirt in place and cause the trouser to fold when you wear a belt. The pants flap or zipper area should also not be too tight on you. Save yourself the drama ahead of time or become a public spectacle of indecency or caricature.
The trouser length should not be too long that it drops past your shoe to the floor, covering your footwear. Neither should it be ‘afraid’ to reach your ankle like Steven Quincy Urkel, the fictional character on the American ABC/CBS sitcom Family Matters, portrayed by Jaleel White. Unless your religion permits you to dress that way, especially if you are a cleric.
In summary, the classic man is well-dressed—a combination of a smart, stylish, and vintage look. In the words of Yves Saint Laurent, “Dressing is a way of life.” Hence, the way you dress depicts the way you define your own life. If you dress shabbily, it is your way of life. If you dress classic, it is also your way of life. Remember, how you dress is how you will be addressed. Address yourself by dressing well. Dress classic
The fifth nugget to a classic male look is footwear. Despite being the last point, it is as important as the first. A man’s shoe says a lot about his personality, social place, and even more. Omari Hardwick, the American actor, poet, rapper, producer, and podcaster, said, “Shoes make an outfit; they’re like rims for a car.” The shoe completes your outfit. Delving into it is a whole new topic that will be handled separately.
Tamer Hassan, the British actor of Turkish Cypriot descent, once said, “I always judge a man by his shoes and watch.” You can almost accurately judge a person by their shoes. Dress shoes seem to give men a strong sense of self. Whether you chose to dress down or go formal with your footwear, it must appear neat and polished or well-maintained and not dusty.
“A classic man is a distinguished man. He cares about taste and his craft. He’s all about the simple model that I live by—eat, drink, be swanky, and have fun getting the job done. He makes sure that he’s excellent in all things and that he cares about his neighborhood immensely.” — Jidenna.
The classic male look for me is when a man steps out looking neat and fresh. The haircut or hairdo is on point, and hygiene etiquette is spot on. The classic man must smell nice and always spot very well-manicured digits. He is confident, and his handshake is firm and exuding confidence bar none. The classic man will spot very well-fitting dresses and footwear in colors with various ranges of hues, vibrant or conservative. These five essential nuggets expressed in this article are a start and fundamental attributes to looking your most satisfactory as a man.
10 Nigerian Fashion Designers
Nigeria’s fashion industry is worth over 2 trillion naira ($5.5 billion) and has employed many people in the country. It is not an industry that you can easily overlook. The possibilities of the fashion industry in Nigeria are colossal and growing daily. In this piece, we look at 10 Nigerian Fashion Designers making waves in the profession. To find out more, please read all about it.
The Nigerian fashion industry is ever-expanding, and Nigerians are people to watch out for about styles and trends. The Nigerian fashion industry is worth over 2 Trillion Naira (i.e., $5.5 Billion) and has been a source of employment for many in the country. The possibilities of the fashion industry in Nigeria are colossal and show steady growth trends daily. The world of fashion cannot afford to put Nigeria on the back burner as fashion designers from the nation make a global entrance.
“Nigerian fashion is greatly influenced by the country’s spirit and culture. The flamboyant, colorful and vibrant qualities of its culture are well represented by Nigerian clothing and fashion.” — Chuka Udeze.
When discussing the African market, Nigeria could be said to be at the forefront—seeing how the rich and ostentatious culture has been infused into her current trends. Beyond the shores of Africa, these styles and trends have been prominent because of some trendsetters who have been instrumental in putting the industry on the map.
The legendary fashion designer is the founder of “The House of Deola Sagoe.” Her take on styling and designing is noteworthy. Her craft has won her respect and global recognition from personalities like Oprah Winfrey and Will Smith. It has also won her the MNET/Anglo-Gold African Designs 2000. She refers to herself as “a woman with many layers,” which can be seen in her designs. Presently, her works include hand-dyed Adire fabric. Deola is the ambassador of “Catwalk the World: Fashion for Food,” a United Nations World Food Program program.
She is the founder of the famous brand “Tiffany Amber,” which started sometime in 1998. At an early age, Folake Folarin-Coker was exposed to different cultures. Though she was born in Lagos, she schooled in Europe—Scotland, England, and Switzerland. Having interacted with and observed the intricate dynamics of these cultures, her love for fashion emerged. Her colorful and elegant designs—tailored for everyday women—have earned her global recognition as the only African designer to grace the New York Mercedes Fashion week two years in a row. She has also been mentioned on the Forbes Power Women in Africa list.
She is a multi-award-winning designer that has showcased Nigerian culture and fabric at the global level. At 17, she got her first fashion job in a boutique owned by an Italian, which spurred her interest in fashion. Since launching her label, Zizi, in 2000, she has been a recipient of several awards. She is also recognized as a proud promoter of the Ankara fabric. Her designs have featured on many catwalk events in Milan, Paris, United States of America (USA) and have many top figures as clients. Top international media houses such as CNN, Channel O, The South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) have featured her. She has given back so much to society through so many mentorship programs, earning her even more awards.
“Personally, the vivacity of the prints is what I’m most captivated by. The patterns seem to all tell an exciting story; they are like stand-alone works of art.” — Stephanie McLean.
The Nigerian-Jamaican professional lawyer and famous fashion designer is known for this quote “My focus is not to dictate to women what they should wear; my job is presenting them with beautiful options.” His name is known and respected both locally and internationally. His colorful African prints incorporate the Nigerian culture. A recipient of numerous awards, his exquisite creations have gained him global attention. He has big names such as Michelle Obama, Uma Thurman, Solange Knowles, Linda Evangelista, and other high-brow clientele.
“My focus is not to dictate to women what they should wear; my job is presenting them with beautiful options.” — Duro Olowu
The male bespoke designer is the owner of the brand, Mai Atafo. A Master’s Degree holder in Information System and Technology, Atafo resigned from the corporate sector in 2010 to pursue his passion as a fashion designer. His designs have gained much recognition, as well as top Nigerian personalities as regular clients. He launched his Wedding line “Weddings by Mai,” which also endeared him to lovers of bridal fashion. He has bagged many awards and is a name that has come to stay.
A former model, model manager, and choreographer—the make-up artist and fashion designer paint the true picture of Nigerians’ dynamism and energetic spirit. He had modeled for many fashion houses, including Dakova, Nikki Africana, and done TV commercials for Macleans toothpaste before becoming a model manager. He ventured into choreography and make-up, launching his label—House of Bunor and Fashion Designing. He gained recognition when Silverbird selected him as the designer and make-up artist for the 2001 winner of Miss World, Agbani Darego. Since then, Oshodi remains a force to be reckoned with in the industry, also behind fashion events that have put Nigeria at the forefront, such as The West African Fashion Week 2008.
Known by her label—Jewel by Lisa—she is famous for her creativity in using Ankara prints to create elegant designs. She owns a diffusion line, J Label, which reflects the Nigerian culture in a blend of Afropop and Urban Chic designs. She has showcased internationally in the New York Fashion Week 2010, Paris Fashion Week 200, and more. She has been reviewed by international media houses, including Style.com, Gotham, and Women’s Wear Daily. Lisa is a law graduate from the University of Lagos. Her taste in fashion has set her apart and won her celebrity fans like Beyoncé, Tasha Smith, Eve, and Kelis.
The Nigerian-born fashion designer developed an interest in fashion since childhood. She establishes that her grandmother, who was also a fashion designer, was the reason she became interested in fashion. Drawing inspiration from her roots, she creates prints that are reflective of her origin. She rose to fame when she made a dress with the words “Oluwa gba President Barack Obama” boldly printed on it during the Obama campaign. Having worked in many boutiques in New York, she moved to Milan to advance in training. Her passion for African fashion has set her apart and since put her in the spotlight.
With exquisite, classic female designs and over two decades in the fashion industry, Ade Bakare is a household name in London and Nigeria. After schooling in the (UK), he was employed by top fashion houses. He started Ade Bakare Couture in 1991 and made wears for boutiques in the UK and France. He has salons in London and Nigeria that cater to his big clientele and has a perfume line, Breeze, adding to his works. His works receive the applaud of a worldwide showing, and he has won numerous awards, including those from Conde Nast Publications and the Paris Academy.
Anthony is a young, talented designer and clothing line owner, Soares Anthony, known for making unconventional yet sophisticated male designs. As a young boy, Anthony explored fashion by drawing and sketching most of the time. He draws inspiration from the Nigerian fabric and Japanese tailoring style. His pieces have been worn by well-known politicians and celebrities and are sold globally in the US, UK, and France. His work has also earned him awards, and he runs a program where he mentors upcoming Nigerian designers.
We can unquestionably say that Nigeria is on the radar of the fashion design macrocosm. This list has shown us the wealth of talent springing up in the Nigerian Fashion Design world. The figures that we have seen above are the A-Listers of the Nigerian Fashion Design world from a Nigerian perspective. The list does no justice in elucidating the wealth of talent that we have in the industry. However, there are many more emerging Fashion Designers that we will explore in future articles that we will be writing under our fashion category. The Nigerian Fashion design industry is undergoing a fast-changing metamorphosis. This is just the tip of the iceberg regarding the future of the fashion industry in Nigeria and Africa as a whole. Our fashion future is fun, full of life and rising.
[NB. All photo credits have been given to the various sources by linking images to the original source].
How You Dress Is How You Will Be Addressed
The topic of dressing is a very sensitive one, as many people see their fashion sense as merely an expression of individuality, not a character trait, and will be quick to state that it should not serve as a judge of their character.
We live in a time where there is a global push towards freedom of individuals to live how they see fit—provided that they do not infringe on the rights of others. While this seems entirely fair on the surface, there are some grey areas to this general rule. Also, the pursuit of personal liberty can cause some unintended negative consequences for those who make this choice. Such effects can range from minor to far-reaching situations to even circumstances that may be life-threatening. One of those choices that often puts individuals at odds with others, particularly strangers and constituted authority, is how we choose to appear—how we decide to dress when we look in public.
Throughout history and even in present times, people have used dressing to convey overt or covert messages. The Greeks used their bright white robes to convey nobility. Monks dressed and still dress merely to express piety and detachment from worldly pursuits. Muslim women wore and yet wear Hijabs to convey modesty. This can gain respect from others by just stepping into a room. On the other hand, the sight of a group of men in Viking attire usually struck fear in the minds of innocent villagers. Pirates and women of the night also appeared in a way that immediately sets off alarm bells, to say the very least. In current times, things are not so distinct—fashion and pop culture have evolved so that there are no clear codes to determine who is who. We are only left with our gut instinct, which could be misleading at times.
The topic of dressing is a susceptible one. Many people see their fashion sense as merely an expression of individuality, not a character trait, and will be quick to state that it should not serve as a judge of their character. The famous saying that you cannot judge a book by its cover is something that many are quick to reiterate. However, is it a realistic way of going about life? Can we expect that the world sees us as responsible people when we put in enormous effort to make ourselves look otherwise? Remember that we encounter strangers every day who do not know much about us and can only form an opinion about us solely by what they see, at least until they have a proper interaction with us. Perception is everything. How we portray ourselves is what will carve a perceptive monument in the minds of others about who we are.
“The way that people dress makes them part of an army, dressed in their own uniform, determined to do something.” — Suzy Menkes
There have been some interesting scientific studies investigating why people—fairly or unfairly—tend to judge the character of others by their appearance. Research by the New York University, studying how people form impressions of others, found that upon the first contact with a stranger, the posterior cingular cortex and amygdala in the brain sort information by its subjective importance and summarize it into an ultimate score—a first impression. This is a sort of self-defense mechanism that allows us to determine whether a person could be dangerous to us or not. It is formed based on years of experience and can be influenced by our worldview of stereotypes. There is also an array of psychological surveys confirming the impact of clothing choices on how we perceive each other. Perception is everything.
Again, these assessments may ultimately prove to be wrong or unfair, but they exist and form a basis for how humans can determine whom they would like to associate with. It could be the difference between a person getting their dream job or not, based on how the interviewer assesses them. It could be the difference concerning whether people would take you seriously or not in the place of work or not. It could even be what is barring someone from getting the promotion that they honestly deserve. This could also mean the world difference between getting the phone number of your dream girl and being turned down. Perception is everything, and to be honest, perception eventually becomes our reality.
So, now that we know our outward appearance affects how we are perceived, what can we do with this information coming your way via this column? How do we prevent ourselves from unfair labels of criminality, drug abuse, or even sexual promiscuity? It is important to reiterate that the choice to dress how we want is still ours, provided it is within the boundaries of the law. However, we may want to consider a more pragmatic approach to not deprive ourselves of the things we work hard for in life just because of the need to be non-conformist. This information is worth ruminating on—maybe it is time to make a hundred and eighty degrees turn when it comes to how we dress.
Finally, we must say that outward appearance does not always portray what is inside. A criminal in a fancy suit is still a criminal, while a poor beggar with a good heart may appear scary but might need a shower and some fresh clothes. A young girl who dresses promiscuously may be less so than one who is always covered up. On the flip side, one could be dressed up all nice and covered up but lacks decency and morality. Looks and perception may be everything or even our realities but could be deceiving either way. In the words of Kajal Aggarwal, “I dress according to what suits me and what I am comfortable in.” Truth be told, we are at liberty to dress with what makes us comfortable. However, we must be wise to pass it through the litmus test of morality, moderation, and decency.
“I dress according to what suits me and what I am comfortable in.” — Kajal Aggarwal
Come to think of it; we live in an age where we see billionaires who own billion-dollar empires and are just clad in the simplest of attires. For instance, think about Mark Zuckerberg, who loves his gray T-Shirt and blue jean slacks—minimalism at its core. His dress sense is simple, leaning very close to the saying of Lindsey Wixson that “I dress, not to impress, but for comfort and for style.” His dress sense might not impress you. However, his knack, ingenuity, drive, creativity, innovation, and the will to become the best he is made to be will blow your mind. But I bet you some who work at Facebook, earning only an infinitesimal fraction of Zuck’s net worth splurge on the latest designer outfits. You may see Zuck on the street and take him for an average Joe—but his bank account speaks in the billion-dollar lingo. Looks, at times, may be deceiving.
However, in the world we live in, the competition for success is so tight that we cannot afford obstacles to our own success by creating a wrong impression to others who could be future friends, partners, investors, or clients. After we hit gold, we could choose to go minimalist like billionaire Zuck, Mark Cuban, or Jack Ma style. We could also decide to be ourselves and dress as we desire and allow others to form whatever perception they so choose—the choice is ours to make. The general rule should be to dress for comfort and express our creativity and individuality in a way that makes us respectable and inviting to others, and not in a way that immediately elicits a contrary or adverse reaction. Our appearance can either be a hindrance or a propelling factor to us. In the simplest of terms, it is always best to dress the way we want to be addressed—end of story.