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Wednesday, December 12, 2012

MANDLA IS BACK!

From a place called nowhere...

 

The hiatus has been far too long and I apologise for the empty but necassary space as I attended to other pressing projects and had a long re-think about what I wanted Mandla to be, do and accomplish.

I initially started Mandla - The Power of style as a way for me to explore high fashion off the beaten track, and highlight the vast cultural inspiration that often feeds mainstream collections. As an enthusiatic and empowered newbie to blogging, I have buzzed with creative possibilities and would have willingly combusted with as many as I could, but I didn't want my blog to just focus on commercial luxury that is not obtainable to everyone or bore you with my personal style - you may not even care! 

However, I know that style is more diverse than the empirical fashion houses of Paris, London, Milan and New York. 
With new economies emerging and the globalisation of many cultures, I hope to discover and share style that has impact and the power to shape a variety of tastes.


The new Mandla will have regular weekly features:


Power Trip...come fly with me!
4 Pillars of Style...who and what is holding their own?
Power Source...unique places of reference in Mandla's little black book.
Pieces of Me...just me...

Sunday, August 12, 2012

MANDLA No.10: The Power of Style is....nailing a bargain!

J. Crew Vs New Look


I know, I know, it's not a fair match but when it comes to the battle of the statement necklace, all is fair in love and budget. Besides, it's not how much you spend, it's what  you get for your money.

Both J. Crew and New Look have a loyal following of customers that swarm their jewellery racks, and this afternoon I executed a perfect low flying swoop on this fun and glamourous bubble necklace from New Look on sale for £3!! 
I'm looking forward to teaming this with anything I can get away with: black midi dress, grey tee, crisp fitted shirt... endless possibilities...

Necklace from New Look
New Look are fantastic for delivering on-the-minute high fashion for those on a budget at reduced and full price.

Now, let me just say, I LOVE J.Crew! When I lived in New York, J. Crew's Madison Ave store was right outside my office building and quickly became my reward, therapy and fitness centre - fitness because strong-arming their sale rack should be an olympic event!
However, as I clicked onto their site at random this evening to search for something else, I stumbled on an almost identical item for £127!

Bubble Necklace


J. Crew produce stunning pieces and whether you can afford the non-sale items or you're restricted to a budget, they're worth checking out because they often have items to suit all wallets.


Saturday, August 11, 2012

MANDLA No.9: BE YOUR OWN SHOE DESIGNER!

Upper Street  - Customise your own shoes!


Who knew? WHO knew?!! Everybody except me, that's who!!

Those of you that call yourselves my friends and associates, can just forget it! Nobody told me about Upper Street an online shoe boutique where you can satisfy your burning need for the perfect strut by designing your own shoes, then placing an order to have them handmade. Just.For.YOU!

The company was set up by Katy Chandler and Julia Grinham who clearly have a passion for shoes and giving a girl exactly what she wants.
Take a look at the Upper Street story in the video below.



I had a field day on the design portal, click here and here to see what I plan to strut!

I'd love to see the what the creative fashion stepper in you designs, so please do leave a comment with a link to your design and tell me what inspired you...

Thursday, August 2, 2012

MANDLA No.8: STYLE AFRICA EXHIBITION

This exhibition was first installed at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London when I was living in New York and I was gutted to miss it. So of course, I was delighted when I saw that it is now installed at the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery in Birmingham where I'm currently staying, and it was a colourful departure from the torrential rain on the day I visited.

The exhibition provides an overview of the printing and weaving styles used in African textiles as well as the distinctions between certain regions and tribes.
African style is particularly topical with tribal prints being one of the biggest summer trends (not for the first time), global fashion houses such as Burberry featuring the prints in their collection and labels like Stella Jean and Jewel By Lisa are gaining prominence with modern, coveted collections.

Enter Style Africa

Central exhibit

Nigerian printed

Nigerian printed

Luxury woven

Skirt & Jacket

 Style Africa is showing until 2nd September 2012 and while you're there, check out the restrospective celebrating 50 years of Jamaican Independence  Jamaica 50 - a good time to go while the Jamaican Olympic Team are based in Birmingham for London 2012!


Wednesday, August 1, 2012

MANDLA No.7: FASHIONS OWN ROSE GARDEN


Despite the gloom of the wet British weather, I decided to brighten up my accessories haul with one of my favourite colours, that I can also transition into autumn and winter - rose gold!
Years ago, rose gold used to be considered the poor and unfashionable cousin amongst the precious metals but over the last couple of years, its popularity has made it a favourite for established and emerging accessories designers, PLUS it suits every skin-tone, warming and complementing from the palest to the darkest!



A current obsession - my growing rose collection!

Believe me when I say that I hunted everywhere for an iphone case that would cover the whole device and not just the casing, so imagine my utter joy when I found one by chance in a Michael Kors store, that was not only functional but in rose gold AND on sale!!
Michael Kors have a wide range of iphone cases that carry cards and money and look like envelope clutches and in python skin.
Also well known is their oversize rose gold and jewllery which can be purchased online.




The ombre necklace and grey studded belt from H&M don't just look nice but I'm actually enjoying wearing these two items singularly and together and I'm going to team them with berry hues for the autumn and winter to keep me glowing!



Another H&M bargain is the white bangle with the toggle chain fastening and the Folli Follie earrings can be worn as drops or shortened with the mini heart looped up!



Also try ASOSNet-A-Porter and Ted Baker uses rose gold as a feature compliment on some of the handbags and purses.