It’s February! Time to celebrate Black History Month!
During this month many people cover influential civil rights leaders, innovators and inventors, and the history of the black culture in general. Well, on A daily dose of vitamin f, we of course want to celebrate the many Black Americans who have influenced American and Global fashion. We salute all those who have been apart of history as it relates to Black America and Fashion. So, this post is our dose of BLACK (FASHION) HISTORY!
This Thursday, Dec. 20th, come out for all of that and more! You have just been invited to a “new- outfit- worthy” holiday event by Spyon Productions, Inc.
At the young age of 9, Monique Glover, CEO/Designer of ZYEM, knew that she wanted to become a fashion designer. It all began with a PBS special she happened to be watching about an African man who designed clothing for a prince. She was immediately intrigued with the colorful illustrations, the beautifully draped pieces in elaborate fabrics. Monique knew at that very moment she wanted to create these same beautiful pieces one day. She soon began on her journey of pursuing that goal, while at the Laguardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts she was able to build on her natural skills of drawing and creativity. Furthering her education in the arts she attended Pratt Institute for Fashion Design, where she realized that learning about fashion was more than drawing something cool, it was about executing wearable art.
After 12 years in the fashion industry, designing for various brands, traveling to Europe, Hong Kong and India, studying art and observing NYC’s pop culture; Monique’s “PBS special” dreams were becoming a reality. In 2011, she launched a Lifestyle Brand named after her little prince, her son Zyem (which means leader). ZYEM is a Brooklyn, NY based company creating garments that are fit for kings and queens, promoting a Continue Reading
Boston, MA based Fashion Designer, June Monteiro has a background in design, art, textiles, and just a genuine love for fashion and fabric. After years of teaching and working in other aspects of the fashion industry, June soon realized that designing and creating fashion was her true passion.
In October of 2010, June founded ENAMOUR clothing, after having a well received “preview showcase” of her then upcoming line. The past few years ENAMOUR has been featured at fashion events in Boston, Washington D.C, and Baltimore, MD. In 2011, June presented her Spring 2012 collections for ENAMOUR during Boston Fashion Week.
She recently finished her first Look book for Fall/Winter 2012 “Life of the Party” Collection and is now working on her next collection for Spring 2013! We’re so glad that this very busy and oh-so talented lady, took time out of her schedule to chat with A daily dose of vitamin F. June talked with us about her no style-style, how historic women as wellaso women presently in her life inspire her collections, the type of music energizes her while working, seeing Jennifer Lopez in her line… Continue Reading
When I read the cover story on “How to look sexy and classy for cricket matches” in a leading Indian Tabloid (Bombay Times, Times of India) I could not help but wonder the extent to which the fashion police keep tabs on the attendees….
So far the norm for match coverage was derby dressing and football pret, but designers and fashionistas are extending their opinions and advice on the fashion disasters and hits while sitting in the stand or in the special invitee box watching the players battle it out on the field. Gone are the days when a girl would put on a simple polo t-shirt with a pair of jeans and she would not catch the eye of the fashion police. Times are changing…Dressing like that equals to dressing like a man.
Some of the fashion hits this season, for the Indian Premier League (IPL), are linen jumpsuits, or printed georgette dresses in bright colors.
Look #1- Indian summers are known for the scorching sun, what better way to beat the heat in a Continue Reading
The irony of today’s “Black Fashion History” post, is that my first experience with high fashion was an important part of “Black Fashion History”…
From middle school into high school I attended the event of all events in Colorado Springs held annually at the prestigious Pikes Peak Center… the Ebony Fashion Fair! My mother’s Sorority chapter sponsored this fashion extravaganza every year to raise money for their different educational scholarship programs. Preparation to attend the Ebony Fashion Fair always meant purchasing a new outfit or dressing to the nines with your “Sunday best”. The who’s who of black affluence were always in high attendance as well as church and community groups who wanted to expose their members to this unique production. From the eloquent and breathtaking MC, to the live professional jazz band on stage, to the profiles of international models in the program booklet, there was no mistaking this was an event like no other. The expressive and sometimes comedic commentary, amazing music to go with the feeling of the clothes, the mix of avant-garde and casual sportswear, and at times the playfully sexual undertones of the models actions, made it very clear this show was not your average fashion show! Plus the idea of a “traveling fashion show” was also an innovative concept. I never realized until now how much of an influence these shows had on my dreams to pursue fashion design. Although the event did not always showcase black designers, the fact that there were a few black high fashion designers presented gave me hope! That fact let me know that it was possible for me to become a designer and to one day have my designs worn internationally! I believe that the shows also worked as a platform to introduce international couture and high fashion labels to the black population as a whole. Unfortunately, I never was able to attend the shows after I went away to college. The shows began to travel to fewer cities and usually not near the places I lived over the years. Now as a designer myself, I wish that I had a chance to still experience the shows, but after the death of Mrs. Eunice Johnson, the producer and director of the Ebony Fashion Fair, the shows ended in 2010.
The Chicago History Museum will showcase most of Eunice Johnson’s personal wardrobe as well as other one-of-kind fashions from Ebony Fashion Fair in an exhibit her daughter hopes will travel the country—similar to the wardrobes of Princess Diana and first lady Jackie Kennedy.
Here is the background story:
It all started in 1956 when the idea for the Ebony Fashion Fair was conceived. In an effort to support a worthy cause, Mrs. Jessie Covington Dent, wife of Dr. Albert W. Dent, former president emeritus of Dillard University in New Orleans, approached Mr. John H. Johnson, publisher, chairman and CEO of Johnson Publishing Co., to sponsor a mini-fashion show fund-raiser for the Women’s Auxiliary of Flint-Goodrich Hospital in New Orleans.
What started out as a charity benefit in 1958, turned into the birth of the Ebony Fashion Fair. The first show was such a success that Mr. Johnson, in consultation with Mrs. Johnson and Freda C. DeKnight, home service director, then decided to take it on a cross-country tour to benefit other worthy charities. Ten cities were selected in 1958 by Mr. and Mrs. Johnson to host the first Ebony Fashion Fair. With the theme “Ebony Fashion Fair Around The Clock,” the show featured four female models with DeKnight serving as commentator. Ticket prices ranged from $3.50 to $12. The prices remained that way from 1958 through 1966, with more than 50 percent of the earnings allocated for scholarships.
One dares not utter Ebony Fashion Fair without immediately having Mrs. Eunice W. Johnson, producer-director of Ebony Fashion Fair, come to mind. A true fashion pioneer, Mrs. Johnson has been traveling abroad to purchase creations from the world’s best-known fashion houses for more than four decades. During this time, she has earned a place in fashion history as the first Black ever to purchase from across the Atlantic for a traveling fashion show. At the inception of the Ebony Fashion Fair, Mrs. Johnson would travel to Europe with her husband to buy clothes. They would “beg, persuade, and threaten to get the right to buy clothes,” Mr. Johnson once said. The resistance came, he recalled, because certain designers thought that White women wouldn’t value their designs if they were worn by Black women. A few of the leading designers finally agreed to sell fashions to the Johnsons for the show. Among the first Blacks to buy from French haute couture fashion houses, they started out spending half a million dollars annually. “She was eventually known in fashion circles as the largest buyer of European haute couture,” said Owen. “As time progressed she would spend a million dollars each year on 200 complete ensembles featured in the hour and a half presentation.” Often criticized for not having more Black fashion designers, the Ebony Fashion Fair did showcase throughout the years the creations of Stephen Burrows, Patrick Kelly, Willi Smith and B. Michael. In later years it featured L’Amour, Quinton de Alexander, Kevan Hall, Fusha, Anthony Hankins, and even the Steve Harvey Collection.
A variety of non-profit groups has sponsored the show in each city, helping many organizations to raise money for charitable causes. Most often leading social and civic groups and sororities and fraternities have benefited from the show’s efforts. The show is sponsored by nearly 180 non-profit organizations with some cities alternating because of the travel time frame. The audience grew each year from hundreds to thousands. Hundreds of thousands of people attended the show each year. Over 4,000 shows have been performed to date in the United States, the Caribbean, London, England, and Kingston, Jamaica. To date, Ebony Fashion Fair has raised more than $55 million for various scholarship groups, allowing hundreds of young people the opportunity to further their education.
Mrs. Eunice Johnson, producer and director of the Ebony Fashion Fair and secretary-treasurer of Johnson Publishing Company, died of renal failure at her home in Chicago. She was 93. “Mrs. Johnson elevated the image of Black women being fashion conscious, fashion forward and affluent,” said Kenneth Owen, assistant producer of Ebony Fashion Fair, who was handpicked by the fashion pioneer 26 years ago to work alongside her.
Last year in honor of Black History Month, Macy’s and Ebony Magazine created a fabulous display celebrating the signature style of Ebony Fashion Fair founder. The displays were shown at
Some people believe that the shows should return and that they are still necessary. What are your thoughts?
I do not find joy in cooking and rarely will you find me in the kitchen preparing a meal…Lol! I do, however, enjoy watching delicious food be prepared and I am an excellent “taster” 😉
Every once and awhile I like to flip to the Food Network and check their programs, but never stuck to watching any particular shows consistently. So, when Top Chef first premiered on Bravo TV, it was easy for me to become addicted to watching the cooking challenge show, and thought it was so entertaining. Unfortunately after a few seasons, I soon became bored with the familiar settings and challenges each week and lost interest. Thankfully my interest consistently watching a cooking based reality show, has been reclaimed by Chef Roble’ & Co, ironically also on Bravo!
Bravo serves up a new slice of culinary drama with Chef Roblé & Co. as Roblé Ali risks it all to cater the biggest events New York City has to offer. Roblé is joined by his older sister Jasmine, who has relocated from Atlanta to help him start his business. Other members of the catering team include Artie and Shawn, who handle the front of house, and Adam, Ché, Kikuyo, and D’Andre in the kitchen. ~ BravoTv.com
Although Roble’ Ali is the star and a very trendy dude himself, when we are introduced to his Pastry Chef- Kikuyo who they call Kiku, the audience is also introduced to the “style” that is Kiku! Her bright color styling choices and edgy haircut may lead in first impressions, but we soon realize that this petite stature -deep voiced- spit fire is an amazing talent as well!! Since Roble’ is what they call a “Savory Chef”, having Kiku a “Pastry Chef”, on his team saves his company presentation in several episodes that call for a sweeter experience.
Allow me to introduce you to: the flower, Kiku in her own words, and some of her fun looks!
The first cultivated varieties of Kiku were introduced to Japan from China in the 8th century A.D., and the Japanese have been growing chrysanthemums ever since, more than a thousand years. Japan’s national flower, the chrysanthemum appears on the crest of the Imperial family. -Wikipedia
In her own words: I’ve been baking practically since I could walk. My Mother, Grandmothers,and Aunts were all amazing in the kitchen and taught me most of what I know. I owned my first baking company when I was a kid called “Kiku’s Cookies”. I would bake and sell chocolate chip and oatmeal cookies in brown paper bags I had decorated with crayons, markers and puffy paint (yes, puffy paint!)I decided to open my first real grown up baking business with my best friend Natalie Testamark, called SweetVirgo Desserts. After years of being my own boss (and loving every second of it!),Roblé approached me to work with him on ‘Chef Roblé and Co.’and I jumped at the chance. ~Just Call Me Kiku
The newest full-time member of Roblé’s kitchen crew, Kiku has been baking since she could stand and specializes in home-style desserts. A California girl with Southern roots, she’s the only woman and West Coaster in the kitchen. Not afraid to stand her ground, Kiku values her individuality and loves everything neon, glittery and ’80s. ~BravoTV.com
Live in Brooklyn? Visiting Brooklyn or New York this weekend?? If so, you should attend Kiku’s viewing Party “BAKED” at Good Company this Sunday night! Come out and show Kiku and the Chef Roble’ & Co. team some love! For more information see flyer below.
ARE YOU WATCHING CHEF ROBLE’ & CO???
FEEL FREE TO SHARE YOUR COMMENTS ON THE SHOW AND KIKU’S STYLE BELOW 🙂