Sarah Nakintu

Sarah Nakintu...

This gorgeous beauty is Sarah Nakintu. She has her own line of luxury handbags.

Here’s an interview she recently did:

Who is Sarah Nakintu?

Sarah Nakintu: I moved to the U.S. in 2005 for higher education and to explore something a little bit outside Kampala, where I’d been born and raised. When you grow up with African parents, it can be a challenge to do what you want. I always loved fashion and I wanted to do fashion from when I was really young, but my parents were all about school. You know, go to school, get an education, and be like a lawyer or something.

I think New York just opened my eyes so much to people doing what they love and people hustling and trying to get things done. With time, I just thought maybe I can really do what I love as opposed to doing something that my parents wanted me to do.

What drew you to fashion?

With fashion, you’re really able to bring out your imagination. I travel so much these days and every time I go to a place, I’m very inspired. I can see what New York looks like and look at cities like Milan. How do people there dress? I’m really interested in seeing how it all trickles down. How can something be a painting today and tomorrow it’s fully interpreted into a dress or a bag?

What was it like growing up in Uganda?

I grew up in boarding school, so I was very sheltered. Uganda is a religious country. You’re kind of expected to be a good person and go to church—do what your parents are telling you to do kind of thing. A lot of judgment as well, so you can’t disgrace your parents.

I remember my aunties and my sisters and my whole family would be like, ‘You know you’re too loud. You really need to tone it down.’ The only person, really, that was appreciative of me and who I was was my dad who encouraged me to be myself.

Yeah, I have definitely always been very interested in fashion. With or without money, it’s always been my thing.

What was the moment like when you told your family that you wanted to pursue fashion full-time?

I didn’t really tell them. With things like this, it’s really better to go and do it and then once you’re successful or you’ve moved the needle a little bit, you can tell them. I think I’ve tried to tell them like, ‘Hey, I’m doing this handbag thing,’ and they’re like, ‘Oh, okay. Sure. Whatever.’ I have a lot of ideas, so I’m sure they were thinking, ‘Oh, that’s one of her crazy ideas.’ I didn’t get their blessing—I just went ahead and did it. That moment was scary for me because I had a full-time job and I was earning really well and in New York it’s hard to just give up a full-time job to go and do something where you have no idea if it’s going to succeed.

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How is Kintu African-inspired?

Often when you tell people that you’re doing something African-inspired, they’re expecting African pattern or African material or something like that—this is not necessarily what I wanted to do. I represent modern Africa and the different types of people that come out of our continent. There are so many ways to do African inspiration.

A lot of brands do African-inspired in a way that’s a bit overwhelming. I wanted to do a bag that you can take from morning to day to night. We wanted to do a luxury line that’s African-inspired. You know, very subtle but still there. The closure is the shape of a cow horn. If you’re East African or know about East African culture, the cow is very central to our subsistence. Animal print is actually completely African-inspired. We worked with African animals and we did it in a very modern manner, which it’s really, really interesting to a lot of buyers. It’s something that they’ve not seen before and they love it.

Why is sustainability important to you?

Our bags are made really well with long-lasting materials. You can pass them on to your children. I think that’s really important. There’s also sustainability in terms of where we make our bags and who we make them with. When we worked in India and Kenya, we’re paying a living wage. We pay artisans what they deserved as opposed to just saying just because you’re based in Kenya, we’re not going to pay you well.

That’s also important to me because remember, I’m African. Just being there and remembering the women in the market working really hard or the farmers that I grew up seeing or the tailor, that’s sewing. They work really hard. They groom and they grow and they hone their craft. We need to start paying them really well and recognizing their talent and taking it global. I feel really passionate about being able to bring those skills and then also create the next generation of artisans.

Ebonee Davis

Ebonee...

Model Ebonee Davis is one of the biggest rising stars in the fashion industry. She’s starred in massive Calvin Klein campaigns, graced the pages of Sports Illustrated: Swimsuit Edition, walked in countless shows and been featured in countless magazine spreads.

But it wasn’t exactly an easy journey to success, nor does she find her career perfect now. In a powerful, must-watch TED Talk, the 23-year-old model detailed the pervasive racism she’s experienced in the industry, concluding with an uplifting screed on Black Girl Magic.

Davis starts out by describing how she began relaxing her hair at the age of four, convinced by the media and the world at large that what she already had wasn’t beautiful. “To be born Black in America is to be born into a world that makes you feel inferior before you can even take your first step,” she said. “It is to be under constant spiritual and mental attack.”

She detailed moving to New York from Seattle as a teenager to model, where people in the industry frequently asked “where she was from.” She told them she was from Seattle.

“I figured that once I got a contract, the industry would open up for me,” Davis said. “But at every turn, I was met with resistance. I had white agents with no knowledge of Black hair care run their fingers through my hair and tell me things like, ‘We already have a girl with your look.’ Translation: All Black girls look the same.”

She was hurt by agents telling her, “We just don’t know what to do with you.” Her face was “painted grey” by makeup artists, stylists burned and pulled out her hair to the point where she “had to start over,” and she was discouraged from wearing her hair natural (she did it anyway).

“I was told not to work for publications like Essence and Ebony magazines, because if I got labeled an ‘urban model,’ the fashion industry would close its doors to me,” she said. She appeared in the March issue of Essence. Her career is bigger than ever.

Despite everything she’s gone through, Davis continues to rise in the industry, and due to her fame and success, she has a powerful platform to speak out about inclusion (she does not want to be the one Black model, checking some kind of box, but rather see representation across the board).

“Despite the great injustices we face as Black women, we can, and have, and will rise out of the ashes, and become examples of resilience, drive, and excellence,” she said. “I like to call this Black Girl Magic. And with this magic we are creating our own publications, we are creating our own television shows. We are creating our own narrative.”

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Kanye West and the Gay Fashion Industry

This video is by Youtuber Black Child.  I found this to be a very insightful video on Kanye West.  It’s also some thought provoking commentary on the sick fashion industry. It may all look like glitter and gold to most people.  But there’s a lot more to that industry beneath the surface.  Check out the video and come to your own conclusion.

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