October 21, 2017

The Lady Africa Wax Print

Power Suit Meet up, Creating the bag that goes with the suit

A few months ago Irene Hin of Lady Africa asked me to write and research some things for an upcoming project. The last few weeks it's been shown on the catwalk and in a museum. I'm talking about the Lady Africa Power Suit!
When I heard Lady Africa was planning to use a newly designed Wax Print from Julius Holland Wax for their contribution for the Fashion Cities Africa exhibition at the Tropenmuseum, I got so excited. It was great to follow the creative process and seeing the final Power Suit on display and on the ever so elegant model Dorothe Schiks at the Fashionshow in Rotterdam & Den Haag. Only a third of what I wrote actually made it to the exhibition, so time to share more about it here!

Dorothe Schiks in the Lady Africa Power Suit 
at the Fashionshow in Rotterdam on 1 October

First, Lady Africa. I met Irene during the first Africa Fashion Week in Amsterdam in 2014. I was literally drooling over this Christie Brown Wax Print textile cords necklace a girl was wearing, when Irene introduced herself and explained this necklace was available at her store. After that I visited the shop at the Denneweg in Den Haag (NL) a couple of times, saw a fashionshow by Lady Africa in Den Haag, which was a proper party and we kept in touch through Social Media. Our love for Wax Prints and other gorgeous textiles is something that keeps us connected.
Next to the wonderful brands from the continent, Lady Africa started making their own custom LA line. Pencil skirts, jackets, custom made designs, A-shape dresses and much more is created by a tailor team in which Florence Hin, Irene's mother, plays an important role. She is LA Senior Fashion Advisor and if you see what her hands can do with fabric, amazing!

Detail of the Brilliantly printed Wax Print by Julius Holland Wax

For their LA custom-made line they work with textiles by Julius Holland Wax. In 2002 Jansen-Naninck in Helmond (NL) started producing their own Wax Print brand, Julius Holland Wax. The family business was already trading textiles since 1935 and if you've ever been there you know its a true candy-store for everyone who loves prints, patterns & textiles.
For the Power Suit a new, not yet on the market, design by Julius Holland Wax was used. The normal wax print version with big, abstract flowers in yellow and blue was used for the handbag made by Marianne Aulmann. For the suit the same pattern was used, but in a Brilliantly print. So with a nice chique silver shimmery finish.

Detail of Power Suit bag designed by Marianne Aulmann

The choice for a custom Lady Africa Power Suit, came from the idea to make a tribute to the strong women who inspired Irene and Gumi to start Lady Africa in 2011. The strong women in Ghana where Irene was born. How the women pass on their knowledge and strength to their daughters. The women in Irene's life, her family. Her mother who is now her Fashion advisor with her wide knowledge of tailorship. Her grandmother who was an entrepreneur herself and sold Vlisco fabrics on the market. A Power Suit Tribute for Strong Women.
The great thing about new Wax Print designs is that they don't have a name yet, and that the name comes most times from how and when it was introduced to the market. So meet Julius Holland Wax: Lady Africa

You can see the Power Suit on display as part of the exhibition Fashion Cities Africa at the Tropenmuseum in Amsterdam with lovely other fashion from Casablanca (Morocco), Johannesburg (South-Africa), Lagos (Nigeria), Nairobi (Kenya) and the Netherlands.

You can shop Lady Africa custom line at Denneweg 21A in Den Haag. For new arrivals check out www.lady-africa.com, their Facebook or Instagram!

For more on Wax prints, read my previous posts "Wax Prints are based on Javanese Batiks, But what is a Batik and which elements can still be found in todays Wax Prints?", 'Take some elsewhere, and let some come back to me' or use label 'Wax print'

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