Former Montclair State Student Holds Fashion Exhibit ‘Forgotten African Queens’

The vogue office of Montclair Point out University held a vogue show titled “Forgotten African Queens” by former student Safiatou Akondo on April 5.

In her home in Togo, West Africa, planning toys and attire out of paper as a minor woman, Akondo dreamed about being a style designer, in a location that deprived her of that chance. The former fashion reports important reflected on the tales of African queens but also the absence of illustration of African patterns in the vogue business.

Safiatou Akondo talks about one of her favorite and most time-consuming designs. John LaRosa | The Montclarion

Safiatou Akondo talks about 1 of her favourite models.
John LaRosa | The Montclarion

Akondo describes how flea markets in Africa are loaded with Western hand-me-downs which designed regular African garb not so available. The mass creation set stores that sell African clothes out of company. Akondo argues this deprives the exclusive garments of getting viewed worldwide.

Producing the regular African garb necessitates more function, which leaves Africans to much more practical selections.

“I consider Africa is just the very last put in which they dump all those needless utilised apparel – it would seem like it is a dumpster for style,” Akondo mentioned. “Someone has to do some thing and I consider I’m willing to do so.”

Nazeeha, Safiatou Akondo's daughter, admires her work. John LaRosa | The Montclarion

Nazeeha, Safiatou Akondo’s daughter, admires her function.
John LaRosa | The Montclarion

She created her assortment, “Forgotten African Queens,” again when she participated in the Atlantic City Manner 7 days (ACFW). Throughout the vogue 7 days, the designers had been provided with furnishings upholstery and fabrics to use in their collections. Akondo’s mission to preserve African heritage alive motivated her to generate layouts that mirror African queens. The queens range from Nefertiti the Queen of Historic Kemet to Kandake the Empress of Ethiopia.

“I investigated queens in Africa that I myself did not even know about,” Akondo reported. “I acquired this sort of beautiful stories about them [which] motivated me to make this piece.”

One of Safiatou Akondo's designs on display. John LaRosa | The Montclarion

People today admire a single of Safiatou Akondo’s designs on screen.
John LaRosa | The Montclarion

She additional stated inclusivity in the business can take care of the overwhelming situation of African clothes needing a lot more of a platform in trend.

“Not a great deal comes out of Africa,” Akondo stated. “If there is a manner 7 days likely on, there [are] only those people incredibly couple men and women from Africa that can clearly show what Africa is about.”

Irrespective of Africa’s lack of illustration in the trend section, she obtained her Associate of Science in Business enterprise and Advertising and marketing in Togo, West Africa. She then traveled to The us to receive an education in trend, which led her to Montclair State, wherever she graduated in the tumble of 2021.

Safiatou Akondo talking to her daughter Nazeeha about her designs. Julian Rigg | The Montclarion

Safiatou Akondo talks to her daughter Nazeeha about her patterns.
Julian Rigg | The Montclarion

Since getting her schooling at Montclair Condition, Akondo emphasizes that it stimulated her drive to assist persons in Africa who want to receive an education and learning in style. She empathizes with the predicament they are in but also recognizes in which they could be.

“After significant university, there are folks [in Africa] who want to go into vogue but [find it] complicated looking for out people alternatives,” Akondo reported. “They genuinely want that but really do not have the chance.”

Nazeeha admires her mothers, Safiatou Akondo's, doll designs. Lynise Olivacce | The Montclarion

Nazeeha admires her mother’s doll styles.
Lynise Olivacce | The Montclarion

Akondo said educating aspiring African designers enforces distinct views the style field requires. It imposes the mass generation of Western clothes to consider a seat so traditional African vogue can acquire the runway. Akondo argues this lets upcoming designers to see on their own on platforms.

“African garb is not really out there in the style entire world,” Akondo said. “So I actually want to convey up Africa [and] the magnificence of African designers. The idea of getting Africans, like the way we make apparel, primarily our colorful fabric, is crucial [for] the entire world to prosper.”

(From left to right): Mabruke and Nazeeha, Safiatou Akondo's children support her work. John LaRosa | The Montclarion

(Left to right): Mabruk and Nazeeha, Safiatou Akondo’s small children, assistance her function.
John LaRosa | The Montclarion

From doing work 11 hrs a day at her job to heading home to just take treatment of her young children, she saved time throughout her active agenda to make her visions a reality.

“Hopefully folks who glance at my models will see a thing in me that I myself are unable to see,” Akondo said. “Sometimes it’s hard to believe in your self being that great and hopefully folks will see a little something excellent about the layouts I have.”

May possibly Chae, Akondo’s professor and mentor in the department of fashion reports, was quite happy with her work and states she was a single of her most hardworking students.

“She’s extremely imaginative and clever when it will come to creating her thoughts and constructing layouts so I understood she would have a terrific assortment,” Chae claimed. “I’m extremely very pleased of her and I know folks will take pleasure in her creativeness.”

(From left to right): Nazeeha, Saphiatou Akondo's daughter, Saphiatou Akondo admires one of the looks in the collection. Lynise Olivacce | The Montclarion

(Still left to proper): Nazeeha, Saphiatou Akondo’s daughter, and Akondo admire a person of the appears in the collection.
Lynise Olivacce | The Montclarion

Nayana Sturzeneker, a junior animation and illustration major, stated she loves the garment with the leopard print.

“I’m a sucker for gradients,” Sturzeneker claimed. “If you give me a gradient, I straight away slide in like with it. Minimalistic shades definitely do it because it is just all neutral but I appreciate the coloration pop.”

Safiatou Akondo's collection on display in the Finley Hall Gallery. John LaRosa | The Montclarion

Safiatou Akondo’s selection on display screen in the Finley Hall Gallery.
John LaRosa | The Montclarion

Allison Castillo, a sophomore visible arts big, claimed she enjoys the red piece with the hat that ties all the things together.

“It’s incredibly reminiscent [because] I’m Hispanic so the brilliant colours remind me a ton of my Latina culture,” Castillo claimed.

The deficiency of inclusivity in the fashion sector and the strong tales the African queens have motivates Akondo to keep their legacy alive and to problem the trend field by way of her assortment.

“We might be neglected, or we could possibly be guiding, but we are moving up in the planet and the motherland has some thing to clearly show,” Akondo explained.