How to feel alive? Every year, try to visit a new place.

How to feel alive? Every year, try to visit a new place.

 

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This year, I made myself the promise to visit a new country, to educate myself and face the fear that some people try to put on me by telling stories from their bad experiences. Now when I fear something, I try to find a way to just do it and deal with the consequences. The opportunity came to cover the Fashion Week in Niamey, Niger and I was really excited!

The African Union also had a summit with all the head of States and I was invited to attend the gala dinner and the seminars.

The Visa

The visa process was quite easy in term of what needed to be done. It was all online. The only issue I had was at the airport. I didn’t receive my invitation letter on time, so it took some a while for them to check through all the emails and let me through.

The Flight

I was flying with Royal Air Maroc and the flight was good. I was lucky that none of my luggages were lost but many other people on the same flights did not get their luggages for days. When travelling, I must say that I always try to keep to a minimum number of luggage.

The Hotel

We were supposed to stay in a nice hotel but due to the Summit and the lack of available rooms, we simply had the worst time I could ever imagine. From one day to another, we didn’t know where we would sleep as everywhere was fully booked. Even hotels that had cockroaches as big as a mouse running like they rule the world. This definitely made the trip very difficult but the people were so lovely that I would like another opportunity to visit the country and be able to stay at the Radisson or Noom hotel.

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This trip experience taught me the importance of going with the flow. It is true to say that not everything always go as planned but there is always a reason for everything.

The African continent has so many beautiful undiscovered places. I hope to visit many more.

The culture in images…

What my first Afro Punk event was like.

What my first Afro Punk event was like.

Saturday 13th of June, I had the pleasure of attending the festival Afro Punk at La Seine Musicale, in Paris for the first time. Headlining the concert was Solange Knowles and Janelle Monae.

I must say that it was surreal to see so much creativity in one place. It was like being on a movie set where new characters coming out of nowhere every 2 seconds. It was amazing.

I made an effort to add some African touch to my outfit as I really didn’t know what to expect there. I was definitely NOT overdressed and felt like I could have been a little bit more extra. It was impressive to be in the middle of so much art.

They had massive flags which I obviously used  to take a picture 🙂 . It was not easy with the wind but we managed to take something nice.

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Here are a few pictures I took at the event. It would be great to hear your comments if you experienced this event in Paris or elsewhere. There is another festival in the desert that I was looking into but I am not sure I will be handle to handle all the nakedness that google search has showed me.. ( ah aha ah)

 

 

 

GOLD CHOKER, Tribal jewellery from NACHO JEWELS , a label from Argentina.

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My friend came from Brazzaville, Congo to display and sell her clothing line, LIPUTA SWAGGA. If you have a minute, please have a look at her amazing work!

 

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How to keep it stylish during Fashion Week Paris AW19

How to keep it stylish during Fashion Week Paris AW19

This time last year, I attended London Fashion week with a friend who is a Fashion agent. My post is a bit late than usual as I had lots more events to attend than i expected.

I can definitely say that my style has changed in the past year along with my body shape. I do enjoy wearing skirts more and darker colours. Simple cuts whilst still making a bold statement… to myself. People around me always said cliche things like when you get older, you will do this or that. Style evolves in time, with our personality, things we learn and our surroundings. I just didn’t think I would now dress so simply…

Here are a few looks I chose for winter 2018-2019. I would love to hear about your favourite styles and designers.

LOOK 1: NAVY OVERSIZE COAT FROM ZARA

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Top House of CB, Skirt and Coat Zara, Sunglasses CELINE, Belt Arrogant Cat

FASHION WEEK PARIS AW 2019

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LOOK 2: THE BROWN COAT

Coat Zara, Belt Tara Jarmon, High Knee Boots Eram,

Bag Louis Vuitton, Sunglasses RayBan

LOOK 3: ALL NAVY EVERYTHING

Coat Zara, High Knee Boots Eram, Bag Louis Vuitton, Skirt H&M

Facts about the Kuba textile from Congo DRC

Facts about the Kuba textile from Congo DRC

Here I present my styling for the Kuba textile from Congo DRC. I got the material from the local artisan’s market and met with my cousin’s seamstress. She made a few belts for me and I am so happy with them.I previously shared the story of the tribe who makes them. I look forward to your comments.

 

11 advice to consider before you kiss 2018 Goodbye?

11 advice to consider before you kiss 2018 Goodbye?

The general mood at the end of 2018 was quite funny to me…

People all seem to struggle with the same things, bad relationships, whom to cut lose or keep in 2019, society’s opinion, finances, drama, anxiety, doubts and fear. We probably would all relate on a quote saying ” May your social media life be as good as your real one for this coming year. ”

For the first time, someone really close to me tried to commit suicide and this simply affected me in ways I didn’t comprehend. But it also showed me how miserable I was feeling by forcing myself to do things that no longer made me happy. It is hard to be honest with ourselves more than it ever was. Hard to keep the noise out with all the social media frenzy. We kinda all are living the painful life of celebrities, trying to keep up with apparences. We are buying into fake friends and fake lives even if we dont realise it straight away, unless you live in the village I grew up in :), they really don’t care about none of these and I almost envy them sometimes…

KEEP IT SIMPLE, KEEP IT REAL

 

What is the truth? Is social media bad for our health and mental wellness, or is it actually helping us to cope by dreaming and portraying the life we really want?

Tricky isn’t? Unless you believe in the “Fake it until you make it” motto of course.

This year has been challenging for me and all I wanted was to find my peace. I make to do list all year long, so new year resolutions are nothing special.

Here are the things I would like to work on to achieve that:

1/  Give up overthinking, procrastinating and holding grudges ( yeah… )

2/  Don’t raise your voice, improve your arguments

3/  Quit holding on to the past or even pleasing everyone 

4/  Do what works for you at your own pace

5/  Don’t be afraid to fail, fall or love again. This is the only way to learn more and do better

6/  Focus on progress not speed

7/  Keep your private life private

8/  Spend time with your family 

9/  Do what you are passionate about as much as possible

10/  Unfollow anything that doesn’t go with your vision

11/  Travel, Travel, Travel. The world is such a beautiful place and there is no excuse to not explore it nowadays.

All these because six months of hardcore focus and alignement can put you 5 years ahead in life. Don’t underestimate the power of consistency and desire. In life, we only regret the chances we didn’t take. That’s the truest  cliché you will read today.

 

FAMILY SELFIES ON MY BDAY

FAMILY PORTRAIT

 

 

What not to miss on your next trip to Kinshasa!

What not to miss on your next trip to Kinshasa!

My holiday in the Democratic Republic of Congo this year was a full on trip. I had such a tight schedule for 2 weeks but for the first time, I also had help from a friend.

As you may have seen on my previous posts about the waterfalls in Zongo and the national park of N’Sele, I really lived my free time as a tourist and it was beyond my expectations. I just wanted to do a separate post about my travel diary and the places I went to in the capital, Kinshasa. A little city guide for you if I may 🙂

Restaurant Chez Pierra

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The Artisan’s market: Art

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Hotel: Fleuve Congo

 

 

 

Family visit: Private properties

 

 

Celebrity meeting: Footballers Emmanuel Eboue and Marcel Tisserand

 

 

Tv interview for KIN 24

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Gala night to honour African footballers

organised by Singer Mohombi

 

 

Street Style

 

 

 

 

Restaurant River

 

The fashion industry: how this industry can revive the Congolese economy.

The fashion industry: how this industry can revive the Congolese economy.

How many jobs do you think are in the fashion industry? I am sure the first ones that come to your mind are fashion designer, seamstress and fashion model. In the Congolese community, those are the most mainstream roles in the fashion industry. However, in fashion there are 100 of them, which include and are not limited to Marketing, Finance, Beauty and Operations. So if the question is can the fashion industry revive the Congolese economy? The Answer is yes, it can be one of the driving forces.

In 2015 Fashion was a $1.2 trillion global industry, which included luxury fashion, fast fashion and accessories (bags, jewellery, watches and shoes). Fashion and apparel industries employ 1.9 million people in the United States and the UK fashion industry is estimated to support 850,000 jobs. The number of people that work in this industry in Congo is unknown to me.

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So why and how are Congolese people so limited in their understanding of an industry they swear to love? If you do not understand what I am speaking of, I am speaking of Sapologie. A term engrained in the brain of every Congolese person regardless of whether they were born inside or outside of both countries respectively.

La Sape, an abbreviation based on the phrase Société des Ambianceurs et des Personnes Élégantes (French; literally “Society of Ambiance-Makers and Elegant People”) and hinting to the French slang word sape which means “attire”, is a subculture centered on the cities of Kinshasa and Brazzaville in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Republic of Congo respectively. An adherent of La Sape is known as a sapeur.[1] The movement embodies the elegance in style and manners of colonial predecessor dandies.

As Congolese people, we have created a subculture that has been features and respected by not only other African countries, but globally by the likes of African American singers Solange and Jidenna but also, the Chinese community who were heavily involved in Congolese music through Papa Wemba. So if our industry already has a name, already has an impact and is influencing people all across the globe, how are we not or rather how have we not developed a sustainable industry that can create thousands of jobs across both nations and fuel the passion of many artists in that industry?

The main reason is that fashion is not taken seriously, and like any other art, is dismissed over the likes of studies in business, medicine, education and engineering. However, there comes a time when thinking must change and new entrepreneurial ways must be accepted in order to see change.

Why develop Congo’s fashion industry?

The industry is set to double in value in the next 10 years to generate up to $5trillion annually. This presents a huge opportunity for business in Africa, as the combined value of apparel and footwear in sub-Saharan Africa was estimated at $31 billion in 2016.

The fashion industry holds amazing potential to motivate and bring change to some of the most vulnerable people, especially women and children, while advancing the structural transformation needed in the industry and in the country.

The role of creative industries in Congo Kinshasa and Brazzaville.

With 13 million young African joining the labour force on a yearly basis, the development of skill based industry, where people can learn on the job and gain qualifications in a labour intensive sector is imperative to for the stability of our nations. Fashion uses our culture and creativity as a selling point, which can be leveraged both within and outside of the continent.

What can we do to change this?

Investment, training and the industrialization of the industry. There are many more roles outside of being a seamstress in fashion, from textile designer to fashion forecaster, the roles are endless. Let’s broaden the minds of the people in the industry.

Africa currently accounts for just 1.9% of global manufacturing. That figure does not just relate to fashion. With having raw materials available, Congo should focus on moving to the top of the value chain and produce garments targeted at the home and international audience.

Strategic support and investment in local manufacturers should allow the Congolese fashion industry to steadily grow and become an entity of its own