With Emancipation Day just being celebrated, I delighted in witnessing the array of Afrocentric fashion which consumed our soirees and cocktail functions. Indeed, it is an autographic spectacular solidarity of style with respect to acknowledging our African heritage but more than that, it signals the influence of not only continental African style, the world over, but an appreciation of an emerging Afro-Caribbean style.
One such purveyor of this celebratory mutation in regional style is Julia Clarke who has always expressed what might be considered an avant-garde sense of style. She has consistently pushed the envelope in terms of her individualistic interpretation of fashion, making outstanding statement pieces, ever since she began crafting apparel. She says that her popularity grew by donning herself with her well-designed looks and as a result, perennial requests for duplicates grew into a business.
Aptly branded Mahogany Stuff, Julia herself cuts fine style with her velvet black skin enveloped in her signature couture. Her love of the diversity of life’s prospects fuels her passion to be creative and transposes itself to her fetish with mixing prints. Her design philosophy caters to outside-the-box fashionistas who wish to spark “you-look-amazing” conversations and leave lasting impressions, in terms of creating indelible impact.
As a designer, she allows her artisanal nature to guide her in her accessory-making and embellishments which smack of tribal adornment, in its composition and aesthetic. Her silhouettes resemble traditional African looks but have evolved to assume a Caribbean identity. I relish the unique construction details she employs to come up with an idiosyncratic stamp that is all hers. Kaftans which have an added flair, Iros or wrap skirts with her Mahogany Stuff touch, Bubas or blouses and Ipeles or shawls incorporated into her designs with her Caribbean adaptation make her brand a coming-of-age trendsetter on the local Emancipation scene.
Mahogany Stuff is a refreshing blend of inventive prints, innovative cuts, ingenious notions applied, inventive ensembles and interesting separates comprising a new Trinbagonian Neo African appeal.
This evening, at the Government Campus Plaza Auditorium, Mahogany Stuff will be featured at a fashion show fundraiser produced by Lons Fashions in support of the Inspired Minds Institute.
Makeup & Styling - Richard Young
Photos - Astro Studios
Model - Jeanice Briggs
Fashion - Mahogany Stuff (Julia Clarke)