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Beyond Fashion: Background story & behind the scenes pics of our upcoming collection

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

'Be daring, be different, be impractical, be anything that will assert integrity of purpose and imaginative vision against the play-it-safers, the creatures of the commonplace, the slaves of the ordinary.'-Cecil Beaton
Inspiration: Fulani of Nigeria
Where: Umbrella Studios, Leeds
Make-Up- Ruth
Stylist- Linda

We have always been fascinated by the colourful, dressing of the Fulani people.They set their own standards, they push boundaries. Years back, I remember seeing some of them at the annual Tuk-Ham Festival in Kwoi Nigeria and thinking to myself hmmmm so colourful, so bright... I wish I could be so bold as to mix patterns/prints like that and clash without anyone thinking I had gone cuckoo. Fast Forward to 2011 and the trend is beginning to be acceptable, its seen on the catwalks and every fashion magazine. Bright colours are becoming the norm, a case of go loud or don't bother. 

So we at Maali, we get pretty excited right, because we've always been viewed as 'eccentric' and truth is in Nigeria (where we are from) people are not that open to eccentricity, so most times we tread carefully but we are beginning to see a new generation of stylish and independent people cropping up. People who are not afraid to go against the norm, who embrace their individuality like the Fulani people and wear their clothes with confidence and pride.

So what do we do? We at Maali decide we are going to stay true to ourselves, listen to our heart and be creative. We decide to create what we want to wear, and provide for people like us the avenue to buy accessible and affordable clothing. Our target consumers are people like us, intelligent people that are not afraid to take risks, to mix our clothes (Maali) with vintage/second hand clothing, with high street clothes or any other designer brands out there.

We get inspiration from the Street, Music, Art, Photography, Film, TV shows. We are walking down the street and we think, 'this will definitely work with a pair of jeans' or similar and we jot it down. I have got a notepad in my purse, I jot down ideas I see on the street, I take pictures, buy unique postcards, and do my regular rounds in vintage and second hand/charity clothing stores.

We care so much about seeing our designs on the streets, and that is what we hope to achieve. I see that happening because, we have seen how popular our T-shirts got- although were meant to be promotional. They sold out quickly and people liked what we were saying, so we actually have decided to do (due to popular demand) more.

Our slogan at Maali is Buy Fashion... Live Fashion... Give Fashion... this is basically saying when you buy Maali, you are living the life (individuality) and giving to a cause (charity) because a percentage of our profits goes to Gweimen Centre in Kwoi Nigeria (An advocacy centre for those living with HIV/AIDS).

We want to be a street brand for the youth, to represent the quirky- eccentric boy or gal who is not afraid to think outside the box, who is not afraid to defy fashion. I can almost tell who will stop at the Maali shop in the market to look at our designs or buy from us; I see it from the kind of shoes they wear to the bags they carry.
These are the kind of people we want to cater for, "the individual" who is beyond fashion...

Look out for our look book... but for now you can catch a glimpse of the behind the scenes pics from the photo shoot. It was fun, happy and exciting. Stay Maali (blessed)

 Make-Up Session

Model's changing room/trailer

Tea break

Touch Up

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