Wednesday, December 16, 2015

The Epic 2015 Update Post

Where to even begin?!?! Two entire posts for the year 2015 and that's IT??? I have two weeks to remedy the situation... here we go.

Well, first things first: I'm still alive, still living in Dakar, still loving wax. I am actually on vacation in the U.S. right now... hence the time to catch up! These past two months have been an absolute whirlwind for Six Bougies (the brand). It has been fun, challenging, invigorating, overwhelming... but totally positive! More details after a personal caveat...

My partner in crime, Megan, moved to Mexico this summer :( As many who live the expat life will attest, international friendships can be hard to make and maintain with such a transitory lifestyle. But Megan and I (and a few other friends) were in Dakar for four years together. That is a looooong time, abroad or stateside! We basically went to adult college together, and its been tough with her gone. As an introvert, I am at my most content with a small circle of really close friends with whom I can be 100% real. I do love meeting new people and tagging along with extroverted friends for more social experiences (I'm not a hermit!), but I definitely crave connection and depth over quantity in my friendships.


Megs being cute in Mexico. Besties in DKR.

Needless to say, the past six months have been an adjustment: halfheartedly making new friends, busy at the day job, all while growing Six Bougies. Of course, Megan is still kicking in Mexico and I know she has plans to continue contributing to the blog and the brand! Perhaps we will be seeing some Mexican textiles mixed in with our African finds some time soon...

This leads me to my next announcement: our good friend Becky has stepped in to help with Six Bougies! Becky is a fellow half-American (and half-Norwegian) and former study abroad-er hailing from Seattle. Her Etsy profile says it best: Rebecca grew up inspired by Scandinavian design based on childhood summers spent at her grandmother's house in Oslo. Moving to Dakar has fueled Rebecca's love for mixing vibrant colors and patterns, especially in the form of bold wax rompers. (I added that last bit about Becky's epic wax rompers ;) And no, it is not lost on us that we are quite the all-American sounding team: Kim, Megan, and Becky. We could be the Babysitter's Club of West Africa!


Welcome Becky! Expert fabric sourcer and fashion maven, Madame Dakar.
Said rompers in action.

Over the course of November and December, Becky and I have participated in four Christmas sales, with one more this week at Charly's on December 17! We practically sold out of pillows, bags, and accessories by the fourth market and just had a whole new set of merchandise made in one week. It's been wild. I'll reveal our new stuff in an upcoming post :)

I am hosting a private sale in the Boston suburbs on December 23  (please come if you are in the area!) so needed to bring some Six Bougies goods with me to the U.S... plus the Charly's sale. Just imagine the racing between tailors and fabric markets, coming up with new designs mid-holiday season. But, we are truly thriving on the fast pace and having a BLAST.

We are all especially thrilled with the increased exposure, the sales (obvi ;), and the new potential to GROW the business and increase our dedication to social programs. By the way, 25% of all holiday profit will be going to officially establishing a Social Program Fund that will directly benefit the tailors and artisans we work with to bring you Six Bougies loot :) You can still make purchases on Etsy, although I will be updating the offerings in the next few days.

Sales, sales, and more sales!

Private sale in Boston on December 23! Message me for more details if you're in the area.

I will end on another exciting note, which deserves its own post, coming soon: Six Bougies is now available 7 days a week at a shop in Dakar, Gallerie Keur Marie Ganaar in Mermoz!

Keur Marie Ganaar is an artist co-op hidden in a quiet and quaint corner of Mermoz, featuring work from nearly 20 artisans. We are really proud to be part of the team. Thanks to Megan for making that partnership happen in June, right before she left for Mexico. She set the bar high ;)












I'll be back with more before the end of 2015 ;)

Friday, June 19, 2015

Dakar Fashion Week 2015

June 9th-14th, 2015 marked Dakar's 13th annual Fashion Week event in the West African Fashion Capitol. Despite a busy week, we were psyched to finally attend our first DFW event, brought to us by the ever lovely, Adama Paris, and take a few snaps of Dakar's very own fashion icons. Enjoy ;)

Kim and I posing with the Omar Victor Diop image and billboard that's been up around Dakar.
Some gorgeous and picture ready ladies.
Loved every minute of this turban-wearing and fan-fluttering man.
The lighting was tough, but luckily I think this man looks good in blue.
Casual front row all stars!

On the catwalk.
Waiting patiently for the show to begin.

Dakar Fashion Week's finale took place at Radisson Blu on Saturday, June 13th, showcasing 10 designers from around West Africa. The collections ranged from avant guard, like Selly Raby Kane, a new take on traditional with Colle Ardo, and standout of the evening, Sofie Zinga. Here are a few images from the collections.

Werk.

I'm a sucker for that magenta and ochre combo.

Selly Raby Kane is the cutest by far of the avant guard fashion designers.
I was glad to see some go the traditional route with batik bazin boubou and head wrap.
Gold embroidery says it all.

And what.

This isn't the most clear photo but my heart flutters when designers use locally woven fabric!
Sophie Zinga nailed it with her 100% locally-made and dyed in Senegal collection. 



I think overall the show was quite stunning, the models, lights, music and of course the clothes! I would LOVE to see more designers using locally made fabrics like the woven panels or branching out into more avant guard territory. It comes to no surprise that my two favorites of the evening were Selly Raby Kane and Sophie Zinga, who both connect to the local culture in their work.

Alright fashionistas, I will be writing more about working with the Ethical fashion label, Bélya, pretty soon. Taataa for now. Stay glamorous.


-Megan


Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Mama's got a Brand New Bag, Top, Skirt, Dress and Pillows!

Credit has to go to James Brown for the snappy title to this post and its so true! Mama's got a new obsession with Shweshwe!



Those of you who know Kim and I are aware of our slight obsession with African Wax fabric. And some of you who know me really well may be aware of my recent endeavor with the iconic Shweshwe fabric from South Africa.

But do you know how I came into this obsession? 

It started with a trip to South Africa in 2013, when I was cruising around Johannesburg with my driver (yes, because I'm fancy like that). I had no idea about Shweshwe back then, I just knew that there had to be a locally made fabric produced in South Africa and I was determined to find it!



The hunt was on. I asked my driver, Bongani, if he knew of any local fabric markets. He promptly called his wife and found out the market was in the CBD neighborhood, so he took it upon himself to personally escort me to the shop, because apparently the CBD can be a bit dicey. I walked in and was blown away. I wandered around the Pakistani owned and operated shop and touched, pulled, and held the textiles up to my skin in the mirror. There were so many variations, and yet they were so similar. The fabrics were mostly in blues and browns and a bit thinner than the West African wax I have grown accustomed to.



And then I saw it....Obama on fabric, yessssssss! I was so happy I even found Mandela!

After my first sojourn, I tried to find more information about the fabric, its origins in the region, who uses it and for what, where to get more, did they make any other colors? There wasn't much written about shweshwe and I wondered if it was more rare and if there were fashion designers using the it in contemporary fashion and design? 

When I brought the fabric back to Senegal and made pillows from it they sold like hot cakes; people were surprised it was African and wanted where they could get some themselves. I think the muted color pallet and smaller pattern appeals to us after growing so accustomed to the big, bold and brazen patterns of the West African wax.



On my second trip to South Africa in December 2014, I knew that I would be able to find some of the infamous 3 Cats print by Da Gama Textiles if I headed towards Diagonal Street which runs diagonally between Sauer St. and Ntemi Piliso St, City Centre of Johanesburg.


There I found, in my mind, the Mecca of Shweshwe at Becker Street Wholesalers. The Indian salespeople at this store are certified representatives and don't sell the knockoff stuff that I apparently bought on my first go around in 2013 (of the 3 Dolphins print). I even got a cool wall calendar for spending over $800 USD!



Instead of finding just browns and blues I got corals, turquoises, and bright blues and greens! I was in shweshwe heaven. The salesmen told me a bit about the history. Apparently the fabric was first imported from Manchester, England, and heavily starched in order to endure the long sea voyage, a tradition they still continue today (I had to wash a couple of times to get the waxy smell out and to be able to sew). Today, the fabric is made in the Eastern Cape, South Africa using locally bought cotton from Zimbabwe, a fabric we can feel good about buying unlike many of the wax prints that I find in Dakar which are completely produced in China.

When I got back to the lovely Airbnb I was staying at in Kensington, WalkieTalkieKatie was so inspired she got a couple of chairs reupholstered in Shweshwe and I must say they look great!




I haven't been able to find too many South African designers using Shweshwe, probably because I wasn't there for too long or maybe because its like air... its everywhere and everyone already knows about it so its not interesting to them anymore? I have no idea, please if you are reading this let me know what the deal is!

I was able to find a bit of Shweshwe in the window of Stitch & Steel, in the Maboneng District but a lot more pre-made stuff in West African wax. I also visited Fashion Kapitol in the Fashion District of the CBD. I saw some design students in their studios but they were working on more haute couture and not ready-to-wear.


Luckily the sample sale the girls and I went to in November for Nanawax uses Shweshwe as well as fabrics from all over the continent...



 ... And just like THAT, mama got a brand new bag in Shweshwe.



- Megan

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

I'm back... with the NANAWAX Pop-Up in Dakar!

Why, hello there! Is this thing still on?! Its been too long. I've been formulating various blog posts to break the unexciting radio silence (life has just been busy, as it can be!). But rather than hem and haw, let's just dive into some recent Dakar happenings!

Last weekend, Megan and I (and some friends) attended a pop-up event for NANAWAX, a wax-infused clothing and accessory brand by Beninois designer Maureen. Maureen founded Nanawax a year and a half ago and sells regularly in Paris and Ivory Coast. In speaking with the designer, this event marked Nanawax's first trip to Dakar, showcasing the brand's vibrant clothing, bags, shoes, jewelry, and other accessories.


And the Senegalese fashionistas came in droves! I snatched up some photos of the crowds, taken by photographer Stéphan Tourné and posted on the facebook page, because, WOW, the outfits were impressive. As for the Nanawax goods on display, I especially loved the more surprising pieces: wax print bikinis, sneakers, loafers, and backpacks. Megan and a good friend Becky treated themselves to shoulder bags (my usual weakness), but I intend to save up for a backpack in the future ;)

Be sure to check out Nanawax on Facebook and Etsy! If you happen to live in Paris, I definitely recommend stopping by the upcoming private sale on December 7... even if just to take in the plethora of patterns, colors, and stylish attendees!

Happy Wednesday... it's good to be back on the blog :)








^Source.




And some additional crowd shots from Stéphane Tourné, because dayummmm:



^That beaded necklace.... I swoon!

All images are original to Six Bougies unless marked otherwise!

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Stella Jean @ Home: Wax Upholstery for the Win!

It's no secret I'm a huge fan of Italo-Haitian, Armani-protégé fashion designer Stella Jean - as featured this spring!

But today I stumbled upon a delicious surprise - a preview of her upcoming HOME collection! According to my sleuthing, Stella partnered with Sephora in Milan to host a "Métissage Experience" during the exclusive Salone del Mobile showcase schedule. The designer showcased a capsule collection of vintage wax-upholstered arm chairs reflecting a "crossing of cultures, but not only… also of time periods, a crossing of generations, with influences from the Forties, Art Deco and 19th-century Italy."

I couldn't find any more details on when the collection will officially launch, and this Sephora show happened in April/May... so we'll have to keep our eyes peeled for updates!

What do you think???

Images from HERE.

Also, the flyer is SO up my ally. Do you recognize the curtain textile? None other than my top choice for an upholstered headboard!


Flyer (and more info) from HERE.

And on a different but very related note, I thought I'd hop on over to Stella Jean's home page and check out her fall/winter line. It did not disappoint. I am no fashion critic, but I always seem to love her work! She juxtaposes patterns and textures in just the right doses for me... While totally interesting and bold, I still find it all (relatively--it is the runway, after all) wearable and aesthetically pleasing. 

Side note, apparently she also just showed her ready to wear Spring/Summer 2015 line so I am very behind on things. I'll keep those pieces for a future post ;)

A few favorites from the Fall/Winter collection-


Check out the rest HERE! And while your at it, I'd suggest ogling her Instagram account too :)

This post was NOT sponsored by Stella Jean ;) ;) ;)

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