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The Editor's Blog: Africa's fashion jubilee

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Photography Hannan Saleh

Enyinne Owunwanne isn’t just a very pretty face (and my pal). She’s also the brains behind Heritage1960, a new blogazine and e-retail website dedicated to African fashion and culture.

“I’m passionate about viewing Africa from a global perspective. Heritage1960 is a celebration of freedom, individuality and style,” she says. “Everything and everyone on Heritage1960 is connected to Africa in some way. This includes African and diaspora designers; brands that manufacture on the continent; those that have a reputable philanthropic arm giving back to Africa and designers who are inspired by Africa, as well as local market finds. I want to convey the diversity and far-reaching influence of African fashion and get away from the expected wax prints and tribal references because it’s so much more than that.”

Born in the US to Nigerian parents, Enyinne grew up in Kuwait and has lived and studied in Philadelphia, Paris, Hong Kong and New York. We met at the first ARISE New York Fashion Week show in 2009. At that time she was graduating from FIT, working for various NYFW designers and running a vintage store in Harlem but her sights were already set on creating a portal that combined content and commerce to create a one stop shop for international African style.

She came up with the name last year while reading one of my ARISE welcome letters marking the half century since 17 African nations gained independence in 1960, and attended ARISE Magazine Fashion Week – Lagos 2011 in March as a buyer to scout out designers. More recently, she quit her job at trend forecast agency WGSN to focus full time on the project and the pre-launch site went live last week.

Already I’m hooked. The H1960EDIT section includes editorials on looks, trends and happenings. I’m one of its guest curators plus the current Summer In The City series covers everything from panama hats to DJ Moma’s sizzling songs. H1960MUSE is Enyinne’s Tumblr moodboard, “a collection of people, places and things that inspire” her (I spy the cover of ARISE issue 13!) And H1960SHOP, the e-commerce element, is set to launch this autumn. In the meantime, get Facebooking and Twittering and show some love.

Helen Jennings | ARISE Magazine, editor

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