Words Marian Kihogo Photography Hanna Saleh
I have always been fascinated by the bones of a story. For some, it is about the end destination of the tale. For me, it is about the process of a story that holds court. I am enthralled by the grey area between genesis and culmination.
Three stories led to me starting my fashion, beauty and culture blog, Mariankihogo.com. Two of them began when I was 13. All three eventually led to me celebrating the blog’s 2nd anniversary at St Martins Lane Hotel, London on 20 December 2011 with good friends from the fashion, media and music industries.
My first story is that I have over 1,000 magazines in storage. I started reading them when I was five years old. The year was 1986, and according to my mother’s magazines, big shoulder pads were in.
By the time I started secondary school all my pocket money went towards my print fix. I still affectionately remember making the weekly walk to a supermarket that stocked foreign fashion titles. I would waft back home on a euphoric cloud, magazine in hand, and soak up each word, image and feature with rapt attention. This love never left. I am still excited by fashion magazines.
During my teens I loosely collated anything that inspired me in scrapbooks. As each one was filled, it would be attached to the next. In went the quotes that I could not stop thinking about, swatches of fabric that compelled, Polaroid’s of people who looked interesting, postcards, remnants of vintage and so on and so forth. I lost this tattered compilation two years ago when I moved house. That is the second of my three stories.
This incident was the propelling force behind story three - the birth of my blog. Inspired by loss, the site is that collection of scrapbooks in more concise form. It is the lovechild of those books and my ongoing fascination with the online medium. To me there is no battle between print and online. There is print as the foundation supported by the online building block. They go hand in hand, fuelling each other as most symbiotic partnerships do.
Without the magazines I fell in love with, I would never have collated those scrapbooks. They then in turn would go on to inspire my work (both in the print and online realms of fashion), leading accidently also to the creation of my blog. As in the case of my three stories, each blog post may seem individual but look close enough and there is a common thread weaving one to the other.
The common goal behind it all (my blog and the phenomenal support it has had, the perpetually growing stack of magazine, my work as a stylist and creative consultant) has always been to communicate enthusiasm, provoke thought and encourage conversation.