A MAG is a Modern African Girl, so no subject is taboo. My purpose is to share things which may interest a MAG.

The Weekly Lifestyle Blog by Lydia, every Friday at 1700 hrs. Nr 93 29th March 2024

Lydia's Weekly Lifestyle blog is for today's African girl, so no subject is taboo. My purpose is to share things that may interest today's African girl.

This week's contributors: Lydia, Pépé Pépinière, this week's subjects: A Tale of Creativity and Appropriation, The Call for Authentic Collaboration and Empowering African Designers, Neckties, Photographers, and Kata Garden Bistro Restaurant.

A Tale of Creativity and Appropriation
The Dark Side of Cultural Appropriation
Borrowing vs. Appropriation: While cross-cultural inspiration is essential for artistic growth, there's a fine line between appreciation and appropriation. Western fashion brands have often borrowed elements from African aesthetics without proper acknowledgment or respect. From runway shows to high-end boutiques, we've witnessed African-inspired prints, beadwork, and silhouettes being co-opted without involving African designers or communities.

The Luxury Fashion Landscape: Luxury brands have been particularly guilty of appropriating African designs. Whether it's using Maasai beadwork in accessories or incorporating Ankara prints into high-end collections, these actions raise questions about ethics, representation, and economic justice. The lack of credit and financial compensation for African creators perpetuates a cycle of exploitation.

The Call for Authentic Collaboration and Empowering African Designers: It's time for a shift. Instead of mere inspiration, Western fashion should actively collaborate with African designers. By partnering with local artisans, supporting sustainable practices, and giving credit where it's due, the industry can foster genuine exchange. Initiatives like Fashion Revolution advocate for transparency, fair wages, and ethical production across the globe.
Celebrating Diversity: African fashion is not a monolith. It encompasses 54 countries, each with many unique styles, textiles, and craftsmanship. By celebrating this diversity, Western fashion can move beyond stereotypes and engage in meaningful dialogue. Let's amplify African voices, learn from their creativity, and appreciate the beauty of cultural exchange.

African fashion is more than a trend: it's a living legacy. As Western fashion continues to draw inspiration from Africa, let's honor the roots, acknowledge the creators, and celebrate the beauty of collaboration. By weaving together our stories, we can create a global tapestry that reflects the richness of our shared humanity.

Neckties, and “the times they are a changing”. (title of a song by Bob Dylan, 1964). Neckties date back to around 1630 when the French king hired Croatian soldiers (these days we would call them mercenaries) and as part of their uniform, they wore a piece of cloth around their neck. The king liked this neckpiece and made these ties mandatory for royal gatherings. As the elite French monarchy was now wearing them, the custom quickly spread across Europe. Over the years, the style and the design of ties have changed, and in 1923, a tie maker from New York named Jesse Langsdorf patented a new way of cutting fabric on an angle, and then sewing it in three segments to create the Langsdorf Necktie.

Even though the width and length have expanded and shrunken over the years, the Langsdorf original design has remained till today. In the 1930s, the Windsor knot was created by the Duke of Windsor. In the 80s, tie makers created a myriad of different neck-wear styles, and additional lining and interlining to the interior of the tie ensured that the tie lays flatter and neater against the chest, and these ties are easier to knot. But our modern tie has remained almost untouched for 100 years. But then, these days, who wears a tie? I recently came across a René Chagal Myung Ju silk tie, about the most expensive silk commonly available. I have searched René Chagal without result, his ties are widely available, both new and 2nd hand, but it seems René went out of business before the internet was invented, and my search engines give no information on the man. A closer look at the tie shows it cost 15,400 Yen at that time, about 65 US Dollars. But ties are mostly outmoded now, mine was used to bind a roll of foam I bought.


Photographers: For a bit of family gathering, we used to hire a photographer and then eagerly wait for the pictures to be brought back, and then ask for copies to be printed for all. The Smartphone has changed all that, but to make sure we are all in the picture, someone else has to take that picture. So either you ask the neighbour to step in (he may demand his part of the food) or you go to a restaurant where you get very experienced photographers, the waiters. A tip is welcome but often not asked for.

Kata Gardens Bistro Restaurant: Tunemete Street, Dzorwulu, Accra. Having heard about this and seen the beautiful pictures of freshly cooked lobsters, we decided to look in on a Monday night. We called to reserve a table and this should have warned us, the lady mentioned that we should make a deposit. This is not unusual at the top restaurants in Europe, after all not showing up may mean an empty table and less income, so often you make a deposit to be taken against your final bill. But this being Ghana and a Monday night, we didn't accept that but drove straight there. We were asked if we had made a reservation (the place was almost empty), and they confirmed that there was no reservation because we had not made a deposit. Then we were asked if we wanted to sit in the open or an airconditioned part, behind glass, we chose that but then again they wanted a deposit. We replied that we did not even know if we wanted to eat there, could they show us the menu or explain the types of food they were selling? Lady Love pointed at a QR code on the table (wonder how much business they did when the internet was off), and we asked for a hard copy, which they did not have, neither was Lady Love ready to talk about the food. So we left it at that and left. Wonder how they will survive, this is Ghana and new restaurants are springing up every day. Maybe a non-Ghanaian setting up a place with rules from a faraway place, or plain whitewashing.


do not forget to hit the subscribe button and confirm in your email inbox to get notified about our post.

I have received requests about leaving comments/replies. For security and privacy reasons my blog is not associated with major media giants like Facebook or Twitter. I am talking with the host about a solution, for the time being, you can mail me at wunimi@proton.me

I accept invitations and payments to write about certain products or events, things, and people, but I may refuse to accept and if my comments are negative then that's what I will publish, despite your payment. This is not a political newsletter. I do not discriminate on any basis whatsoever.