On Sunday 12th April, my close friend Hannah (@MontyBaby22) and I went to the Conscious Vibes Expo at Westminster College, in celebration of the online magazine’s second year anniversary. See what fun we got up to and look at a selection of my favourite products that were on offer at this unique, inspiring event.
Having just come back from New York on Friday, I was feeling extremely jet-lagged on Sunday morning. When I finally woke up, my first sight was beautiful sunshine pouring through my window, therefore I took the summery weather as the perfect opportunity to show off the bright green Dashiki I bought in Harlem’s Malcolm Shabazz/Malcolm X market (see below).
My attire fitted in perfectly with the various stalls of African themed clothing on offer at the event, reflecting the style of clothing and jewellery often showcased in the Conscious Vibes online magazine.
Throughout the event, my friend Hannah and I were often asked if we were sisters, which I will of course take as a massive compliment. This was the first time I had ever seen her with braids – as she got them done while I was away – and I must say I am loving the new look! Hannah is currently using her braids as a protective style to help grow her hair for her friend’s wedding (where she will be a bridesmaid) and although its a big change from her normal curly fro, I am sure you will agree that this style looks great on her.
After having our customary photoshoot at the entrance of the event, Hannah and I began to explore the stores on offer…
First stop was House of Afrika – classic and contemporary clothing and jewellery with an African twist.
The dress below would look perfect both on a casual day in the summer, or dressed up at a wedding or formal event.
Next we visited Sisterlocks (TM). Since having my hair in faux locs, the idea of getting real locs has begun to appeal to me more and more. The versatility of Sister locs was extremely intriguing, as you can see that they are much thinner than standard locs. What is even more appealing is their maintenance; the lovely lady below explained that all she has to do is wake up and spritz water over her hair (which she gets retwisted every few months) and then she is ready to go! Much simpler than wash day, right?
Below is another lady with sister locs, who informed me that since getting them done two years ago her hair ‘hasn’t stopped growing!’ Who knows what the future holds for my curls…
Next, we popped over to Nattie Dreadz, where I bumped into a photographer who I met at the ACLT event getting his dreads retwisted. Each loc had a shea butter and wax based product applied to it, full of natural oils, which left the locs looking shiny, neat and healthy. As you can see, they had one happy customer on their hands!
After tearing myself away from the dreads corner (as you know I am obsessed with natural hair at the best of times) we headed over to Mam Maw. They had an amazing selection of clothing on show, however they have plenty more fashion forward items online, so definitely check out their website for summery prints!
Another stall that showcased adorable loc/braid accessories was Loc Cherub. Marcia McFarquhar, the woman behind Loc Cherub, is also a consultant for Sisterlocks (TM) so you can see how intertwined and and supportive each of the businesses were to each other on the day.
Other accessories such as statement hoop earrings and clutches were also available on the Chowrie Designs table. Any one of these items could take an outfit from looking plain to fabulous in no time!
Next, all the way from Maryland came the lovely A. Monaie Designs. A. Monaie offered ‘wearable art’ in her unique, hand painted jewellery range, inspired by vibrant African prints. Her website offers students discounts, and as she will be in the UK for the next few weeks, she is also selling her items in pounds (rather than dollars as well). Don’t miss out!
Finally, as a change from the African prints around every corner (not that I’m complaining!), we came across the DTML or ‘Don’t Touch My Locs’ table. The brand offers a written response to those that feel the need to touch or feel our natural hair – often without permission may I add! I think those of us with natural hair have all experienced that at least once in our lives!
As well as the stalls, we of course had to check out the fashion show! Below is a beautiful dress by House of Afrika. I appreciated the fact that the models came from a range of ethnic backgrounds, highlighting that the beauty of African prints can be universally appreciated rather than just being exclusively for Black people.
My favourite moment of the show had to be seeing the designer behind Reddskin coming on stage and dancing with her models. This again highlighted the fantastic atmosphere created on the day.
As well as creating beautiful clothing, Reddskin also had a range of unique accessories available. My particular favourite was the ‘! <3 Forest Hill’ clutch – shout out to my South-East London followers!
Overall the event was a massive success and was a fantastic opportunity to meet other like-minded people in a relaxed, friendly setting. Thank you so much to the adorable Kehinde (@kaybadmus) for informing me of this event while I was away in New York. It was lovely to see you as always!
Finally, a massive thank you and congratulations to Angela Small (below, left), creator of Conscious Vibes, who brought so many people together at a fantastic event. All the best for the future on what is an amazingly inspiring online magazine!