Welcome to the month of August! If you are a slavish reader of glossy magazines, especially the summer editions, you may already be in the know about what to pack this summer for your vacation in Ibiza, Mykonos, Capri or the Caribbean.
But I am sure you haven’t come across our ultimate Luxury African Holiday Guide, featuring the best African and African-inspired items for your summer wardrobe (I think I may run this every year, maybe a little bit earlier…).
So without further ado, let’s start with some essential women’s swimwear.
Andrea Iyamah owned by Nigerian fashion designer Dumebi Iyamah is popularly recognised for its eccentric and unique take on swimwear, using vibrant colours and cuts inspired by an array of African cultures. Strongly influenced by the brand’s African heritage, a blend of retro elements and various African cultures are reflected in the colours and themes of this sexy swimwear range.
Located in Ontario Canada, the brand caters to females looking to rock an edgy bathing suit on a steamy vacation. The Andrea Iyamah team works together to ensure that stories are told through every piece created. The brand seeks to be a part of the memories of getaways through its designs and the opportunity for the A.I. woman to be a part of a cultural story in the attire she adorns herself with.
And for my male readers who want to stand out on the beach, don’t look further than Òkun beachwear, for the man who embraces a fresh sense of style. Channeling a vibrant and pan-African energy, Òkun communicates a sense of heritage with a light touch, avoiding clichés for a contemporary and global audience.
Launched in London in 2013 by British/Nigerian Creative Director Bola Marquis, Òkun takes its inspiration from cultures across the continent, from South African Shwe Shwe fabrics, Ghanaian Adinkra symbols, Kenyan Kiko stripes or the more popular “African Print”. All prints are designed in-house, with collections produced in Mauritius since 2015 and the brand has recently gone into partnership with a factory in Ghana to set up its ethical production base in West Africa. How cool is that!
To protect your eyes from the summer sun or just to look cool, I recommend New York-based eyewear brand Jembere which was founded in 2013 by Sudan-native Abaynesh Jembere with a philosophy that is simple - beautifully crafted and reasonably priced frames.
Jembere’s aesthetic is influenced by the juxtaposition of the rich culture of Ethiopia, where the name Jembere means, “my sunset” and everyday life in the big city of New York. Jembere combines wearable styles with contemporary aesthetics. Each frame is handcrafted using top quality materials like Italian acetate and 5 barrel hinges. Jembere also offers a unique detail when it comes to the cleaning cloth provided with your frames. The cloths are hand-woven in Ethiopia by true artisans.
For the surfers amongst you, make sure to check out Bantu Wax, whose philosophy I love! Serene yet chaotic; untouched yet urban; ancient yet modern, dreamy yet very real, rich, poor, old, new, sacred, sexy, wise, fast and funny - Africa: cannot be contained. Inspired by Africa’s transition from Dark Continent to Bearer of Light, tales of the mermaid goddess of oceans Mami Wata, and a passion for surfing, Bantu was created by merging the rich history of African art and textiles with Africa's deeply rooted surf culture. Bantu uses traditional processes and works exclusively with local vendors and artisans in Africa to make quality products that are functional and authentic for surfers, urban nomads and afro-punks.\
And for a little after sun TLC and to nourish your skin after a long day on the beach, look no further than Malée skin care [pronounced Mah-lay], a healthy luxury fragrance and body care range created in South Africa in 2010 inspired by the beauty and wealth of breath taking landscapes, wildlife, culture and history of Africa.
Each Malée product contains carefully selected natural active ingredients which can be found plentiful in the African plains, the average kitchen cupboard and have been used over generations to heal, soothe, nourish and protect skin. Ingredients such as shea butter, cacao seed butter and avocado oil are used in the same natural way ancient African ancestors would have done, a celebration of the lineage of African beauty and healing rituals formulated using modern scientific research proving its efficiency and suitability for all skin types.
And is there any other way to finish this Luxury African Holiday Guide than with an Eva Sonaike bag? Our colourful bags in our signature print African-inspired designs are a showstopper at the beach (believe me, I rock them in all colours) and are roomy enough for a couple of beach towels, your sun lotions, spare bikini set and they also come with a zipped compartment for your purse, to get that well-deserved bottle of Rose on the beach.
So enjoy your summer in African style and enjoy the sunshine!