< Take Me Back


Not nearly enough worthwhile work is being done in Africa. Designers have used it as an inspiration and mined it for its history and culture for generations without giving back. It has spawned more best selling collections from mass market to couture than can be counted, with little or none actually sourced, never mind made on the continent that spawned the inspiration. There are few designers working in Africa, and most that do, even the best of which, dumb down their collection as if the country and people that so inspired them cant rise to their standards, it is both insulting and demeaning. For that reason it is such a pleasure to see a company producing a worthy, well designed collection inspired by the country, utilizing the incredible textile wealth and tradition of the people and producing their collection in the country. LAURENCEAIRLINE is one of the very few!

LAURENCEAIRLINE is a unique men’s wear collection of combined ethnic and high fashion aesthetic, quality, designer clothing. It many ways it could only be French and African, as the French have long enjoyed a special relationship with Africa, somehow different than the colonial past of the British, more of a two-way street and exchange, rather than the simplistic one way usury of British colonialism and the take, take, take mindset. Or so it seems to the outside observer, Jean-Michel Basquiat, case in point. Although in reality I am sure they experienced no less institutionalization of racism with all the inherent fallout and generational damage. The collection never the less brings out the best of the historic French and African relationship, building a better future on the past.

LAURENCEAIRLINE is quirky and couture, and can be worn by anyone with a playful attitude towards fashion, as well as an eye for design and fit. The slender collarless shirts, made to be worn out in subdued and varied shades of gray from dove to charcoal are broken with flashes of brilliant color, in the form of a patch, a stripe or a multitude of spots. Traditional takes on Kente Cloth and Massai style plaids flash through otherwise sober color-ways. Slender bodies and slim cut sleeves are slashed with traditional African patterns of misprinted uneven spots in oddly congruous colors, as only Africa can do. Patterns are unbalanced and asymmetric, with a single shoulder yoke in print or a contrasting pocket detail or single sleeve expressed in a different color or pattern. Pants are comfortable and cut loose, or rolled up to wader length, the perfect accompaniment to the slim fit shirts with contrasting button plackets, always giving pride of place and focus on the shirt.

Working with traditional printed and Dutch waxed cotton through their collaborative project in Africa, LAURENCEAIRLINE brings together fashion and culture. With education still inaccessible for many on the continent of Africa, and the Ivory Coast in particular, Lareenceairline provides a center to teach couture sewing techniques, with the collection sewn en route, and profits reinvested fully into the development project. The collection is available across Europe, the US, Japan and Africa, with online sales available soon.

Website: www.laurenceairline.com