Monthly Archives: January 2010

Christmas Future

Each year around this time we are reminded of the things that are truly important in our lives. The passing of the holiday season always gives me perspective on the lives I have touched and the lives that have touched me. It creates a feeling of melancholy remembering they way we celebrated Christmas during my design projects in New York, a certain sense of isolation in the wilds of Minneapolis, and a certain comfort on a mid-western Columbus, Ohio winter evening.

What seems to be consistent is the need to express the changing ways in which we celebrate this passing of time and how we have grown to appreciate all of the wonderful things that bless us as African Americans.

For me it is always been expressed at the dining table. It is where we eat, entertain, and engage each other, where good friends and good food are enjoyed in equal measure, where the talk of distant cousins, nieces, and nephews who connect us on a level that only the passage time can create.

These dining-table expressions allow me as designer to express a sense of a changing future and how we as a family have evolved and grown. It helps us celebrate together while we are apart but mostly, more than just a Christmas letter, we can imagine us all sitting at the same table and sharing the rice and beans and the love.

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New Wave of African-Influenced Design

ethniciti was created to offer a sensual, African-inspired collection of products and services to connect with, inspire, and indulge the modern African-American consumer.  We were pleased to note in the recent New York Times article, “Designing to an Afro Beat,” that the African-influence is now permeating many forms of expression throughout the arts and design world.

The beat goes on

The Times cites the success of the movie “Avatar,” as an indication of the mainstream appeal of African style, reflected in the clothing, beads, face painting, and hairstyles of the Pandorans.  However, this is only the mass-market expression of the trend.  Fashion design, music, theater, retail collections, and the art world have all been affected by the Afro beat.

The success of the play “Fela,” celebrating the life and music of Fela Kuti, is giving rise to a new appreciation of Kuti’s music, inspiring a new compilation of his music entitled, “Best of a Black President,” and a new film based upon the career of the sometimes controversial musician will be released during 2010.

Kenyan kangas

Perhaps the hippest reflection of the African-style movement is to be found in the fashion design of Max Osterweis, who says that the number of stores selling his Suno collection of women’s wear has tripled in the last year.  The waistline-free dresses, often accessorized with a turban, are made from Kenyan textiles, featuring bold prints and colorful patterns.

ethniciti has created a visual experience of the various manifestations of African style influences for your enjoyment in the video above.

Will you be part of the new wave?  See our catalog.