Mags Loves Jimi

“They thought I was a Surrealist, but I wasn't. I never painted dreams. I painted my own reality.” ― Frida Kahlo

Month: January, 2016

Is the Writer’s Only Responsibility to His Art?


Each week in Bookends, two writers take on questions about the world of books. Faulkner said, “The writer’s only responsibility is to his art.” This week, Zoë Heller and Francine Prose discuss the obligations of artists.

By Zoë Heller

The belief that artists are entitled to be morally careless has proved to be one of the more tenacious parts of our Romantic inheritance.


Zoë Heller Credit Illustration by R. Kikuo Johnson

Faulkner seemed to rather relish being horrid in the name of art. “If a writer has to rob his mother, he will not hesitate,” he told The Paris Review in 1956. “The ‘Ode on a Grecian Urn’ is worth any number of old ladies.” There’s something a little posturing about the epigrammatic cruelty of this remark, but the evidence suggests that Faulkner practiced the mercilessness he preached. When his 12-year-old daughter once asked him to postpone one of his alcoholic binges until after her birthday celebrations, he famously refused, telling her, “No one remembers Shakespeare’s children.”


Class of 2016 | Top 10 Black Beauties


By Magretta Sowah

No doubt 2015 was the year of the entrepreneur – the dream catcher/seeker, internet breaker. Political and emotional avenues were given within the fashion industry because of recurring underlining issues. These include; beauty standards, weight management and exploitation, gender neutrality, androgyny (and its benefits), social changes in the business of fashion and of course, The Edit – all aided by social media.

EBONY magazine, for their September issue 2015, brought attention to the diverse and colourful world of black female models. You can have a look here. Believe it or not, black is not one-size-fits-all – ask anyone from Africa and they will tell you that being African is a code of conduct; a way of life rooted deeper than melanin and linguistics.

Yes its true black models have been scouted for years, but almost always cast as a background model – a novelty, but never in the forefront or cover. Though the reasons for this continued to be debated, in 2016 the Black Model continues to grace covers, runways and editorials. In case you were not familiar with these dark beauties i have compiled a list of rising starlets and timeless icons in prominence and portfolio.

So here, in glorious fashion, are the freshmen, sophmore and senior class of the black fe(male) model tribe.

*Please note there are many fierce and inspiring black models in the industry. This list is a shout-out to them also, in spirit.


Freshmen Class 2016 – 

They say the expert at something was once as beginner. No one is born knowing things a person of old age is just beginning to discover. The following may be freshmen but they have the valedictorian spirit…

Milan Dixonblack models

The Nevada native is a newbie who studied at Texas Southern University. She’s currently signed to PhotoGenics and has been featured in editorials for Elle South Africa, Cosmopolitan South Africa and Marie Claire South Africa.

|| STATS ||

Name: Milan Dixon

Stepped on the scene: Early 2000s

Most known for: Gracing the cover of ELLE magazine South Africa #RunwayForAfrica

Bragging rights: Killer tooth gap SU|PER SEX|Y

Website/Contact: Portfolio – MajorModel   Instagram – @modelmilano

Samantha Archibaldblack models

The Jamaican-German model was discovered and signed to Michele Pommier when she was 14. Now she’s signed to Major Model Management in New York and Storm Model Management in London (the same agency that signed Cara Delevingne). Archibald hasn’t landed any major advertising campaigns yet, but she’s posed for editorials in Interview, Nylon, Elle and Love and walked in fashion shows for Jeremy Scott, Moschino, Prada, DSquared2, and Moncler.

|| STATS ||

Name: Samantha Archibald

Stepped on the scene: 2013

Most known for: being one of the printastic models at Moschino S/S 15 RTW. #BarbieForever

Bragging rights: Saying loud and proud that she’s a feminist (she even had it on a shirt).

Website/Contact: Instagram – @thinkthinkbrainblast


Sophmore Class 2016 – 

These models have been in the game long enough that they are household names. We love them for their personality as well as a.a.a.amazing good looks. I guess you can have it all…

Alek Wekblack models

Sudan-born Alek Wek was discovered at a London outdoor market. She was able to catch the attention of the industry when she appeared in the music video of “Golden Eye” by Tina Turner. Since then, she has graced major ads for a lot of companies, including Clinique, Calvin Klein, Donna Karan, and Victoria’s Secret among many others.

|| STATS ||

Name: Alek Wek

Stepped on the scene: Early 2008

Most known for: Being a bad*ss bold chick – stand aside Amber Rose – with sensual lips. Oh yes! #ReadMyLips

Bragging rights:  Being an advisor to the US Committee for Refugees since 2002.

Website/contact: Twitter – @therealalekwek

Jourdan DunnBlack Models

London born Jourdan Dunn was discovered in a local Primark at 16 by the legendary agency Storm Models (who also discovered Kate Moss) and has been unstoppable ever since. Voted the British Fashion Council’s “Model of the Year” in 2008 as well as being one of the 4 cover models for Vogue Italia’s iconic Black Models issue, July 2008. Has walked the runways for nearly every top designer and making history as the first black model since Naomi to strut for Prada, Jourdan is a bona-fide star. Gave birth to son Riley in December 2009.

|| STATS ||

Name: Jourdan Dunn

Stepped on the scene: 2007

Most known for: Being a VS model #JourdansGotASecret

Bragging rights: Um… hello; being a part of the BALMAIN-Kendall-Gigi-Naomi-Iman DYNASTY! We love you Jourdan.

Website/contact: Instagram – @officialjdunn  Twitter – @missjourdandunn

Liya KebedeBlack Models

Liya Kebede, who was born in Ethiopia, got her break in the fashion industry when Tom Ford chose her in the 2000 Gucci Fall/Winter show. After this, she proceeded in establishing a name for herself as a permanent runway figure on the Milan, Paris, London, and New York circuit. She garnered extreme popularity that she was chosen as the cover of the May 2002 edition of Paris Vogue. She is also the first black model for Estee Lauder.

|| STATS ||

Name: Liya Kebede

Stepped on the scene: 2004 in an Escada campaign – Oh yes, bubblegum pink fringe dresses were in.

Most known for: Being a triple threat: model, actress and advocate. #blacklivesmatter

Bragging rights: Being a Goodwill Ambassador for Maternal, Newborn & Child Health for the World Health Organization. Madonna eat your heart out!

Website/Contact:   Instagram – @liyakbede
Twitter – @liyakebede 

Chanel ImanBlack Models

Chanel Iman Robinson, known commonly today as simply Chanel Iman, is the youngest and most successful African-American High Fashion Model of her time. The Victoria’s Secret “Angel” is well-known for having positive energy and endless legs that have walked countless runways around the world.

|| STATS ||

Name: Chanel Iman

Stepped on the scene: 2006

Most known for: Having the name of a famous brand and model #blessed

Bragging rights: Being funny and sexy and a VS Angel.

Website/contact:   Twitter – @chaneliman  
Instagram – @chaneliman


Senior Class – 2016

OG’s (Original Gangsta’s) in the modelling industry are not made, they are born. Graduating top of in their class and most likely to succeed for their bankable ($) looks…

ImanBlack Models

Iman was born on July 25, 1955, in Mogadishu, Somalia. A student at the University of Nairobi, she was discovered by photographer Peter Beard. Through the 1970s and 1980s, Iman was a favourite model in Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar. Fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent devoted the “African Queen” collection to her. Since retiring from modelling, Iman has done charity work in Somalia, started a cosmetics line and married rocker David Bowie.

|| STATS ||

Name: Iman

Stepped on the scene: A lady never reveals her age

Most known for: Her striking features #rise

Bragging rights: Being married to the one and only David FREAKING Bowie.

Rest In Fashionable and Musical Peace David Bowie x

Website/contact:  Instagram – @the_real_iman

Naomi CampbellBlack models

Supermodel Naomi Campbell was born in London on May 22, 1970. She began modelling at age 15, becoming the first black woman on the cover of French Vogue at 18, and the first black model on the cover of Time. On a few occasions, Campbell’s hot temper got her in trouble with the law. In addition to modelling, Campbell launched a singing career and a perfume.

|| STATS ||

Name: Naomi Campbell

Stepped on the scene: 1988

Most known for: Throwing a mobile at her assistant #onhold

Bragging rights: Being herself and NEVER compromising for the business

Website/contact:   Instagram – @iamnaomicampbell
Twitter – @naomicampbell

Tyra BanksBlack Models

While Tyra Banks is known for her personality, there is no denying the fact that she has achieved a lot as a black supermodel. If you watched the series America’s Next Top Model, then you know the history of her career. Before she entered the world of commercial modelling, she was a high fashion model first. Since then, she was featured on numerous magazine covers. Tyra Banks is also the first black model to be featured as a cover on the Victoria’s Secret catalogue, on Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue, and on GQ.

|| STATS ||

Name: Tyra Banks

Stepped on the scene: 1989

Most known for: Coining the phrase: “You are not America’s Next Top Model.” #winning

Bragging rights: First black model on Sports Illustrated and GQ cover + her T-Zone community

Website/contact:  Instagram – @tyrabeauty  Youtube – tyrabanks
twitter – @tyrabeauty

Tyson BeckfordBlack Models

Born in New York, Tyson lived in Jamaica until the age of seven and now makes his home in New York. When he is not modelling or acting, Tyson is busy developing his MotorSports interests, which has led him to become a licensed driving member of Supertuners and host of his own auto show.

|| STATS ||

Name: Tyson Beckford

Stepped on the scene: 1992

Most known for: Being in Toni Braxton’s ‘Unbreak My Heart’ video clip #relationshipgoals

Bragging rights: Being in a serious motorcycle accident in the 90s (that scarred his face) and bouncing back even more sexier than before. Savage.

Website/contact:     Instagram – @tysonbeckford
twitter – TysonCBeckford


“It’s not who does it first, it’s who does it best.”





This article was written by Margretta Sowah; a freelance writer and Fashion Marketer based in Sydney. All opinions expressed are her own. She cannot be held liable for bad taste. She also likes to spin yarn from time to time. Read more:

Signs | #WednesdayWonders


I once read a quote that said; maybe forgiveness is not a roar of confidence or thunderclaps of epiphanies, but sadness quietly picking up its things and disappearing silently into the night.

Is Fashion Feminist?

fashion feminist


By Margretta Sowah
Twitter – @bohomags

Once upon a time it was easy to spot an honest person – they exuded purpose. In the 21st century of political correctness, being honest is a double edge sword. Look at it this way; if integrity and fairness were as celebrated and engaged with as war, the world would be a different place.

The honest truth: Feminism is far from its full actualisation. Can fashion aid in the advancement of this honest cause; being the Mecca of expressionism expressed, in conceptualised styli-fication? – talk about a mouthful! Let’s explore.

Act like a woman

fashion feminist
fashion feminist
fashion feminist

When a woman compliments another woman it can be taken as shade. When a man compliments a woman, he is taken seriously. How does that work? Fashion is intrinsically feminine – the advertisement is geared to prickling women’s sensors, educing an almost septic reaction; the hand reaching for the credit card, a gush instils as the bag handle does a body exchange.

Yes, fashion is feminine. But is it feminist? Not to go into an issue much more complex than the average trending topic, feminism is the right and acknowledgement of equality over both genders. This is referring to not only social issues (raising a family on their own, personal safety, allowing for political correctness etc) but psychological thought patterns as well. The last headlining feministic stunt in fashion was CHANEL’s Paris Fashion Week show in 2014. Top models such as Gisele Bündchen and Cara Delevingne walked down the runway, asking for change over designer microphones.

Society as a whole is for feminism, I believe, as mothers are the matriarchal image of the female spirit… perhaps that is where we get our wires crossed. Women in the 21st century do not want to be just mothers. We want – no deserve – to have it all; at least how men are seen to have. The problem is putting these two worlds together – having a family and being part of a system or being the ‘woman most envied’; all aided by brand [x] perfume No.69. You can’t be vain and loving at the same time, right?

These opposing images make for an interesting and almost comical reaction to fashion in feminism. Since the burning of the bra – or at least Madonna’s Jean Paul Gaultier cone bra from the Blond Ambition tour of 1990 (I was only one at the time!); fashion has always been a tool at our disposal. Whether this power pushes for societal changes or personal expression is yet to be seen in any other form but misunderstanding by already set standards.

Think like a man

adrog fashion
be a man
fashion feminist

Women’s rights are a huge driving force for societal changes as are male rights too… so what about the transgender issues? Surely feminism, in its purest form, is to protect and respect the rights and wishes of men who are now women also? Does it work that way?

I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again: the industry is perhaps one of the few platforms we have to express opinions. We need advocates from all subcultures and markets to fight this problem. What can’t be done about this is nothing. The gay and lesbian community is a big part of the fashion economy, with glitterati’s like Brian Boy & André Leon Talley being public fashion and cultural figures in their own right.

Their voices on feminism issues are invaluable. Men are seen as go-getters, always on the hunt, – check out my post on the Male Model Stereotype – succeeding by any means possible (survival of the fittest or finest? A discussion for another time).

It’s no secret men dominate the industry with most designers of womenswear being male (over 65%). We are used to this. We don’t question it. Houses like Prada and Versace come from male conceptions, being adaptive as the years have past. Women such as Miuccia Prada, Diane Von Furstenberg, Stella McCartney, Donna Karen and even Mary Katrantzou are pushing for the acknowledgement (and equal pay) of female designers in any market.

One writer wrote in their article Are Fashion and Feminism compatible; “Fashion is, by its nature, entirely bipolar. You can love it, live for it; invest all your time/money/energy in it, but clearly what it says today will in no way reflect what it says in six months’ time. Indeed, surely the entire point of fashion is that it mustn’t really believe in anything…” (via The Guardian).

Whether or not the author’s opinion is valid, it sure makes for an interesting point. It is not fashion that gives us something to believe in but us that gives fashion its meaning. Never forget that. If we believe fashion is not feminist then it won’t be.

Fashion in the future

future fashion
futuristic fashion
fashion feminist

If you follow Pantone on social media you would have seen their Colour of the Year release. For 2016 the colour(s) of the year are Rose Quartz and Serenity. To the untrained eye these colours are just baby pink and baby blue, but those in the industry see a link between society’s outcry for gender-equality, even if it starts from something as simple (and effective) as colour.

The colour of the year, explained by Pantone, is: “A symbolic color selection; a color snapshot of what we see taking place in our culture that serves as an expression of a mood and an attitude. In many parts of the world we are experiencing a gender blur as it relates to fashion, which has in turn impacted color trends throughout all other areas of design.

This more unilateral approach to color is coinciding with societal movements toward gender equality and fluidity, the consumer’s increased comfort with using color as a form of expression, a generation that has less concern about being typecast or judged and an open exchange of digital information that has opened our eyes to different approaches to color usage.”

The most important point to take out is consumers hold the key to changes. That’s right. You and I hold the power to change how things are sold to us. Will it be enough to break the line of equality and fairness? We can only tell one stitch (and swipe) at a time.

If fashion is meant to be an expressive force, let’s make sure what we are expressing is the truth – even if it’s honestly ugly.


This article was written by Margretta Sowah; a freelance writer and Fashion Marketer based in Sydney. All opinions expressed are her own. She cannot be held liable for bad taste. She also likes to spin yarn from time to time. Read more:

CALLING ALL POETS, spoken word artists, raconteurs, stand-up poets and slam champs…

Poetry&Words at Glastonbury Festival

2016 is awaiting your assault on the bastion of beastly wordsmithery in the freakish fields of Worthy…

Lo! We at Poetry&Words are once again opening the floodgates to all you wizardly wonderful poetry fiends. So, if YOU want to perform your work on Glastonbury Festival’s poetry stage, then this is your chance! We’re looking for applications from experienced writers and performers, with something quite excellent to offer the audience of the world’s biggest greenfield arts festival.

If you think that could be you, then please e-mail with a short Bio and 1-3 video and/or audio files of you performing your work, preferably to a live audience. We’d prefer web links, but attachments (of manageable size!) will also be accepted. We will only view one application per person. Further applications will be ignored, so send us your best stuff first time around! Don’t send Word files of your poems or…

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Notes to self | #FBF


What a blessing it is to begin again!

Happy new year

M x