Not doing anything this Friday, May 24th? Come hang at Space 15 Twenty with Della, DJ Amy Pham, and see a performance by Faarrow! This week is the last week that our mega cool Zamrock-inspired pop-up shop, BAZAAAAAR, will be open in Los Angeles, so don't miss out! Plus I suggest you check out the exclusive collaboration Urban Outfitters currently has with Della. There are some pretty beautiful pieces in the collection. Stop by from 7pm - 10pm! —Maddie
Selorm "Nii" Addotey, co-founder of Della, recently took the time to tell us what it's like to have the business located on his front lawn—and his dream superpower, of course.
Hi Nii! What is your role at Della?
I’m the co-founder, and I basically run everything on the Ghana side of Della. I check in on the ladies to make sure the production schedule is running smoothly. I fix machines when they break. Some days I cut fabric for the upcoming projects. Now that Rachael is here and we have more help, I don’t do much of the administrative stuff.
How did you get involved with Della?
I’ve been involved from the start. I met Tina [other co-founder] at a drinking bar in Hohoe four days before she was leaving back home, and we became fast friends. She had some bags made from a seamstress in town and told me she wanted to see how they would do in America. I knew the Ghanaian culture and everything she needed to keep it going, so I helped out from here. I have worked with Della ever since.
Since you’ve been with Della since the beginning, how have you seen it grow?
It started with me, Tina and one seamstress. We didn’t even own sewing machines. Now, we have a facility full of sewing machines and more than 18 employees. We are giving members of the community regular income, which is great. I never expected it to grow like this. For the fact that we’ve been in business for almost three years now, I think we are doing well. If we have done these last three years, we can do another three and then another. There is a bright future here.
What made you interested in the mission of Della?
Tina and I built a friendship before we built a business partnership. I liked Tina and her vision, so I wanted to make her ideas work. I see myself as an entrepreneur, and I like helping businesses grow.
What do you and your friends do when you hang out?
As entrepreneurs, we think about the future and ideas. I have a large porch, so my friends and I often sit through the night, listen to music and talk. Sometimes we talk politics or music. I also like going to the beach when I get the chance.
What kind of music do you listen to?
Reggae. I only listen to Reggae and Craig David, a British singer. My roommate played him all the time at polytechnic, so I started to like him.
What’s it like having Della in your front yard?
I had the intention of running my porridge company in the rooms next to my house, but those plans changed when we started Della. I was planning on using it for a business anyways, so it’s not too bad. I am always on call. Even when I am sleeping, I am only a few feet away from the work.
Do you and the ladies hang out together?
We had a Della party at Obama Gardens when we launched our line with Apple. We were the first to supply cases to Apple from Sub-Sahara Africa, so we had a lot to celebrate. I drank and danced with the ladies. We got cake. After working hard for weeks on the order, we were able to hang out as friends and celebrate together.
Three words to describe yourself.
Brave. Serious. Brilliant.
Where do you see Della in five years?
In three years, we are already international. So that means in five years, the sky is the limit. I’d like a new production center with more workers. We could maybe have more than 100 workers. I’d like to have a vocational school with accreditation, so we can not only employ already certified seamstresses, but give interested people training and then give them employment. I don’t know what the future holds, but it is exciting.
If you were an animal, what would you be?
A lion, king of the forest!
If you could have one superpower, what would it be?
It would be cool if I could snap my fingers and marijuana would appear any time I wanted. And it could disappear, too.
Do you have any secret skills?
I cook. I don’t do it often, but when I do, it’s good. I’m good at every local food, especially ground nut soup.
What do you want people know about Ghana?
In Africa, Ghana is a gateway to Africa. Since history, Ghana has set the pace as a leader and peaceful country to live in.
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These NPW nail wraps are super easy to use, and that's coming from someone who is mostly a disaster whirlwind when it comes to anything that is vaguely related to "doing" beauty. If you don't have the time to paint beautiful (but hard) flowers all over your nails, look no further than these flowery nail wraps. I'll even break down the (super easy) steps for you. —Katie
NPW Nail Wraps
(Even my sweaty hands couldn't mess this up.)
Step one: Peel off nail decal
These decals are not super flimsy and are easy to pull off the paper, so you'll have to try pretty hard to fuck them up. (Just make sure you don't go getting your grubby hands all over the sticker part, because then they won't stick as well, obviously.)
Step two: Put it on your nail
These Nailwraps have good adhesive on them, which is a must for nail decals. (After messing around with several brands of decals, we realized how important getting the right amount of "sticky" is.) The good thing with these is that you can readjust if you mess up the placement the first time, and they still go on smoothly.
(See? So easy!)
Step three: File off excess
Unless you have beautiful talons (I have stumpy baby nails :c), you will have some excess nail decal hanging off your nail. Sand it off. You don't have to go nuts with it; the file will take the decal off smoothly, and it's better to just gently rub, so as not to get a jagged line.
Step four: Topcoat, y'all
You don't need a topcoat with these since they're a durable vinyl, but it certainly won't hurt. In case your topcoat is buried in a gigantic tub of cosmetics and you can't be bothered, your nails will still hold up on their own, but a topcoat will make them last a good deal longer.
(My nailbeds suck.)
Step five: Admire
Honestly, this entire process took me about 10 minutes, and my friends were complimenting my nails all weekend long. It made me feel like a nail wizard. You'll definitely want to do some gratuitous Instagramming. Trust.
It's the last week to shop BAZAAAAAAR, our zamrock inspired L.A. and NYC based pop-ups that have limited-edition and custom made apparel, housewares and art. The L.A. BAZAAAAAAR closes on Monday, May 27 and NYC closes on June 2, so if there's something you've got your eye on, you'll want to get out there soon! All outfits in these photos were shot with clothing and accessories from the pop-up, including brands Osei Duro, Fashion Rising, Bombe Surprise, Makono, Tallow, African Lookbook, and a dress from our very own Marissa Maximo. These pieces are available only in our pop-up shops, so you don't want to miss this!
Gabi Gregg, AKA fashion blogger Gabi Fresh, helped develop a 5-piece capsule collection for swimsuitsforall.com and it's now available to order online! The suits range from sizes 10-24, and are all made in amazing neons and prints (like SPACE PRINT). Plus, how can you not love her Spring Breakers references in the pics? —Katie
Esenam was one of Della's first employees, and over the last three years has worked her way up to head seamstress. She lets us know what it's really like working with the other women on the Della team (hint: lots of fun).
Where did you work before Della?
I was a nanny. I loved the kids, but I wanted to start working as a seamstress, so I started looking and found Della when a friend told me about them. Della is my first actual sewing job, and I really enjoy it.
What is your role now?
I was one of the first to be at Della, so I am a leader. My teammates come to me when they need jobs to do and I assign them different tasks, like sewing parts of a bag or cutting more fabric.
What’s it like working with the other women on the team? Are you all close?
It’s cool. Everybody is friendly! We laugh and talk to each other a lot. We laugh when someone makes a mistake. When we were doing the moto jackets, someone sewed the sleeve upside down so the armpit was facing the wrong way. We laughed and teased her about it. We always laugh. Everybody is close.
Do you have any secret talents, or is there anything in particular you do to make people laugh?
Acting! I love it. I like to fool around and have fun. Once I was acting in a scene where I had a sick daughter and the husband couldn’t afford the hospital bills. I had to act really, really mad. It was fun because I didn’t know I could act to that extent.
What kind of music do you listen to?
Hip-hop. I like 50 Cent, Snoop Dogg, Rhianna and Beyonce. My siblings usually bring new music to our house, so I am always discovering new music from them.
What is a traditional Ghanaian style of dress?
We like to wear traditional clothing called a slit and kabba to church. The slit is a floor length skirt and the kabba is a top made in a matching fabric. You don’t buy slit and kabba in the store; they are custom-made for each person. I have so many of them I can’t count! On normal days, I prefer to wear simple clothes, like jeans and a t-shirt.
What’s a normal, jeans-and-a-t-shirt day like for you in Hohoe?
I like to stay in the house. I watch movies a lot! I can spend the whole day watching movies! I like American movies and television, like The Vampire Diaries and Twilight, but I don’t let my children watch those with me. We watch cartoons together, like Barbie.
The Vampire Diaries is definitely worth watching all day. What are your children like?
When I was seven months pregnant, my sister unexpectedly passed away during her son’s birth. With the help of my mother, we adopted him. Chris, my son, and Na, my daughter, are now five. My mom stays at the house watching the kids while I’m at work. As a single mother in Ghana, it is very difficult. You get judged. If you have a child out of wedlock, people talk about you. I don’t care what people think. We are a happy and healthy family, and that is all that matters.
Totally agree. Aside from providing for your family, what are your goals for the future?
I want to open an orphanage. When I see children on the streets every day, I feel bad for them. They are in the hot sun and have to sell things just to get by. There are so many orphanages that say they are first class, but they are not. Everyone has to share things from toys to even beds. Some babies even sleep in chairs. I want every child to be comfortable. I want them to have time for their books so that they can prepare for their future. I don’t want them to feel that if their parents were alive, things would be different.
Shop Della x UO
Hi Marcello! Can you tell us what you do at UO?
I'm the Men's shoe specialist and self-proclaimed MAAC-ster (Master of Men's Accessories). I work at the Gaslamp location in San Diego, CA. We've got our own hashtag, #27killz.
Can you tell us what you're wearing?
I'm wearing the Hawaiian Print Shirt by CPO with my Hawkings McGill Cutoff Chino shorts and my TOMS.
You're rockin' the Zach Braff in Garden State look today (but like a cool Zach Braff). What's your daily style like?
I draw style from a lot of different places. I love Kramer's style (from Seinfeld) because his patterns are always on point, but I also love denim jackets and vests and band shirts. If I gave it a name, it'd be "punk-rock Kramer", haha.
By the way, how do you feel about Garden State? People still tend to have a lot of feelings about that movie.
I love it! The story is great, plus I've been a fan of Zach Braff since he was on Scrubs, and I've always had a thing for Natalie Portman. I heard Zach Braff was making a follow-up to that movie and I couldn't be more stoked to see it.
What's the general style like out in San Diego?
Ironically enough I feel like my outfit in the photo describes San Diego style perfectly, haha. Shorts/swim trunks and patterned button-up combinations are literally everywhere I go.
Are there any new styles/trends coming into the store that you're pumped to wear? I am not mad at all about the resurgence of Zubaz.
My favorite part of summer time at Urban is the swim trunk collection we get so I'm super psyched about those. I've also recently become a big Nike fan so I love the Rosheruns we've been getting.
Where can we find you online?
You can see what I'm thinking on Twitter, what I'm eating on Instagram, what I'm listening to on tumblr, and watch me on Vine, @marcelloisgreat.
(Photos via Stephanie Sian Smith)
Bombe Surprise is a London-based fashion label run by Nina Ribena, and it is currently featured at our Bazaaaaar store pop-ups. We recently spoke to Nina about the story behind her brand.
Can you give our readers a little background on yourself?
I’m Nina, and I’m from London and still live here. I did a film degree at the London College of Communication but hated it so I decided to teach myself how to sew and here I am, five years later!
Where does the name “Bombe Surprise” come from?
I spent ages trying to think of a name for my label but everything I was coming up with didn’t really work. My friend used to run a club night called Bombe Surprise and as soon as I heard the name it just made sense. I think Bombe Surprise is actually a French dessert but I take it to mean a collection of different types of weird and wonderful ideas!
How long have you been designing clothes?
I made my first outfit for myself five years ago. It was a blue catsuit with red strawberries on it. People liked what I was doing so I started a label for one-pieces called We Are All in One. As I started to get better at designing and making clothes I ventured into the world of separates and that’s when I started Bombe Surprise.
Your line can be found on Etsy. How do you think Etsy has changed fashion?
It has definitely made my designs a lot more internationally accessible. Most of my orders are from customers in the U.S. If you don’t look at fashion blogs or have your designs stocked in other shops, then I’m not sure how people would find my label without the help of Etsy!
What made you decide to start using the patterns that you do? Where did they originate? Are they traditional African patterns?
I used to work solely with jersey and stretch materials and it’s quite hard to find good patterns in those fabrics. When I found the wax fabric that I use now, I jumped on it straight away because it’s what I’d always been looking for! When I decided I wanted to make a whole collection out of it I looked into the history of it and found that the prints actually originated in Indonesia. They weren’t very popular there and were copied and imported by mostly Dutch tradesmen and shipped over to their posts in Africa where they really took off and became part of, and widely associated with, African fashion and culture. I wanted to connect that to the multicultural identity of my own background, and to how London is this great big melting pot of different cultures. There’s an artist called Yinka Shonibare that does a lot of work around the same subject.
Maxi skirts are all over the place right now, and we should all rejoice. Don't feel like shaving your legs? Throw on a maxi! Don't feel like having your organs crunched by high-waisted denim? Throw on a maxi! Don't feel like taking off your PJ pants? Take 'em off, and throw on a maxi! With maxis you get to feel easy breezy and look good with almost no effort. It's a win/win! Here are some of our favorites. —Katie
The Reformation X Urban Renewal Bowery Maxi Skirt
Urban Renewal Button Front Maxi Skirt
Sparkle & Fade Silky Ombre Maxi Skirt
Ecote Double Slit Maxi Skirt
Pins And Needles Silky Double-Slit Maxi Skirt
Ecote Lace-Block Knit Maxi Skirt
Silence & Noise Geo Print High-Slit Maxi Skirt
Rachael Curtin is the production manager at Della, and we recently spoke to her about how she came to work at Della, her favorite places in Ghana, and her newfound tolerance for spicy food.
Where did you go to school? What was your major?
I went to the University of Notre Dame. I majored in French and minored in European Studies. Naturally I never imagined I would be working at a place like Della, though I never knew anything like Della existed. Now I can safely say we were meant to be.
How did dorm and college life prepare you for living in Ghana?
When deadlines come, it’s like finals week. Sometimes it lasts quite a bit longer than your average end of semester freak out, though we manage it!
How did you become part of the Della team?
I first heard about Della while teaching English on an island east of Madagascar. My roommate heard about the job from a manager who was about to leave Della. Knowing my hobbies and interests, she recommended I apply for the position. I did and haven’t looked back.
What is your favorite Della product?
Definitely the bralette. I love that every square inch of the piece was touched by at least 60 hands. They were a labor of love, from the actual making of the batik cloth and the cutting, pinning, and sewing to the adjusters, buttons and button holes. To wear one is an absolute treat. Although I wear it here with a knee-length high-waisted white skirt, I can’t wait to go back to the US and wear it with some high-waisted jean shorts. Those don’t fly here because in Ghana we do not show thigh!
What’s your favorite place in Ghana?
Ghana is scorching hot, so I love to be near the ocean. There is a beautiful area where Lake Volta meets the sea and you need a boat to go anywhere. On a recent trip, a friend and I had to put his motorcycle in a canoe to get to our hotel called Meet Me There. It was well worth the hassle, with a diving platform off the restaurant into a lagoon, a five dollar a night beach hut and a wild ocean front, free of tourists.
What’s a typical day like for you in Hohoe?
A typical day involves a lot of walking/running/biking around town, various Della-related people coming to me to tell me anything from we lost a screw to there’s a goat in the office, and I brief the women on the day’s expectations after greeting them all and answer any questions they might have about anything.
What’s your favorite Ghanaian dish?
When I came, my diet consisted of mangos, popcorn, random sautéed vegetables and “red red”, which is a mixture of black-eyed peas, cabbage, ground up cassava, palm nut oil and fried plantains. Everything I ate was free of fish and not spicy at all. Now, I go out to restaurants with a plethora of international food choices and end up ordering something Ghanaian off of the menu. I order my salads with sardines now, and my rice with extra spicy sauce. I find that I enjoy the food more and more with time, although I do wish I had a bag of Cheetos and some Greek yogurt right now…
Would you recommend traveling and working abroad?
Certainly. I’ve traveled and worked abroad in three different countries, and each one has shaped me in different ways. They were perfect stepping stones to Ghana, and I only hope there will be another one. I’m generally a pretty easy-going person, and it might be because of that. Ghana has definitely presented a fair share of challenges, but I’ve never felt that I couldn’t tackle them head-on. Maybe it’s because I know climbing to the summit of Piton des Neiges was a lot more difficult?
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OMG, just looking at this picture makes me want to cry. It's been 15 years since the season finale of Seinfeld aired, and yet it's still one of the most relevant TV shows that's being reran today. Okay, maybe the clothing is a little different (but not too far off from some of the trends of late, especially those of Elaine's), but the cast, their friendships, and their stories are timeless and will forever be relatable. We've all had out own Seinfeld moments in life, so I'd like to take the time to honor some of those hand-to-face moments with the help of some of my favorite Seinfeldian words. —Ally
I was super bummed when I was ten and my camo bucket hat flew off my head while boating, but I'm even sadder now because that hat was way ahead of the game. Fashion dudez know bucket hats have been coming on strong for the past few seasons on the runway, in lookbooks from steezy Japanese brands, and soon, rested comfortably atop your domepiece. It's finally hot most places (sorry if it's snowy where you are) and we've got your easily-sunburnt ears covered with a selection of bucket hats from legendary brands like Stussy, Penfield and L.A. streetwear mainstay Undefeated. Just be careful on boats. —Angelo
Undefeated Bucket Hat
Perfect for expert level jungle creepin'.
Stussy Camouflage Bucket Hat
Very chill safari life.
Penfield Baker Bucket Hat
#floralife, like grandma's couch but cool and not smelling like Lucky Strikes.
Undefeated U-Man Bucket Hat
It's like the cool bucket hat version of those preppy shorts with embroidered penguins and boats.
Ruby Gbassakpo, a head seamstress at Della, spoke to us about what it's like living in Ghana, her plans to open her own sewing shop, and her favorite American music (Celine Dion!).
Where did you work before Della and how did you become part of the team?
I was a cleaning lady at the hospital. I didn’t like it because I wasn’t using any of the skills I learned from my sewing apprentice. Esenam’s [another seamstress] mom worked at the hospital, and we became fast friends. When Esenam found out I had my sewing certificate, she told me about Della. I quit my job at the hospital and started working at Della soon after. My first day, I worked on small tasks, like making piping and fixing labels. I have worked here for two and a half years now, and I am considered a leader among the ladies. I am very happy here.
What do you and the ladies talk about during the work day?
Sometimes we discuss about our boyfriends and we laugh at them. We like to make fun of each other. When someone sews a Della label on backwards, we tease them. We also like to sing gospel songs together while we sew.
What do you like to do for fun?
I listen to American music like R. Kelly, Celine Dion and Whitney Houston. I like watching Ghanaian and Nigerian TV and films. My favorite American movie is Romeo and Juliet. I read everything. My boyfriend and I like to go out to eat together at restaurants. I go to church every Sunday, and I am always singing and dancing there.
Do you have any beauty secrets?
It takes me two minutes to get ready in the morning because of my hair is in braids. Every month I get paid, I change my hairstyle. I always wear skirts and tops. I get my toenails painted every week at my friend’s salon.
Do you have any children?
Carine, my daughter, is 9 and a half years old. I have tried to teach her to sew before, but she doesn’t like it. She wants to be a doctor.
Where did you learn your craft? How long have you been sewing?
I started my sewing apprenticeship with a madam seven years ago, and it took me three years to complete.
Do you ever wear your own creations?
I sew my own dresses. I don’t have a sewing machine at my own house, so I haven’t made as much for myself as I’d like.
What is your favorite Della product?
I like making the laptop cases. We were making them the first day I came here, and it still remains my favorite thing to make.
Do you have a secret talent?
I am a singer. I sing gospel songs at work while I am sewing. I also sing at church in a choir.
Do you cook? What’s your specialty?
I cook for me and my daughter when I have the time. My favorite food to make is banku with okra and green leaf soup. I enjoy going to the market and buying the ingredients, sometimes off of people’s heads. My daughter and I try to eat together every evening.
What do you want people to know about Ghana?
We have a lot of things here. We have freedom and self-expression. Everyone is unique. The waterfalls are a miracle and they are worth it to come and see.
What are your goals for the future?
I’d like to open my own sewing shop in Hohoe. I also want my daughter to go to college and get a good education.
Shop Della x UO
(Photo credit: David Perez)
Last night was the opening night of our NYC Bazaaaaar Pop-Up store, and to celebrate, we had an opening party, complete with an appearance by Tina Tangalakis from Della, with Wynn from Twin Shadow DJing. Plenty of people turned out to check out the collection, which features pieces from Osei Duro, Fashion Rising, African Lookbook, Obj and Totem, and more. If you missed the party, don't worry! The pop-up shop will be running at our 5th Ave. store until June 2nd, which leaves you plenty of time for browsing. —Katie
If you're in L.A. tonight, be sure to stop by the Bazaaaar pop-up at Space 15 Twenty (1520 N. Cahuenga Blvd.) for a special evening with clothing line Osei Duro and artist Megan Whitmarsh! Come by from 7-10pm to take part in a live fashion meets art show, with live drawing! The audience is highly encouraged to participate! DJ Al Dente and DJ Last Looks will also be there in order for you to get your groove on. RSVP on Facebook! - Maddie
Hi Anna! What do you do at UO?
Hello, blog team! I am the women's department manager at Urban Outfitters on Rush St. in Chicago's magical Gold Coast neighborhood.
Can you tell us what you're wearing?
It's all thrifted, except the socks are from Urban. The '90s mom jeans I thrifted in Omaha, Nebraska (where I'm from); everything else I scored in Chicago.
Did you make your shirt, or thrift it? What are your favorite thrift stores in Chicago?
Well, both! I found this amazing Simpsons printed flat sheet for 50 cents at the Village Discount Outlet in Irving Park in Chicago and couldn't pass it up. I thought maybe I'd make it into curtains or something. Then my best friend, Lauren (a fashion student and sales associate at the Urban in London, UK), designed an outfit from the fabric when she was here for a visit recently. There's a matching skirt, too!
I'm obsessed with thrifting, and Chicago is home to some of my favorite thrift stores. I love the Village Discount Outlet in Logan Square. It's a massive space, not the kind of thrift store you can peruse if you have only 10 minutes to kill. You gotta commit to an hour at least and do a lot of digging. But it's worth it when you leave with a garbage bag full of treasure!
But seriously, that Simpsons tank is amazing. Who is your favorite character on The Simpsons?
Ralph! He has some of the best quotes on the show. "Eww, Daddy, this tastes like Grandma!"
Do you love donuts the way Homer loves donuts? Any favorite donut places in Chicago? (MMM, donuts.)
That's a tough passion to rival. No, Homer has me beat. But I do love Glazed and Infused in Chicago's Wicker Park neighborhood. They make some really creative donuts, like Peach Iced Tea or Blackberry Goat Cheese.
Where can we find you online?
I have an Instagram page where I post a lot of thrifted looks. Annarifraf is me!