The African woman is elegant, she is royal, she stands her own ground with poise and she is dressed impeccably.
Portrait of A Lady
Captured in an array of colors from sunny yellow to vibrant red, deep blue and royal green, Sai Sankoh released her stunning collection, ‘Portrait of A Lady,’ and used inspiration from Ghana, Italy and most profoundly her Sierra Leonean heritage. In her kaftans and outfits, she pays homage to Africa and mentioned to me in an exclusive interview, that in her designs, “you see the landscape, you see the natural beauty (of Africa), and of course you see, all the colorful prints- as I (Sankoh) did when I was growing up.”
In an interview with Sankoh, she highlights the common narrative that, ‘black women are strong, they can handle everything.’ With her collection, Portrait of A Lady, she aims to portray the black woman as art, “she can also be vulnerable, she’s also a soft creature, she has all the great traits, and she is also a gentle soul.” The title of the collection fuses brilliantly with the photographs as Dosha Deng, the model, poses eloquently against a backdrop of flora and fauna, stone sculptures of Greek Gods and angels. The photographs of the collection, arranged by Diamond Mahone and captured by Obidi Nzeribe, emulate all the inspiration that Sankoh cultivated into creating signature kaftans, cover ups as well as couture level gowns. From incorporating about 50% of her Sierra Leonean heritage in her designs, as she explored in the interview, ‘I’m still sticking to the vibrant colors, and that is what we’re known for there (in Sierra Leone).’ Through the collection, not only does Sai Sankoh display beautiful rich colors, and designs, she also highlights the confident, beautiful, captivating African lady.
Shop the collection on her website: ,,www.saisankoh.com
Sai Sankoh, born in Sierra Leone, living in the States for 20 years and most recently moved to Dallas 4 years ago, was a pediatric nurse before starting her line a mere 18 months ago. She started off as a fashion blogger in 2009, and since then has grown her brand, finding a way to monetize her passion. Sankoh began to aggregate a platform to bring customers together in an interface to interact with red carpet looks, celebrity outfits, and find places to buy the designs or lookbooks. She exclaimed in an interview, ‘ Everybody wants to know who Beyonce is wearing, not that most of us can afford it, but we still want to know!’ Thereafter, she started to notice a mismatch between pieces adorned by models and the pieces sold in the stores. This avenue in the fashion industry is where Sankoh found her niche, and began to integrate her personal style, solid bright colors and African prints into designs that she had envisioned. Sankoh says that, Africa is, ‘my biggest source of inspiration, it’s basically shaped me to be the woman that I am right now, and all my life encounters, my childhood and my upbringing are reflected in my designs.’
Inspiring African Designers
Sankoh would like her growth as a brand to serve as an inspiration for people in Africa, showing that, “hey, okay if this girl can do it, so can I,” she says. Right now, in the midst of the pandemic, Sankoh believes that we all have a level playing field, and can accentuate our brand from anywhere in the world. She encourages young African women and men alike with a passion for fashion to use social media as an avenue to reach out to people all over the world, showcase designs and pieces, and grow into something larger.
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