- Kristopher Fraser |
Teddy Ondo Ella has brought his eponymous label to New York Fashion Week: Men's, showing at Art Beam this week. In an era of where Black fashion industry professionals are still breaking glass ceilings (hello Edward Enninful at British Vogue), to see one of the few Black designers at New York Fashion Week: Men's celebrating Gabonese culture and giving us what the Twitterverse would deem #BlackExcellence, was refreshing.
The show opened with a drum circle and performance of acrobats, who performed mind boggling stunts, such as stalking on top of each other in a cross formation and tumbling. While the audience was in shock at how they didn't manage to hurt themselves or anyone else, the show and a celebration of Gabon began.
Ondo Ella believes that fashion truly speaks to progress of Gabon and beauty of all African people.
"I think that through fashion, we can easily touch people across the world, because fashion has no borders, because the common denominators is fashion and elegance," he said. "Starting from this principle it is easier to pass messages and to interject people to subjects of which it was not necessarily of interest or knowledge, in my case it is Gabon."
In the true spirit of Gabon, there was no fear of prints, patterns and colors. Models walked the runway in black and yellow checkered pants, blue suits with village pattern prints and geometric pattern shirts that all drew from the beauty of Gabonese inspiration.
There was no shortage of color either, with other looks featuring shades of blue, green, yellow and purple taking us across the rainbow. Fearless could easily describe the collection, as Ondo Ella dared to take an approach few to almost no designers ever have at New York Fashion Week: Men's. At the end of the day, he just wants to bring people together.
"Fashion has the power to unite peoples, I want to share my culture to the maximum to show another image of my country and Africa through my eyes," he said.