Salmah Guzel takes a calculated risk in Olajumoke with its SS16 collection

Every season, design labels have to play a calculated game of numbers in the presentation of their new work. This is a game that even world class labels with loyal following and extensive decades long pedigree must engage in to ensure each collection gains maximum impact.

There is always the all-important decision of choosing a model to front the editorial and advertising campaign. Choosing a fresh face ensures that the clothes remain the focus of the collection, but choosing a buzz name (a term used to describe models who can generate social media interest and come with their own fan bases) can also ensure that a struggling label gets a foot in the door.

Emerging womenswear label Salmah Guzel has debuted it’s Spring 16 collection, choosing to take the gamble of using buzz model Olajumoke Orisaguna to front its editorial campaign. This gamble seems to have paid off, as it draws the attention of the fashion industry to a little known label. Once the initial draw of Orisaguna passes and you take more than a cursory glance at the clothes, you are quickly underwhelmed.

The collection was very much inspired by my grandma who was a seamstress and made quite a few special pieces for me growing up. The styles and cuts are very reminiscent of some of the pieces I saw her make, but with the Salmah Guzel woman in mind. Oriental regions also largely influence the collection; this is seen in the kimono sleeves, cape dresses and the rich colour and fabric choices. We play around with the silhouettes, from chic structured pieces to more relaxed, and flowy compositions epitomizing the elegance and style of the Salmah Guzel woman.

 The term ‘Oriental’ itself is considered by many people of Asian descent as Asia encompasses several hundred distinct cultures and  influences, and is similar to people saying that a collection is inspired by Africa.
 The closest that Guzel comes to referencing Asia in the collection is a wide sleeved blouson that vaguely resembles a Japanese kimono made from Organza, a fabric so ridiculously unmanageable, most designers only use it for underskirting. Other than a pair of wide leg art silk pants that feature abstract florals, the collection is made almost entirely from copper, gold and silver lamé fabrics in conventional silhouettes which in some ways harkens more to the disco era of the 70’s rather than vintage inspired looks.
It is somewhat disappointing that Guzel references these period rich eras and cultures and doesn’t quite do anything with these references.

To get in touch with Salmah Guzel: Instagram: @salmahguzel | Email:[email protected]

Photography: Obi Somto
Models: Olajumoke Orisaguna and Uju Obijiaku
Olajumoke’s Make Up: Bimpe Onakoya
Uju’s Make Up: BM Pro
Hair: Korede Lucky
Stylist: Salmah Guzel

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