Ghanaian based label, Totally Ethnik has made a name for itself with its superlative tailoring and Afrocentric collections. For the label’s Spring 16 collection, it charts new territory, substituting African prints for tropical inspired elements themed ‘Birds of Paradise‘. It is a measured gamble, one that simultaneously succeeds and fails on various levels.
The Birds of Paradise theme mostly refers to the only print used in the collection; colourful tropical birds perched on tree branches. While the term Birds of Paradise evokes a lot of visual accents, beading and embroidery, bright prints and iridescent fabric and maybe even feathers; the colour palette, Totally Ethink employs for the collection is very muted, yellows and blues and reds and the occasional tropical print.
The label replicates many of its design staples, textured capes and pencil skirt. It tries out new ideas as well, formal crop tops are a huge trend in the collection, as are brooch embellishments and mesh paneling that bears striking similarities to the Wanger Ayu ‘A little Blue Life’ Spring 16 collection.
There are also the beautiful art silk varsity jackets with loose sleeves that we think will become a big hit.
Ultimately, Totally Ethnik’s Spring 16 collection is too much of a good thing.
This is the label’s most expansive collection, featuring forty looks. Even a cursory scrutiny reveals that that the editorial should have been curated more shrewdly, there are too many repetitive looks and variations of basic styles with little or no difference. Proper curating would have brought the editorial’s forty five looks down to at least thirty and would have conveyed the general themes of the new collection more succinctly.
There is also the reptilian brooches used to detail some of the skirts in the collection. Apart from throwing off the theme, they distract from the collection and lend an air of gaudiness to the clothes. They should have been done away with all together. Three seasons in, the label’s preoccupation with identically replicating several items from it’s old collection in the new collection’s fabric is starting to turn from archival inspiration a lack of innovation. And that is quite disappointing.
Models: Chantell Dapaah & Ama Yirebi
Makeup Artist: Maquillage by Abena Marie Kipre