Serwah Asante’s Xo Asante has grown from small origins as Rue 114, born in 2012 in New York City, into a pan-African brand totally invested in representing and promoting Asante’s Ghanaian heritage, Asante’s New Yorker sensibilities and inspired by her extensive travels around the world. The label’s new collection ‘African Barbie’ is a literal juxtaposition of the world beloved Barbie aesthetic with obvious African inspired elements.
Collaborating with Christie O Designs and Helen Hamptons for her accessories (the snazzy tie-dye print sneakers and Hollandais wax hats,) Asante takes the tie dye technique and works it to her advantage, creating kaleidoscopic motifs that run repeatedly through the collection.
She also works with wax dyeing, creating more detailed and less abstract motifs, and rounds out the collection with some African inspired print wax. By choosing prints that are already well established as African and working them on modern fabrics like neoprene and stretch cotton, she gives herself the freedom to look fully to the West when considering silhouettes.
Slinky bodycon dresses dominate the collection, as do print blazers and pencil skirts, pleating, suspenders, high-waisted pants and mismatched. The overall effect is a slink, often tempered by well fitting outerwear and the occasional spot of layering and the occasional piece of menswear (when the designer is so inclined). The styling of the editorial really brings it all together, Asante has an eye for detailing and she puts it to good use.
Models – Liris Crosse, IPM Models|Yewande Olasokan|
Kes Adjekughele|E4 Model Management
Makeup – Christopher Michael
Photography – Ryle Watson
Assistants – Kwesi Oku Ampofo|Yishu Lai
Hats in collaboration with Christy O Designs
Custom Sneakers in collaboration with Helen