Alhajee Sheik Alusine AKA ‘Great Hero’ is a much adored member of the downtown Freetown community. Self described evangelist of love, Hero, spreads the word wherever people are willing to listen. But it’s not just his lessons on life and humanity that make you take notice of this guy, Hero is one of the sharpest dressed men in Freetown and cuts a striking silhouette in whatever he throws on.
In classic Hero style, the great man is sporting a General’s uniform he picked up at the markets, adorned with his very own collection of badges, ” The badges represent my people”, they include such superstars as Sierra Leone’s President Ernest Bai Koroma and Gadaffi. “I love Gadaffi as a brother, he’s an African leader he’s so good”.
If you read the posts of Freetown Fashpack and despair at not having a skerrick of Africana in your wardrobe because you can’t find it in your local shop, then despair no longer. Freetown-based British designer Stephanie Hogg and her ethical and edgy label NearFar is bringing Africana to the world.
Steph’s designs are all about using bold Africana prints but tempering them with refined, classic and tailored silhouettes. Apart from creating some very cool and totally wearable threads, NearFar also provides sustainable employment to local Freetown tailors.
While Steph’s designs are perhaps more subtle than your average Africana explosion, she is inspired by the Africana extremists she sees parading around Freetown. “I love a fish tail, puff sleeve and a shoulder pad in a bold print, I love the showiness of West African Fashions, the ‘look at me’ element is fantastic”, she says.
And look at Steph elegantly modelling her own NearFar ensemble. A classic mini, the popular Tombo Jacket (which was recently worn by Solange freaking Knowles!), a classic tote bag and spectacular headwrap all combine for a balanced yet playful take on the Africana look.
And let’s not forget the wind beneath Steph’s wings, her trusty tailors Vandy and Bobson enjoying the camera in their stunning headwraps.
Check out this short clip (produced by the talented Fid Thompson) to see Steph and her people in action:
For all stockists and the latest catalogue visit the NearFar website here. For those outside of Freetown you will be glady to know that you can purchase NearFar at a number of online outlets and stores in the UK, Australia, South Africa, France and the US. This is especially good news for those Aussies who want a cool cotton suitable for an Australian summer ( I know you are freezing your tits off right now, but in five months you’ll be thanking me).
For those in Freetown, you can visit Steph and her tailors at the NearFar workshop in Murray Town, just make an appointment over email (firstname.lastname@example.org).