African Fashion Comes to Indianapolis for a Cause

Indianapolis Museum of Arts

On May 19, 2012 Indianapolis will get a taste of African fashion when models take to the catwalk at the Indianapolis Museum of Art for the Taste of Africa Fashion Show, a fundraiser for the Georges Malaika Foundation’s School for Girls in the Congo.
Exotic patterns, beautiful fabrics and innovative cuts will be showcased in spring collections for women, men and girls from IJo by Joelle K. Allen, Catou wear by Berny Martin, MF Couture by Marie-France Mumba, Odelya Paris Couture by Colette Ndeke, and SVK Création Paris by Sandra Van-Keer. The audience will have a chance to learn about the Georges Malaika Foundation’s exciting school that provides a tuition-free learning experience to over 100 girls in Kalebuka, DRC. Additional funds for the Georges Malaika Foundation will be raised through a silent auction following the show.

“I am excited to introduce beautiful and modern African designs to the Indianapolis community while getting to raise money for a cause close to my heart,” says event founder and IJo designer Joelle K. Allen. “Growing up in the Congo, I got to witness firsthand what a material difference education can make to the opportunities for Congolese women. Ever since meeting the Georges Malaika Foundation founder Noella Coursaris Musunka when she modeled my designs, I’ve
wanted to find a way to help her cause.”

The GMF School in Kalebuka, DRC opened its doors in September 2011 to 104 girls enrolling in kindergarten and first primary school. This private school provides a holistic learning experience tuition-free, including uniforms, shoes, school supplies and two healthy meals a day. The vision is to eliminate the barriers that prevent so many girls from exercising their rights to a quality education, and sustaining a productive environment for young women to develop
the skills and potential to become the leaders of the next generation.
The Tastes of Africa Fashion Show is part of a full day planned including:
10-11 a.m.: Cocktail Hour and Silent Auction
11 a.m. – noon: Speakers
Noon-2 p.m.: Fashion Show
2 – 5 p.m.: Museum Tour

To purchase tickets and for more information, visit Featured Fashion Ijo Fashions by Joelle Allen outfits modern, stylish and powerful women with ready-to-wear collections, and features a tailored fit that flatters a woman’s silhouette influenced by the traditional Mabayas blouse worn by Congolese women. Using prestigious fabric selections with signature collars and details such as inlayed waist belts and ruffle, Allen uses her African touch with the unusual mixtures of prints inspired by the patterned skin of Okapi, an animal that can only be found in the Congo and is known for being peaceful and gentle. The collection creates unique feminine pieces spontaneously chic and obsessive.
Indianapolis-based designer Berny Martin, owner and founder of Catou Clothing, was inspired by his travels to Africa, “After exploring the countryside of Swaziland, I found myself wandering on the beach of Mozambique,” explains Martin. “The old architectural buildings of Maputo remind me of the sharpness of fine tailoring of the 60's and the luxury that used to be displayed among the elite.” Edgy and elegant, flirty and sophisticated, Catou clothing makes a statement –
designed with a creativity that extends beyond conventional fashion to offer a unique look. Martin creates pieces with the customer in mind, paying attention to detail to guarantee well-made clothing that complements its wearer. Catou clothing is made to provide customers with sophisticated and ageless fashion.

Joelle K Allen

MF Couture, designed by Congolese designer Marie-France Mumba and based in Johannesburg, South Africa, is a fresh, young brand reflective of the modern African woman. Mumba focuses on African prints and fabrics blended with silk, satin, taffeta and chiffon to give the line a couture edge for all occasions. The wax hollandais is a 'must have' for this season. Expect a smart wax hollandais patch, exquisite accessories and a lively colour palette, perfect for the
sunny season.

Odelya Paris Couture designer Colette Ndeke will present her Harmony of Green collection. Juponnante, the skirt below the knee, waist, pleats, and an emphasis on the bust above are reminiscent of the 1950s. Without nostalgia, green symbolizing hope, is combined with the kilt, white, black, lace, tulle, beads and sequins. Ndeke wants to help Congolese women find their femininity.

Sandra Van-Keer’s line SVK Création Paris creates dresses for girls ranging from two to eight years old. Inspired by childhood memories of Congolese fashions and African materials, Van-Keer captures the ease of traditional attire. Her vision is to create sublime dresses that will be cherished from generation to generation: keeping the authenticity and yet, always in line with the modern aspect of market trends. Born in Kinshasa, Van-Keer studied fashion and design in
the Democratic Republic of Congo and currently resides in Paris. The sources of Van-Keer’s inspiration are her Congolese upbringing and her two beautiful girls, Anais and Alisa. This season, Van Keer opted for plain and printed cotton, silk, satin and African prints embellished with tulle, croquet, or ribbons of dentelle. These dresses perfectly combine freshness, authenticity and fantasy. The magic of SVK Création Paris will delight little girls and their mothers.


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