Month: June 2011

Designer Hi!Light


by Dorothy Attakora


Toronto, 26
Her inspiration:To answer this question, is to expose my personality as my clothing is really an extension of me. The complexities of the clothing, the inter-sectionalities, and yet the stark contrasts are what makes us unique. This answer will change depending on the collection. I draw inspiration from elements of nature, to key people in my life, to the energy I am feeling at the moment while sketching. I generally start with the print, and allow the fabric to tell it’s own story.”
The beginning: Ever since I was a young child I have taken a keen interest in not conforming and looking like everyone else. I never wanted to show up to an event wearing the same thing as someone else, and thus began custom designing my own clothing for major events. My grandmother played such a magnificent role and I proudly identify her as the master mind behind this line. As a seamstress herself who taught many women how to sew to start their own businesses, she would always create beautiful pieces for me, send delicious textiles and that really began a love for African batik’s, Ghanaian Kente’s, lace etc.”
Target audience: As a Mina Danielle client myself, my target audience is anyone like myself who cringes at the thought of purchasing an article of clothing knowing somewhere, someone will also purchase the same piece. Anyone with the fear of getting lost within the masses, and not standing out. I really allow our clients to self identify themselves and their definition of women. There is no one model of who we serve and that is very important to me. And most importantly anyone who is as taken away by African print.”
Her fashion memory:My first fashion memory would have to be my first communion dress from the second grade. I got a dress custom made and to this day I can still recall how proud and beautiful I felt on that day to show up in something no one else was wearing. The all white dress felt like the perfect wedding dress, it was a long sleeve, 50’s silhouette with the most exquisite details. Even to this day I look at old pictures from that day and beam with pride. It was the first time I can recall reactions to a custom made piece, the first experience I can recall not listing a name of a store and truly experiencing the ways in which clothing can enhance one’s personality and emotions.”
Fave designers: Esthetically I must say hands down Jean Paul Gaultier. I mean, let’s be serious, I cannot get enough of this French Haute Couture Designs. He is unapologetic for his pieces, uniquely passionate and exudes confidence. I love that he invites celebrities and stars to be part of his shows. With regards to African clothing lines, I commend Boxing Kitten for the break through they have made with celebrities who have really accelerated the trend. As a shoe lover, I must say it is very important not only to visualize the pieces I create, but envision shows and accessories that will coordinate. With that said, I always draw from Christian Louboutin. From the shoes, to sandals, to the branding of his empire, I just love him.  I mean, who doesn’t want to rock the red soles with their Mina Danielle piece?”
Dream muse: “Great question. I would love nothing more than to work with Adele. She has such an amazing aura that I feel I want associated with my line. Her music, her message, her voice, it all just fascinates me. The way she carries herself exudes so much confidence and positivity that she would be the perfect role model. I am passionate about my job, the work I do and the fabrics that I work with, and I feel she would bring it to life. And as a designer, her gorgeous gray eyes and stunning hair would be so much fun to work with. She’s just gorgeous, inside and out.”
Fave fashion decade: “I love the binary opposing aesthetics of the 40’s silhouettes that come together so well. The notion of women exploring men’s wear while men were away at war is just mind boggling to me. The sheer brilliance of being resourceful and recycling men’s attire is not only economically and environmentally friendly, but highlights the type of vision necessary to see the potential of men’s wear as feminine. The blazers, suite jackets, squared shouldersand skirts were clearly reminiscent of men, and yet there is an unmistakable softness and feminine details. Just genius. I love anything that is out of the norm and the element of rebellion brought so perfectly with fashion is delightful.”
Her personal style: “In short, color. Bold, bright, fun and confident. A more in depth analogy proves to be more complicated and I would say my personal style is very versatile, eclectic and often confusing for many. Simple, yet loud, and mundane but accented with the most out of this world accessories. I mean, I love to explore and test the waters, but you can find me walking barefeet to the earth one day and working a pair of Alexander McQueen, Black leather studded zip front platform booties the next day. The Mina Danielle line alone shows the depths in which I love the simple things in life being reflected with the connection with working with local women in Kenya and Ghana to provide a source of revenue, and on the same hand, I also love the finer things in life and love and enjoy skipping through both elements. It’s so much fun to not be restricted to just one box.”
Style advice to her customers:“Ladies, nothing is more sexy than confidence, nothing! Wear it every day, everywhere and never leave it at home. It’s really that simple. And don’t forget to accessorize with a smile.”
Her fashion rule: “My fashion rule *drum roll please* is that rules are meant to be broken. *laughs* Kidding (well partially). I really really dislike athletic wear dressed up with heels so there are definitely boundaries that need to be set. Would it be vain if I said a fashion rule is to have at least one piece of Mina Danielle in your wardrobe? Try it ladies, and thank me later.” What she wishes for the fashion industry:“More models that represent the people, that represent real women. I don’t ask for plus size models, I don’t ask specifically for women with curves or alternative models. No thank you, such terms are problematic to me. They assume a second tier,a  second string of models, outside the norm, assume that models outside what we are already seeing in the mainstream are different or to be treated or looked at as different. Fashion is such a beautiful thing, that brings me so much joy, offers choice, inspiration, creativity and a form of  art and therapy. The fact that so many women aren’t able to experience and see the same things that I see about the fashion industry is quite frankly repulsive and a little sad. Give women options!”
Where will this take her:“In five years I see Mina Danielle Designs in your local Toronto boutiques. I want to open up our own boutiques in various parts of Canada, United States, London and parts of Africa. I want to really make this a movement. To raise awareness to Ankara fabrics, to have kente prints recognizable and for people to actually acknowledge where such prints come from. I want the women I work with to prosper, for the world to hear their stories and be more educated about issues at Mina Danielle that we take on. At the end of the day, I want Mina Danielle to become a household name.”
To place your orders, visit the website

Orange Delight

Orange Flames

Pretty in Pink Bows


The Ella Fitzgerald


Summer Pick! – Maxis

The ever so comfortable maxi! It’s great for summer outtings and a  perfect choice for searching through those retail racks for that must have item. So what’s your style? Simple, pattern, neutrals etc.?

Tube style

Halter style

Peasant style

Draw string style

Long sleeves

Grecian style



Trend Alert! – What the stars are wearing…

Peach jeans
My pick: #2

Tassled heels
My pick: #3

My pick: #1

Trench dresses
My pick: #3

Leather shorts
My pick: #2

Long sleeves and high slits
My pick: #3

Pink Perfect!

Eliza J taffeta dress
$138 –

Pink platform heels
25 GBP –

Bijoux Heart gold plated jewelry
$330 –

Stella McCartney wide belt
$695 –

Colour Connect

Equipment blouse
$394 –

Twenty 8 Twelve wool pants
84 GBP –

Georgina Goodman leather shoes
290 GBP –

Mulberry bag
925 GBP –

H M metal jewelry
3.99 GBP –

Tiger Lily Jewelry gold jewelry
$249 –

Zara belt
$16 –