FashionAFRICANA launches a summer/resort capsule collection

It could be considered wearable art.

FashionAFRICANA’s recently launched limited-edition capsule collection features a collaboration between a painting by internationally acclaimed artist Karl Mullen and Squirrel Hill-based stylist and producer Demeatria Boccella, one of Pittsburgh’s fashion experts.

Mullen and Boccella collaborated on the pieces — a t-shirt dress, one-piece swimsuit, bikini, leggings, hoodie, mini dress, and tote bag.

“These are staple pieces for your summer wardrobe,” Boccella said. “I love Karl’s work. I love all colors and was thrilled to launch this collection.

Boccella, who founded FashionAFRICANA to celebrate black designers, did so through music, beauty, fashion and art.

Prices for the collection range from $50 to $115.

They’re available for purchase online or at an upcoming pop-up store from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. July 2 at West Elm on Bakery Square in Pittsburgh’s East End. Alongside this event, there will be a skincare line Kaeme, a Ghanaian company specializing in personal care products such as shea soufflé, liquid black soap, soy candles and printed toiletry bags African.

“It’s luxurious,” Boccella said. “I use Kaeme products every day.”

There will also be a FashionAFRICANA exhibit opening August 19 at Frick Pittsburgh in Point Breeze.

Boccella approached Mullen after seeing one of his paintings that was featured at his solo show at ZYNKA Gallery in Sharpsburg over a social media post.

“Demeatria is a visionary,” Mullen said. “She said she liked the colors (in this painting) and made it more abstract. The clothes look great.

Mullen, an artist and teacher from Dublin, Ireland who once lived in Pittsburgh and currently resides in Williamstown, Mass., said teaming up with Boccella has been a wonderful experience.

Boccella said she fell in love with Mullen’s art on this social media post and asked Mullen if he would be interested in collaborating on a collection featuring this painting.

Mullen is known for painting on non-traditional materials such as automobile hoods and windows. He said seeing someone wearing the swimsuit on the beach with his design would be pretty cool.

“Everything Demeatria touches turns to gold,” Mullen said. “And I’m proud to be part of this collection. I’m happy for her.

Courtesy of Asia Margo

FashionAFRICANA dress from the first capsule collection featuring the art of Karl Mullen

This is not the first project for Mullen and Boccella. She discovered her artwork through her collection with fashion designer Mary Margaret Stewart, owner of Iman B in Shadyside. Stewart and Mullen designed a bespoke dress for Boccella in the early 2000s.

Boccella commissioned Mullen to create a design for the t-shirts worn at the FashionAFRICANA children’s event in 2014. This was a children’s fashion show featuring local and global designers at the Pittsburgh Center for the Arts (now Pittsburgh Center for Arts & Media) in Shadyside.

Boccella said that to promote the capsule collection, they will have live Instagram chats and feature photos of community members in pieces from the collection, as well as an upcoming workshop. She said she started with a small collection to see how it would be received.

Proceeds from sales will be used for FashionAFRICANA’s educational programming.

“I have always worked to be inclusive and diverse to celebrate the African Diaspora. The collection is so wonderful and the pieces are comfortable,” Boccella said. “This collection connects with FashionAFRICANA to design branded products starting with this capsule collection showcasing beautiful fashion and amazing art.”

JoAnne Klimovich Harrop is editor of Tribune-Review. You can contact JoAnne at 724-853-5062, [email protected] or via Twitter .

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