29 August 2016


Red Runway Fashion Gala

                                            DESIGNER & STYLIST | NABALLAH CHI

The Red Runway Fashion Project began in 2008 with its key objective being the exposure of new models and designers to the fashion industry. Red Runway to date is now Trinidad and Tobago’s biggest fashion showcase and model training program. Red Runway allows new and upcoming designers as well as experienced and renowned icons in the fashion industry the opportunity to showcase their designs on a grand scale. Through continued efforts Red Runway has and is transforming hundreds of young people’s lives, contributing positively to the development of Trinidad and Tobago.  This year's event hosted 15 designers and 180 models.

The inspiration behind my collection: 
On Saturday, I had the honor of presenting my most personal collection yet: AfrocenCHIc. My love for African prints* more correctly known as Kente, Ankara etc. is no secret. I adore the color combinations, the patterns, the art and the stories they tell. These prints are so interwoven into the fabrics of West African culture yet the wax print finds its roots in Indonesia. The prints tell a different story to different people and are so personal in their allure and appeal; they are given different names by different West African countries and these names are often relevant to the message the fabric is communicating. Ankara fabrics, or wax prints (or block prints, as some people call them) are a mainstay of West African fashion. They are bright, bold, graphic and geometric prints that command attention and are widely worn. Now ankara prints are popping up all over the place, but rarely are they called by their proper name. 

*You can often see them imprecisely referred to as “African prints." (Again, I’d like to remind folks that Africa is a massive continent with 52 distinct nations, hundreds of cultures and languages and scores upon scores of different styles of artistic expression.)

 African Fashion is much more than tribal prints! We all as designers have our own story to tell and I love the different ways in which designers are choosing to narrate theirs. I can't speak for other designers. I can speak for myself. African fashion is so very sophisticated and rich  so much that it has spurred a growing group of young designers to launch their own brands in Trinidad and Tobago. That said, my optimism is sometimes tempered by doubts about the local industry's willingness to patronize its own young talent. People often think chic means wearing international brands from the USA and Europe. That's not true. One of the biggest challenges facing fashion these days is the disappearance of traditional craftsmanship in the industry. As a young, African designer, I choose to preserve my heritage and culture. This direction enables me to create a different narrative, with a different take on fashion design. Everyone can tell their stories via fashion and adapt their particular styles of design and production. African prints are always trending and has a vibrant market so it will never go out of style. As designers we always think where is the money. Everyone wants ethical fashion. This type of fashion is in and trendy. As an Afro-Muslim, I'm very passionate about my culture and I choose to showcase that passion through fashion creatively.

Lala applies makeup to model, Aaliah

Work work work work

Model, Lena, gets her makeup done by one of the MUAs
MUAs enjoying the process

With model, Sherwin, applying the finishing touches of paint to complete the AfrocenCHIc look
AfrocenCHIc models L-R ( Myles, Jamel, Mark and Martin)

 A few pieces from my collection:



DJ ChozenWunz and Lala Lamar

Lala Lamar and Mussy Muhammad

With designer Kristian Jaggesar


With DJ ChozenWunz

With designer Azizah Salma Ali
With my team of MUAs L-R (Annah Sullieman, Mussy Muhammad and Lala Lamar)