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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

UMass Boston alumni launch African fashion magazine online

UMass+Boston+alumni+launch+African+fashion+magazine+online
UMass Boston alumni launch African fashion magazine online

University of Massachusetts Boston alumni Welina Farah and her partner, Dele Omotosho, have started up an innovative way for African designers to showcase their designs and sell them to an entirely new market.
Their project is called Geleyi, and it is an exclusively online magazine that brings authentic African designs to the United States. American consumers don’t really have an avenue to purchase African clothing in a very commercialized fashion industry, and this website allows independent designers to sell their clothes to an audience otherwise unexposed to this style. 
When asked what got him interested in this initiative, Omotosho chuckles and says, “Well, obviously, I am African.”
Omotosho came to the United States from Nigeria when he was eight years old and studied computer and software design. However, he has always been passionate about fashion, and this project allows him to combine what he studied with what really interests him. 
Omotosho was bothered by the fact that Americans with an interest in African fashion had no way to purchase it without physically going to Africa, and he wanted to fill this gap between the two.
“There is a lot that goes into preserving the beauty of the handcrafted clothes and making sure it is accessible,” he says. “The whole idea got me interested in giving more exposure to African fashions, telling the stories of the designers, and everything related to the culture itself.”
This website is more than just an avenue to buy clothes, it is a project that celebrates a culture and their expression of it in fashion. As Omotosho said, they want to be able to not only give people a chance to buy these clothes, but to learn about the culture and the people behind these designs. 
Farah joined this project after it was already established, and she is the administrative brain behind the operations. Already familiar with media and relations from working at The Mass Media herself, she created the web portal that connects African designers and puts all of them in one place, making it more accessible for interested viewers. 
“My job is to repurpose [blog posts by African designers] and to make it more digestable, more compact, and to put it all in one place so that the person who is interested in African fashion don’t have to jump from website to website. It is all found in our RSS feed.”
Right now, Geleyi is exclusively an online magazine, but the duo says that one of their long-term goals is to launch a Pinterest account that premieres African designs and gives viewers a chance to peruse, pin, and purchase them in the same place.
They recognize that Pinterest is an ever growing social website, and their vision is that each designer can have their own board as a platform to premiere their designs and anyone who pins their piece will also be given a direct link to purchase it.
Farah and Omotosho believe moving their project onto Pinterest will make the project more accessible, organized, aesthetically pleasing, and most importantly, more interactive. 
They hope to launch their Pinterest account soon, so keep an eye out for their unique pins featuring an array of African designs.