Gracia Senga is a Congolese fashion and style blogger currently living in Johannesburg, South Africa. Gracia shares her personal style and insights about life on her site moregraca.com. I chose to interview Gracia because her kindness, creativity and sincerity leap off the pages of her blog. There are times that I feel alienated by fashion and clothes that look out of reach to me. I love that I can see myself in Gracia’s style. When I see her outfits I think “hey, I can pull that off too!” She has a way of showing people that they can be beautiful, trendy, and stylish in their own skin and have fun with clothes at the same time. Let’s get to know Gracia!
What would you say you are known for when it comes to fashion? What do you think is your signature look or aesthetic?
I would say I’m known for rocking different looks and pulling them off quite well. One of the most common comments I get on my posts and when I am out and about is an enthusiastic “Ha! only you Grace, only you could rock this!” It’s a reaction I enjoy, however it reveals to me that many people are shy to try different things out. So I reply with gratitude and encourage people to try out the same looks I do and more. I am also known for bringing out an androgynous element in my outfits. The girl-boy look (think Janelle Monae). I love her style from here to the furthest place you can think of and back!
Who would you say is your number one fashion inspiration and why?
This is such a tricky question for me but I’d have to say my biggest inspiration is me from the previous day. I take photos of my outfits a lot, every day to be precise! At the end of each day, I review the look I was rocking and think of ways to improve on it for the next time I go for that same look. And then I think of ways to outdo myself the next day. In general, I draw inspiration from many people, things and ideas. Another one of my biggest inspirations is, in fact, the Most High, the Creator of all things. All beautiful things come from the Creator and I am aesthete; I’m drawn to beautiful things and they inspire me to look, feel and be beautiful.
What are some of your current fashion obsessions?
It is currently winter here in Jo’burg and I am not a fan of the cold so my current fashion obsessions are oversized clothes and faux fur because they allow me to slay and be warm at the same time. I’m in love with almost everything oversized now. For my business MoreGracaFinds,(MGF) I have been sourcing mainly jackets and coats and most of what I find and sell are oversized. Faux fur only recently became an obsession whilst doing my MGF rounds. I found a beautiful faux fur coat which I used in my annual birthday photo shoot as I was attempting to replicate a look I saw Soraya de Carvalho (@styleismything) rocking. I believe I pulled it off quite well despite the look my Mum gives me every time I wear that coat- I think she wants that coat Lol! Faux Fur has me feeling like a million bucks every time I rock it.
Which decade of fashion do you find yourself most inspired by?
This is the easiest question! I love fashion from the 1950’s! If I could choose an age to live in solely for the fashion it would definitely be the 1950’s. The fashion during this time was so elegantly simple, something I always try and achieve when I dress myself and style others.
Your faith is very important to you, do you ever find that your Christianity affects/limits your love of clothes in any way?
No, I wear what I like and feel comfortable wearing. My faith does not dictate my taste. I don’t think I have ever said I can’t wear something because it isn’t Christian. I do realise there are some types of fashion that may be considered inappropriate for different religions but what one wears does not have any bearing on them neither does it reflect their relationship with God.
What do you think is lacking in the African fashion industry whether from designers or consumers?
I have immense respect and admiration for African designers, however, I feel like they aren’t out there as much as they could and should be. They don’t seem to have the visibility they deserve. I’m not sure whether it is an issue of them not putting in the work to be seen more or something else, but I really think they are doing amazing work and need to get more recognition. The second thing I feel is lacking is African-friendly-pricing. Generally, great authentic African clothing is not affordable and I see that as a problem. It is all good to want your designs to be regarded as high end and they may truly be worthy of such a label, but what’s the point if your own African people can’t afford it? If they can’t afford it, very few Africans will wear it. How do you justify the African-ness of your product range? These two things I have mentioned affect the way consumers respond to African clothing so, with regard to the consumers, the only thing I think is lacking is more African clothing!
The first thing I do in the morning is – Pray
I would never leave home without – A fire outfit
My staple clothing item is – A blazer
If I had to describe my personal style in one word it would be -Versatile
The best thing about African labels is – What their pieces represent and the energy they bring out
My favourite designers are – Taibobacar, Orapeleng Modutle, Nanawax
When it comes to fashion blogging people don’t realise – it’s not all about dressing up and taking pics, there’s a lot more planning involved.
My guilty fashion pleasure is – Culottes, all kinds of them
One person I’d love to meet would have to be – Iris Apfel
Something people don’t know about me is – I’m shy sometimes
The hardest thing about exposing my style to the world is – Not everyone understands it
The best thing about exposing my style to the world is – The connections, friendships and impact I make. I love when people inbox me and tell me they love my style or they love how unashamed I am to be Christian.
One thing I’ve never done but would love to do is – Travel around beautiful Africa!