MEET AFRICA OF THE VITAMIN D PROJECT

“…rather than view this as a stumbling block, I'm seeing it as a great opportunity to fine-tune the last few details.”

Spring welcomes a vivid reminder that what once was will always come back around.  Africa Daley-Clarke shares similar sentiments with nature’s cyclical process - revisiting vintage items and intimate design, again and again, in love, admiration, nostalgia, and joy.  Adapting to nature's pace, Africa holds a place for items in their aged forms and repurposed usage.  While easily multi-hyphenated, if desired, Daley-Clarke does not find titles useful because like anything else in nature, we grow beyond our past bounds.  

During this season, Africa is recalibrating after celebrating her thirtieth birthday under stay at home orders. She shares, “The last year for me has been incredibly tough, incredibly challenging, and in many ways, I've felt the rug has been lifted from beneath my feet after losing what I thought was a very secure career. But, what it allowed me to do was take stock of what and who was still here, despite the life-changing occurrences of the previous year.” Many can relate to the current pandemic’s containment efforts abruptly offering time to take stock of one’s life. Currently, Daley-Clarke is working on debuting a children’s item although it's been pushed back due to the global climate.  “We were due to fly out to Jaipur, India, on March 25th to visit our manufacturers, 3 days before the UK lockdown hit, but rather than view this as a stumbling block, I'm seeing it as a great opportunity to fine-tune the last few details.”

On her Instagram, Africa appears accustomed to musing over the fine details and facets of an item.  Even taking time to think through the complex histories household items possess.  Daley-Clarke credits this introspection to being privy to her parent’s thoughtful approach to life. This is incredibly important because what you choose to put your money into, you’re ultimately putting your energy into, as it inhabits your space.  Logically, if you spend time fixing and replacing frequently, then you’re better off investing in quality that will endure. “My dad, an Ital Rasta, always instilled in us the need for quality, well made clothing, reiterated the need to take good care of our things and always encouraged us to never follow the crowd. I'd be naive to think these things didn't have a big impact on the way we live our life as a family now.”

Coupling her dad’s conscious roots with her mom’s business savvy running a successful vintage stall at the Portobello Market, it makes sense why free expression through dress and hair was encouraged in Africa’s childhood.  She passes that same freedom down to her own children through conscious parenting with a partner she married because he “challenge[s], champion[s], and love[s] [her] in equal measures.”  Africa recognizes the importance of authenticity behind her messages to children, Israel and Ezra, so much so she’s had to adjust her own practices to ensure she is walking the walk.  “I'll be honest with you, if I had two sons instead of two daughters, I would still be wearing my hair in 1b, bodywave, 18" weave. I loved my hair extensions. I loved my straight hair. But I would have been an absolute fool to ignore the subliminal messages I'd be teaching my daughters if I continued to preach self love and acceptance whilst doing everything in my power to hide my own natural hair type.”  After big chopping in April 2019 she mirrored her paternal Rasta roots and reached for head wraps as a way to protect her curls.  “After 17 years of relaxing my hair, I was now relearning to love a texture I'd always loved on others but just not been able to appreciate on myself. It's still a journey.”

“After 17 years of relaxing my hair, I was now relearning to love a texture I'd always loved on others but just not been able to appreciate on myself. It's still a journey.”

Along this journey Daley-Clarke understands the importance of sharing snippets of the joy witnessed as they serve to inspire and uplift.  In nature, everything is in service to one another, as such, Africa is in a way holding up a mirror to followers of similar background. “I completely respect those that wish to keep their families off social media and understand the reasons for it, but for those of us that don't, I think we all have a duty to work together and share joy within our own community. It's a conscious choice to share as much of our family as we do and believe me, we don't do this to reassure non-minority followers that we're a "normal, happy family"... We share to give followers in particular from minority backgrounds something to relate to.”  

“Whilst we have less security now than before, I have an awful lot more to be grateful for.”

While 2019 came with its challenges… and we see where we are in 2020… it must be Africa’s Taurus persistence keeping her focused on what is rather than what was. More importantly, it continues to  allow her to grow through what she’s going through. “I still have the same core friends who support me when I need it most. The bond with my wider family has continued to cement and grow stronger. [And] my immediate family -well if I'm honest- at times I find myself pinching myself that I get to be part of this.”  Fanm Djanm all over the globe may share in her entrepreneurial, motherhood, and sustainable sentiments but it’s her closing remarks that truly serve to resonate with a broader audience: “Whilst we have less security now than before, I have an awful lot more to be grateful for.”

Follow Africa @thevitamindproject