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Re-Imagining Alicia Silverstone in Clueless

In this fifth episode of Re-Imagining: Movie Icons, The Africa Channel and Vanichi reimagines bratty high school fashionista Cher Horowitz into a fashionable teenage African aristocrat.

The Alicia Silverstone Look

In this unmistakable 90’s film, Alicia Silverstone plays Cher Horowitz, a wealthy, famous, misguided, and socially successful young girl in Los Angeles. Clueless was an instant hit. It’s funny re-take on Jane Austen’s Emma, and clever pokes on Beverly Hills glamour contributed to the movie’s success.

Most importantly, Clueless pioneered teenage scenes and appearances that had a strong impact on fashion trends and jargon.  This fashion-forward characteristic helped the film develop a cult following after its release.

Plaid skirts, knee high socks, platform heels, berets, spaghetti strap dress, square neck tank tops, chokers, and pastel sweaters all were part of the Clueless fashion staple which is still a major fashion statement today.

The classic Alicia Silverstone look from the film showcases Silverstone’s Cher Horowitz in the yellow plaid skirt suit and white knee high socks. The film’s popularity made the yellow plaid a modern fashion staple for fashion enthusiasts. This look also became a popular Halloween costume.

Australian rapper Iggy Azalea used the Clueless fashion statement in the music video of her number one hit single Fancy which was shot in the same iconic Los Angeles High School where Clueless was filmed.

The Alicia Silverstone Look is trendy, youthful, luxurious, and attention grabbing. All these qualities worked perfectly for the teenage Cher Horowitz who had to maintain her social status in high school.

The Model

Model Sara Ishag was keen on capturing Cher Horowitz’s interesting personality, comparing herself to Cher saying, “even though Cher Horowitz grew up in a wealthy home, she has that cool vibe to her and she’s also looking for something a lot deeper.”

When asked about her role in Africanizing Alicia Silverstone, Sara had this to say. “I think it’s very important to showcase diversity in fashion because when it comes to art there is no color or ethnicity, it’s just art. This collection bridges the gap and hopefully more and more artists will get to showcase their work here.”

what if movie icons wore african clueless vanichi

Re-imagining Alicia Silverstone

Alicia’s classic yellow plaid look is reimagined in a fly Ankara jacket, yellow tank top, and Ankara shorts all designed by Senegal’s Sarayaa.

Plaid (known as tartan in Scotland) is a fabric of criss-crossing vertical and horizontal bands. In Scotland the tartan fabric is a cultural symbol and is used to make quilts.

In Africa, Ankara fabric (also known as wax print) refers to cotton fabrics with African motifs and vibrant patterns. Although Ankara fabrics are associated with African culture, its origins aren’t entirely African.

Ankara print fabrics are made through an Indonesian wax dyeing technique called batik. However, these fabrics have a more enthusiastic market and some important cultural roots in West Africa.

In West Africa, red coral is a symbol of aristocracy. Coral beads are worn by royalty in Yoruba and Bini Kingdoms in Nigeria. Coral beads are worn during weddings and other ceremonies to distinguish various social classes. They are also used as gifts and as currency for trade. Sara completes her look with a red coral necklace by Badara Agam. Badara uses semi-precious stones to craft necklaces, bracelets, anklets, earrings and chokers.

All 10 episodes, plus a bonus overview, are currently available on The Africa and Demand Africa.