Detroit Girl in a London World

Photos Courtesy of Achaima Photography

I’ll be releasing a series of photos of my London trip I took last month. And, yes, my blog posts have been sporadic, but bear with me. I’m creating new content, shooting better shoots and living. But, I am so excited to click that “publish” button to share my journeys with you all. And these are from Day One.

A few weeks before my trip, life was craaaaazy. Ugh, like I was literally pulling 16-hour days in order to prepare for my two-week adventure (that was much needed). Ever since my divorce and move last September, things have been kinda sorta getting back to normal, but like everyone else, I have my days.

This trip to London was solo. I needed to get away, be someone different for a second. I needed to breathe and take a step back from family drama and friends. I needed to push myself, sit in silence, and really get a feel for who I was. It was a trip for self-discovery and meeting new people and getting lost and depending on strangers.


And even though my wallet was stolen at a London nightclub, all was not lost. I shared a kiss on the top level of a Brixton bus, explored the city, danced, soaked up the architecture, and met some amazing individuals. So, all in all, it was an amazing trip that I wouldn’t change for shit!

The work and sweat put into the garment she made me, or the long-ass flight I was on, and the bags under my eyes that I had to cover with concealer.

The internet is a crazy place that I love dearly. Lol. I put out a call on my Instagram page for people in London to show me around or even collaborate. My inbox was flooded! One artist/girl boss in particular had reached out. Her name is Esmahan from Canada and she and her sister, Amnna, co-owns a company called Buno Designs, which is based in London. All through Instagram messenger, we sent ideas back and forth, measurements, and they had set up a Parisian photographer to shoot me the day I landed.

Amnna had designed and hand-sown a reversible kimono/abaya just for me.


When I got off the plane, I was jetlagged. Customs took over an hour to get through. I couldn’t find my luggage for a long time. And I got lost getting to the AirBnb. Three hours later, I finally made it to my destination. Amnna and I had a few issues with messaging (no international calling! Ha). Everything started going downhill and it seemed as though the shoot wasn’t going to happen.

I met this man on the street. He started telling me about his girlfriend that was overseas. Just a very random love of his life story. Amnna never came out of the subway exit. I got nervous. “Are you ok?” the man asked.

“No,” I replied. “I’m waiting for a friend. She may be lost. Or maybe I’m lost.”

“You know there is another exit a block down.”

I thanked him and walked very fast and waited at the second exit. A few minutes passed. Then I saw her making her way up the stairs holding on to a large bag with my garment inside.

“Amnna,” I yelled over London traffic, waving my arms.


We were running about an hour behind, but luckily, the Parisian photographer was patient and waited for us to arrive at our destination.

Because we were late, we were losing light, fast. Amnna convinced a local tailor to press the wrinkles out of the garment in 10 minutes. I put on some lipstick really quickly and we shot in a magical neighborhood full of white background. It was chilly, she was sick, and I was kinda sick, too. And everyone was tired, but we thugged it out and created a really nice set of photos that I’m very proud of.

It’s so funny how we see photos and we judge them based on that moment, not all the moments that led up to that very instant. The work and sweat put into the garment she made me, or the long-ass flight I was on, and the bags under my eyes that I had to cover with concealer.

So, thank you Buno Designs for allowing this Detroit girl to be herself and adding inclusivity to your brand. I love my custom kimono (that I got to take home).

Y’all, check them out. They have some dope pieces.




Leah V.