Fashion has taking a great stand in Ghana for some years now with designers, models and fashion houses playing a big role in making this possible. Events like Rhythms on da RunWay, Glitz Africa Fashion week and the Mercedes Benz fashion week, Accra also in their quest to put spotlight on the Ghanaian fashion help in the growing of the fashion industry. Recently a photo series was organised by Mercedes Benz and five designers were to showcase their designs to tell the Ghanaian story; the country’s tradition and emerging talents. The five Ghanaian designers are Larry Jafaru Mohammed, Steve French, Hassan Alfaziz Iddrisu, Atto Tetteh, and Chloe Asaam and their works was photographed by Carlos Idun- Tawiah.
Larry Jafaru Mohammed
Larry was born and raised in Accra. He began his career designing his accessories line in 2012. He pivoted to ready-to-wear around 2016, and launched his label a year later. Mohammed saw an opportunity to use clothing design to support local artists.
Larry Jay is a unisex Ghanaian ethical label that seeks to celebrate 70s culture with an aim to craft timeless and unusual staples that represent both genders. He is inspired by nature, multiple African cultures and arts. “The timeless style of my parent’s fashion from the 1970s and the environment where I was born and bred is a big influence on my design aesthetic that makes it unusual and timeless,” he said.
Mohammed recently debuted his spring 2021 Nomad collection which emphasizes tradition and comfort. It is inspired by travelers who like to explore, learn about people and their cultures, and have an appreciation for nature. He also focused on tie-dye this season with the reason that Tie-dye has been one of the most common fabrics here. “Our parents used to get it for themselves and for us. I also shot some of the pieces on my parents, who influence my brand a lot; their pictures from the ’70s are so great.”
“When I showed this collection [in October], we used models of different races and religions to preach peace and solidarity. We’re all cut from the same fabric of love.”
Steve French is based in Accra but is originally from Axim, the western part of Ghana. He grew up with an interest around fashion. French launched his label with the hopes of supporting and fostering a fashion community in his city. He believes in fashion with a cause and his fashion to tell stories and mark profound statements.
French’s label is contemporary and is characterised by abstract patterns and distinct silhouettes with lots of feminine gowns and skirts, done in vibrant colours and artful prints. “My clothes are deep-rooted in my culture,” he says.
For his latest collection, French channelled his childhood memories from his time in Axim. Growing up around seamstresses, French feels like that is a tradition that has been transferred onto him.
French has found hope in peace in slowing down and focusing on his art. “I’ve been documenting a lot during this time. Researching and exploring new things that I had never thought of in this time of stillness,” he says. Inspiration is all around us: It’s from the woman selling by the roadside, from the music that we listen to.”
“I think the most thrilling aspects of being a creative in Ghana is being able to produce amazing stuff with little resources. Also, most creatives have a deep connection to a land that is so beautiful,” he says.
Hazza – Hassan Alfaziz Iddrisu
Iddrisu who is from Kumasi but is based in Accra kickststarted in fashion by dealing secondhand vintage wares in Accra. He searches for rare vintage clothings at a vintage market in Kantamanto, a market in Accra, deconstructs them and creates his own original designs.
Hazza is his ethically made, unisex sportswear brand fusing African pride with traditional production methods. Iddrisu’s relaxed tailoring and smartly cut pieces are often made with repurposed fabrics. His specialty is breezy suiting and utilitarian shirts—always in sprightly hues.
The designer’s pieces for the Mercedes-Benz shoot are a mixture of his recent spring Afrafradom collection, as well as some pieces from his university graduation collection. Iddrissu uses a lot of discarded fabrics; most of which are from Kumasi, where he is from. He use these fabrics that nobody buys and would end up as junk, then print or dyes them into how he wants it.
Iddrisu is inspired by the people around him, their lifestyle and culture
Hassan Alfaziz Iddriss’ brand is a contemporary uniform of gender-neutral clothing based in Ghana and inspired by heritage and culture. “As an ethical fashion brand, our clothes are made using eco-friendly materials that are mostly not readily available in the market and are scarce now.” He says
Asaam, born and bred in Accra, decided to follow fashion after growing up around the city’s massive second market. “There’s a huge secondhand market in Accra, and it really takes away from the work that we do as young creatives,” she says. “As designers, you’re forced to be in really small markets, and it limits your opportunities. I’m looking to show people that they can buy into a brand like mine: You can buy eight pieces, and have 25 or 30 different styling options for the next four or five years. You don’t have to be constantly buying secondhand fast fashion just because it’s available to you.” She also hopes to combat the environmental impacts of these markets, as she says many of its unsold pieces end up in landfills. “I reuse and repurpose a lot of fabrics from them—a lot of cottons, linens, and breathable fabrics,” she says.
Chloe Aasam is a womenswear label fusing Ghanaian prints with strong, interesting shapes. They’re basics, but never basic: She enjoys reworking everyday staples, including ruffled tops, high-waisted trousers, and dresses.
Asaam’s first collection is inspired by the moods and sentiments that occurred during the pandemic. “I used color schemes or words that speak to the things that we gravitate towards when it’s a crisis, or when we are feeling a bit agitated and uncomfortable. For colors, I used a lot of muted tones like greens, ochers, and tans—colors that really speak to the earth, and going back to feeling at home and grounded. And a lot of loose silhouettes, because you want to feel free and easy. You want to wear something that makes you not feel as restricted as you are in life.”
Asaam says the women in her own family are her muse. “I tap into the matriarchs in my family and my community,” she says. “I find women to be really powerful, especially in a local context, because they keep us together and are really nurturing and strong at the same time. I feel like we don’t really appreciate and talk about them a lot because it’s still a really male-dominated community and culture. The women in my life are really strong and really powerful, and have been able to teach me and grow me into the woman that I am right now.”
Atto Tetteh, a Fante and Guan, studied insurance in school, but then fashion happened and he decided to follow his true passion and launch his own menswear line in Accra. “I felt that I had something to contribute to the creative space in Accra,” he says. “There are a lot of brands in Ghana that do womenswear and I saw the need to broaden the menswear brand too.”
The designer offers sleek menswear pieces—though they can be unisex—with a focus on reinventing traditional African patterns for the modern man. “My brand is a contemporary street wear brand, for men who are cosmopolitan but want an African aesthetic,” he says. “We always make sure that our pieces reflect our Africanness, but can also be appreciated by anybody who has never been to Ghana or Africa, and just loves fashion. Africa is very vibrant, so we incorporate a lot of colour.”
Tetteh’s new collection is called S Theorem. It “tells a story about how we are all very different and unique, and how we should appreciate each other and our differences,” he says. “Ghana is upbeat—there’s always movement, colour, and a sense of happiness. All of these things influence my design.” The designer used fabrics for the line that are all handmade in Ghana. “Fugu is mostly striped, and kente has geometric patterns,” Tetteh says. “As much as we’re selling our culture and who we are, we also want to create jobs and show our artisans to the rest of the world.”
Like many creatives, Tetteh has sought to find hope and optimism during these difficult times. “COVID-19 has given us a lot of time to be with family, and to be by ourselves, to think about all that we have been doing,” he says. “Living the modern life can be very fast. The period where we were under lockdown, we had time for ourselves to rethink our strategy. The world has come back to a point where we can actually be slow with how we move, and appreciate the things that we have now.”
Thebe Magugu Up For 2021 International Woolmark Prize
South African multi award-winning fashion mogul, Thebe Magugu, will be contesting against five other fashionistas from around the world, including Nigerian designer, Kenneth Ize, after been announced as one of six finalists in the 2021 International Woolmark Prize reportedly worth over two million Rand (approximately USD 131 140).
Magugu reportedly currently produces his garments locally as part of his own socio-economic responsibility. The International Woolmark Prize might boost productions as finalists have the opportunity for their designs to be picked up by international brands.
The other four top finalists are Bethany Williams and Matty Bovan from the UK, Marie-Eve Lecavalier from Canada and Charaf Tajer from France. The six finalists were selected from 380 applications across 55 countries. Former supermodel, Naomi Campbell, was part of the selection committee. Winners will be announced early next year.
Magugu won the highly acclaimed 2019 LVMH (Louis Vuitton Moët Hennessy) award and made history as the first African to do so.
The Woolmark Prize judging panel includes educator, writer and activist Sinéad Burke, Garage magazine fashion director Gabriella Karefa-Johnson, talent scout the and BoF editor-at-large Tim Blanks. Each designer has to create a Merino wool collection under the theme “Less Is More,” which will be reviewed by the judges in February 2021.
Ghanaian Model, Roselyn Ashkar, “Says Yes To The Man Of Her Dreams” [SEE PHOTOS]
Miss Roselyn Ashkar; a model, TV and radio personality from Accra Ghana has shared photos announcing her wedding engagement with Wilfred, whose social media BIO describes him as a Blogger and Poet. In an Instagram post, the former Miss Malaika contestant recounted how Wilfred and his family orchestrated what was “supposed” to be a family farewell dinner but turned out to be marriage proposal. She wrote;
“Exactly a week ago, I said yes to the man of my dreams. The easiest yes I’ve ever said.”
“I dressed up to what was “supposed” to be a family farewell dinner which said “Everyone dress UP and look your best.” Only to find out it was all a ploy to get me to dress up at the beach because otherwise I wouldn’t.”
“This man, together with my chosen family, planned this for months to put together a surprise proposal of my dreams! It was PERFECT and writing this makes me emotional all over again. Thank you for making me the happiest little girl in the entire world for this long @francissovic – I’m now willing to eat avocado and kenkey for you.”
Miss Roselyn Ashkar started off in the media industry in 2009 as one of the top-listed models for a renowned modelling agency in Ghana called EXOPA. Later in 2010, she made an appearance in the eighth edition of the popular reality television pageant, Miss Malaika Ghana as a contestant. As part of the top finalists in the competition, her drive to achieve more led her to continue with her modelling career. She’s featured on international runway shows and working with famous designers such as Thula Sindi, David Thale, Marianne Fassler.
Roselyn, also an entrepreneur jointly owns an ushering agency called Exclusive Ushers Ghana. The agency provides ushers tailored for all types of events and activations. Roselyn holds a degree in BA Communications and has hands on experience in television and radio presenting and production. She worked briefly as a host of the television reality show in Ghana: the Miss Ghana 2012 Diaries
She was also the sole Ghanaian representative in the maiden edition of the continental reality TV show “AFRICA’S NEXT TOP MODEL” in which was part of the top 5 finalists in the competition. (Made out of the CBS franchise, America’s Next Top Model)
Mercedes- Benz Works With Five Ghanaian Next Generation Designers
For the past four years Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Accra has been illuminating Ghana’s best fashion. This year, the fashion week was cancelled due to the COVID-19 global pandemic. Despite the cancellation and without the presence of actual shows, Mercedes-Benz still gave fashion lovers a taste of what they have been showcasing over the years. Their events have delivered some beautiful textile work in the past and they were not ready to break that chain. In order to put a spotlight on the work of the local West African talent, Mercedes- Benz produced a special photo series.
Working with five budding designers on the special photo series, the main idea was to showcase Ghana’s emerging talent and the country’s tradition of sharing skills from one generation to the next through storytelling. This photo series was captured by photographer Carlos Idun- Tawiah. The five Ghanaian designers are Larry Jafaru Mohammed, Steve French, Hassan Alfaziz Iddrisu, Atto Tetteh, and Chloe Asaam.
London-Based Designer Tisloh Danboyi Debuts His Jewellery Piece With ‘Love,bites.’ Silver Necklace
Featuring an intentional separation with use of a comma that makes love the subject of the pendant, London-based designer Tisloh Danboyi has premiered his first piece of jewellry in the form of a new silver pendant necklace titled ‘Love, bites.’ The metaphorical play on the conventional phrase is the centrepiece of the necklace.
“There is always some form of sacrifice (a bite) which follows love” says Tisloh on the necklace, which sees the ‘Love, bites.’ motif pendant sitsting on an 18-inch, diamond cut trace necklace set in 925. Sterling silver.
Complex UK reported that, the motif is carried forward from ‘Prima Pars’, Tisloh’s debut collection launched back in 2018 inspired by the first part of Thomas Aquinas’ Summa Theologica. After making an appearance on t-shirts and knitwear, the phrase and is now casted in metal to compliment Tisloh’s recent ‘Where the Land Meets the Water’ collection.
Speaking about the new piece, Tisloh said: “In English, the ‘love bite’, hickey or hickie describes a notable bruise caused by the kissing, sucking and biting the skin of the neck. However, in this piece, there is an intentional separation with use of a comma. This is used to make love the subject. In this way, love itself is biting – a metaphorical play on the conventional ‘love bite’. I am trying to portray the idea that there is always some form of sacrifice (the bite) that comes with the love of something or someone be that your selflessness in human and romantic relationships or giving up leisure time to focus on a project.”
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