For Ghana, fashion speaks a language of tradition but designers like Sika Designs, Ohema Ohene, Bestow Elan, Christie Brown, Duaba Serwa, Mo saique shoes, Joansu and Adrien sauvage just to name a few have creatively broken the boundaries to bring us contemporary, quality and unique designs whilst revamping African print fabric to the world. These designers have given us every reason to be excited, as they put Ghana on the international fashion map. In recent times Ghanaian fashion designers have found innovative ways to mix traditional Ghanaian style with modern trends seen worldwide. The fashion industry in Ghana is taking everyone by storm – designers are showcasing their collections at prestigious shows around the world including London/New York fashion Week and the recent Africa fashion week South Africa and soon to take place the official Ghana Fashion & Design week 2012 organised by international fashion industry expects. Ghanaian designers have been featured on CNN, BBC, Reuters, Shadders.net and with numerous articles written of the various fashion shows that have taken place and that which continues to take place in the capital of Accra. Ghana based designers Nora Bannerman, Joyce Ababio, Ben nonterah, Kofi Ansah, Ajepomaa Gallery, ReneeQ, Knaf Couture and Mina Evans also deserves to be recognised for their work hard work as the industry takes off.
Ghana Fashion Industry
As our neighbouring country Nigeria are supporting their designers and pushing their fashion industry to mainstream it is not surprising that the world have set their eyes on Nigeria as one of the fashionable countries in Africa alongside South Africa and Kenya with no mention of Ghana, so where is Ghana going wrong? Well having observed the fashion Industry for years now, I have come to realise that there is little support for creativity in Ghana, I have always questioned which role is the government playing in supporting emerging designers in Ghana? Why is it that so many individuals are getting up to organise fashion events without fashion industry knowledge just for the sake of organising an event. Why is it that so many emphasis is placed on pageants in Ghana but not the business of fashion?
Modelling in Ghana is not a new thing, although it is great that there are more modelling agencies in Ghana than ever before, I have always questioned the quality, professionalism and charges of these agencies. Having researched the prices of five modelling agencies in Accra I was in utter shock with f the prices some of these agencies were quoting. I personally find it hard to recommend an agency in Ghana, but for designers in Ghana looking for models I recommend an open casting call and dealing directly with these models will save you time and money, as the amount these modelling agencies are quoting are very worrying. As I find it mind blowing that even established industry like London fashion week some models beg to be part of the show for free as they understand what exposure is all about and here in Ghana and emerging in the industry and you hear these charges its absolutely insane. So my advice to modelling agencies is to be wise with their prices and coach their models professionally according to international standards, knowing the difference between editorial, glamour and commercial modelling can go a long way to help the Ghana fashion industry than overpricing. It is important to highlight some Ghanaian models who I think have done well either locally or international such as Kate Menson, Soraya Khalil, Adwoa Aboah, Grace Sarfo, AletheanVan Der Puije Quartey, Daisy Kuorkor, Belinda Baidoo and Yawa Tsagli are worth knowing about.
As a generation of determined young creative entrepreneurs emerge to revive the Ghana Fashion industry, we cannot overlook the importance Magazine and photography plays in today's society. A magazine creates desire in consumers, from forecasting trends, exclusive interviews, shopping tips and featuring exciting brands. There are some amazing Fashionable magazines owned by Ghanaians based in Ghana and the diaspora, such as the uber stylish Luxure by Reggie Ansah, the eclectic Pick and Mix Magazine by Justin Nana Kwame Akomiah, Dream wedding Magazine by Rayme Newman & Ama Onii, Canoe Magazine By kweku Nkwaye Ansah and soon to lunch Black Star Magazine by Paulina Opoku Gyimah, a new Luxe magazine aimed at luxury consumers of Ghanaian descent and beyond. The least we can do to support our fellow Ghanaians in the publishing field is to subscribe to any of the above that tickles your fancy.
As a designer the most important thing to you aside designing is to sell, as without sales you basically don't have a business. It is all fair and good to attend international shows, having your collections stocked by boutiques and online shops, but it is very important that designers also establish their brands in Ghana. One thing we have to be very careful about is the fact that shops like Zara and Mango are making their way to Africa and people are getting excited about it. Designers need to develop the taste of Ghanaians and be reasonable with their prices before these shops hits Ghana. So far Zara established this month in Sandton city South Africa and Mango is already in Lagos, I will not be surprised if there is something in the pipeline for Ghana. As fashion in Europe is overly saturated all eyes are on Africa and for me I am not excited about these brands heading to Africa as it will only affect our very own designers, knowing some people's mentality they rather buy elsewhere than from our very own. As for us who have lived in Europe and other parts of the world we know how affordable Zara and Mango are and believe me if these shops touches Ghana many people will be heading there especially expats. In my humble opinion it will be amazing to see the streets of Accra filled with boutiques owned by Ghanaian designers, having said that there are some established shop owners like the lovely Sacha Okoh of Viva boutique and So Aesthetic, Ajepomaa gallery, Jil Boutique and our very soon Christie Brown to Join the boutique owners club and many others.
For years now I have prayed that the Ghana Fashion industry will come together and find solutions and share forward thinking ideas to push the industry forward and it looks like the day is coming soon with the launch of Ghana fashion Awards on the 9th of December 2011 and the first ever International Ghana fashion & Design week (GFDW) 2012 organised by fashion industry expects, Ghana is certainly heading towards the right direction.
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-Written by www.shadders.net