Regular readers of Ghana Rising know full well that I find the fashion industry back home in Ghana a bit iffy, not least the ten plus fashion weeks (and rising) that take place in Accra Metropolis annually. Tacky, embarrassing and mostly beauty pageants run by men after a quick buck, I’ve steered well clear of these events, especially since the Exopa, Sim Sima case (I wish him and his team the best and hope this time around, things are done properly. I hope they understand that when you use the name Ghana -it matters how you conduct yourself because the world and her sister is watching. Sima to my knowledge is re-launching next year).
Regulars of Ghana Rising also know that I’m working on Ghana’s first high-end fashion magazine and KNOW just how difficult its been. The laziness of some of Ghana’s finest, the lack of websites and info about some of Ghana’s most celebrated businesses -plus the lack of excellence with regards to the way folk do business (or lack of) at home -continues to jar. Anyway, I’m writing about this particular fashion show due to take place in Accra metropolis late 2012 because I know a couple of ladies (they shall remain nameless right now) behind the launch of Ghana Fashion & Design Week aka GFDW. And I’m endorsing them and this event because they know their stuff and are at the very top of their game. Both have been kicking about in the fashion industry for some time. Both have real mainstream experience, -have paid their DUES, drink the juice and are not in it for the SIKA (money)..
Professional and sticklers for details -I know that when GFDW takes place next year, I can invite some of my mates in the BIZ, some buyers, some fashion editors, stylists, bloggers and I wouldn’t be embarrassed (you get me)… Also like me, they respect Ghana and are frustrated by the lack of class, excellence and what-have-yous that seems to be lacking back home. One of the girls has just returned from GH and -she found the fashion industry shocking but not hopeless!!
She has also noticed what I have been saying for ever…..!! That its time for us, the new brigade to take charge and run things properly. It time for those of us who learnt our craft through University, those of us who have real experiences, those of us who know about PR, promotion and marketing etc, those of us who have had to overcome all the prejudices of mainstream fashion industry etc, those of us who have had to start at the bottom, learn to get to fashion shoots earlier than everyone else and have had to stand at the back of fashion shows until we got our very own pages in high-end magazine -do you get me?
Its time for all those fabulous gals and boys of Ghanaian origin who work on big campaigns -all those incredible folks around the globe -quietly getting on with it -uncelebrated by mainstream Ghana -to come to the forefront because -if the truth be know, I’m sick of that gal that SEEMS to be the face of modern Ghana and I know that you know her!! Crass, tacky and in-ya-face ….this gal and that channel have been the face of the Ghanaian community for some time and its not good. Out to make some serous SIKA -she and her ilk have dominated the British Ghanaian scene with another group who only seem to do stuff for the Ghanaian community -in parks or at that place in Strafford!! And don’t get me started on that group of families who are also doing park events (can you imagine) and are taking all the (small) sponsorships from that OIL Company -you know what I’m talking about…has to offer!!!
Not content to monopolize ‘Ghana events’ -they have all gone into publishing and -as you read this -are busy copying and pasting extracts from Ghana Rising onto their magazines -but note, I don’t begrudge them -I’m just offended that when I approach big brands/potential advertisers/sponsors -all they know of my so called (small) community (there are 1.5 million of us in the UK alone -and no, we are not a small community) , -its the jagger-jagger-dry-footed-lets-all-dance-on-grass-jagger-jaggerness and inferior, tacky cheapness of what has gone before that they know of our fabulous, upwardly-mobile community.
Thus I now understand why these so called mover shakers of the Ghanaian community in the UK are always, throwing parties to make money, be it Kente this, or Miss this, or party this, or for one night only this, or that ubiquitous something Verses something….all tacky and all keeping real hot talented folks, -those moving and truly shaking on the world stage ….of Ghanaian origin away from helping our community….
We’re missing Black Star magazine (it is coming soon folks -pray for me ohh), were missing real talents like June Sarpong and Reggie Yates -on our television sets. We need uber fashionistas like Menaye Donkor, Faustina Agolley, Yayra Nego, Noelle Bonner and Joshua Kissi in the front row. We need uber stylists like Edward Enninful, Abena Ofei and Priscilla Kwateng (the Guardian), -hot designers like Mimi Plange, Adrien Sauvage and new fashion darling -Adjoa Osei on the catwalk in Ghana.
We also need to see labels that celebrate Ghana like Osei-Duro by wonderful design duo Maryanne Mathias and Molly Keogh and Hemma by designers, Cindy Gaston and Edna Bissoon.
It girls like model/artist Deborah Vanessa Owusu-Bonsu and musician/model Jojo Abot, -super stylish women like power players Aba Bonney Kwawu -the lady behind The Aba Agency and Afi Dzakpasu -Head of PR for Viasat Ghana, new fashion stars like Accra based Sermira Adam and Sydikat Buari, Nadia’s sister and international models like the ever fabulous, Belinda Baidoo, Kate-Menson, Richard Ampaw, Soraya Khalil, new comer, Akos Asumadu-Sakyi and the ever beautiful Rosemary Frimpong-Manso -on the catwalk.
We need shoe designers like Afua Dabanka of Mo Saique and accessories guru Isobel Acquah of Joansu Jewellery showcasing their collections in Ghana..
We also need hot bloggers/media mavens like yours-truly, Fray Ohemma aka Shadders and Elaine A. Mensah, fashion insiders like uber make-up artist Claire De-Graft and fashion show producers like Daryl Rita Osekreh of Livemuse. And last but not least ….we need business men like Sam Jonah, Adam Afriyie and architect/designer David Adjaye -and brands like Vodafone and L’Oreal (they both have HQ’s in Accra) to sponsor the like of my magazine (Black Star) and Ghana Fashion & Design Week aka GFDW.. Why? Because we can’t afford to have one mediocre magazine after another aimed at the Ghanaian community or another tacky nasty fashion show in Accra -whilst the world’s eyes are on us.
So Ghana Rising is fully behind the good people at Ghana Fashion & Design Week aka GFDW -as they embark on this journey to bring this fabulous fashion week to life. I know its not going to be easy as I have found out personally. With advertisers nonexistent and brands dubious -its not going to be easy but they have talent, vision, focus and what it take and I can’t wait for 2012, for the launch of this great show. Viva Ghana ….Viva Ghana Fashion Industry….Viva Ghana Fashion & Design Week GFDW ….Viva Black Star magazine..
More Information about GFDW
Ghana Fashion & Design Week (GFDW) is a three-day event set to launch in 2012, the event will epitomize the fashion scene in Ghana with an annual event that celebrates Ghanaian and international designers.
This event will bring creative Ghanaian fashion and accessory designers from around the world, to showcase their collections to local, national and international retail buyers, africa’s neo-fashion consumers, press and fashion savvy celebrities.
The annual event celebration of Ghana’s fashion and creative industry is aimed at educating and developing the industry platform to a worldwide audience.
GFDW 2012 will showcase exquisite on trend collections by designers in Ghana and the Diaspora, alongside international designers, to incorporate outstanding display of Fashion shows and inspirational exhibitions over three days in 2012.
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Written by Paulina Opoku-Gyimah