With the fast growing pace in the fashion world, it will be very wrong for anyone to imagine that Africa as a continent isn’t stamping its feet in the top class brands that are being churned out on daily basis.
Africa has come of age and most especially, Ghana is the home of pure artistry and creativity when fashion is mention on the global market now. With the rapid growing system in the Ghanaian fashion world, one just needs to stand out tall, unique and be noticed. One needs to also distinguish himself or herself from the crowd and carve a niche with a unique clientele to match.
Abena Safoa Amoako Gyimah is young, beautiful and Ghanaian. She has carved a niche for herself and with her entry into the fashion world; nothing rings louder than the brand name Sa4a Designs.
Her designs glow in the dark and her ability to bring together imagination, creativity and appreciation out of patchwork ideas will see her reign for a long time. Already she walked away with the ‘Chivas Luxury Man Design’ of the Year at the just concluded Glitz Africa Fashion Week 2012, a feat well deserved.
Sa4a Designs uses the patchwork technique in a unique way, taking the print-on-print trend and putting it all in one place as a covering. Their range consists of shoes, sandals and bags and especially the sweet clutches. Her intentions whatsoever to introduce the satchel and weekend bags with a touch of afro twist has stood her vintage.
I caught up with the damsel whose collections brings back to mind the Tory Burch Robinsons and Mulberry’s Piccadilly leather bag all made in Ghana for the world, to talk on her patchworks which have now become the people’s delight. Enjoy:
You talk about your ‘humble’ beginning, tell us how Sa4a Designs started I started in September 2009 with just Ghc 10 which gave birth to just 2 slippers out of it. My beginning was just out of the zeal and passion to make myself and my country proud.
I went to an event and saw a very good friend of mine wearing a slipper and I said to myself, ‘this is beautiful’, and then something crossed my mind that I could make something similar. But I wanted to stand out and not be like everyone doing the same stuff.
I have always carried the passion of ‘Africa’ in my heart, so I decided that if I was going to do anything, then it must have a 100% flare of ‘African’ in it. So I decided to do slippers in African fabrics and that’s how it all started. I then started creating designs and patterns. I developed bows and corsages and bean mixing and matching African patterns to create beautiful designs.
‘Crafted by hands, fired by imagination’ is your stand out motto, why this? It describes what Sa4a Designs is all about. I asked myself how my designs came about and it’s purely through divine imaginations, and when it flows, I just create them.
You recently won the ‘Chivas Luxury Man Design’ of the Year @ the GAFW 2012, tell us about the feelings I was really happy because I wasn’t expecting any award that night.
I was just at the event to showcase my new collections, then have fun and go home. To God be the glory for the award because it has been a summation of being crowned for the whole sleepless nights and hard work. It’s pleasing to be recognized though I am positive that this is the first of many awards to be won across the world.
What’s that ‘thing’ that wakes up the passion in you to use Ankara clothes especially?
African fabrics are unique and exciting and no one will doubt that. They are colorful, they are fun and there is so much you can do with them. I believe it is one thing that all African designers can use to differentiate themselves in the international fashion industry.
Your brand is gaining appraisal every passing day, how have you been able to maintain the trend thus far?
The key is to excite my customers every day. They are my numero uno fan, so I always create new designs and enlivening products. My ambition is to develop a strong brand that my customers can identify with. I have tried my best to make sure that I keep that little box of listening to my customers in my heart, so it is basically a strong base of communication that keeps us all growing.
Let’s talk about some of the runways you have showcased your works
I have done a few runway shows. The ones that quickly come to mind are the Glitz Africa Fashion Week, Arise Fashion Week in Lagos, Nigeria, the Afro Rock Fashion Show, Fashion Night Out Ghana, amongst others.
You have different collections, but why are ‘Ama K.’ and ‘Maa Rose’, so unique?
They are because these people – Ama K. Abebrese and Maa Rose, have been very passionate to me as a person. They are very strong personalities. Ama K. Abebrese is an award winning Ghanaian actress who has inspired me tremendously. She was the first person to use my bag.
The bag was inspired by her exciting personality and it continues to influence a lot of Sa4a Designs. Maa Rose is another unique personality who has inspired and encouraged me a lot, most importantly, she has challenged me to be more creative and never lie on my present state. She is the mother of Menaye Donkor. Sa4a Deigns is made for everyone and inspired by strong personalities.
You are one of those clamoring for people to use ‘made in Ghana’ products, what quota have to done to see this spread?
I have added my quota to predominately using Ghanaian and African fabrics, products, workmen and designs. I create original Ghanaian designs and sell both to local and international clients. My products are made in Ghana and I’m always very proud to say that.
Competition is healthy, what runs through your veins when you know that there are competitors?
I get excited when I see young Ghanaians like myself making Ghana proud. I believe that we are all contributing to the upliftment of putting Ghana high on the world map. I love competition because it brings out the best out of me.
Can we talk about some of your clienteles both in and out of Ghana?
My clienteles are vast but the ones I can remember now are iconic Ghanaian women who have encouraged and appreciated my works. I want to also use this medium to say a big ‘thank you’ to all of them, from Edwina Baaba Banda, Ama K. Abebrese, Menaya Donkor, amongst others. However my clientele are all women and men who appreciate beautiful African fashion.
Define a typical Sa4a Design customer
A typical Sa4a Design customer will be that person who appreciates creativity and in a nutshell is a conscious effort person who understands the passion that drives the brand.
Source: Victor Adeyemi Adebayo
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