Thursday, 29 March 2012

Ghanaian Fashion designers /celebrities and fashionista at the 2012 Arise Magazine Fashion Week…..

Photo credit: Sefa Nkansa

Paulina Opoku-Gyimah says: I applaud this year’s Arise Magazine Fashion Week 2012 -and from the little I’ve heard, -it was fabulous and professional bar a couple of days that didn‘t happen.

I’m very proud of the organizers behind this colossal event. Truly, its not easy to have the worlds gaze on you when you have to deal with events of this magnitude on a continent struggling with jagger-jagger politics, crap infrastructure, inconsistencies with regards to electricity et al and basic -African palaver!!!! …But I still have issues …and its not with the organisers!!!

My gripe is with …..the lack of photographs or reportage with regards to the numerous Ghanaian fashionistas/ personalities at said event!!! Surly they walked the red carpet, attended the various shows and parties and were spotted on the streets?? Really…we [Ghanaians] aren’t represented in any of the various ‘street-style’ segments on any blog/websites???

The thing is….. I don’t know if its because they [AMFW 2012] didn’t invite enough Ghanaian media representatives or if the GH-media reps present -just don’t understand the importance of covering this paramount event -properly (mercy)???

Its beyond infuriating how Ghanaian media-rites don’t get ‘the fashion’ thingy… Firstly, they think fashion’s all about glamour, or making errrrmmm whatever garments out of wax print cloths or getting a group of Miss Ghana(s) together to walk the catwalk (I shudder to think oOO). They have noooo idea about business never mind that’s a multi billion dollars industry -and every part of its process -must be covered/exposed properly…

The concept of the front -row is also non-existent… The notion that the FRONT-ROW (now called ‘the frow’ by insiders) will ultimately decide how hot -bloggers/journalists etc find the collection -is lost on many Ghanaians. The BACKSTAGE photographs, those yummy up-close images that enable true fashion aficionados to get a feel of the garments, or to see the enormous amount of work that’s gone into a collection, -or the ability to see the hair & make-up we’ll all be sporting in the next six months -is just not a reality for many GH photographers/bloggers et al…. What a shame!!!!!

There are no images of Ghanaian designers, doyennes, bloggers or whatever…….-never mind the BUYERS -why? Do they [Gh media-rites] think the people behind Arise Magazine fashion Week are having a laugh or do understand the work being done to promote African fashion designers -globally? And it very expensive work -I hasten to add!!!

Please note …. most of the aforementioned creative(s) mentioned -all have a part to play …in making the cogs/mechanism at the base of this incredible industry -the fashion Industry, -move/grow/work/expand/make profit etc etc.

Also (this is something I’ve cried over in the past ) -why don’t they understand that the internet has turned every post ever written about African [Ghanaian] fashion -into a possible opportunity for said fashion designer/model/fashionista/blogger to achieve success -way beyond their bedrooms!!! The world has become a global village, a much smaller place -and those with money/style/know-how etc etc -are no longer prepared to limit their WANTS to just their local high streets, cities or countries etc …but are prepared to travel the globe to buy an innovate piece by some obscure Ghanaian designer that been written about by a single mother in north London -do you get me??? And that goes for candles, toiletries, cosmetics, shoes, food et al… if I told you about the amount of emails I get from various designers/creatives etc who have received sales/emails/enquires from the other side of the world because of something I blogged about in 2009 -you wouldn’t believe it … but words/photographs are powerful…

At this juncture, I’ll like to take the opportunity to bring to mind the numerous Ghanaian businesses that are operating without websites/blogs/tumblers etc …why? What a wasted opportunity to sell your designs/goods/services to the world….because, and this might come as a bit of a shock to some of you…-the world is a ‘small’ market place and the internet is a ‘shop front window’ into your business!!!!

Do you know that some of the Ghanaian designers present at AMFW have yet to upload their catwalk photographs onto their Facebook fan pages -never mind their website? Now if a buyer from say ….Merchants on Long in Cape Town ( &, the hottest boutique in Africa in my opinion -wanted to check out their designs and have another look at their collection….it would be a wasted opportunity -right??? **Anyway if you’re a high-end designer why not get in touch with the stylish people at Merchants on Long and get them to check out your designs -unless like most Ghanaian fashion designers -you’re happy to sell to only those in your local. Also…. do check out their [Merchants on Long’s] face book page, -where their address, telephone number, website and a lovely description about their services is elegantly and professionally provided for potential clients -it might just help you [fellow fashion designers/boutique/service providers) -to up your game…

Getting back on track…please remember,… there are numerous boutiques in South Africa, Canada, Spain et al with some serious money to spend ..looking for new designers to promote -and it can take just one photograph or blog post -to propel one Ghana based designer from a village called Kissi onto the catwalks of NYC or London… -so why don’t Ghanaian media-nistas -get this? By not covering Arise Magazine Fashion Week 2012 fully, the few Ghanaian journalists, photographers and bloggers present at said event -have let us all down!!!

Anyway I’ve waffled on for far tooo long -and no longer care ….whether the Ghanaian media-nistas at Arise Magazine Fashion Week 2012 were few (and far between) or not -and I’m over the lack of images/write-ups etc …. but I still wanted to bring you the little info I managed to scrap together…… -so here goes….enjoy..

Highlights From AMFW 2012....

Ozwald Boateng takes a bow to rapturous applause…..  Photo credit: Arise Magazine

The ever beautiful Erzumah Ackerson, designer of Bestow Elan is photographed on the red carpet by One Nigerian Boy’s Terence Sambo…

AMFW chief hair stylist -Johnnie Sapong surrounded by fellow hairstylists backstage --Photo credit: Arise Magazine

Fashion 101 presenter Sandra Ankobiah on the red carpet at AMFW 2012….

**Fashion 101 presenter Sandra Ankobiah, actress Yvonne Okoro and editor & publisher of Glitz Magazine -Claudia Lumor appear at the beginning of the above clip…but why the lack of Ghanaian fashionistas????

***I don’t know……… anyway the above film -even though it whizzes past in a flash [why? I don‘t know??] -does have a few seconds of Ghanaian fashionista and presenter of the ever popular Fashion 101, Sandra Ankobiah -at the very end.

Street Style
I also spotted the following photographs of Sandra Ankobiah, actress Yvonne Okoro and editor & publisher of Glitz Magazine -Claudia at Arise Magazine Fashion Week via Fashion 101’s face book and blog page...

Very Important facts…
AMFW chief hair stylist was Johnnie Sapong, songstress Efya performed and Ozwald Boateng won the ‘Lifetime Achievement Award’ at the ARISE Magazine Fashion Awards 2012...

***The lovely film above -is a video dairy by beautiful Nigerian/American model, Fancy Tracy's and gives those of us who weren’t there -another perceptive of the shows -its really a gem. And shows Johnnie Sapong back stage, the front-row fashionistas -and that must-have purple dress with the clashing print detail by Ghanaian designer -Jil.


Featuring; Clan, Ohema Ohene, Amine Bendriouch Couture & BS, Zooni and AMFW chief hair stylist Johnnie Sapong. (Credit: ashionistaGH & Bella Naija collaboration)

Ohema Ohene

***Wow what can I say,…. the Ohema Ohene collection blew me away! Designing for both men and women -Ohema Ohene’s ode to the majesty of Ghanaian Kente cloth was evident from the black and white woven pieces worn by the men. I love her use of clashing bold wax prints -just feast your eyes on that delectable nipped-in-at-the-waist jacket and cigarette pants and her take on the shape of the season -the peplum top and skirt…sexy magic -me thinks…


***Clan is a new uber sophisticated label by Ghanaian/Nigerian sisters and daughters of fab Nigerian fashion designer, Deola Sagoe. Made up of my new style crush -Aba (not just because we share a name but because Aba has incredible style and dresses-to-kill), Teni and Tiwa Sagoe -their collection was the ‘me I want to be’ -when I grow-up,!!!

Clean lines, structured, sexy, to-live-for show stopping pieces -made for elegant nights out, -the Clan woman is no wall flower. I’m glad that like Bestow Elan, they felt no pressure to give us wax prints oOo (mercy) -thus, -it was a breath of fresh air!!! -I’m crazy about the entire collection especially their Le smoking-esque gold tux (I want it now) and that somewhat ‘delicate’ flesh coloured itsy-bitsy dress with the daringly low plunging neckline… yummy.

Featuring; Kastle Designs & Treasure Chest, Vonne Couture, Viv La Resistance, Bestow Elan, Kiki Clothing, Grey and uber menswear designer Ozwald Boateng and Nduka Obaigbena publisher of Arise Magazine… (Credit: ashionistaGH & Bella Naija collaboration)

Kastle Designs And Treasure Chest

***The Piper twins’ Kastle Designs And Treasure Chest A/W2012 collection was very ‘Lolita’, think young it-girl raids mummy’s couture closet. Bursting with their signature sexy body-con dresses and soon-to-be firm favourites including a studio 54-esque disco fabulous green jumpsuit, a racy-lacy number  -and that long elegant cocktail dress a la 1980’s Dynasty…

Bestow Elan

***Ghana Rising fave, Erzumah Ackerson designer of Bestow Elan gave us sexy, grown-up woman in art gallery chic with touches of modern day Grecian goddess -and I love it. With it delicate splashes of starlight art-attack colours, statement dresses and to-live-for printed Capri pants (I’m predicating the Bestow Elan capri pants are A/W12 it-trousers du jour) - this collection is one of my favourite from AMFW and I see it stocked around the world. Another successful collection …go Erzumah….

Kiki Clothing

***Kiki Clothing by Titi Ademola went big on prints with some pieces made from two or more different prints clashing fabulously and a host of crisp white cotton dresses with wax print sleeves, hems and bow details.

Featuring; Nkwo, Gloria Wavamunno, Duaba Serwa, Grey, Jewel by Lisa. Comments from Sacha Okoh, Sandra Ankobiah, Yvonne Okoro and Claudia Lumor. (Credit: ashionistaGH & Bella Naija collaboration)

Duaba Serwa /Sa4a Shoes & Bags

*8*Nelly Aboagye’s Duaba Serwa was a celebration of the female form. From her uber feminine statement dresses for ‘ladies-who-lunch’, stripy body-con ‘days at the races’ pieces -to must-have dresses with sweet-heart neckline -the Duaba Serwa’s A/W12 collection is dressed-up sexiness at its best. I have just found out via Sandra Ankobiah’s blog ( that the gorgeous shoes and bags above are the creation of Ghana based accessories label, Sa4a ( .. A fabulous collaboration -me thinks..

Featuring; JIL, Poisa, Christie Brown and Fashionistas: TV presenter Sandra Ankobiah, actress Yvonne Okoro and's Fashion Editor Zandile Blay (credit: FashionistaGH & Bella Naija collaboration)


Details -I’m truly thankful to One Nigerian Boy for this close up of the Jil collection. Not only does it show the amount of work that gone into the collection but just how beautiful it is -and stops it from appearing somewhat pedestrian…If only Mr Terence Sambo could have done the same with all the other collections…

Details photos all courtesy of One Nigerian Boy (

***Jil by Adoley Addo gave us grown-up wearable pieces for sophisti-cats. Consisting of evening dresses with woven pieces of colourful majestic kente cloth, fringing and a red power suit that’s crying out to be worn to Ghana’s bourgeoning rounds of engagements & weddings parties, -I’m predicating that this collection’s going to be a hit. Me? ….I’m after the lilac lace dress with yellow details and the Kente skirt -worm above with a delicate coral silk blouse….

Christie Brown Designs / Mosaïque shoes…

****Christie Brown by Aisha Obuobi -was all about details. Using darker, richer colours like plum and dark green -coupled with dark velvet, and touches of leather and wax cloth -the Christie Brown collection offered innovative well executed pieces for the sophisticated -girl-about-town. Her peek-a-boo lace and shear dresses paired with sexy stacked Mosaïque heels -are dreamy and on-point. I’m especially loving the dark green trousers (I think its silk) -and the Mosaïque heels worn with socks, -a fabulous collaboration -me thinks.

Ozwald Boateng

***Ozwald Boateng didn’t disappoint and gave us one fabulous, well cut, dapper-peacock-about-town suit after another…. I heard that Ozwald Boateng’s show brought the house down, but why wouldn’t it…he’s the consummate professional after all, -way, way ahead of the pack…

Photos & Video Credits:!/Fashion101gh!/fashionistagh


  1. You are so right i was surprised too by the lack of coverage made by African Fashionistas Bloggers in general ; My blog is not focus in fashion but i am member of a lot of fashions blog made by African and black women; I was shoked too when i saw that non of them have futured the Arise fashion Week; When you compare the situation with All the American AND European shows and awards red carpets futured in this African blogs, I am really disapointed; Most of this blogs follow all the Western Fashion Weeks even if there is not even ONE BLACK DESIGNER AND HAVE NO PROBLEM TO POST THE PICTURES OF THEIR CATWALKS.
    I also have a problem with the almost non appearance of Nollywood Stars apart Genevieve Nnaji, i did not see any one else WHY?
    I FOLLOW ALL the fashion week because i am addict to Bella Naija and Fashionista ghana in a regular basis; but i am quite sad that they stopped their collaboration as soon as the AMFW concluded; I think we are all to blame but next time we need to be prepared and all through the year we can still futured the designers NOTHING IS LOST. GOD BLESS.

  2. Thanks for the feedback.
    We are very grateful.
    Useful lessons learnt.
    Thanks again.

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