‘The most amazing clothes don’t amount to nothing unless you know the right way to present and market them.’
Our GUBA spotlight shines today on the wonderful and gifted AJ Taylor, fashion designer, entrepreneur and blogger. AJ has taken her passion for African prints and designs and turned it into a thriving business. Recently featured on the Guardian website, AJ speaks to GUBA about the inspiration behind her designs and her decision to turn it into a business.
What is the inspiration behind your designs? I love the fact that African fabrics tell stories from the prints, their names and where they originate. Beyond that, there is such a great variety for you to play around with and the prints are just beautiful and colourful and they draw the eye. Also, I associate a lot of these fabrics with my upbringing. I like to think that the women I design for are fun loving, yet hard working people with great fashion sense and a love for mother Africa.
Why did you decide to turn your passion into business and how is it working out so far? In 2009, I decided to set up my shop because I realised at that time that there was a need for easy access to Ankara print. My business is all about reinterpreting African print fabrics, more specifically Ankara fabrics for the modern young lady, and then making it easily accessible and affordable.
How important do you think it is for Africans/Ghanaians to make their mark in the fashion industry? I think that the prominence of Africa as a continent rich with inspiration, is growing, especially in fashion, and the people who best understand that and re-interpret that are Africans. So Africans in fashion need to grasp the opportunity of the growing interest in Africa to represent their roots and beliefs and counteract the misinterpretation and misrepresentation of Africa’s fashion.
What advice would you give to upcoming designers?Learn, learn and learn about the business side of fashion. The most amazing clothes don’t amount to nothing unless you know the right way to present and market them.
Now let’s take a peek into AJ’s wardrobe of kaleidoscopic goodness!
Elegant designs using African fabrics
Here we have a fusion of African designs and western fashion
I really like these designs and if you want to see even more beautiful designs, visit AJ at My African Closet, as well as her shop, CJAJ09. Below is a link to her Guardian article as well http://www.guardian.co.uk/fashion/gallery/2012/mar/21/fashion-africa-meets-west-in-pictures
Editor’s Note: AJ Taylor has been nominated for a GUBA 2012 Award, why don’t you nominate someone as deserving….
Interview by Claudia Andrews