A love for fashion is something many of us share, turning this passion into a business however, is where the difficulty lies for many. Lorna Asante, an inspirational young lady has managed to turn her love for fashion into a wonderful business opportunity. Lorna manages to excel in many of her ventures and she’s an active member of the GUBA team. In this interview, she talks us through the inspiration behind her designs and her expectations of the upcoming GUBA Awards.
What part do you play within GUBA?
My role within GUBA is the Administrator. GUBA is a structured and professional organisation so I deal with their official proceedings, performance management, dealing with clients and business operations.
Talk us through the inspiration behind Boutique de L’Afrique
I’m inspired by various people around the world but my main inspiration is my Grandmother. I grew up to see my grandmother designing and making most of my African clothing. She sometimes dressed me up as her ‘mini me’ and I always got compliments on the outfits she made for me. I watched her design and make her own clothes too, from pieces of beautiful fabrics and her love for designing/sowing and how effortlessly she went about it, inspired me greatly.
I’ve also always been creative. During my study years, both in college and at university, I used to personalise everyday items and I was always being told by friends and family to take up designing and possibly turning it into a business. The constant motivation, more so when I modelled for Ghana Fashion Week last year where my friends encouraged me to possibly take this creative hobby to another level, along with my love for design and fashion, led me to start up Boutique de L’Afrique.
What sets Boutique de L’Afrique apart from other African designs/designers?
Boutique de L’Afrique values and loves the unique and versatile quality of African prints. Our collection is very different from other designs I have seen so far, as far back as the design process and ideas for the generation. For instance we have a jumpsuit with a beautiful African map on the back of it which I’m yet to see anyone else with that so far. Our versatility and representation of different cultures makes us stand out. We feature a wide range of colours/prints/textures/brands and have a rich collection of patterns and cut outs which we incorporate into everyday designs. We also have a range of homeware and bespoke Men’s designs with a range of African infusions, as well as our unique baby/kids collection which we aim to launch at Ghana Fashion Week in October.
What challenges have you faced in business so far?
Sorting out quality prints to be made into what one wants could sometimes get difficult. Since I have a lot to do at once, I have assigned a couple of tailors in Accra. I design all my clothes myself with descriptions attached for them to follow but sometimes it is difficult for them to get it because I’m physically not present all the time to direct them, and that takes up some time. I sometimes sow the odd emergencies myself. Also, because our clothes are bespoke collections and not mass produced, when we have urgent mass requests for weddings and corporate events, we have to work really quickly to get pieces ready.
Where would you like to see African fashion in the future?
I would like to see African fashion splashed everywhere; in Vogue magazine and other top fashion magazines. It is being done at the moment whereby African prints are being seen in Vogue and around however, I don’t think it generates enough credit to make us stand out yet. It’s mostly corporate designers and people who have incorporated African prints and not much of the proceeds and recognition goes to Africa. I also want to see broadcasters and TV personalities wearing it, and for it to be commercialised so that African print gains its much deserved recognition.
What do you expect from this year’s GUBA Awards?
I expect lots of creativity, good quality of production and I want GUBA to be recognised by well-known media corporations for their outstanding contribution to society. I also expect a lot of media personalities/celebrities and role models to attend the GUBA awards and for the charity organisation to be heard all over the world.
Below is a collection of some of her fabulous and bespoke designs:
Interview by GUBA’s Claudia Andrews