Our guest post is a beautiful, very beautiful (no exaggeration) lady inside out. She is a fashion designer, a motivator, an inspiration, a Ghanaian patriot with a golden intelligent head on her head. She is one of the stars of Africa where innovation in creativity is concerned. She is none other than Awura Abena Agyeman.
AMOAFOWAA: You’re welcome to amoafowaa.com
AWURA: Thank you
AMOAFOWAA: Please tell us about your family and growing up
AWURA: I come from a large family filled with lots of love and support. I’ve got 8 siblings and a fantastic mum. If I had to choose the single most valuable asset I have aside God, it would be my family. They’re my anchor. I grew up as a silly chubby girl who could talk from here till forever and yet I managed to convince my teachers that I was the quietest person in each class I got to.
AMOAFOWAA: Lol. So Wear Ghana. How did it come to be?
AWURA: Well it started in so many little parts.. A promise to a friend to make him a shirt after he had ordered me some sewing books… a project with my brother to find a way to revive the clothing and textiles industry … a conversation with two of my brothers with one of them suggesting the name WEAR Ghana for an event … my sister going out to tell a neighbour I was a fashion designer after the neighbour had shown interest in an outfit I had designed for her (my sister)… to having my best friend of so many years, Angorkor Nai-Kwade partner me. Looking back I realise these were just sign posts leading me to my calling. But all in all it really happened when I realised I had landed a promotion at work and had been offered a nice position in another bank and was still feeling empty. It was then that I realised WEAR Ghana was my only way to achieve true happiness in my work life.
AMOAFOWAA: Who is/are your role model(s)?
AWURA: I’ve got many. At various points in my life I’ve found myself learning from many different people… A fantastic boss, my siblings, even a character in a book or movie. My role model is anyone who has a trait I find admirable.
AMOAFOWAA: Who do you dream to dress in the whole world?
AWURA: Oprah. All the African presidents, Chimamanda, Will Smith, all Ghanaian presidents, Obama, Patrick Awuah, Mensah Otabil to mention but a few.
AMOAFOWAA: What inspires your designs?
AWURA: We draw inspiration from so many random things. Trees, light… I find that I’m most creative in a moving vehicle. Perhaps it’s because those are the few times I’m truly sitting still. I should be still more times. I’ve decided I’ll learn how to meditate but it takes a lot of practice to master.
AMOAFOWAA: Can clothes speak on beings?
AWURA: Hopefully I understand your question. Clothes do a lot of talking. There are people who you have probably never spoken to who assume they know you because of your appearance. And clothes take up a huge chunk of one’s appearance. Sometimes without even getting close you can imagine how a person’s breath will smell, just because of how they’re dressed. Kojo Yankson of the Joy Super Morning show demonstrated this perfectly in one of his ‘messages from the morning man’ in which he speaks of a robbery where thieves get easy access into a building because they dress up as firemen.
AMOAFOWAA: Yes, you understood perfectly. Any hobbies?
AWURA: I love dancing and chatting with people whose minds I find beautiful. Reading too.
AMOAFOWAA: Can fashion contribute to national development?
AWURA: Not only can it, it absolutely should. The global fashion industry is a multi billion enterprise. If we think of fashion as a wealth creating force, we’ll approach it in a more business minded way. That’s what’s often missing in the local industry. There’s a disconnect between the art and the business of fashion.
AMOAFOWAA: What is your take on gender equality in Africa in recent times?
AWURA: I honestly don’t see people in terms of male and female. I see them as intelligent people or hard working people or kind people. But that’s not to say there’s no gender imbalance. There are struggles women go through that men would never fully appreciate. Like having a pervert grab my ass while I was shopping in a market. And the painful part when these things happen is that most of the people around including women think it’s funny. “It’s just a man being a man. Oh come on, don’t make a fuss” But on the other hand I know there are battles men have to fight on a daily basis that I may never fully appreciate. At the end of the day, I think we should all just learn to treat each other with integrity and respect. Male or female. Period.
AMOAFOWAA: Politics, does it affect the fashion industry?
AWURA: It affects every industry and the clothing and textiles industry is no exception. The fact that at the end of the day it is politicians who run the economy and that the economy has such a direct bearing on how the business climate works, shows clearly that politics affects us all.
AMOAFOWAA: Has formal education inspired you in any way?
AWURA: I believe it has. If for nothing at all I’m able to browse the internet to learn ways of building empires and see how other clothing lines are being efficient. I am however of the opinion that our method of education is seriously porous. And I doff my hat to people like Patrick Awuah who are redefining Ghanaian education.
AMOAFOWAA: Sexual harassment as barrier of the realization of the hard work of women, do you think the world can break off this completely?
AWURA: I certainly hope it does. it can be such a distraction. It’s negative and evil and I hope the men of this world grow up. Grow up! Period! Learn how to shut up when your lust surfaces. And I’ve come to realise it’s a power thing. Many harassers use harassment as a tool to show who is boss. That’s not to say women are not guilty too. So let’s all grow up, people.
AMOAFOWAA: Awuraa, you are beautiful, tall, fashionable and hot with long dreadlocks. Considering the opinion of many Africans of people who wear locks, may I please ask what inspired your locks?
AWURA: Eish eish! Please print your description for me so that I hang it on my wall those times when I’m feeling downright ugly. I was tired of perming my hair. I hate hair driers. I wanted to be free from them. And I love the natural look.
AMOAFOWAA: If you are given a chance to go back in time to erase some parts of your life, which parts will you erase and why?
AWURA: None. Each minute of my life has formed me. That’s not to say I’m proud of everything I’ve ever done. But it’s all been a learning curve.
AMOAFOWAA: Single, attached or married?
AMOAFOWAA: Who fits your description of a perfect man?
AWURA: Hmm. An intelligent man who is true to himself and has loads of integrity and character. If he’s good looking and tall and dark too I no bore kraa smile emoticon
AMOFOWAA: (Laughing out loud) Who can gain your respect?
AWURA: Anyone who’s trying to make the world a better place in any sphere of life, in any discipline.
AMOAFOWAA: You have made Ghana proud and is still on course, are there some challenges?
AWURA: Oh thank you, that’s very kind of you. There are. Our very brand name bears our identity as Ghanaians. And every time something goes amiss in the country and the way it’s run, we cringe. From dumsor to senseless flooding right down to the fact that there seems to be absolutely no national agenda. It affects businesses. It affects families.
AMOAFOWAA: Who will you describe as a perfect man of God?
AWURA: One who is true to himself. Who admits his flaws and works towards becoming the best version of himself. Who appreciates the fact that God is wise and calls on us to be wise as well.
AMOAFOWAA: Politicians, Priests and Imams/Mallams, Traditionalists, Public and Civil Servants, The Whole Nation, who do you think is the major contributor of the nation’s stagnancy in progress?
AWURA: All of us. We are all responsible for where we are. Whenever I see people jumping queues I wonder how we even feel like we have a moral right to complain about politicians. It appears there’s something wrong with the way the majority of us think.
AMOAFOWAA: Indeed. Any interest in sports?
AWURA: In the past it used to be any football game between Ghana and another country. But I’m losing interest in even that.
AMOAFOWAA: Lol. If you have any advice for Ghanaians to use as ticket of progress, what will it be?
AWURA: Let’s start thinking. Period.
AMOAFOWAA: What is your say on racial discrimination?
AWURA: It’s wrong. But I think respect is earned. It’s a human thing. When you come from a continent which constantly portrays itself as a laughing stock, you can only understand when others ridicule you. I think that it’s only when the African proves by his actions in his home country that he is a thinking and progressive being that the world will take us seriously. Everything else is begging to be respected because we are humans too and for me that’s not good enough. Even animals have rights. Not very impressive if you ask me.
AMOAFOWAA: Wow! What is your biggest dream?
AMOAFOWAA: It surely will come true with determination like yours. Now if you were to choose between teaching, preaching, news casting and petty selling apart from fashion, which will you choose and why?
AWURA: Hmm. What makes you ask? Lol. Maybe teaching. Maybe.
AMOAFOWAA: How do you choose fabrics for individuals where Wear Ghana is concerned?
AWURA: Personality, design, occasion, amongst other factors.
AMOAFOWAA: You are an achiever; there are many wanting to step into your shoes, what is your advice to those people?
AWURA: You think? Well I guess it would be this: constantly strive to achieve your highest potential.
AMOAFOWAA: Now please give your general advice to followers of Amoafowaa.com.
AWURA: Keep following amoafowaa.com. This lady rocks. And let’s all support her autism project.
AMOAFOWAA: Wow! Thank you very much and thank you for your time on Amoafowaa.com
AWURA: Thanks, Darling.Her inspiration came in this form:AWURAA ABENA: A FLOWER WITH LIGHTPretty flowers are known to have vicious thornsBut I know a pretty flower whose thorns, if there ever are, never showAnd her smile brightens the skies
Pretty flowers are conceited
Deriving payments from their view
I know a pretty flower who works harder than normal flowers
Pretty flowers care not about their heads
All they need is a bright light to show themselves
I know a pretty flower who is her own light and values a good head
Yes, I know a pretty flower called Awuraa Abena Agyeman
You have seen no flower if you haven’t seen this flower
Natural in shine and beauty
Creative in decorum
Like an earth of forever sunshine,
None can blame those who wish for only flowers of Awuraa’s kind
In a world so blessed but cursed with many flowers of thorns in sluggishness
Love her or hate her
If there are stars of Africa,
Her motivation and strides makes her the moon worth following
Amoafowaa Sefa Cecilia (c) 2015