Emerging designer Love April by Nina Barkers-Woode shares her views on establishing her brand in a competitive fashion industry and the international exposure she has gained after showcasing at Ghana Fashion & Design Week.
You took part in GFDW 2012, as a designer what was your experience of been in Ghana and showcasing at GFDW?
I found it to be a great experience. I was able to experience such a memorable opportunity that many new and upcoming designers dream about. Taking part in the first GFDW allowed me to share and learn from people admire most. It also allowed me to work with a hub of people within the fashion industry.
How important do you think it is that emerging designers and entrepreneurs like yourself have a platform such as this?
Being able to share my talent on such a platform opened new doors for me as an upcoming designer in Ghana. It would have been much harder if I wasn’t blessed with such an opportunity. It was truly amazing because I was able to share my ideas and work with a group of people that I really admire in the business. Also I got a chance to connect with international buyers and build a network for myself which was extremely beneficial when entering into the fashion industry. In Ghana we don’t have such platforms for new designers which make it even harder to create a name for ourselves and to be seen as an individual. GFDW allows all designers to share their different talents with supporting peers and network with a hub which is not easily accessible.
Do you think more should be done across the continent in support of the creative and manufacturing industry in Africa?
When it comes to the fashion industry, I feel like we are finally making progress. However, I believe that we are still not on the same level as the international front. Our continent is filled with so much beauty and textile yet when it comes to the fashion industry we don’t have the support or production. I feel that the international fashion industry has right now about our contributions. What happened in Ghana this past October was beautiful. It embodied everything that the industry needs right now. We need a safe haven for designers, stylist, producers, models, photographers, and public relations so that new designers have the chance to collaborate.
In the beginning, it was extremely hard to enter into this industry. I didn’t have that ‘safe-haven’ which made it even more difficulty for me. When I finally got foot in the door, I was able put out a collection for not only the public but the different hierarchal levels of society. I believe you need these people to help you showcase your work. You have to understand that the fashion industry is not run by one person. We need that part of the industry in Ghana. We are missing out on a lot of opportunities if this is continuously ignored.
What do you feel you can take from your GFDW experience, and where will it take the ‘Love April’ brand?
Taking part in GFDW made me realize that when great minds come together we have the capability to create amazing fashion artworks. It also opens the door for new and upcoming designers such as myself to collaborate with different artists whose names are already well established in the fashion industry. Also, in my opinion it gave the participants the confidence to know that we do have support locally and internationally. After GFDW, Love April was able to grow as a brand and also connect with different media outlets such as Vogue Italia and Shadders. Love April has also grown local and international success over the internet.
What has been your greatest moment on your creative journey so far?
Realizing that I do have support and having the opportunity to share my collection with the world. I mean as a designer, what else do you really want? To finally establish myself as a young designer is what every designer hopes for. I got a chance to experience something that most designers will never experience in the lifetime. This is my motivation.
What do you have in mind for your next collection, any ideas yet?
Our next upcoming collection encompasses the beauty of the Ghanaian woman and is really influenced by the different generations of woman of culture and my own experiences.
How can you be contacted?
We can be reached at: