“Fashion is not something that exists in dresses only. Fashion is in the sky, in the street, fashion has to do with ideas, the way we live, what is happening.”
For Ami Yomekpe, multi-faceted Ghanaian designer and CEO and founder of AfroModTrends, exploration and experimentation of fashion has always allowed her creativity to take full reign; and whilst a passion for fashion is key; she believes that the business of fashion needs to generate revenue and returns in order for a brand to be sustainable.
Her Afrocentric style has given birth to one of the most celebrated fashion labels in Ghana, and her architectural background has built a framework upon which fashion is the art form and the human body is the canvas. Ami believes that fashion is more than a collection of clothing; but exists in the way we live.
Falling in love with all things fashionable at a young, impressionable age whilst watching Style with Elsa Klensch on CNN back in 1980, Ami was fascinated with fashion from all over the world, including interviews with designers, all-access backstage passes and being mesmerised by the models on the runways across the globe.
Ami’s native Ghana has since emerged as a fashion hub in the West African sub-region, with young designers showcasing Ghanaian fashion on international platforms, yet local fashion is still dominated by dressmakers who possess a low market value, as they thrive on bespoke creations. AfroModTrends positions itself as an affordable lifestyle brand, producing quality ready-to-wear clothing as well as luxury Afro-fusion fashion, at a lower price point. Herein lies Ami’s aim to bridge the gap between bespoke and ready-to-wear items, which are both available under the illustrious AfroModTrends umbrella.
Thrilled to showcase in South Africa, Ami is excited by the innumerable sources of inspiration from which fashion designers can draw from, and she foresees African Fashion becoming more influential on the global stage in the next 10 years, rivalling the fashion platforms of New York, Paris and Milan.
Her greatest inspiration and mentor was the late Kofi Ansah, a trailblazer and celebrated Ghanaian fashion designer, who revolutionised the industry in Ghana, encouraging her to take the first step of her fashion journey, and who has since been instrumental in shaping her career. With highlights including participating in the Oxford Africa Conference in the UK, as one of 3 young emerging fashion businesses to watch from Africa as well as being named one of the Tony Elumelu Entrepreneurs in 2016.
Giving her clients the confidence to look and feel good, Ami’s greatest compliment comes from the women wearing her garments. She is always designing and multi-tasks between her career as a fashion designer and freelance architect, with both creative platforms providing her with design inspiration.
With the modernization of African fashion, comes increased fashion events and media attention. As a result, fashion has become a vehicle for positive and progressive societal change. In turn, AfroModTrends has set up the ‘Fashion For Change Africa’ Foundation to address social challenges and empower the youth through fashionable projects that impact communities positively.
Ami’s greatest challenge working in the fashion space has been a lack of collaborative effort between fashion designers and other players in the industry. In addition, sourcing skilled labour has also been challenging, not to mention competing with sub-standard second hand imports.
Fashion has made Ami more appreciative of the finer details in life; including the nuances of culture and art, which provide her with inspiration for her personal expression. In a way, fashion has made her more herself than ever before.
Her latest Collection, entitled ‘The African Gatsby,’ represents the imagined idea of a Gatsby party in all its glamour and splendour set in the 1920’s, with a modern African twist. The 1920’s was a time of great change in the world of fashion for women, with the introduction of new styles and perspectives. This era redefined womanhood and bridged the gap between wealthy and working class women.
Featuring African inspired fabrics from Printex Limited, this Collection displays the silhouette of the feminine form with luxurious attention to detail, and we look forward to celebrating ‘The African Gatsby’ with AfroModTrends at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Cape Town 2017 taking place from the 23rd-25th March.
Follow AFI on Twitter and Instagram: @afi_sa for constant Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Cape Town updates as well as show schedules and ticket information.
Follow @maccosmetics and @ghd_southafrica to get the #MBFWCT17 looks locked down.
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