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Ghanaian entrepreneur adopts African beads, fabrics to create fashion

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Beads and fabrics have been essential to dressing in Africa for many generations, while a young fashion entrepreneur from Ghana is now seeking to project these on the global stage.

With her nascent fashion enterprise, Joyce Owusu uses Ghanaian and African beads and wax prints for various attractive accessories and exquisite clothing that seek to tell the African fashion story in a wholly new way.

With her love for beads, Owusu left her paid job in 2016, just four years after graduating from the Ghana Institute of Journalism. She started the Purple Trendz Ghana Couture, which fast became one of the brands of choice among Ghanaians both at home and abroad.

“I started playing with beads in 2012 during my national service. I was only having fun, so when I decided to move it into business, I started with just 50 Ghana cedis (8 U.S. dollars). But the business has evolved from making beaded accessories into making hats, fascinators, bouquets, and clothes,” she told Xinhua.

Owusu showcases her beautifully designed hand-made beaded fashion accessories such as hats, fascinators, bridal fans, and ladies’ handbags, in addition to eye-catching apparel made from African prints in her African clothes boutique at Madina, a suburb of the Ghanaian capital.

Moreover, Owusu also produces for other brands on contract, both inside and outside Ghana, making unisex attires, including kimonos and other colorful clothes for males and females.

“It is important to project African fabrics and beads, which are integral parts of the continent’s dressing culture on the global stage. This sense of African fashion should also be instilled in the younger generation,” she said.

“I think the products project the Afro-centric nature of our fashion and showcase the beauty of African culture,” she added.

Apart from the rich and beautiful beads from Ghanaian communities of Krobo, Kumasi, and the northern parts of the country, the designer also sources beads from Mali, Nigeria, Niger, Kenya, and China.

“For the clothes, I use local fabrics from some of the top textile manufacturers in Ghana. Some fabrics also come from Holland and some African countries. I look for the best materials and beads for my customers,” she said.

The young designer uses her communication skills to project the blend of African traditional and modern fashion through social media platforms, including Twitter and TikTok.

“I also have a website that is currently being redeveloped into an e-commerce site so that when you visit, you can buy whatever you want,” said Owusu.

Ghanaian workers generally don their African prints to work on Fridays since former President John Kufuor launched the National Friday Wear program in 2004. Ghanaians also sport these, adorned with beads to religious services, festivals, weddings, parties, and awards ceremonies.

Despite the headway she made in the dynamic Ghanaian fashion industry, Owusu told Xinhua that young entrepreneurs in Ghana needed support and high patronage to survive in the competitive business arena.

The young entrepreneur has three employees and has also trained 20 others, including needy single-mothers in vocational skills for free to empower them with decent livelihoods.

With opportunities presented by emerging international trade partnership agreements, Owusu believes the future for her fashion business was bright. She considers the creation of the African Continental Free Trade Area, in particular, a great opportunity through which she could export her products to other parts of the continent.

See Original Source:  Xinhua

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