In an industry where it is easy to get lost in the plethora of competitors, one African lady has found her feet, shining forth brightly in the fashion world and carrying others from her home-continent along with her fast-rising fame.
From her modest home in Columbia, South Carolina, US-based Ghanaian fashion icon, Serwah Armah-Koranteng, is on a mission to bring the world closer to fashion ideas and talents from Africa.
Serwah believes that as a fashion entrepreneur, she owes it to Africa and the world to unearth talents and opportunities within the industry, and thereby create entrepreneurs – and it has been a fulfilling task since 2014 she tells myjoyonline.com.
– Serwah Armah-Koranteng
For close to five years, she has leveraged on the power of the internet and other entrepreneurial tools to connect fashion talents from Africa with U.S businesses, organisations and manufacturers, who have interest in building business partnerships overseas.
Her first event in 2014 was aptly titled: “Africa is not a country”, which was not only a multi-cultural fashion show, but also a forum to discuss the cultural diversity of the different African nationals in her community and their belief systems. Although she had targeted Africans, it turned out that participants at that successful maiden event came from different parts of the world.
“The feedback from this show was encouraging, so I decided to continue it as an annual event to commemorate the Black History celebration here in the USA,” she recounts.
Aside from her fashion outfit, AfricStyle Initiatives, which plans and executes fashion and networking programmes with the aim of spreading “the love of God” and promoting brands from the U.S and all African countries, she is an astute unisex designer herself.
“My fashion shows are held twice a year and part of the proceeds goes to my local community and my overseas partners. Each year, my schedule permits two major fashion shows where I showcase my designs and products. My products – clothing, accessories, home decor, all with African print fabric – that are showcased at the fashion shows are 80 percent made by me right here in the U.S. The rest come from Ghana, Kenya and South Africa,” Serwah says.
Serwah says she is always looking for partners and sponsors to help young people learn a skill or make use of their skill by producing and selling made-in-Africa products through her platform.
“I also use my platform to support young talents with seed money to produce products that benefit my platform,” she explains.
Serwah has had four successful events within the last four years, and she is confident her fashion events could pass easily as the “largest African networking fashion show in Columbia, South Carolina.”
“I have been featured in Columbia Fashion Week and currently serve as an International Fashion Coordinator for Columbia International Festival where I coordinate fashion shows for adults and children from over seventy-eight different countries – all to the glory of God,” she is modest.
She is currently working on her Summer event which will be a display of Ankara necklaces and bags to show the beauty of the African print and to demonstrate that the prints are not only used for clothing but can also be used for accessories and decoration.
“I am also working on having hands-on training in Ghana and US on branding and presentation of products with an emphasis on selling abroad. I had quit my full-time as a nursing professional job this year to focus mainly on business and projects, so this should tell you how serious I am in pursuing this,” she said.
For Serwah, consistency and trust have been her watchwords.
“My goal for 2018 is to partner up with some businesses or organisations in Ghana and other African countries to help educate our people on entrepreneurship, building a business network and also branding of products.
She says she would love to work with anybody, however, to earn her trust, she must be convinced without a doubt that the person’s passion for his or her brand.
“Although I have the desire to help, I am also keen on accountability,” Serwah says.
More photos of Serwah’s designs are published below.