Meet ‘The African Gatsby’ – the dazzling new collection by Ghanaian label AfroModTrends which was successfully debuted at Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Cape Town last Friday.
Following six versatile collections since the label’s inception in 2011 is AfroMod’s latest collection ‘The Great Gatsby’ inspired by the of a Gatsby party in all its glamour and splendour set in the 1920’s, with a modern African twist.
“The 1920s 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,” Ami Yomekpe, architect and the Creative Director of Afromod Trends, explains.
“My vision with this collection is to showcase a glamourous African woman in luxurious Afro-fusion garments inspired by the Great Gatsby. With African inspired fabrics from Printex Limited as well as fur, feather, fringing and sequins in a nod to the era, this collection displays the silhouette of the feminine form with luxurious attention to detail. It is also a first for us in the sense of a truly luxury collection from a predominantly ready-to-wear brand.”
The South African debut, Ami believes, is a crucial milestone for the label and a great platform to introduce the brand to the South African market.
“After six years of establishing the brand in the Ghanaian market, I feel now is the time to explore new markets across Africa and I can’t think of a better platform than MBFWCT. It has been an exciting few weeks preparing for our debut here and both the label and our collection have been received well by the South African audience,” the designer said following her show at the Salt River Studios on Friday, 7 April.
Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Cape Town is the latest runway show under Ami’s fashionable belt. Having built one of Ghana’s most celebrated fashion labels, she has previously showcased at fashion shows at home and internationally, most notably at Nairobi Fashion Week, Glitz Africa Fashion Week, Accra 2014, Oxford Africa Gala Dinner, United Kingdom (2015).
A blend of the words African and Modern, AfroModTrends, like its name, aims to create the perfect blend of African inspired and contemporary, affordable ready-to-wear with a touch of luxury, bridging the gap between bespoke and ready-to-wear without compromising on the quality.
Ami fell in love with all things fashionable at an early age whilst watching Style with Elsa Klensch on CNN back in 1980, fascinated with fashion from all over the world, interviews with designers, all-access backstage passes and the models on international runways.
It was not until a chance meeting much later, however, whilst working on her dissertation that she took the first steps of her fashion journey. Following a series of interviews, the late Kofi Ansah, a trailblazer and celebrated Ghanaian fashion designer, who revolutionised the industry in Ghana, became a mentor and encouraged her to pursue her passion.
Ami is also a versatile entrepreneur, whose business insight was recognised in 2016 by the Tony Elumelu Entrepreneurship Programme (TEEP) when she emerged as one of the winners to claim $5000 seed funding prize after successfully completing a twelve-week start-up enterprise toolkit online training, submitting three progressive narrative reports, attending the Tony Elumelu entrepreneurship forum and submitting a viable business plan.
Ami not only launched the label’s own retail space in 2013 in Accra’s bustling shopping district, Osu, often a luxury for most brands in Ghana, she set up the Fashion for Change Africa Foundation to address social challenges and empower the youth through fashionable projects that impact communities positively.
The designer aims to follow up with a resort collection shortly after her South African debut. The designer’s goal is to make AfroMod the ultimate brand in ready-to-wear Afro-fusion label for the contemporary, fashion-conscious, Afro-centric woman and The African Gatsby is the latest salvo in the designer’s bid to evolve into markets beyond her native Ghana.
Photography: Nick Klaus
Makeup: MAC Cosmetics