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Norway-based Ghanaian designer and creative powerhouse, T-Michael to visit Ghana

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T-Michael

T-Michael, a Ghanaian born, designer and artist based in Bergen, Norway is heading to Ghana and at no better time than when the Year of Return would be at it’s peek.  While in Ghana, he is expected to meet  with some fashion students, influencers and personalities.

T-Michael’s work is based on a strong international platform where he is inspired by traditional tailoring, textiles , shapes and forms from all around the world.

A bespoke tailor/ designer /artist with a conceptual approach to men’s tailoring inspired by his love of sartorial traditions and his passionate quest for a different narrative within tailoring, design and creativity, to celebrate stylistic and cultural diversities present in today’s zeitgeist. He is known for his meticulous attention to detail and for his garments’ impeccable construction.

From his base in Bergen, the west coast of Norway, Ghanaian born T-Michael, has for the last 23 years been doing what he does best. Creating a unique sense of style and presence in his work and has attracted fans from across the globe. He is a favourite among street style photographers and a style icon for many from all over the world . He is constantly profiled in relevant magazine and blogs worldwide. He is a favourite and a well respected designer, exhibitor and curator at the world’s most relevant men’s fashion bi annual trade show Pitti Uomo in Florence Italy.

True, unadulterated beauty and craftsmanship goes into each of T-Michael’s pieces. Details, quality, tradition and style are few of the words that come to mind. Furthering the art and heritage of artisanal techniques of the past and redefining ready to wear styling of today’s zeitgeist.

T-MICHAEL COLLECTION

The T-Michael Collection, a conceptual approach to men’s tailoring comprises of suits, shirts, jackets, shoes, bags, sunglasses, cufflinks, knits, scarves, socks and T Kimono, designed and crafted based on T-Michael’s unique everyday styling and ethos. It’s all about preserving old memories and creating new ones vis à vis each other. Traditional menswear with a contemporary spirit.


The Flagship stores are situated in Bergen, Oslo, Paris, Tokyo and London (on the move presently).

T KIMONO COLLECTION

T-Michael is currently collaborating with Y. & Sons (Yamato Ltd) a traditional kimono maker from Japan established in 1917 with over 135 stores in Japan. The concept is to present the kimono as an everyday menswear staple in the wardrobe of men today

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A beautiful meeting in Kanda, Tokyo, paved the way for this unique and innovative collaboration resulting in the T Kimono. Traditional bespoke maker Y. & Sons, part of Yamato Company with over 100 years experience sought out T-Michael expertise to shed new light on the kimono and to establish it as a staple in menswear along side other staples such as the suit, blazer, jeans and the iconic white shirt. Utilising a self-designed flannel wool cloth from Spain with a distinct mono stripe running through the entire length of the cloth, then juxtaposing it with the traditional kimono techniques to create the T Kimono.

The T Kimono comprises of the Haori (the jacket) and the Kimono (the suit). The Kimono is traditionally tied with a sash called the
Obi at the lower waist. The Haori is folded at the back of the neck and rolls nicely in place in front where it’s held together by a Haori Himo. The Haori and the Kimono currently come in one size fits all and are recommended to be worn either tied, fastened or left to drape effortlessly along your body frame.

“I loved how the T Kimono unites traditional kimonos with western suits. I don’t think you can find anything like that anywhere in the world. Congratulations!”
Kenneth Tan, Time Out Beijing

The T Kimono was awarded Best Design Product 2017 by Love Tokyo Awards arranged Time Out Magazine in Japan. It has recently being exhibited at the He Xiangning Art Museum in Shenzhen China and at the Modefabriek Design Fair in Amsterdam. And will also be presented at the V&A as part of their KIMONO: Kyoto to Catwalk exhibition in February 2020 and will also be part of the museum’s permanent collection.

NORWEGIAN RAIN COLLECTION

T-Michael is also a co-owner, strategic director and head of design of award winning rain jacket brand called Norwegian Rain, where they fuse traditional tailoring with innovative fabrics, clever detailing to create a stylistic, utilitarian and 100% waterproof products.

Say hello to the Award winning raincoats from the rainiest city in Europe, Bergen! Raining 2 out of 3 days calls for drastic sartorial decisions. T-Michael & Alexander Helle have revamped waterproof outerwear with their distinct approach based on T-Michael’s tailoring, high tech Japanese fabrics and hints of Japanese sensitivity.
The high tech is hidden.

The label was started 13 years ago and launched internationally 10 years ago. They were quickly voted by Vogue Italy as the best newcomers for that year. They have subsequently won other awards

Nominees “International Woolmark Prize 2014”
Winners “Award for Design Excellence 2012” Norwegian Design Council
Winners “Creative Business Cup Norway 2012 ”
Nominees “Honors Award for Design Excellence 2012” Norwegian Design Council
“Designer of the Year 2012” Norway
“Talented Newcomer 2010” Vogue Italia & WHITE “Vogue Talents” Vogue Italia 2010 Norwegian Rain can be found in over 110 stores worldwide and at their flagship stores in Bergen, Oslo. Paris, Tokyo and London (on the move at the moment).

T LAB / CONSULTING

T-Michael also dabbles in films and has from his creative film lab written, co directed, produced and art directed 6 films and also works as a creative consultant for various designers and firms.

T-MICHAEL has been profiled in many international publications and online platforms worldwide. Including The NewYork Times, GQ Japan, Kinfolk, HighSnobeity, The Rake, Pitti Immagine, Scandinavian Man, Scandinavian Traveller, Financial Time’s ‘How to spend it’ and many more.

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Why Ghanaian-American Jeffrey Ampratwum is the menswear expert to watch in fashion!

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At the start of the Victoria era, early 19th century – the English began to tone down the royal style dressing of the French army, namely those adorned in prestigious regalia and heavy embroidery. It was a sign of English nationalism and sparked a new wave of appearance in men. A few decades later, the suit was born and heavily influenced those in Italy and America. The British and the Americans have a rich revolutionary history, of course, and coincidentally the British colonized the African country – Gold Coast – until 1957 when they declared their independence and changed their name to Ghana. 

 

As part of an independent Ghana, a host of individuals began to exercise new freedoms and venture out of the country into new territories. Many Ghanaians set their eyes on American travel and a wave of trail blazers left the country and settled in the infamous New York City. For most, it was an opportunity to plant new seeds in the hopes that their children would be afforded even more opportunities for a prosperous life.

 

One of these children of the diaspora is Bronx-born Jeffrey Ampratwum. The only child to Kate Bampoe and Eugene Asante-Ampratwum Mpere, who met in the Bronx after immigrating from Ghana. The dynamics of having African parents and being raised in a heavily eclectic environment gave rise to Jeffreys style and prose. More importantly, we can honestly say that there are only a handful of Ghanaian-Americans living in the states that can exhibit a special presentation that reflects both their African heritage married with the esthetic of their nationality. We recently caught up with Jeffrey to discuss how his early influences provided him with a framework to now become such a strong force in the menswear industry in fashion.

 

 

AD: Jeffrey, Ɛte sɛn?

 

Jeff: Haha, Eye.

 

AD: I had to test your Twi really quick! You know most Ghanaians who are born in the states dont have a clue about the language unless its spoken fiercely in the home.

 

Jeff: You are 100% correct with that. Ha. But for me, I was lucky in that my mother took me to Ghana before I even knew how to use words. So, in actuality, Twi was the first language and vocabulary I learned, and in essence, English is my second language. So, Im really decent when it comes to using Twi. Im a cheat code! But keep that quiet. Ha.

  

AD: How much of the remnants of the Ghanaian culture factored into your approach to your style and presentation?

 

Jeff: When I was younger and in school, particularly in the Bronx – it wasnt always your proudest moment to be from Africa or to say your family was African. Part of the silly embarrassment was perhaps from the narratives that were spinning on television. Americans were being indoctrinated with visuals of feed the children” which only highlighted the extreme poverty in a few Africans countries. The images and broadcasts were all the same, for decades. So called philanthropist and humanitarians took camera crews into ravaged areas and televised starving children for us to see here in the states. I believe that had a profound effect on young boys and girls born from African parents.

However, as for me – I always looked at being dark skinned and being deeply rooted into my African culture as a super power. I liked the idea of being different, even though all the kids in all my classes were also children of immigrants. They just couldnt grasp the concept of it at that time. So, from there, it was showtime. My Uncle, Joseph Ken Mintah – was the pioneer as the first in the family to travel to the states – he had extreme style. My mother also is very detailed with her sense of jewelry and fragrances. I adsorbed it all. 

 

AD: Did you start dressing in traditional African attire? What do you mean exactly?

 

Jeff: Not exactly! But, being an only child really allowed for me to sit deep in thought for long periods of time. Being left-handed allowed for me to be extremely dexterous and detailed. And being raised solely by my mother further allowed me to pay attention to the importance of clothing and accessories – as she dressed herself each morning. It was the ultimate cocktail and I was already drunk with creativity. I started customizing all the clothes I had. By no means were we wealthy, so I had to manage just a few outfits for school.

 

My styling began when I would turn 5 outfits into 15 – so essentially, a 5-day school week became New York Fashion Week for me. I would airbrush my sneakers, turn Old Navy sweaters inside out for a fleece appeal, and cuff my jeans in 4 different ways depending on my footwear. This soon became a bad habit and made me late for school many mornings.

 

AD: You see, if you are late to school in Ghana back then – you might as well have sat by the road to hide from both your mother and headmaster! What was college like for you then?

 

Jeff: Right! Ha. It grew legs during my undergrad. Now all the pretty girls were around, I had more freedom to come and go, and more importantly – I had a stage to showcase my style. I joined a student club in the SEEK Program, and soon became the President and started hosting a string of events based around fashion. 4 years and a bachelors degree later, there were 6 fashion shows and 3 beauty pageants under my belt. Huge successes. I started to doubt my real educational reason for attending college, which was to become a dentist. Fashion was dancing on one shoulder and dentistry on the other. But somehow, I figured out how to still involve the two. My best buddy, Kenny – whom I met at the college on the road to become dentists – made it through. So, I live vicariously through him. And now, coincidentally – together we’ve developed a brand – a service of bespoke mens luxury shoes and women’s handbags, and ready to wear womenswear shoes as well. Named, Kenjeffreys. It is serendipitous because all of the products are sourced and handcrafted in Haiti and infused with Ghanaian culture. As Kenny is from Haiti, we properly employ artisans within the community and focus heavily on our social impact.

Following undergrad, I then began at FIT as student, really just trying to test my styling hand – and to learn more about the industry. While there, I came across extremely talented and knowledgeable fashion professionals that have really guided me. Namely, Sadia Seymour and Joseph DeAcetis. Both wildly experienced, patient and embedded with a wealth of information. Respectfully in womenswear and menswear. You cannot beat that, and I am grateful for it.

 

AD: That is strangely unique and admirable. Talk to us about how all those experiences and inspirations give rise to the Jeffrey or Che we see today and ultimately, where that places you in your field of fashion and menswear.

 

Jeff: Sure. Great point. I have been indoctrinated by the basic principles of creativity as an adolescent – with respect to clothing. That is extremely hard to shake. Innately, styling was my ultimate form of communication, seeing that I was a shy introvert. So now, I still revert back to those same feelings…. the feeling of home, warmth, memories, great food and innocent fun. My approach now is exactly the same in the sense that when I am dressing, styling or designing for someone – I am taking into account their entire repertoire and holding a mirror in front of them which reflects the items that they love most. It is a skill that perhaps only empaths are only able to exhibit.

 

Having the ability to read into thoughts and connecting with the motivating spirits that drives people – is a gift. I ran the New York City marathon three times, and the 2nd time I ran it in a tuxedo! It was my ultimate homage and pledging of allegiance to fashion. Ha.

I also believe my extensive traveling experience has aided to the arsenal. Recent trips to Ghana always resets a creative instinct with me, as I look around and arrive back to a place of self-awareness. It feels right. My cousin Harry knows where to be to capture the real essence of the land. And, coincidentally enough, I am often back and forth to the UK as well. Savile row in London, England -as you know – is a menswear connoisseurs Disney Land. It is the traditional hub for the world’s best tailored-bespoke suits. Naples and Florence are a close second. However, sartorially, the British have etched their names in the fine-art making of the suit. I do though spend most of my time in Brighton, UK. Its where my love is and also like a second home for me. The culture there is infused with various styles and the community is inviting. The Duchess of Brighton-Hove, Lady Donna and her amazing friends will assure that you have a great time! 

 

AB: Finally, talk to us about your styling approach with respect to specific talent that you work with.

 

Jeff: Definitely. This is perhaps an area you cannot teach. It is learned with years of experience and even reading the room wrong most times. I tell my fashion students often that they have to continue shooting airballs at the basket. Get out the miss shots, now – and properly learn your subjects. For example, if I am styling a celebrity for the red carpet – several nuances are to be considered before arriving at a dress or a tuxedo. Such as, what stages in life is your talent currently in, how body conscious are they and what are they most nostalgic about. These (and some of my other secrets that I cannot give away) are the pillars to nailing great style, image and presentation.

 

If I am shooting for a magazine in a studio – its party time. If you are not dancing as a model or grooving as a photographer, you are are in the wrong business, per say! Haha. With me, you are very liable to hear everyone from Bob Marley, James Brown, MJ, and Jay-Z to Queen, Lady Gaga, Biggie, Nas and Beyonce all on the same playlist. I say that to say: I enjoy what I do in fashion, and I will always represent the joys of that. I believe that is what makes me an enigma in this industry. Always professional however, but make it subjective and inject areas of your creativity wherever you can. Particularly in menswear – I keep a very intimate and close pulse on traditional, casual and street styles of these sub genres – and study them gravely like the science they are. That all still comes from sitting deep in thought as I did
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All the Fashion from the 2022 Africa Magic Viewers’ Choice Awards (AMVCA)

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The 8th Africa Magic Viewers’ Choice Awards (AMVCA) went down last Saturday night, at the Eko Hotel and Suites, Victoria Island, Lagos, and it was celebration of haute couture of Africa.

It was a gallery of fashion art as movie people across Africa showed up in style, in different forms of fashion expressions.

From the mesmerizing to the captivating, and everything in-between, it was a night of fashion explosion.

 

Below are photos of your favourites at the AMVCA 2022

 

 

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MzVee Cuts Off Her Hair; New Look Outdoored At VGMAs

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Ghanaian songstress MzVee has out-doored a new look at the just-ended 2022 Vodafone Ghana Music Awards (VGMA22).

The afrobeats singer shocked patrons when she got onto the red carpet in a low-cut hairstyle, drawing the attention of the cameras.

MzVee after breaking to fame some ten (10) years ago had the nickname ‘Natural Girl’ due to her admirable natural hair and her advocacy for girls across the country to stay true to themselves and as natural as possible.

But a decade down the line, the singer has seen it necessary to rebrand and champion the course from a different perspective.

She will be celebrating her 30th birthday and 10th year anniversary as a professional musician in a couple of months.

MzVee bagged two nominations at the VGMA but was unable to take home any of the plaques after a fruitful 2021.

Taking to her Instagram page to outdoor the new look, she posted a picture of herself with the caption “Fully clothed in his grace.. very excited for #TheNextChapter #10yearAnniversary #30 in June ✨”

MzVee had earlier revealed in Instagram Live interview with Dhamie Offishal (Senanu Damilola Wemakor} that her 6th studio album will be ready on her birthday on June 23. She is also set to hold her 10 years anniversary on June 30.

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Hit or Miss? What the stars wore to the 2022 Ghana Music Awards

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The 2022 Vodafone Ghana Music Awards finale came off at the Grand Arena of the Accra International Conference Centre, on Saturday night with Kidi topping the night. (more…)

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VGMA 2022 Red Carpet Looks: Osebo the Zara Man

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Richard Opoku, widely known as Osebo turned up to the 2022 Vodafone Ghana Music Awards with his usual eccentric fashion sense.  He wore a jacket over a pair of shorts and rocked black boots to complete the fierce look.

Osebo has rapidly risen to fame in Ghana as a result of his out of the ordinary fashion sense and style. He has been intensely criticized by most Ghanaians for the way he fused western culture into that of Africans in his fashion looks.

The 2022 Vodafone Ghana Music Awards kicked off on Friday evening with the Industry Awards night,   at the Grand Arena of the Accra International Conference.

A majority of the awards was focused on the technical categories. The big awards will be presented on tonight, Saturday, May 7, 2022 at the the same venue.

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VGMA 2022 Red Carpet Looks: Serwaa Amihere

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Serwaa Amihere turned out in style to the 23rd edition of the annual Ghana Music Awards, headlined by Vodafone.

The GH One TV host who is performing the duties as Red Carpet host alongside James Gardiner, made sure she turned head in her red dress.

The 2022 Vodafone Ghana Music Awards kicked off on Friday evening with the Industry Awards night,   at the Grand Arena of the Accra International Conference.

A majority of the awards was focused on the technical categories. The big awards will be presented on tonight, Saturday, May 7, 2022 at the the same venue.

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