1 WE HAVE ALWAYS BEEN FASHIONABLE: EMBODYING COSMOPOLITANSIM AND NATIONALISM THROUGH FASHION IN ACCRA, GHANA By CHRISTOPHER RICHARDS A DISSERTATION PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FU LFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA 2014
2 Â© 2014 Christopher Richards
3 To my Grandfather, who always believed I could accomplish anything. Now that th e dissertation is the Oval Office?
4 ACKNOWLEDGMENTS It would be impossible to acknowledge every individual that helped shaped this dissertation, so please know that if you contributed to this project in any way, I am appreciative . First and foremost, I owe my deepest gratitude to the Ghanaian fashion designers who participated in my research : Aisha Obuobi, Ajepomaa Mensah, Aya Morrison, Brigitte Merki, Kabutey Dzietror, Sumaya Mohammad, Nelly Aboagye, Beatrice Arthur, Ben Nonterah, Kofi Ansah, Joyce Ababio, Mawuli Okudzeto, Titi Ademola, and Adoley Addo . They welcomed me into their studios, boutiques, and personal lives , ensuring that I was properly integrated vibrant fashion commu nity. Their will ingness to continually answer my questions and unexpected directions, creating a more nuanced and comprehensive dissertation. Designers Ben Nonterah an d Beatrice Arthur deserve special thanks for being my only happened twice), Nonterah and Arthur c ame to my rescue . The personal assistants and shop managers of the afor ementioned designers were equally instrument al in my research. I thank them for their patienc e and understanding, as well as for permitting me to observe the intricacies of managing a boutique. Gladys, the shop manager at Christie Brown and Vic, the shop manager at PISTIS deserve more than the rest. They picture! The faculty of the fashion program at Accra Polytechnic w ere equally approachable and influential in shaping my research. They were undaunted by the
5 appearance of an unknown Obruni who stated that he was studying fashion, actively encouraging urprise and utter delight, after several weeks of collaboration, I found myself sitting beside the instructors during these critiques! The instructors treated me with the upmost respect and the resulting experiences with their students helped shape my und erstanding of the future of Acc The historical research I conducted would have been impossible without t he helpful and understanding staff of The Daily Graphic archive . They always greeted me warmly and neve r balked at any of my req uests. Not only did they bring me volumes culture, they became my companions and punctuated the monotony of archival research with interesting conversations, thought provoking questions , and telenovelas. When I met Charlotte Corstanje during my 2012 research trip, I quickly realized an entire generation of emerging designers, as well as att ended several fashion shows and boutique openings. With her charms, we were always assured a front row seat, I feel incredibly lucky to have been given the opportunity to speak with Former First Lady Nana Konadu Agyeman well as her penchant for elaborate kaba designs. I appreciated her honesty and candidness, and her recollections greatly enhanced my dissertation. I certainly hope that I will be able to interview her again and potentially share her dazzling collection of kabas with an American audience!
6 Without any doubts, the most important Ghanaian to my re search is Mrs. Emily Asiedu. Over my last three research trips to Ghana, Auntie Emily has become my unofficial Gh anaian mother, providing me with encouraging words when needed, advice that I (almost) always heeded, and a warm and welcoming home to return to after long hours of research and interviews. Her impact on my life and academic career is indescribable and I There are just as many people on the other side of the Atlantic that warrant acknowledgment for their contributions to this dissertation. The University of Florida librarians and staff, particularly Tom Casw ell and Tisha Mauney, deserve special thanks for their unwavering assistance. Tom was always willing to order additional boo ks for my dissertation research and Tisha would scan just about anything I needed, including a two hundred pag e dissertation ! Most memorably, Tom and Tisha (as well as the rest of the library staff) were incredibly supportive during my competency exams, even loaning me a library cart to help transport books to my car. They were wonderful cheerleaders, always enc ouraging me to stay focused and write! My committee members have provided me unending assistance and intellectual stimulation that has been crucial to the completion of this dissertation. Dr. Stanfield Mazzi ha s been reassuring throughout the entire wri ting process and has been a wonderful professor to wor k with; serving as her teaching assistant was an incredibly educational and enjoyable experience! Dr. Brenda Chalfin helped acquaint me with Accra during my first visit to Ghana and she has continually challenged me to think more expansively and theoretically. Dr. Robin Poynor has proven to me that professors can be incredibly intellectual and knowledgeable , without losing their ability to have fun
7 and laugh on occasion. Dr. Poynor is one of the best ! continued efforts to ensure all of his students , including me, are integrated into the established and cocktail parties, it was a fantastic feeling! Dr. Victoria Rovine, my committee chair, has had the most significant impact on my career as an emerging African art historian. I have watched my writing blossom under her tutelage and she has expanded my knowledge of African art in directions I never would have expected. Sh e has been an incredible advisor throughout this writing process, always encouraging and ever understanding of the difficulties that accompany though seeing hundreds o f edits and comments on a chapter can initially be disheartening. I always knew that each and every comment would make me a better writer and researcher, and it has! I aspire to obtain her level of intelligence and eloquence ; Dr. Rovine, you are truly my academic role model, thank you for accepting me as your student in 2008. This has been an incredible journey and you h ave been a phenomenal guide! This dissertation would not have been finished without the emotional sup port of my friends and family. I am extremely lucky for friends like Amanda Strasik and Logan Marconi, who actively listen to my writing woes and provide needed distractions from the monotony and insanity of producing a dissertation. Jordan Fenton has also
8 provided valuable guidance reg arding the dissertation submission process. The rest of my friends, Sheena Walia, Sean Graham, and Sara Klemann, have been equally concerned with your success! My extended fam ily, particularly my Aunt Caroline and Uncle Don, as well as my Aunt Mary and Uncle Paul, have shown unending support throughout this process. They always had positive thoughts and lots of hugs to keep me going! My cousin Tamara played a particularly imp ortant role during the incepti on of this project; s he agreed to accompany me on my first trip to Ghana, a trip full of anxieties and uncertainties, yet one of the best trips of my life. Tamara was there when I needed to process my experiences and she was the absolute best travel budd y I could have asked for; e ven the flooding of one of our hotel faze her! Lastly, and most importantly, I thank my parents. They have provided me with unending love and support throughout this entire process. Whethe r I was crying with frustration or paralyzed w always knowing that I was capable of finishing my dissertation. They have always been my biggest supporters and I am eternally grateful for everything t ve done . After
9 TABLE OF CONTENTS page ACKNOWLEDGMENTS ................................ ................................ ................................ .. 4 LIST OF FIGURES ................................ ................................ ................................ ........ 12 LIST OF A BBREVIATIONS ................................ ................................ ........................... 20 ABSTRACT ................................ ................................ ................................ ................... 21 CHAPTER 1 IT ALL BEGINS WITH A SKETCH: THE INTRODUCTION AND LITERATURE REVIEW ................................ ................................ ................................ .................. 23 Overview of Dissertation ................................ ................................ ......................... 23 A Tailored Fit: The Framework of this Dissertation ................................ ................ 24 Defining the Fickle: An Explanation of Fashion ................................ ...................... 28 The Many Faces of Fashion: Additional Fashion Terminology ............................... 31 ................................ .... 34 Covering the Body: The Literature on African Dress, Textiles, and Personal Adornment ................................ ................................ ................................ ........... 40 African en Vogue: The Literature on African Fashion ................................ ............. 45 Kente Cloth, and the Kaba ................................ ................................ ................... 48 The Proof is in the Print: The History and Complexities of Wax Print Fabric .... 52 The Importance of Kente cloth ................................ ................................ ......... 58 Wearing the Nation: The Kaba ................................ ................................ ......... 61 The Organization of this Dissertation ................................ ................................ ...... 62 2 SENCE OF FASHION IN PRE INDEPENDENCE ACCRA ................................ ................................ ...................... 68 The History of the Daily Graphic and the Sunday Mirror ................................ ......... 69 As Assessment of the Dai ly Graphic and the Sunday Mirror as Secondary Sources ................................ ................................ ................................ ............... 74 Ghanaian Fashion as Defined by The Sunday Mirror ................................ ............. 79 World Fashions in A ccra ................................ ................................ ......................... 83 Accra ................................ ................................ ................................ ................... 90 Coast Women and International Fashions .......... 94 Local Ghanaian Fashions in Accra ................................ ................................ ......... 98 Existing Realms of Fashion ................................ ............ 103 3 ..... 120
10 ................................ ............................... 120 .................. 123 The Importance of Women in Post Independence Ghana ................................ .... 128 ................................ ............ 132 ................................ ............. 136 The Unexpected End of Chez Julie ................................ ................................ ...... 140 Nkrumah and the Creation of a Collective Ghanaian Identity ............................... 142 Akwadzan and Kente Kaba ............................... 148 4 DURING THE 1980s ................................ ................................ ............................. 171 Elite Citizenry ................................ ................................ ................................ ..... 173 Media ................................ ................................ ................................ ................. 176 Fabrics ................................ ................................ ................................ ............... 179 Coming into its Own: The Gr owing Significance of Locally Produced Cloth and Clothing ................................ ................................ ................................ ............. 183 ............ 192 5 FASHION IN 1990S ACCRA AND THE CAREERS OF JOYCE ABABIO AND KOFI ANSAH ................................ ................................ ................................ ........ 215 All Runways Lead to Accra: The Proliferation of F ashion Shows during the 1990s ................................ ................................ ................................ ................. 216 the Kaba ................................ ................................ ................................ ............ 225 The K ente Craze: The Proliferation and Origins of Kente fashions in 1990s Accra ................................ ................................ ................................ ................. 233 Additional Fashion Designers during the 1990s ................................ .................... 240 .......................... 244 ..... 248 ................................ ............................... 253 ................................ ................................ .............................. 265 6 THE ARTIST AND THE ENTREPRENEUR: THE CAREERS AND DESIGNS ................................ ...... 299 A Pastiche of Inspiration: The Beginnings of Ben Nont erah and Beatrice ................................ ................................ ................................ 300 Nonterah ................................ ................................ ................................ ............ 310 ........ 318
11 7 DESIGNERS AND THE RETURN OF WAX PRINT IN THE 21 ST CENTURY ...... 351 .. 352 epomaa Mensah, Kabutey Dzietror and Sumaiya Mohammed, and Aya Morrison ................................ ...... 366 ........ 367 ................................ ............. 372 ............................... 375 The Power of the Print: The Renewed Significance of Wax Print Fabrics ............ 378 8 FASHIONS AND CONCLUDING THOUGHTS ................................ ..................... 408 LIST OF REFERENCES ................................ ................................ ............................. 416 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH ................................ ................................ .......................... 429
12 LIST OF FIGURES Figure page 1 1 ................................ ... 66 1 2 E we kente (Togodo) cloth, 2011 ................................ ................................ ......... 66 1 3 Mrs. Emily Asi edu (left) wearing a kaba, 2012 ................................ .................... 67 2 1 Nigerian Miss Grace Olubi (left) attending a race at the Accra Turf Club ......... 106 2 2 The 1956 wedding of Miss Hilda Vardon (pictured) and Mr. K.B. Agyensu ...... 106 2 3 The 1964 wedding of Joe Sam Welsing ................................ ........................... 107 2 4 Front page of a 1953 issue ................................ ................................ ............... 107 2 5 ... 108 2 6 The 1 ................................ ................................ ... 108 2 7 The 1958 feat ................................ ............. 109 2 8 ........................ 109 2 9 The 1956 featur ................................ .......... 110 2 10 Fashions at the 1957 o pening of the Abmassador Hotel ................................ .. 110 2 11 The blue organdy, short wedding dress ................................ ............................ 111 2 12 ................................ ................................ ................ 111 2 13 British co uture fashions featured in 1954 ................................ ......................... 112 2 14 Photograph of two Ghanaian models. ................................ .............................. 112 2 15 Ghanaian Rose Odamtten wearing a Norman Hartnell designer dress ............ 113 2 16 ................................ . 113 2 17 ................................ ......... 114 2 18 ................................ ..................... 114 2 19 A 1954 photograph of two women wearing matching saris .............................. 115 2 20 ..................... 1 15
13 2 21 ................................ ............................... 116 2 22 ................................ ................................ ................. 116 2 23 Mrs. Letitia Obeng and he .............. 117 2 24 .......... 117 2 25 ................................ ................................ ........................... 118 2 26 ................................ ................................ .............. 118 2 27 Photograph illustrating the co existence of European and local styles . ............ 119 2 28 P hotograph illustrating the co existence of European and local styles . ............ 119 3 1 Photograph of Juliana Norteye re turning to Accra in 1961 ............................... 161 3 2 Photograph of Juliana Norteye (far right) and her sisters in Kumasi, 1950 ....... 161 3 3 Photograph of ........................ 162 3 4 ................................ ................................ . 162 3 5 Edith Francois modeling a Ch ez Julie garment, 1961 ................................ ...... 163 3 6 ................................ ................................ ........ 163 3 7 s, 1986 ..................... 164 3 8 Featur ................................ ................................ 164 3 9 ................................ ............. 165 3 10 A wax print fabric shirt, 1966 ................................ ................................ ............ 165 3 11 A cassock inspired, wax print fabric dress, 1967 ................................ .............. 166 3 13 ................................ ................................ ....... 167 3 14 ................................ ............. 167 3 15 Exp osd midriff dress, 1970 ................................ ................................ ............... 168 3 16 ................................ ................................ ... 168 3 17 , 1973 ............................ 169 3 18 Akwadzan , c. 1968 ................................ ............ 169
14 3 19 Akwadzan , c.1968 ...................... 170 3 20 ................................ . 170 4 1 The revised name of the Daily Graphic , 1983 ................................ .................. 211 4 2 P hotograph of GTP representative ................................ ................................ ... 211 4 3 Fashion show at Elsina Models with diverse kaba styles, 1984 ........................ 212 4 5 ................................ 213 4 7 ................................ ............ 214 5 1 Garments Inspired by political parties, the Sunday Mirror ................................ 275 5 2 . ................................ ................................ ................ 275 5 3 ................................ ................................ ...... 276 5 4 ormal occasions ................................ ................................ .............. 276 5 5 Ama ss ................................ ........................... 277 5 6 The Year of the Adventist Woman ................ 277 5 7 Nana Kon adu Agyeman Rawlings (left) ................................ ............................ 278 5 8 Nana Konadu Agyeman Rawlings (right) ................................ .......................... 278 5 9 Nana Konadu Agyeman Rawlings (far right) ................................ .................... 279 5 10 Nana Konadu Agy eman Rawlings (center) ................................ ....................... 279 5 11 Nana Konadu Agyeman Rawlings and Former First Lady Hillary Clinton ......... 280 5 12 Nana Konadu Agyeman Rawlings (foreground, right) ................................ ...... 280 5 13 ................................ ................................ ................................ .... 281 5 14 ................................ ................................ ................................ .... 281 5 15 ................................ ................................ ................................ ... 282 5 16 ................................ ................................ ................................ .... 282 5 17 r Kente ................................ ................................ ....................... 283 5 18 Ghanaian bridesmaids wearing kente cloth ................................ ...................... 283
15 5 19 Mary Carlis ................................ ................................ ...... 284 5 20 Comfort Botchway wearing kente dress ................................ ........................... 284 5 21 Kente evening coat . ................................ ................................ .......................... 285 5 22 Anne R ado wearing kente gown ................................ ................................ ....... 285 5 23 Garments by Margaret Ofori Atta ................................ ................................ ..... 286 5 24 Kente bathing suit by Margaret Ofori Atta ................................ ........................ 286 5 25 Garment by Margaret Ofori Atta ................................ ................................ ....... 287 5 26 ........................ 287 5 27 Garment by Fantasy Designs, ................................ ................................ .......... 288 5 28 Garment by Fantasy Designs ................................ ................................ ........... 288 5 29 Hat by Fantas y Designs ................................ ................................ ................... 289 5 30 Shoes by Kwesi Nti. ................................ ................................ .......................... 289 5 31 Wedding gown by Joyce Ababio ................................ ................................ ....... 290 5 32 ................................ .................... 290 5 33 Chief Nana Akyanfuo Akowuah Dateh II wearing kente cloth, 1970 ................. 291 5 34 Kente evening gown by Joyce Ababio. ................................ ............................. 291 5 35 Kente evening gown by Joyce Ababio. ................................ ............................. 292 5 36 ................................ ................................ . 292 5 37 ................................ ....................... 293 5 38 ................................ ......................... 293 5 39 ................................ ................. 294 5 40 ................................ ................................ ....... 294 5 41 ................................ ................................ ...... 295 5 42 ................................ ......... 295 5 43 ................................ .... 296
16 5 44 Enchanted Garden collection ............................. 296 5 45 Enchanted Garden collection ............................. 297 5 46 ...................... 297 5 47 ............ 298 6 1 Garments created by Okudzeto, with No nterah as a model (far left) . ............... 329 6 2 ................................ . 329 6 3 ........................ 330 6 4 ................................ ............................ 330 6 5 . ......... 331 6 6 ................................ ....................... 33 1 6 7 Sunday Mirror ............... 332 6 8 ................................ ............................... 332 6 9 ................................ ......................... 333 6 10 ................................ ................. 333 6 11 ................................ . 334 6 12 The Benign label ................................ ................................ ............ 334 6 13 A garment from the label ................................ .................... 335 6 14 A garment from the label. ................................ ................... 335 6 15 ................................ ........ 336 6 16 Arthur and model in Sun City, South Africa, for 2001 Arise Fash ion ................ 336 6 17 ylum Down boutique sign, 2012 ...... 337 6 18 garments ................................ ........... 337 6 19 ................................ ...... 338 6 20 ashio n Week collection (left). . ..... 338 6 21 Detail of the Africa Fashion Week .............. 339
17 6 22 neck bogolan dress from the 2009 Arise Africa Fashion Week . ................................ ................................ ................................ ............... 339 6.23 ................................ ................. 340 6.24 N ................................ ............ 340 6 25 ................................ ........ 341 6 26 Nonterah s earching for fabric in Makola market, 2012. ................................ .... 341 6 27 N . ................................ ................................ .... 342 6 28 Embroidered spider web motif, 20 12 ................................ ................................ 342 6 29 ................................ ......... 343 6 30 ................................ ......... 343 6 31 ................................ ..... 344 6 32 ................................ .................. 344 6 33 ................................ ............................. 345 6 34 ................................ ............................. 345 6 35 ................................ ............................. 346 6 36 Detail of decorated matryoshka, 2010 ................................ .............................. 346 6 37 Detail of flounced edge on matryoshka dress, 2010 ................................ ......... 347 6 38 Back of matryoshka dress, 2010 ................................ ................................ ...... 347 6 39 Tribal Flair collection ................................ ......... 348 6 40 Tribal Flair collection. .... 348 6 41 A garment from Tribal Flair collection ................................ ......... 349 6 42 Hands Off: Eyes Only collection .......................... 349 6 43 A design fro Hands Off: Eyes Only collection .......................... 350 6 44 Hands Off: Eyes Only collection ................................ ... 350 7 1 Photogra ph of Alicia Keys wearing a Christie Brown necklace, Vibe magazine, April/May 2012. ................................ ................................ ............... 386
18 7 2 A Christie Brown jacket with wax print lining, from the Ã Porter. . ................................ ................................ ................................ .............. 386 7 3 Christie Brown dress with wax print bows, 2009 Arise Fashion Week.. ............ 387 7 4 Christie Brown trench coat dress with wax print belt, 20 09 Arise Fashion Week ................................ ................................ ................................ ................ 387 7 5 Christie Brown sack dress with wax print neckline, 2009 Arise Fashion Week. ................................ ................................ ................................ ......................... 388 7 6 Christie Bro wn evenin g gown, 2009 Arise Fashion Week ................................ 388 7 7 ................................ ......... 389 7 8 An example of Obuob Fashion Week ................................ ................................ ................................ ... 389 7 9 Fashion Week ................................ ................................ ................................ ... 390 7 10 Christie Brown dress with button embellis hments, 2010 Arise Fashion Week . 390 7 11 Christie Brown dress with button embellishments, 2010 Arise Fashion Week. ................................ ................................ ................................ ......................... 391 7 12 Christie Brown dress with fringe, 2010 Arise Fashion Week ............................ 391 7 13 Christie Brown jacket with fringe, 2010 Arise Fashion Week ............................ 392 7 14 Model wearing a Christie Brown bib necklace, 2010 Arise Fashion Week,. ..... 392 7 15 Model wearing a Christie Brown bi b ne cklace, 2010 Arise Fashion Week ....... 393 7 16 2013. ................................ ................................ ................................ ................ 393 7 17 2013. ................................ ................................ ................................ ................ 394 7 18 Peter pan collar necklace of wax print buttons, 2012 ................................ ....... 394 7 19 Accra Polytechnic student with necklace deri . 395 7 20 Fall Winter 2014 collection of Papa Oppong, featuring a neckline de rivative ................................ ................................ ............. 395 7 21 Xutra collection, 2012 ................................ .......... 396
19 7 22 Dress from Christie Br Xutra collection, reminiscent of Yves Saint ................................ ................................ ....... 396 7 23 Xutra collection, 2012 ................................ ........... 397 7 24 Xutra collection, 2012 ................................ ........... 397 7 25 DÃ¼re collection, 2013 ................................ ........... 398 5 26 DÃ¼re collection, 2013 ................................ ........... 398 7 27 DÃ¼re collection, 2013 ................................ ........... 399 7 28 To Dye For collection, 2012 2013 ....................... 399 7 29 To Dye For collection, 2012 2013 ....................... 400 7 30 Fearless Evolution collection, 2012 . ........... 400 7 31 ................................ ...... 401 7 32 Mediterranean Charms collection, 2011 2012 ................................ ................................ ................................ ................. 401 7 33 Mediterranean Charms collection, 2011 2012 ................................ ................................ ................................ ................. 402 7 34 Ajeley Fearless Evolution collection, 2012 .... 402 7 35 Nkechi Fearless Ev olution collection, 2012 ... 403 7 36 Back of PISTIS cocktail dress, 2012 ................................ ................................ . 403 7 37 An assortment of PISTIS patchwork skirts, 2012 ................................ .............. 404 7 38 Pieces of patchwork wax print hanging in Makola market, 2012 ...................... 404 7 39 A selection of PISTIS wax print dresses, 2012 ................................ ................. 405 7 40 A PISTIS wax print dress, 2012 ................................ ................................ ........ 405 7 41 Fiji Collection, 2012 ................................ ... 406 7 42 Fiji Collection, 2012 ................................ ... 406 7 43 left), 2012 ................................ ................................ ................................ ......... 407 7 44 ................................ .. 407
20 LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS ATL Akosombo Textiles Limited CPP ty ESMOD cole SupÃ©rieure des Arts et Techniques de la Mode GBC Ghana Broadcasting Corporation GBS Ghana Broadcasting System GTP Ghana Textiles Printing NDC National Democratic Congress NASSTAD National Assoc i ation of Small Scale Tailors and Dressmak ers NPP New Patriotic Party PNP TTL Tema Textiles Limited YPM Young Pioneer Movement
21 Abstract of Dissertation Presented to the Graduate School of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirem ents for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy WE HAVE ALWAYS BEEN FASHIONABLE: EMBODYING COSMOPOLITANSIM AND NATIONALISM THROUGH FASHION IN ACCRA, GHANA By Christopher Richards A ugust 2014 Chair: Victoria Rovine Major: Art History Fashion, a rapidly changi ng and innovative mode of dress, is one of the most potent and visually present forms of artistic expression on the African continent. Scholars from multiple disciplines have begun to acknowledge its significance, yet much of African fashion remains large ly unaddressed. The antecedents of contemporary African fashion cultures, as well as the ability of fashion to reflect important historical realities and cultural shifts, have continued to elude thorough academic investigation. Richards dissertation ser ves to remedy this existing deficiency by documenting the fashion culture of Accra, Ghana from 1953 to 2013. By relying on articles and photographs pub lished in the Accra newspapers t he Daily Graphic and t he Sunday Mirror , this dissertation begins by est ablishing that a complex fashion culture, comprise d of multiple realms of fashion , was firmly established in Accra by 1953. An exploration of the most significant fashion designers in Accra is the central focus of this dissertation, beginning with the rec ognition of the first formally trained fashion designer in Accra, Juliana Norteye. Her innovative fashions revolutionized existing dress practices by blending historical forms and materials with contemporary techniques and approaches to dressing, creating garments that visually
22 represented the post independence culture of Accra. The designs of Norteye paved the runways for ensuing fashion designers in Ghana's capital. Their careers and designs, placed in their respective temporal contexts, are explored i n subsequent chapters. Specific fashions are examined in detail, illustrating how garments can encapsulate significant mome nts of cultural change, serving as physical manifestations of specific eras in the history of Ghana. The theoretical thread woven t hroughout this dissertation relates the fashions of Accra to a nationalist cosmopolitanism , illustrating that Ghanaian designers and their fashions embody this distinctive feature of Accra and its inhabitants. Richards ultimately argues that fashion is es sential in ensuring the continuation of historical dress practices in Ghana and that the citizens of Accra have always been fashionable.
23 CHAPTER 1 IT ALL BEGINS WITH A SKETCH: THE INTRODUCTION AND LITERATURE REVIEW People have been fashionable for y would come based on those who were coming off the ships, who were coming off the planes; the Europeans were here, so what they wore. The fashion moved here even as there was no TV and all that. So people were fashio nable, but in the cities . Nana Konadu Ageyman Rawlings Former First Lady of Ghana Overview of Dissertation This document serves as the culmination of my dissertation fieldwork and research , which will elucidate the existence, dynamism, and co fashion culture from 1953 through 201 3. I analyze this fashion world through documentation of fashion in popular media, particularly the newspapers the Daily Graphic and the Sunday Mirror , and the personal archives and interviews of in dividuals instrumental in developing and mainta ining . Ghanaian designers working from the 1970s through today, family members of deceased designers, and were the main gr oups interviewed for this project . B rief biographies of each designer are included to establish the historical and cultural context of their individual careers. The oeuvre of each designer will be exemplified by a selection of their designs that embody s pecific ideologies and moments of cultural change, illustrating the inherent significance of designer fashions. My incorporation and assessment of historical designers and their garments will aid in shifting the academic and popular studies of African fas hion from a contemporary context , illustrating that fashion cultures have existed in African nations, and specifically in Ghana, for more than half a century . This assertion will contribute to
24 the ongoing debate regarding the origins of fashion , suggestin g that fashion cultures are not solely the product of Europe an nations . My own experiences and observations of fashion events further enhance s this dissertation, providing a nuanced assessment of t fashion culture. This dissertation establish es that the cosmopolitan nature of Accra , embodied and expressed by its citizens, has continually cultiv ated the existence of a dynamic fashion culture . Ghanaian designers and their fashions are thus produce rs and playing an active role in fostering the attribution of Accra as a cosmopolita n capital since the early 1950s. This dissertation further demonstrate s fashions is highly nationalist ic ; the majority of Ghanaian designer fashions, beginning with the creations of Juliana Norteye in the late 1950s, have continually expressed a carefully constructed Ghanaian identity while asserting their affinities with worl d fashion cultures. Ghanaian fashion functions as a vehicle for the display and celebration of this particularly nationalistic cosmopolitanism , ultimately functioning as a highly visible affirmation of power and autonomy This research will broadly attest to the paramount importance of fashion as a vehicle for the academic exploration of a myriad of c ultural and historical contexts and further demonstrate that designer fashions are ultimately revised and adapted form s of histor ical dress , resulting in the preservation of established dress practices through the innovation of their forms. A Tailored Fit: The Framework of this Dissertation it is imperative to limit th e breadth of this research. As this section will explicate, this dissertation is and primarily
25 on s pecific urban center and a limited population of Ghanaians, I believe a more accurate . The distinctiveness of A Northern region , is acknowledged b y several scholars , analyzes the dress of prefamfo , Asante women who dress ostentatiously and expensively at highly public func tions, such as funerals. As Gott e xplains behavior in their city with that of Accra...in Accra, they say, people are free to dress as with the relative freedom of dressing in Accra, is further supported by the words of a schoolteacher interviewed by Gott : ut on, but when you come to Kumasi, people are 2009: 168). This remark suggests that unlike Kumasi residents, Ghanaians in Accra are able to experiment freely with a diverse array of local and international fashions. This differentiation between Accra and Kumasi was further expressed during an interview with Accra fashion designer Ajepoma a Mensah and her mother, Akosua Nyantekyi Owusu , both Ashanti . As they discussed the contrasts between Accra and Kumasi, Nyantekyi Owusu Owusu 2012 : personal interview ). The conversation shifted to the types of fabrics worn by women in Kumasi, which
26 prompted Mensah to describe an intriguing phenomenon [ a market in Accra ] is a depot for fab r ics, but Kumasi women come and take from Makola. They are very selective and more heritage oriented, [selecting fabrics] with names. So certain fabrics my mom has to get from Kumasi, even though they originally came from : personal interview ). Nyantekyi Owusu echoed her of this color, this is a Kumasi (Nyantekyi Owusu 2012). The reflections of Nyantekyi Owusu and her daughter support that dress practices in Kumasi are more restricted than in Accra. Furthermore, Nyantekyi O assertion that Kumasi women will buy the entire stock of a particular wax print fabri concerned with maintaining a separation between their dress practices and those of women in Accra . The openness and freedom of dress in Accra has allowed for the creation and maintenance of a vibrant and stylis tically diverse fashion culture . Nyantekyi Owusu and her daughter readily acknowledged the distinctive qualities of Accra and its fashions: when asked if a similar culture would develop in a city outside of Accra : personal interview ). , in comparison to other regions of Ghana , is further indi ine with Our Ghanaian Costume . Allman explo res how after independence, Northern was viewed by the Ghanaian government, as well as representatives of Nkruma
27 expressed by Mrs. E. farther north was not only an eye sore to the country, but also did not reflect favorably Allman 2004: nudity campaigns were led by Mrs. Hannah Kudjoe, an activist and government official who , although ideologically grounded in improving onto the national palette with indelib 2004: 157). As the administrative center of Kwame national government, Accra colonial policies. 1 The citizens of Accra were likely considered para Ghanaians throughout the country. Allman alludes to this notion: n southern 2004: attests the forms of dressing in Accra were influenced by colonial practices, as well as Nkruma desire to create a unified and national Ghanaian identity ( 2004: 145). As Gott and Allman demonstrate, the dress practices of Ghanaians in Kumasi and the Northern region of Ghana contrast drastically with the styles of dress in Accra, 1 independent from colonial ru le on March 6, 1957. Prior to 1957, Nkrumah served as the Prime Minister of the Gold Coast colony for six years. In 1966, during an official state visit to North Vietnam and China, Nkrumah was overthrown by Emmanuel Kotoka in a military coup. He was exi led to Conakry, Guinea, and died in 1972.
28 in both histori cal and contemporary contexts. Accra has maintained a complex, multifaceted fashion culture that celebrates Ghanaian heritage while simultaneously with and acceptance of diverse, global forms. Thus the fashions created in Accra, though they incorporate materials and textiles found throughout the country, are distinct from other areas of Ghana and must be examined within the con text of their physical location: a vibrant, cosmopolitan cap ital. because with the majority of innovative designer garments created for women . This is reflective of fashion culture s throughout the world, which are primarily targeted towards women. Additionally, Ghanaian women are the predominant consumers of locally produced garments, including designer and kaba fashions. Defining the Fickle : An Explanation of Fashion In order t o fully engage with this dissertation, it is necessary to introduce and explicate several concepts that are funda fashion culture, the most important of whi ch is a definition of fashion. Dress, as defined by Joanne Eicher, i 1995: 1). definition suggests that although a body may not be covered in clothing, it can s till be dressed. 2 My usage of the terms dress and dress practices 2 For a complete exploration of this topic, refer to Dirt, Undress, and Difference: Critical Perspectives on d the Nude: Historically Multiple Meanings of Oto
29 bodily adornment and coverings. Fashion is an important, yet limited , subcategory of dress. The concept of fashion has be en debated for decades . Fashion is often narrowly defined as a Western phenomenon linked to the rise of capitalism in Europe and America (Allman 2004, Steele 2010), explained a Western, capit Allman is one of several scholars (Allman 2004, Gott and Loughran 2010, Roces and Edwards 2007, Rovine 2001, Rovine 2009, Steele 2010, Transberg and Madison 2013) to challenge this conception of fashion, exe mplified by fashion scholar Valerie Steele, who stated that oriented for centuries (Steele 201 0: ). A more inclusive definition of fashion was prop o sed by Joanne Entwistle, who stated that fashion i s possible; it has its own particular relations of production and consumption, again found in a particular sort of society; it is characterized by a logic of regular and syste mic stle 2000: 47, 48). acknowledges that fashion is not exclusive to an elite population . Elite individuals are typically the most active and consistent consumers of fashion; however participants in speci fic fashion cultures often represent a divers e range of economic backgrounds . This will be further illustrated in Chapter 2, which will discuss the fashionable nature of the kaba, a distinctly Ghanaian form of attire that is subject ed to the same capricio us
30 does not fully attest to the critical importance of change and innovation to a scholarly definition of fashion. As Eicher first acknowledged in the edited volume Dress and Ethnicity fashion is, after all, about change, and change Eicher echoed this sentiment in the recently published Contemporary African Fashion , reitera Art historian Victoria Rovine further emphasized the importance of change in producing fashion s ling between individuals and along media networks, traversing cultural and chronological divides. These changing styles, which transform clothing into fashion, often provide insights into history and The disc ussions of these established scholars have informe d my own conception of fashion. I define fashion as a form of dress frequently associated with elite status in a given culture, which embodies change through the innovation of existing and historically sig nificant m aterials and styles of dress. F ashion is also an inherent ly cross cultural phenomenon. Fashion designers continually look beyond the confines of their own localities for creative inspiration in the hopes of designing original and avant garde ga rments that blend global styles, materials, and dress practices with familiar and established elements of t heir respective dress systems. An inclusive definition of fashion does not preclude the existence of additional categories within the field . T he fo llowing section will explore several important categories of fashion, establishing
31 definitions for haute couture, designer fashion s , world fashion s , and international fashion s . The Many Faces of Fashion : Additional Fashion Terminology H aute couture is the preferred term for a particularly detailed, elaborate, and expensive form of fashion that originated in Paris during the early 20 th century . The hen paired with significance of haute couture garments, which are revered for their time consuming construction, luxurious materi als, and absolute exclusivity. Haute couture was even professionally regulated for decades, with strict requirements regarding the production of garments (Saillard 2012: 210). Olivier Saillard, director of the Mus Ã©e Galliera in Paris, provided the most co ncise and descriptive explanation of haute couture. Saillard conceived of haute couture as an art form inseparable from fashion that achieved some of its finest moments in the years le 2012: 12). Saillard further explained tha t i t s components the precious materials used and the meticulous attention to detail of the artisans who produce it sometimes eclipse the finished work, 2012: 12). In summation, haute couture c hampions a reliance on elaborate, luxurious materials and a particularly time consuming process of production , to create one of the highest form s of fashion . of haute couture, including their creation by known individuals and fashion garments are not haute couture. The emphasis on expensive materials, as well
32 as the sheer extravagance of European haute couture clothing, is not present in the haute couture is entirely absen s this dissertation will demons trate, haute couture fashions are being produced by Kofi Ansah, a designer who prides himself on creating fantastical designs that meld locally produced materials and a profus ion of detailed embellishments with his exacting and detail oriented approach to garment construction (Chapter 5 ) . the establishment of an addit ional category of fashion that is distinct from both the elaborate and expensive creations of haute couture and the more pedestrian fashion garments created by created by known and recognized individuals who champion innov ation and are often associated with elite status. Designer fashions can include garments created specifically for runway shows, as well as garments sold in bouti ques that are part of seasonal collection s . The inclusion of this category is necessary, as d esigner fashions are not consistentl y examples of haute couture. The materials used for designer fashions a re not always expensive, nor are they subjected to the same exacting precision of haute couture garment s. In spite of their differences, haute cout ure is ultimately a specialized form of designer fashions, as both are created by recognized designers. Furthermore, designer fashions are separate from the garments of seamstresses and tailors, as the latter are accessible to a broad population of Ghanai ans and are not typically associated with elite status. The most important
33 attribute of designer fashions is that the garments are synonymous with the ir creator. In many instances, the knowledge and ability to recognize that a garment was created by a sp ecific designer is more important than the individual artistry or quality of the garment itself. A di scussion of fashion terminology, particularly in relation to West Africa, necessitates the inclusion of a type of fashion that will not be directly a ddressed in this dissertation, although it is prevalent in Accra and throughout Ghana. Eicher developed the conce pt of world fashion to address W estern styles of dress that have been readily signating items as western for people who wear them in other areas of the world, such as Asia and Africa, shirts, trench c oats, parkas, trousers, ( 1995: the geographic origins of particular garments in favor of creating a classification that a prime example of a specific world fashion is that of the ubiquitous blue jeans worn by males and females on many continents and m 1995: origins, or that an article of clothing is localized to the point of becoming a ubiquitous ices. hand clothing market and the importation of cheap, Western styled clothing has become an integral aspect of
34 setting, since specific garments and styles were chosen based on their perceived country of origin. The blending of a foreign garment with local materials suggests a symbolic interp lay indicates a relationship among multiple nations that transcends their physical boundaries while preserving the integrity of the countries involved. Although these garments could be considered hybrid fashions, hybridization implies a melding of fashions is a more apt description for these multi cultural forms of dress, thus I w ill r more distinct styles of dress while actively maintaining and referencing the coexisting cultural origins. Fashion as a Form of Cosmopolitanism in 1957 , particularly by Ghanaians ident ified as fashion designers, are imbued with a distinctly Ghanaian identity in spite of their multicultural influences . To und erstand the significance of these contemporary fashions, I will rely on the theorization of cosmopolitanism, which describes the phenomenon of blending and borrowing cultural elements and materials to create garments that are the result of global interacti ons , yet identified as local forms of creativ e expression. The definition I will incorporate is not the popularly accepted conception of cosmopolitanism , Kwame Appiah evocatively explaines cosmopolitanism as invoking images of Ã§ ons clad so phisticate with a platinum frequent flyer card regarding, with kindly condescension, a
35 ruddy 2007: xiii). description of potential superficiality, par ticularly it s colloquial usage, as indicative of a level of worldliness and wealth that is expressed in direct opposition to individual s who exhibit neither of these qualities. Like Appiah, I from this misconception and employ ed to investigate various forms of cultural expressions . C osmopolitanism allows for a nuanced exploration l ite fashion culture, demonstrating how the production of Ghanaian fashion serves as both the product and a visual indicator of the cosmo The importance of cosmopolitanism in understanding ar tistic and creative expressions was explored by Steven Feld in Jazz Cosmopolitanism in Accra: Five Musical Years in Ghana (2012) . Feld re lies on personal experiences and recollections co e examined individual musicians, as well as the creation of innovative music forms such as por por , a form of music based on playing squeeze bulb car horns impor t ed from India during the l ate 1930s ( 2012: 42) . The majority o f his case studies , as exemplified by his discussion of por por , address ed the melding of diverse cultural forms and practices to create a form of expression that is globally informed, but unique to Accra. To understand the importance of cosmopolitanism in the context of Accra, I will rely primarily on , which he define s as the world and
36 widely diffused among particular social groups in dispersed locales ( 2000: 7). He emphasizes the importance of localization to h is theory of cosmopolitanism, stating that which are not necessarily in geographical proximity; rather, the y are connected by different forms of media, contact, and interchanges. Local branches of a given cosmopolitan formation will have their own distinct features and unique slants because 2000: 8). Fashion can be considered an inherently cosmopolitan form of cultural expression. Fashion is a globally accessible and diffused cultural phenomenon often limited t o specific social groups, largely due to the cost and specialized knowledge required for participation . n of cosmopolitanism provides a model for how globally recognized styles can be incorporated into the designs of specific fashion garments as indicators of a global fashion culture, yet the garments remain distinctive ref lections of particular locales, cultural groups, and histories. The connections between cosmopolitanism and fashion have been explored by Naseem Khan, Laura Fair , and Victoria Rovine . in Chic Thrills : A Fashion Reade r examines the importance of fashion. Khan addresses the transformation of the Indian sari fashionable form of attire (Khan 1 993: 61). Khan explains that the revisions and manipulations of the sari resulted from a myriad of influences, including the introduction of Western commercial fashion and a burgeoning middle class, to the desire for British born Indians to assert their d ual identities. Khan implies that the sari has gradually
37 become susceptible to the influences of global fashion trends, yet it remains a distin ctly Indian form of fashion, illustrating the cosmopolitan nature of this particular form of dress. One of the strongest arguments for fashion as a form and indicator of cosmopolitanism, specifically in relation to African fashion in a historical context , was Dress, Performance, an d the Cultural Construction of a Cosmopolitan Zanzibari Fair documented how the women of Zanzibar transcended the strict social categorizations of the 19 th century by adopting new materials and adapting existing dress forms to reflect their red efined identities as multicultural citizens of an Afr ican urban center. Fair defined rather a sophisticated appreciati on for the international mixing and appropriation of 14). context by focusing on t he revisions of Zanzibari dress practices prior to the 20 th century. Victoria Rovine establishes the importance of cosmopolitanism to contemporary African fashion in the introduction of her publication African Fashion Global Style: Histories, Innovatio ns, and Ideas You Can Wear . Rovine references theorizations, particularly his conception of contamination, Additionally, she notes th ource of motivation or inspiration for changing styles of dress
38 culture the process of creating fashion is directly linked to cross cultural in teractions and cosmopolitanism. The malleability and capricious nature of fashion indicates its usefulness as one of the most visible vehicle s for expre ssing cosmopolitan identities . s use of cosmopolitanism is particularly significant, as it echoes conception applied directly to dress and fashion. multitude of influences, simultaneously encouraging innovatio n while maintaining established, culturally significant dress practices. Fai r acknowledges the importance of elitism in relation to cosmopolitanism and fashion O ne of the most powerful statement s regarding cosmopolitanism is Turino assertion that Turino 2000: 8). Turino continued, stating that: are n ot simply imitating foreign activities and thinking foreign thoughts when they go ballroom dancing, take part in nationalist movements, or contemplate Jesus. Rather they are acting and thinking from their own cultural position this is part of who they a re Turino 2000: 9). This assertion is significant to , as it suggest s that particular forms of fashion attributed with foreign origins, such as styles of dress or the practice of organizing and hosting runway sho ws, can be considered an important an d integrated aspect s existing culture. suggests that a French inspired cocktail dress, as well as the iconic and popular
39 Ghanaian kaba, can both be considered distinctly Gh anaian in spite of their foreign origins, as such garments have become identifiable elements dress practices. Not only is cosmopolitanism crucial to understanding fashion , it successfully al Africa provides the city and its residents with a level of accessibility and mobility that encourages the exchange of individuals, ideas, and materials . Richard Grant characterizes ent and as a platform of mediation for local to African ca pitals, exemplified by Hudita Nu ra Mustafa as a due to Contemporary African Fashion , Elisabeth Cameron described nstant stream of new people, ideas, news, Acknowled g ing the cosmopolitan nature of specifically Accra, is crucial to this dissertation; it suggests that specific forms of artistic expres sion, such as fashion, are stimulated by and infused with visually identifiable cosmopolitan qualities that are distinct to specific urban sites . The theory of cosmopolitanism epitomizes the co existence and interplay between global fo rms and local pract ices, particularly when conveyed through forms of artistic expression. Fashion can be a powerful example of cosmopolitanism: a global phenomenon localized by specific groups in particular cultural contexts. As this dissertation establish es ner fashions have consistently served as a
40 product, as well as a barometer, of the cosmopolitan natur e of the city and its residents. their belong ing to a global fashion system while maintaining their rich a nd vibrant historical dress practices , asserting a transformable conception of nationalism that indicates their inherent power as independent and autonomous Ghanaians. Covering the Body : The Literature on African Dress, Textiles, and Personal Adornment T he literature on African fashion developed from earlier investigation s of African textiles and dress practices, initiated by researchers such as Joanne Eicher (1969), Eicher and Mary Ellen Roach ( 1965 ) , Venice and Alastair Lamb (1975), John Picton (1979), and Roy Sieber (1972). It is important to acknowledge and review the existing literature on African textiles and personal adornment , since specific forms of historical dress, such as Ghanaian kente cloth and batakari smocks, continue to inform and influen edited volume Dress, Adornment, and the Social Order , was a diverse collection of short essays that addressed a variety of subjects relating to dress and adornment, ranging from an exploration of Nigerian cocoa farmers to an essay lamenting Although initial contribution, the ir publication was important in establishing dress and bodily adornment as a viable field for scholarly research, particularly in relation to non Western countries and cultural groups . volume was followed by Africa n Dre s s: A Select and Annotated Bibliography of Subsahar a n Countries .
41 provided a significant resource for scholars interested in exploring subjects related to African dress and personal adornment. The most important aspect of Eicher s bibliography is her brief, yet powerful introductory essay. Eicher established the importance of dress and adornment in Africa, stating which is experiencing such rapid change, clothing documents the impact of culture c Eicher further recognized that the subject of African dress was largely unaddressed in the fields of costume studies and African art, likely due to misconceptions and stereotypes regarding Afric ans , which she acknowledged and challenged. definitions, such as her inclusive conception of dress, were established in this publication, which directly influenced her own future research, as well as that of future schol ars. indicate the initial diversification of the field of African art , as researchers began to shift their gaze from the sculptural productions of African cultures to other forms of artistic expression. The importance of African d ress, textiles, and personal adornments was reinforced publication, African Textiles and Decorative Arts (1972). O rganized at the Museum of Modern Art, was one of the first to focus exclusive ly on forms of African dress and personal adornment. Sieber argued for the importance of dress and invention and variety in the arts of personal adornment is pan Afr ican and may, indeed, reveal the breadth and range of the aesthetic life of traditional Africa with greater accuracy than the limited formulations that currently serve in the West as a basis for
42 s dress practices; he examined a diverse and eclectic range of bodily adornments , which he divided into four categories: costume, body decoration, jewelry, and tex tiles. Although the majority of objects included in the exhibition were from the 20 th century, Sieber grounded his research in the past, including European descriptions of African clothing and adornment from as early as the 14 th century. Following Si s expansive exploration of African adornments, John Picton and African Textiles (1979) focused specifically on the classification and production of locally woven fabrics t hroughout Africa , primarily in the western, northern, an d central regions of the continent . publication addressed the materials and technologies for creating these textiles, particularly the loom and its two major variations: the single heddle loom and the double heddle loom. The authors included brief sections addressing additional methods for producing cloth, including dyeing, appliquÃ© and embroidery, as well as printing and stenciling . Their publication was enhanced by a wealth of photographs and diagrams depicting the pro duction and technologies associated with weaving, as well as images ollection of African textiles. The majority of publications on African textiles and personal adornment consistently included examples from Ghana, particularly of kente cloth, although none of the previously mentioned publications focused exclusively on the production and cultural sign ificance of Ghanaian textiles. The earliest and most comprehensive West African Weaving (1975).
43 Lamb began her publication with an overview of the various types of West African textiles and their methods of production, including appliquÃ©d , stamped , and tie and dyed textiles . Her following chapter focused on the historical importance of woven textiles, specifically the ar chaeologically significant Telle m textiles, which demonstrated that strip woven textiles were being produced and traded as early as the eleventh century. This assertion was significant, as previous publications had n ot attempted to establish the importance of African textiles in an archaeological context. The main focus of was two Ghanaian ethnic groups known for producing kente cloth: the Asante and the Ewe. She provides a comprehensive assessme nt of both weaving practices, addressing specific weaving technologies, names of patterns and motifs, and acknowledging local categorizations of textiles, such as Asasia her di scussion of kente into the two primary ethnic groups that produce the cloth, Lamb establishes crucial distinctions between the styles and motifs of Ewe and Asante kente. Her exploration of Ewe kente was an important contribution to the field of African ar t, as Ewe textiles were understudied in comparison to the more widely recognized Asante kente. Her publication was enhanced by a plethora of photographs, including historical and contemporary images of textiles worn by Ghanaians and detailed images of the technologies and processes of producing woven cloth. Lamb included images of the woven textiles she and her husband collected during the 1960s and early 1970s , a collection that remains one of the most comprehensive collections of West African textiles i n the United States. Following this publication, Venice Lamb published two
44 additional books exploring the production and significance of African textiles: Au Cameroun Weaving Tissage (1981) and Sierra Leone Weaving (1984). As the scholarship of African textiles and personal adornments continued to develop, scholars began narrowing their focus to conduct explorations of specific on strip weaving in West Africa. Scholar woven textiles, publishing Patterns of Life: West African Strip Weaving Traditions (1987). The first issue of African Arts devoted to the studies of African textiles was published in 1982 and included articles the FraFra people in Northern Ghana, and forms of Egungun costumes in Abeokuta, Nigeria. Crowning Achievements: African Arts of Dressing the Head (1995) , explored a particular form of dress or adornment and its expressions throughout the African continent . Jean Cloth as Metaphor: Nigerian Textiles from the Museum of Cultural History (1983) exemplified the repeated appro ach of analyzing textile forms of a particular Into Indigo: African Textiles and Dyeing Techniques (1980) illustrated the importance of analyzing specific types of textile production. Recent publications, like Alisa LaG The Essential Art of African Textiles (2008) , place d the significance of historical African textiles in a contemporary context by e xploring how African artists have been influenced by textiles and dress practices. This is exe that the work s of Ghanaian artists El Anatsui and Atta Kwami are informed by the designs and color schemes of kente cloth. Other publications exploring the curre nt
45 significance of historical African texti Africa Interweave: Textile Diasporas (2011), Woven Beauty: The Art of West African Textiles (2009), The Art of African Textiles, Technology, Tradition,and Lurex (1995) , and Victoria Ro Bogolan: Shaping Culture Through Cloth in Contemporary Mali (2001) . African en Vogue: The Literature on African Fashion The growing importance of African textiles and dress practices to the field of African art history allowed for the development of a subcategory of African dress studies, which focuses on African fashion , a fie ld that is currently growing in popularity and significance . The study of African fashion is firmly rooted in the literature of African textiles and personal adornment, as the directly informed by historical textiles and dress practices. A s the field of African fashion continues to develop, it may demonstrate that many historical textiles and personal adornments currently interpreted as historical works of art, are in fact elaborate and complex examples of historical fashions . African fashion did not become a focus of academic research until the last decade, with the majority of scholarly publications introduced in the early 2000s. P opular publications, particularly in Europe, recognized the significance of African designers and their creations by the late 1990s. special issue on African fashion (1997 98) was the first international publication to acknowledge the impo rtance and diversity of contemporary African fashion. The issue emphasized the role of Malian designer Chris Seyd ou in promoting African fashion and provided a visual summation of the most promising African designers of the late 20 th century. This public ation was followed by The Art of African Fashion (Van der Plas 1998), Elegances Africaines ,
46 (Mendy Ongoundou 2002),and Africa is in Style (Geoffroy Schneiter 2006). The majority of these publications, much like Revue Noire , focused on the careers and crea tions of African fashion designers that had garnered international recognition during the 1990s, such as Chris Seydou, Xuly B Ã« t, Alphadi, and Path Ã© the publications acknowledged the existence of fashion systems in African countries prior to the late twentieth century, the presence of African designer fashions in a historical context remained largely unexplored, unintentionally perpetuating the notion that African designer fashions were introduced in the late 1980s and early 1990s. F urthermore, the majority of these publications were non academic, superficially addressing the careers and creations of African fashion designers without situating them in their broader historical or cultural contexts. African fashion became a focus of academic research in the early 20 th century. T he dissertation of Betty Wass, Yoruba Dress: A Systematic Case Study of Five Generations of a Lagos Family (1975), was a precursor to recent studies of African fashion. Wass used the personal archives of an e lite Lagos family to trace the revisions of dress from 1900 to 1974, relating trends in dressing to specific political and social shifts during predetermined temporal periods. Recent scholarly publications on African fashion include The Global Circulation of African Fashion (Rabine 2002), Fashioning Africa: Power and the Politics of Dress (ed. Allman 2004), Edge: XULY.B Ã« Old Clothes, New Looks: Second Hand Fashion (Rovine 2004 ), Fashion Theory (ed. Rovine 2009), African Fashion Global Style: Histories, Innovations, and Ideas You Can Wear (2014), Contemporary African Fashion (eds. Gott and Loughran
47 2010), and African Dress: Fashion, Agency, Performance (ed . Hansen and Madison 2013). to address the significance of African it is otherwise enmeshed (Rabi ne 2002: 3). Rabine traced the movements of fashions throughout Africa and the United States, exploring how the meanings of garments and textiles were made and re made, reflecting their specific locations and cultural contexts. Rabine asserted the primac y of fashion for the field of African studies by implementing African fashion as a vehicle for exploring broader issues of African and African American cultures and identities. My own research is greatly influenced by the scholarship of Victoria Rovine . H er aforementioned publications and her book Bogolan: Shaping Culture through Cloth in Contemporary Mali (2008) have informed my research, particularly regarding my exploration of African textiles as materials for fashion and my assessments of individual de signers and the importance of interpreting their fashions . This approach is exemplified by Ã« practices a (Rovine 2005: 223). Malian designer Chris Seydou manipulation of bogolan cloth into a meaningful material for his haute couture creat ions is invoked in this dissertation, as the majority of Ghanaian fashion designers are similarly incorporating historical textiles into their designs to simultaneously challenge and preserve established forms of dress and textiles.
48 The popularity of African fashion in a non academic context has continued to diverse designer fashions. The most comprehensive, non academic publication on New African Fashion ( 2011), which highlights the careers and creations of over forty contemporary African fashion designers, including publicatio n is that it formally recognizes , albeit superficial ly, that African fashion designers were active throughout the continent prior to the 1980s and 1990s. As she states styles as a means of showing pride in their African identi ties in the wake of a flurry of gs 2011: 11). Jennings acknowledges Nigerian designer Shade Thomas Fahm, who returned to Lagos in 1960 to open one of the earliest documented designer fashion bouti ques in West Africa. Despite recognition of historical African fashion designers, their careers, specific designs, and cultural significance remain largely unexplored. c, Kente Cloth, and the Kaba It is necessary to establish accurate definitions of specific Ghanaian dress forms and materials, engaging with existing literature on these subjects. The following section, which serves as a continuation of the literature r eview, will address Ghanaian textiles and dress forms that are particularly important to this dissertation, including kente cloth, wax print fabric , and the kaba . I will blend established scholarship with my research and personal experiences in Ghana to p resent a nuanced depiction of the se textiles and materials.
49 Before discussing sp ecific materials and dress practices that form the basis for d contemporary fashion culture, the complexity of the concept of African traditions must b e explored . The use of tradition to describe historically significant forms of African art , including African textiles , has become highly contested among African art historians . Sabin e Marschall concisely summarized the conventional use of the term , stat ing that tradition is believed to held by local African people before the advent of Western cultural influence and the import of Christian belief s Sidney Kasfir recognized an additional difficulty in using the term tradition, as the concept implies that African art 92: 43). Kasfir further asserted that in dis cussions of traditional 1992: 44). Despite the problematic qualities of tradition in an academic context , particularly when referencing A frican art forms and cultural practices, the concept of tradition is actively discussed and employed by Ghanaians. In relation to this dissertation, Ghanaian fashion designers and consumers read ily describe historically significant textiles and forms of d ress , such as kente cloth and wax print fabric, as exemplars of Ghanaian traditions. This usage of tradition is illustrated by a conversation with Aisha Obuobi , creator of the fashion label Christie Brown . During an interview , I asked Obuobi what the ter m traditional meant to her. She responded : at it was brought by the Dutch;
50 why not consider it traditional ? : personal interview ) She continued: are not as strict on our traditions. I see that in Ghana it is very easy for us to mix new elements into our traditions. You see how people are okay with it, so we just go wi ( 2012: personal interview ). reflections on tradition al Ghanaian textiles encapsulate t he primary definition of tradition and its use among Ghanaians : a Ghanaian understanding of tradition does not prec lude innovation and change. On the contrary, traditional forms of Ghanaian dress and textiles are frequently revised , often responding to th e introduction of new materials and ideas. The importance of change to historical forms of African textiles was ac knowledged by Ghanaian philosopher Kwame Appiah, who explored the meaning of tradition in relation traded by Europeans, produced in Asia. This tradition was once an in novation. Should 2007: 107). I nstead of dismissing Appiah asserted continuities and changes, and the identity of a society can survi ve through these changes ( 2007: 107) . His sentiments are echoed by the asserti ons of Joanne Eicher, who argued itself in interaction with other dress styles, with garments of W estern commercial Appiah and Eicher illustrate that African dress and textiles have been experiencing change for decades, in spite of t he problematic implications of their classification as tra ditional . Furthermore, their arguments imply that the malleability of
51 African textiles and dress forms are crucial to their continued survival . Obuobi apart, rearrange this traditional textile (Obuobi 2012 : personal interview ) . The importance of revision to the continued existence of historically significant textiles will be explored further in Cha pter 3, with an examination of s kente kaba ensemble. Instead of arguing for the rejection of tradition as a defining concept, I believe the term can encapsulate the complexities of historically rooted African art , providing a more accura te and localized conception of specific forms of artistic expression. This assertion is supported by established scholars, including Richard Handler and Jocelyn Linnekin, who from t he implications of Western common sense, which presumes that an unch anging core of ideas and custom and disconti 273). As recognized by Handler and Linnekin, the Western, academic conception of tradi tion can be problematic ; I choose to rely on a definition of tradition that is informed by Ghanaians, exemplified by Obuobi . I define tradition as f orms of artistic expression that are crucial to an African cultural fabric for an extended peri od of time, yet are susceptible to revision and innovation. The inclusiveness of this defin ition allows for materials that may be foreign in origin and objects that are distinctly local to
52 be equally identified as traditional . My use of the term traditio n places primacy on the Ghanaians involved in this dissertation and their own conceptualization of this essential term . The dress forms and textiles that will be subsequently discussed in this section, including kente cloth, wax print fabric, and the kaba , are broadly identified by contemporary Ghanaians as traditional . The Proof is in the Print: The History and Complexities of Wax Print Fabric Printed Textiles Intended for West Afric a and Zaire in troduced key concepts regarding imported , industrially printed fabric s . Nielsen established that two types of industrially printed textiles were imported to West Africa: wax print fabrics, also known as wax batiks, and nonwax prints , often referred to as fancy or roller print fabrics. printed cotton fabric of plain weave to which the design is applied with hot wax or resin on both sides of the c (Nielsen 1979: 468). Nielsen recognized that wax print fabrics were often imbued with local meanings , serving as indicators of social status or representing national identities . Nielsen established a list of inspirational sources for wax print designs, which allowed for subsequent scholars to initiate detailed explorations of specific types of wax prin t. This detailed investigation of wax print is evidenced by several publications, including In Praise of Heroes: Contemporary African Commemorative Cloth (Spencer (Domowitz 1992), Ghanaian Wa x Print Textiles: Viewpoints of Designers, Distributors, Sellers and Consumers (Littrell 1985), Ã´ (Bickford
53 1994), Everyday Patterns: Factory printed Cloth of Africa Prints and Politics: Mama Benz in Trouble: Networks, the State, and Fashion Wars in the Beninese Textile Market Nielsen established that the origins of African wax print fabric are rooted in a complex historical exchange between Europeans and Africans. African wax prints developed from the Dutch desire to profit from their colonies, particularly Indonesia. Following the secession of Belgium in 1830, the Dutch were forced to reconstruct the powerful and profitable Flanders textile industry in Haarlem, Holland. The original goal of Dutch textile entrepreneurs was to industrially pr oduce Indonesian batiks. This was accomplished by adapting a printing machine to apply resin to both sides of a cotton fabric. Although the industrially printed fabric mimicked the style of Indonesian batik, the mechanized process caused the applied resin to crack, which allowed dye to seep through and created an unpredictable ndonesians abhorred the industrially printed fabric, likely considering it an inferior version to their hand dyed batik, but the textile quickly became popular throughout West Africa. Picton and other scholars of African textiles attribute the growing pr esence of wax print fabric in West Africa to Ebenezer Brown Fle m ming, the sole agent for the 1995: 27). According to Bickford, F l e mming brought wax print fabrics to the Gold Coast as early as the 1890s (Bickford 1994: 7). As the fabrics grew in popularity, factories throughout Europe were established, including Brunnschweiler Ltd., one of the most important English manufacture r s of wax print fabric (Nielsen 1979: 474).
54 The European origin of wax print fabric does not imply that West Africans were passive consumers of these imported textiles; West Africans were actively involved in the production and design of wax print fabrics, resulting in a careful and calculated co llaboration between Europeans and West Africans. This is evidenced by Picton research on designs created specific ally for the Gold Coast, including patterns inspired by postage stamps and colonial ports, which were produced and sold in 1905 (Picton 1995 : 28). Other designs, such as depictions of European landscapes and floral motifs, decorative style, layout and subject matter of the earliest Brown Flemming that whoever was responsible for advising the Haarlem engravers was drawing upon Indonesian and ancient Egyptian visual sources, West African proverbial 1995: 28). Picton further established that the distinctly Gold Coast motifs, including adinkra stamps, depictions of important Gold Coast women, and the Asantehene ( 1995: 29). This provides further evidence that d specific iconographies were actively incorporated into the production of European wax prints. Following independence in 1957, Ghana became one of the earliest nations to develop local wax print factories, beginning in the 1960s with ATL and G TP s textile factories, like many throughout West Africa, experienced difficulties in production and manufacturing throughout the twentieth century, but have maintained their
55 In the last twenty years, wax pr int fabric throughout West Africa has experienced rapid change, particularly due to the introduction of Chinese imitation wax print fabrics, which are created without the application of resin. Chinese Textile Networks: Women Traders in Accra and Lom Ã© observations regarding the proliferation of Chinese wax print fabric in the context of Accra. Axelsson argues that following President Rawlings economic reforms during the 1980s and early 1990s, subsequent popularity of Chinese wax prints grew assertion is supported by the reflections of a textile trading family who began to sell Chinese wax print during the late 1980s, citing the declining popularity of locally produced wax print as the impetus for their deci sion. Axelsson additionally documented that a s the popularity of Chinese wax pri nt increased, random raids were implemented to prevent market women from selling Chinese wax print that imitated Ghanaian designs, although these raids have been largely unsuccessful. As imitation Chinese wax prints become more commonplace in Ghanaian ma rkets, it is necessary to re evaluate the terms employed by art histo rians to discuss specific types of wax print textiles. Vlisco currently classifies their printed fabrics as wax, super wax, or java. The main distinction between wax and super wax is th at the latter is printed on a denser cotton fabric and incorporates two applications of wax, which creates a more com plex crackling effect. of fancy or roller prints, is defined as fabric that does not include the use of wax or resin in its production. Picton confirms the existence of these categorizations in Ghana in his
56 introduction to Technology, Tradition and Lurex ; he footnoted a personal experience with a market woman in Kumasi who distinguished between wax prints, Java prints and fancy prints (Picton 1995: 30). According to Picton, the woman designated the imported Chinese fabrics as fancy prints, fabric manufactured in Ghana as Java prints, and fabric imported from Nigeria and Ivory Coast as wax prints ( 19 95: 30). My recent experiences with fabric sellers in Accra , primarily in Makola Market and the neighbor hood market of Malata, suggest a revision in the classification of wax print fabrics has occurred. The majority of printed fabrics currently available are generally categorized by sellers as wax prints , although most are no longer produced with wax or resin. Currently, the origin of the fabric takes precedence over the technology of its creation, with sellers distinguishing companies such as Vlisco, GT P, and ATL from the vast majority of wax print fabrics that are imported from China (HiTarget). This change in classification could be attributed to the overwhelming rics printed by local factories or by Vlisco are still present, but are far from commonplace. Due to the broad usage of the term wax print to indicate a variety of real and imitation wax print fabrics, this d issertation refer s to all printed fabrics that mimic the designs and patterns of wax print fabric as wax print, distinguishing between these textiles based on the location of their manufacture. C onversations similar c ategorizations of wax print , with individuals distinguishing bet ween European produced textiles (Vlisco), locally manufactured textiles (GTP, ATL, Printex), and Asian wax print textiles (HiTarget). The value placed on specific types of textiles has dramatically shifted, with
57 young Ghanaians designers stating that they often use Chinese wax print because it is more affordable and features a greater diversity of colors and prints. Swimwear and accessories designer Aya Morrison, who uses exclusively Chinese wax print fabrics , explained : personal interview ). Designer Ajepo maa Mensah expressed similar sentiments; she think HiTarget is a good product is because of the ply of cotton they us has a good product , but the ply of : personal interview ). This changing classification of wax print fabric among Accra market woman and fashion designers does not imply that specific patterns have lost their cultural significance. Many wax print pattern s are still considered traditional, based on the 1979: 481). This was echoed by fashion design ( 1979:481 ). This discussion further indicates the importance of employing my definition of tradition in regard s to wax print fabric , as it maintain s its traditional status among Ghanaians in a contemporary context , despite its continued fluctuations in quality and origin of production .
58 The Importance of Kente cloth Wrapped in Pride: Ghanaian Kente and African American Identity , is the most important and comprehensive academic contribution to extensive research on the history, prod uction and significance of kente cloth in Ghan a and the diaspora. Due to the that are important to this dissertation, including historical precedence and its significance as visually asserting a d istinctly Ghanaian identity. Kente cloth is a strip woven textile produced primarily by Asante and Ewe men on a ho rizontal or double heddle loom . 3 Individual strips are sewn together to produce a large cloth that is wrapped around the body in a complex manner . Although strip woven textiles are found throughout West Africa, kente is distinct from these form s in terms of color, pattern, and meaning . Asante kente is the most widely recognized style of kente cloth, known for its saturated, yet limited col or scheme and its reliance on primarily geometric patterns (Fig ure 1 1) . This cont rasts with Ewe kente, which employs a more diverse and subdued range of colors, as well as the incorporation of pictorial motifs (Figure 1 2) . The majority of kente cloth d iscussed in this dissertation can be classified as Asante, since the color schemes and overall pattern of the cloths are indicative of this style. Additionally , due to the popularity of Asante kente both locally and abroad, it is the most prevalent type o f kente cloth found in Accra. 3 During my first trip to Ghana in 2009, I visited the village of Bonwire, known as the center of Asante kente weaving. I spoke to several male kente weavers and asked i f there were any women who made anecdote to illustrate that although there are a few women known to weave kente, it remains primarily the prerogative of men.
59 The earliest historical account of Asante weaving, likely a precursor to kente cloth, was recorded by a Danish envoy named Nog during his visit to Asantehene Opoku Ware I in the 1730s (Ross 1998: 151). Nog recorded that O twelve strips long were sewn together, it became ( 1998:151, Romer 1965 (1760): 36). Nog described that the woven strips were often of contrasting colors, including blue, white, and red. He also recognized that kente cloth for Opoku Ware I was created from imp oku bought silk taffeta and materials of all colours. The artists unraveled them so that they obtained large quan tities of woolen and silk 1 998: 151, 1965 (1760): 36). The Asante practice of unraveling imported silk fabrics and reweaving the threads to create strip woven textiles was referenced agai n in 1817, by British envoy Thomas Bowdich. price from the costly foreign silks which had been unraveled to w eave them in all the 1998: 152, Bowdi ch 1966: 35). Bowdich added 1998:1 52, 1966: 35). The historical accounts of Nog and Bowdich , as re ferenced by Ross, establish the antecedents of kente cloth, illustrating the historical significance of the textile. The records of Nog and Bowdich further indicate that for over 200 years, kente cloth has been the product of blending local styles and technologies with foreign inf luences and materials .
60 Originally, Asante kente cloth was the prerogative of the Asantehene , his royal retinue , and other Akan chiefs. As the power of the Asantehene waned during the late nineteenth century, particularly following the exile of the Asant ehene Prempeh I in 1900, Asante kente cloth became increasingly accessible to non royal individuals . During the twentieth century , virtually anyone able to purchase Asante kente could wear it, although the donning of the textile was limited to contexts th at merited prestigious attire ( 1998: 55). The twentieth century democratization of kente was greatly influenced by wearing kente cloth , as well as other indigenous textiles, throughout Ghana an d abroad. According to Ross, ( 1998: 166). Schola rs Ross and G. P. Hagan assert for repeatedly wrapping him self in the iconic cloth was to re incorporate local forms of dress. As Hagan explains Nkrumah showed them Hagan continued: [Nkrumah] put on kente for formal ceremonies. In so doing, he used elements of cultural attire to show that customs from different ethnic cultures were merely different (1991: 15). Kente not only symbolized Ghana and its diverse peoples , it be ca me synonymous with the concept of Pan Africanism and eventually, broader notions of African ancestry . Ross attributed the origins of these additional meaning s prominence in African American publications, like Ebony magazine. According to Ros s, Ebony announced Nkrumah as the new prime
61 Ã© tat that deposed him, Ebony published at least seventy seven photos of people wearing kente i n thir ty : 168). During this time, a number of prominent African Americans, including Maya Angelou , Muhammad Ali, an d Malcolm X, traveled to Ghana and w rote about, even wore the iconic textile , aiding in its association with Pan Africanis m and other Black nationalist movements ( 1998: 1 71, 174, 178). As Ross concisely stated premier symbol of African heritage and a tangible link with the A frican continent and its history ( 1998: 178). This assertion is echoed by Nii Quarcoopome, who stated that by the 1990s This dissertation en hance s the scholarship of Ross and Quarcoopome, further illustrating the importance of kente cloth, in Ghana and abroad, as a symbol of Ghanaian and African heritage, as s. Wearing the Nation: The Kaba The kaba, also known as the kaba and slit, is a garment that exemplifies how a form of attire resulting from the fusion of international and local dress styles can signify a distinctly Ghanaian identity. The kaba is not l imited to Ghana; variations of the garment can be found in several West African countries, including Sierra Leone (Wass and Broderick 1979). What distinguishes the Ghanaian kaba is its direct association with Ghanaian dress heritage. As a Ghanaian expl ained to art historian Suzanne Gott, kaba 1979: 19). The kaba is typically created from six yards of fabric, with two yards used for integral elements: a tailored blouse, a sewn or wrapped
62 skirt, and an additional piece of fabric used primarily as a wrapper or shawl (Fig ure 1 3) . piece kaba was created when a European inspired blouse was added to the existing wrapped ensembl dress (Gott 2010: 13). Gott identified the earliest illustration of this hybrid garment in the aforementioned hybrid garment, consisting of a tailored blouse and a wrapped skirt (2010: 13). According to Gott, although the kaba increased in popularity during the mode of dress 2010: 14). dress, the kaba, much like kente cloth, became heritage. The kaba has maintained its significance and popularity in a contemporary context, embellishments of designer fashions. The Organization of this Dissertation The majority of this dissertation is divided into chapters based on the careers and creations of individual designers and their corresponding cultural and temporal contexts. Thi s organization reflects the ephemeral nature of fashion, which is not created to exist in perpetuity. Fashion is subject to the capricious proclivities of its producers and consumers, as well as the impermanence of the physical garments. T his is particul arly evident in countries like Ghana that have not extensively documented nor preserved
63 examples of historical and contemporary fashion s . In order to reconstruct and analyze the dress practices of Accra, particularly in a historical context, it is necessa ry to rely primarily on the recollec tions and personal archives of individuals who were actively engaged in the By structuring each chapter around a designer or grou p of designers, their fundamental i mportan ce in is illuminated . As stated by Karen Tranberg Hansen in the edited volume A frican Dress: Fashion Agency, Performance : the body and dress are intimately entangled. Their entanglements are deeply entwined with the biographies of the wearers and These entanglements are applicable to fashion designers, who are equally with their own cr eations and personal histories , often resulting in overwhelmingly positive interpretations of their careers and significance. I attempt to temper t hese potential biases by blending the personal accounts of fashion designers with documentation from outside sources, however in some instances, corroborating their assertions was difficult . I will acknowledge designers who may have reified idealized con c eptions of themselves in individual chapters. Fol lowing Chapter 1, which reviews the existing literature per tinent to this dissertation and introduc e s independence fashion culture , illustrating that a diverse and complex fashion culture was firmly established the early 1950s. This chapter will rely primarily on documentation from the Daily Graphic and the Sunday Mirror , two popular media publications that consistently
64 s with extensive photographs and detailed articles. Chapter 3 begins the exploration and analysis of Ghanaian fashion designers This chapter highlights two of her most i nnovative garments, which reflected changing conceptions of Ghanaian identity in a post independence context. Chapter 4 highlights the career of Ricci Ossei, a Ghanaian designer who blended his penchant for American denim with local forms of historical te xtiles, resulting in garments that appealed to both Ghanaians and African Americans. This chapter further documents the decline of des igner fashions during the 1980s due to the failing economy and anti elitist government policies . Chapter 5 focuses on th fashions, highlighting two designers known for their reliance on kente cloth, Kofi Ansah and Joyce Ababio. T heir garments were indicative of the growing, international popularity of kente cloth during the 1990s. The caree rs of Beatrice Arthur and Ben Nonterah are the focus of Chapter 6, exploring how their designs reflect two disti nct approaches to creating fashion , yet both are primarily concerned with capturing the essence of cosmopolitanism in their garments . Chapter 7 addresses the current s fashion culture, highlighting the work of sev eral emerging fashion designers and illustrating how wax print fabric has gained new significance as a material that signifies a distinctly Ghan aian identity fo the impor tance of nationalism in creating a cosm opolitan identity through fashion, illustrating that in spite of capricious political culture, designer fashion
65 garments have continually encapsulated con ceptions of nationalism, tailored to their specific historical era s . The final chapter summarizes the critical contributions of this dissertation and advances hopes of challenging e xisting scholarship on non Western fashions. The conclusion will further reiterate the importance of a nationalist cosmopolitanism to the production of designer fashions, a notion that is woven throughout this dissertation. T he final chapter will further suggest that Ghanaian designer fashions have served as a potent assertion Ultimately, this dissertation will prove the paramount importance of f ashion to the citizens of Accra, demonstrating description that introduced this chapter is a concise and accurate : p eople have been fashionable for years Rawlings 2012 : personal interview ).
66 Figure 1 1. Detail of Asante kente Christopher Richards. Figure 1 2. Ewe kente (Togodo) cloth, 2011. The Lamb Collection of African Textiles, National Museum of African Art. Photograph by Christopher Richards.
67 Figure 1 3. Mrs. E mi ly Asiedu (left) wearing a kaba, 2012. Photograph by Christopher Richards
68 CHAPTER 2 : THE PRESENCE OF FASHION IN PRE INDEPENDENCE ACCRA We have always been distinctive in our dress and for long have been the models for Africa. We must ensure we do not fall behind we must keep pace in our ideas with the progress of modern Gold Coast. Uknown Fashion Contributor The Sunday Mirror The existence of a distinct fashion culture, over flowing with aspiring designers, countless catwalks , and the dogged documentation of the latest trends , is considered a recent phenomenon throughout much of the African continent . Seminal publications like The Art of African Fashi on suggest that African fashion designers emerged in the late 1970s early 1980s, with Chris Seydou considered the forefather of contemporary African fashion. As this chapter will demonstrate, fashion in Africa, specifically in Ghana, existed decades bef ore Seydou first captured the attention of fashion journalists, researchers , and the global elite . Fashion, and a thriving fashion culture, has existed in Accra photographic i mages and two most established newspapers, the Daily Graphic and the Sunday Mirror , I will establish that Ghanaians were actively crea ting and documenting three distinct, yet co existing and permeable realms of fashion in Accra: world fashion s , international fashions, and local, specifically Ghanaian fashion. This chapter will not only attest to the historical depth of culture multiple realms of fashion establishe d the foundation for t f uture fashion designers, suggest ing that Accra, much like the globally recognized cosmopolitan cities of New York City, London, and Paris, has
69 been and continues to be a (Gilbert 2006 ). Ultimately, this chapter will argue that the diverse fashions of pre indpendence Accra functioned as visual assertions of power and autonomy for elite Gold Coast women. realms of fashion , it is important to briefly disc uss the history of newspapers in Ghana. As part of this history, I will focus on the development of the Daily Graphic and the Sunday Mirror , two of the oldest and most p opular newspapers in Accra . This section transition from colonially owned publications to their acquisition by the Ghanaian government and the inhe rent biases that accompanied each of these affiliations. This discussion will attest to the popularity and influence of the Daily Graphic and the Sun day Mirror , as well as their significance and usefulness as two of the only published sources that have consistently documented Ghan . 1 The History of the Daily Graphic and the Sunday Mirror N ewspapers have been a significant vehicle for documenting political, social, and cultural changes in Ghana for almost two hundred years. The first newspaper established in the Gold Coast colony was The Royal Gold Coast Gazette , founded in 1822 by Sir Charles MacCarthy (Anokwa 1997: 9, Hasty 2005: 9). As the first British Governor of the Gold Coast colony, MacCarthy ensured The Royal Gold Coast Gazette was attuned to local news developments, while simultaneously serving as the official voice for colonial policy (Hasty 2005: 9 ). Later, several other newspapers, including 1 The titles of both newspapers have been revised multiple times over their continued existence , particularly The Sunday Mirror , which has also been titled Sunday Mirror and The Mirror . In order to maintain a level of consistency, I will refer to these newspapers as the Daily Graphic and the Sunday Mirror , regardless of their various name changes. For an accurate reflection of their actual titles in relation to specific time periods, please refer to the references section.
70 periodicals owned and edited by Africans, were introduced. One of the earliest examples of a newspaper owned and edited by Gold Coast Africans was the Bannerman Brothers' West African Herald , established in 1 857 ( 2005: 9). By the late 19 th and early 20 th centuries, the colonial government instituted stringent guidelines for newspaper publications to prevent Africans in the Gold Coast from publishing any material deemed critical of the colonial government ( 200 5: 10). Despite these strict regulations, many of the popular newspapers during the colonial era were o wned and edited by Africans, including newspapers controlled by the colonial government. The Daily Graphic was established in Ghana by the British new spaper magnate Cecil King in 1950 as a daily publication that documented issues of national and international concern. In 1953, King published the first issue of the Sunday Mirror , a weekly publication that highlighted the arts and cultural activities of Ghana, with a specific focus on Accra. The Daily Graphic and the Sunday Mirror effectively eliminated most of the Gold Coast newspapers at the time, mainly due to their association with substantial financial backing from British investors and banks ( 2005: 10). Journalism scholar Kwadwo Anokwa described the Daily Graphic as s ecurity, 10). This is further supported by communications scholar Clement Asante, who argued the Daily Graphic 7). As Asante points out, the existing local newspapers, which were often set and
71 printed b y hand, could not compete with t he Daily rotary printing press, which allowed for faster, higher quality, and more mass produced publications ( 1996: 7). The Daily Graphic overarching purpose was to promote colonial policies and to generat e revenue for British investors (Anokwa 1997: 10) . supposed colonialist intentions, William Hachten offered a differing opinion, stating that these papers were staffed editorially by Africans and were never identified with the colonial governments (Hachten 1971: 147 ). autonomy, a fact that King proudly attributed to their competence, abilities, and knack The intellectual freedom of Graphic contributors resulted in what Asante described as so likely , resulting in its high circulation and readership (Anokwa 1997: 11 ) . The Daily Graphic and the Sunday Mirror were more popular than most Ghanaian owned, independent newspapers, in Evening News , which he first published in the early 1950s ( 1997: 11). Anokwa asserted that due to the popularity of the Daily Graphic , as well as its higher circulation when compared to other publications , it becam awarene The mass popularity of the Daily Graphic did not deter Nkrumah from vehemently rejecting the publication, which he viewed as lism and a propaganda tool of opposition leaders After the Gold Coast gained independence, Nkrumah launched an attack on all privately owned newspapers. According to Asante ,
72 ently used...to mobilize Ghanaians for independence, he vehemently opposed an independent, opposition press Nkrumah strongly believed that the press should reflect his ideologies of Pan Africanism and national unity, so in 1958 he esta blished his own newspaper , The Ghanaian Times . Anokwa has noted that the first editorial of The Ghanaian Times clearly indicated be to support the government in powe believe unalterably that socialist policies of the CPP government are wisely and soundly conceived the Daily Graphic to operate profitably i n the newly independent nation. Nkrumah e xpanded press laws instituted by the British colonial government, adding bills such as the 1960 ( 1996: 21). This essentially stifled the free speech of publications like the Daily Graphic , prompting full ownership and editorial control of both the Daily Graphic and the Sunday Mirror (1996: Ghanaian government agreed to purchase the Daily Graphic and the Sunday Mirror , all major Ghanaian newspapers the retreat of colonial forces, news media were immediately co opted into the service of the state
73 Under N ow ned newspapers operated as his main under Nkrumah was characterized strictly on the model of a strong socialist and neo communist type press system ( 1996: 15). Nkrumah integration Surprisingly, in terms of popularity and production, newspapers like t he Daily Graphic were not adversely affected by Nkr of control. As Anokwa suggested healthy growth for the state owned media Following the overthrow of Nkrumah and his government in 1966 , t he Daily Graphic and t he Sunday Mirror remained state controlled newspaper s , subjected to the ideological revisions and manipulations of multiple governments . Asante provided a surprising example of the instantaneous nature of these shifts, as expressed by excerpts f rom t he Daily Graphic t he Daily Graphic declaring in a commentary on freed from the great burden which has been imposed on them by the corrupt The malleability of the state owned newspapers is further demonstrated by the resear ch of Jennifer Hasty, who argued that the state media to construct his charisma and define the political legitimacy of his regime in terms of development patronage (Ha sty 2005: 7). Much like during
74 Instead of discounting the Daily Graphic and the Sunday Mirror for their obvious docu mentation of fashion and dress wa s directly linked to the development and promotion of specific nationalist and cosmopolitan identities , illustrating how fashion has been consciously influenced and manipulated by the citizens of Accra and us governments. Benedict Anderson argues for the importance of newspapers in constr ucting nations, as they kind of imagined community that is 25 ). Anderson further alludes to the potential importance forms for disseminating nationlist ideologies to the masses (1991: 23). As this next section will demonstrate, the Daily Graphic and the Sunday Mirror serve as powerful ulture in a historical context, illustrating how specific forms of dress reflected assertions of power and the construction of nationalist, cosmopolitan identities. As Assessment of the Daily Graphic and the Sunday Mirror as Secondary Sources The Dai ly Graphic and t he efficacy as sources for assessing by scholars . As the following discussion will illustrate , the Daily Graphic and t he Sunday Mirror are
75 fashion and dress documented in both publications since their earliest published issues , but Daily Graphic and the limited reade rship of elite Accra citizens implies that these publications provide the most culture in a historical context . As Hatchen and Anokwa have established , t he Daily Graphic and t he Sunday Mirror were staffed overwhel mi ngly by Gold Coast Africans during the 1950s , with one exception: the editor of the Daily Graphic , Bankole Timothy, was a Sierra Leonean (who was promptly deported in 1957 after challenging policies instituted by Nkrumah). By allowing Gold Coast Africans to write and produce the majority of the Daily Graphic and the content, both periodicals served as literal expressions of Gold A s alluded to by Anokwa, the Daily Graphic made a significant dependence, further suggesting the Daily Graphic and the Sunday Mirror editors operated i ndependently (Anokwa 1997: 11) . According to Asante, the Daily Graphic is currently one of Ghana national newspapers , with a readership of over 200,000 individuals (Asante 1996: 125) . Asante suggested that this estimation of the popularity is not reflective of the entire country ite d to major cities , despite the fact that 75 per in rural areas (1996: 125) . Although A sante suggests that the Daily Graphic is in accessible to much of Ghana, his research indirectly substantiates the importance of using the Daily Graphic as a secondary source for assessing . If the majority of the Daily Graphic and the Sunday Mirror consumers are limited , particularly Accra, this
76 suggests that the newspapers would feature article s a nd photographs that overwhelming ly depict the city and its inhabitants . critiques may be addressing the newspapers contemporary readership, but his postulations resonate with the historical issues of the Daily Graphic and the Sunday Mirror . Thi s supposed bias to an urban readership is evidenced by casually perusing both historical and contemporary issues of the Daily Graphic and the Sunday Mirror . Historical and contemporary accounts of weddings, musical and dance performances, movie schedules, and photographs of fashionably attired women are overwhelmingly situated in Accra. both the historical and contempor ary second critique of the Daily Graphic suggests that the language and content of the publication is beyond the comprehension of the average Ghanaian (1996: 125) . argument has s ignificant implications for further demonstrating the importance of the Daily Graphic and the Sunday Mirror as sources for documenting 2 Coupled with his previous critique of the s supposed complex writing structure suggests its readers hip would be limited to elite, educated Ghanaians. potentially elitist leaning is supported recognized in this imported form of m ass circulated discourse a new means of circumventing traditional political authority, crafting a new social identity as African 2 Asante argume nt is problematic due to its reification of the misconception that many West African nations have poor literacy rates. In comparison to other African , although its estimated literacy rate of seventy percent is below t he global average of eighty four percent .
77 elites the Sunday Mirror as an elite oriented press is echoed by Plageman, who described 2010 :145). Hasty further stated that disdain for the Daily Graphic and the Sunda y Mirror stemmed from his own beliefs that a liberal media could easily be hijacked by divisive, factional interests, particularly ( 2005: 10). T he appeal of the Daily Graphic and the to a limit ed, elite audience during the 1950s is clearly illustrated not by language, but by the newspapers spotlight on specific elite individuals a nd events . This focus is exemplified by the repeated and extensive coverage of two types of functions situated in Accra : horse races and society wedding s . One contributor to the Sunday Mirror ssed men and women who go to seek a fortune 9). Many of the articles emphasize d the extravagance of the races and their patrons , exemplified by the dress of Gold Coast women . As one article cheekily suggested , many Gold Coast b achelors were suspecting bachelors shy off because they feel they cannot afford such expensive dresses and to be on horses too (1956: 8 9). In terms of attendees, races held at the Accr a Turf Club attracted a diverse, yet elite crowd. One issue of the Sunday Mirror included a photograph of Miss Grace Olub i, a woman from Lagos, Nigeria, while
78 (Figure 2 1) . Like horse racing, weddings featured in the Sunday Mirror during the 1950s were extravagant affairs that further attest to the s elite citizenry and culture. old Mr. K.B. Agyensu, Clerk of the Gold Coast Legislative Assembly 1956: 1) (Figure 2 2). The wedding, comprised of 800 guests and biggest society wedding . Another wedding coup le, featured under the Nigerian businessman, Nike Oluwole and her Ghanaian husband, Joe Sam Welsing (Figure 2 3) . The wedding beauties and those from Nigeria, rallied round in their best to add to their romantic radiance ( 1964: 6). people talking was th eir seven tier wedding cake ( 1964: 6). The lavishness of these her allude to the presence of a thriving elite culture in Accra. As these examples suggest , the Daily Graphic and the Sunday Mirror were highly focused on documenting the activities and even This b ias is important to acknowledge as specific aspects of consumption of designer fashion garments , overwhelmingly appealed t o members of society . This is not to suggest that the Daily Graphic and the Sunday Mirror only documented the fa shion trends of the elite; m uch of the local fashion trends
79 discussed by both newspapers , such as the changing styles of kaba des igns, were inclusive of women from a broad social spectrum . This assertion is supported by M. Erskine, a fashion contributor to the Sunday Mirror , who stated: dressed woman is not always the one who has the most money to spend on her clothes. I n fact, many times first place is taken by women of the small income group (Erskine 1955: 3 ). As t his section has demonstrated, the Daily Graphic and the Sunday Mirror pr ovide a m the early 1950s until today, serving as the vibrant fashion culture. Ghanaian Fashion as Defined by T he Sunday Mirror Si been an integral part of the Sunday Mirror , with several pages in each issue devoted to documenting all manner of fashions and fashion trends in Accra . One of the first copies of the Sunday Mirror in The s archive dates from August 16, 19 53. The front page is dominated by photographs of two Gold Coast women in the midst of volleying a tennis ball under the ure 2 4 ). One woman, identified as Diana Williams, wears a pair of high waisted, calf length pants with the corresponding caption ( 1953: front page). The second woman, Nora Nettey, sported white shorts and a matching short sleeved shirt, demonstrating that ( 1953: 1 ). A second feat ure article from the same issue , open sesame to good dressing ( This brief article
80 was framed by several photographs of seamstresses from the Accra Technical Institute modeling various European flying type ( 1953: n. pag.) (Figure 2 5). As these two articles illustrate, fashion and ways of dressing have consistently been featured in the Sunday Mirror since its inception, a practice that has persisted until today. By analyzing specific photographs and articles, I will demonstrate that th ree categories of fashion existed in Accra prior to independence: one that focused on world fashions , primarily the latest trends in British fashion , the second on local Ghanaian fashion , such as the changing forms of the kaba , and the third on internation the Indian sari. In order to discuss three realms of fashion, it is necessary to acknowledge how fashion was discussed in the Dail y Graphic and the Sunday Mirror during the 1950s . By ana lyzing how the Sunday Mirror con tributors explained and defined fashion, a broader understanding of a Ghanaian conception of fashion can be extrapolated. As established in the previous chapter, a general definition of fashion focuses on the capricious nat ure of clothing . This concept of fashion as rapidly changing garment styles was accepted and professed by several fashion co ntributors to the Sunday Mirror . A brief description of an Accra seamstress opened with the phrase e of them stick echoing the generalized Western conception of fashion as rapidly changing styles of dress . These sentiments were repeated by the Sunday Mirror contributor Nana Ama Amissah, who season and just as the seasons come round again after a period of time, so do fashions When
81 disc ussing fashionable garments in the Sunday Mirror , most writers described gesting the importance of temporality in defining a Ghanaian concept of fashion. of fashion as ra pidly changing styles of dress is further indicated by the importance placed on column annou intriguing fashion which has become popular in Britain, France and America 1958: 1 ). dot shift with v neck back (Figure 2 6) . When asked about her The importance of novelty further exemplified by a brief column titl and provided you possess that special sense of subtlety, you can be fashionable any time ( T he author briefly discussed a particular style of kaba , highlighting the (Figu re 2 7). Excerpts from b oth Nomoo and the anonymous the Sunday Mirror columnist emphasize the importance of novelty when discussing fashionable garments, implying that innovation was another critical aspect of perception of fashion. The Sunday Mirror contributor who provided readers with the clearest concept of fashion was Lucy Payne. In an extensive 1958 article on fashion, Payne acknowledged
82 etorical argument, Payne retorted keep abreast with what women in the capitals of Europe are wearing and to show that y ou take an intelligent interest in what is going on around you Not only did Payne define fashion as rapidly chang ing dress styles, but by encouraging aligned fas explanation suggests that to participate in cognizant of local fads in dress styles while simultaneously engaging with the clothing trends of cities like Paris and London. In a n earlier art icle, Payne expanded on the English Oxford dict of fashion by world over it means far more (Payne 1956: 2). Payne continued word conjures up visions of unattainable loveliness of heavenly creations by the world of effects she despairs of ever achieving. But every woman can and will be in the fashion if she concentrates on wearing clothes that really suit her and accentuate her good points (1956: 2). Payne reiterates the existence of multiple realms of fashion in Accra, particularly through her acknowledgement recognition that women must make their own o f
83 of dressing. These diverse excerpts from the Sunday Mirror suggest that columnists in the Gold Coast conceived of a very s pecific , Western influenced definition of f ashion, emphasizing novel and innovativ e styles of dressing that experienced frequent and rapid revisions. It is important to note that this understanding of fashion encompassed both global and loc al fashions, as well as alluded to the importance of a wom knowledge and ability to select dress styles appropriate for a myriad of contexts . T he opinions of specific the Sunday Mirror cont ributors may represent individual perceptions of fashion ; however the influence of these contributo rs should not be unde restimated. T the fashion columns in the Sunday Mirror and the Daily Graphic , suggesting that Lucy Payne and other fashion contributors were directly informing and shaping broad c onception s of fashion in Accra. World Fashions in Accra engagement with world fashions, it is necessary to explore the meaning of world fashions as defined by Joanne Eicher and Barbara Sumberg . According to Eicher and Sum berg , Western fashion and dress styles have been readily adopted by people from around the world, suggesting that their classification as specifically Western garments is inaccurate (Eicher and Sumberg 1995: 29 6). Eicher and Sumberg believe the term world fashion is more appropriate, as it acknowledges style s of dress unfettered by geographic and ethnic limitations (1995: 296) . Eicher and Sumberg u sed the example of blue jeans, a type of garment worn by millions of men and women across the globe, to exemp lify t he i r conception of world
84 fashion ( 1995: 296) . concept of world fashions to historical dress practices in Accra, world fashions are exemplified by garments that were directly imported from Europe and North America and re adily adopted by Gold Coast Africans , or garments created locally in Accra that echoed popular styles and materials of Western fashions. For example, the initial garments created by Juliana European fashions, yet they were designed and sewn in Accra for a Ghanaian audience. garments were neither distinctly European nor Ghanaian, thus they can be identified as examples of world fashions, styles of garments deemed fashionable in a v ariety of geographical contexts . world fashion s was discussed by Gold Coast Africans as early as 1956 . In column on fashionable appearance, she explained ly stems from ly different in climate , prompting purchase we make (Payne 1956: 2). is relatabl e to Eicher and emphasize particular dress styles that may be European in origin, but that are created and worn by a diverse population, including Gold Coast Africans. suggests that Gold Coast Africans were themsel ves knowledgeable of their own participation in the consumption and adaptation of world fashions. As this section will establish, not only was one realm of Gold Coast fashion dedicated to world fashions, but Gold Coast Africans were actively engaged in th e proliferation, consumption and adaptation of world fashions.
85 Every week, the Sunday Mirror contributors educated Gold Coast women on the lates t developments in world fashion. Fashion contributors like M. Erskine and Lucy Payne advised Gold Coast women on topics ranging from how to properly wear fur coats in the warm climate, to the importance of properly fitting undergarments. Fashion advice was not limited to women; several columns expounded on the latest M y discussion of world fashions in Accra will rely primarily on photographs of fashionable Gold Coast women featured in the Sunday Mirror , which serve as a more effective means for documenting the actual attire of elite Gold Coast Africans and gauging the historical significance of world fashions in Accra. An early example of the prevalence of world fashions in Accra is exemplified by the 1956 photograph of a young woman wearing a wide brimmed h at and eyelet dress with a dramatic bow on the bodice (Figure 2 8) . The Sunday Mirror A The article explained that tar from Hollywood nor a model from Paris. She is a lovely laundry girl in Accra This photograph elucidates a n interesting phenomenon ; this particular woman became comparable to a Parisian model or a Hollywood starlet , complicating her Africa n identity by simply donning a form of world fashion s . This suggests the power of dressing in specific styles, as well as the prevalence of world fashions among Gold Coast women. The most dynamic photographs of Gold Coast women dressed in world fashions w ere taken during the Accra Turf Club . As previously mentioned, horse races were significant social events
86 Coast women to dress in a myriad of styles. The Sunday Mirror aptly described Accr horse races ne contributor to state : hair dos! It seemed like the Fashion Stakes 1956: 1)! The importance of world fashions at horse races is exemplified by the Sunday Mirror fea ture including a photograph of two women , one wearing a sleeveless day dress, the other a checkered skirt and blouse, both accessorized with handbags to complete their look s (Figure 2 9) . In the majority of these images, there are no allusions to local dress, such as kente cloth or wax print wrappers; all the women are dressed in their finest examples of world fashi on . A third example of photographs attesting to the presenc e of world fashion was taken at the opening of the Ambassador Hotel diverse crowd of elite Ghanaians , including the three women capt ured by a the Sunday Mirror photograph er (Figure 2 10) wearing a variety of world fashions, including an elaborate, off th e shoulde r evening ( 1957: 9). T he photograph of Gold Coast women wearing world fashions, juxtaposed with a n image of male further documents the co existence of both world f ashions and local, Ghanaian fashions. Ghanaian women were not only wearing world fashions, they were actively revising world fashions to suite their own tastes and preferences. One such example
87 was featured in the 1956 article from the Sunday Mirror w Styles in Frocks for Brides Accra recently, the bride sprang a welcome surprise on fashion mongers when she turned up in a short wedding gown. The material, a light blue organdy, used 65 yards of embroidery 11). bride and a competent dressmaker combined to give the fashionable community the revolutionary wedding gown which appears on this page ( 1956: 4) . shortened wedding gown was a clear departure from the accepted style of European wedding dresses in the Gold Coast , as demonstrated by an advice column from the previous year ) . A concerned Gold Coast bride queri necessary to wear a long dress when th e bridegroom wears stri ped trousers and black The Sunday Mirror responded with the following advice: the bridal gown with long skirt is correct when the bridegroom wears formal morning dre ss. Most brides prefer long dresses because [they] are so graceful and becoming By shortening her wedding dress, t he unidentified bride challenged the accepted dress practice of floor length wedding gowns, illustrating that individual Gold C oast women were actively revising world fashions to reflect their own preferences and creativity. A second example of Gold Coast women altering world fashions was featured on the front page of the June 26, 1956 issue of the Sunday Mirror (Figure 2 12). Described the Sunday Mirror photographed a young woman Likely inspired by the form of European gloves, t he accompanying caption explained tha t
88 the Sunday Mirror asserted that the band was to revise and reinvent existing forms of dress. As these examples illustrate, Gold Coast women were actively weari ng and adapting world fashions p ndependence . The prominence given to photographs of G world fashions in the Sunday Mirror further suggests that these images directly influenced the fashion culture of Accra, encouraging Gold Coast women to emulate the styles of world fas hions, as seen o n the pages of the Sunday Mirror . fashions, they were specifically exposed to the creations of British couture designers. In a 1954 Sunday Mirror feature on the photographs presented popular designers (Figure 2 13 ) . One photograph of a gown designed by Hardy Amies described as a lassical full skirted evening gown in blue/white silk satin worn with wrap trimmed with Canadian silver foxes 3). organza embroidered in circular motif of crystal and plea ted organza. Bodice and hem are edged in pleated organza ( 1954: 3). avant garde cape of green palm leaves was included, a garment that likely raised eyebrows both in London and Ac cra. Amies , Sherard , and Cavanagh were considered three of the most prominent British couturiers during the 1950s . Amies began dressing Princess Elizabeth, heir to
89 the British throne , in 1951 (Pick 2012: 108). After her succession to the throne in Febr uary 1952, Queen Elizabeth II message in 1957 ( 2012: 124, 176). With the help of his royal patronage, Amies became one of the most visible British designers of the 20 th century . Although Sherard did not regularly dress the British royal family, he participated regularly in the annual glamour shows held for the first Queen Elizabeth and was known for his lavish evening dres ses. Sherard opened his couture house in 1945, whereas Cavanagh established his own fashion house in 1953. Like his predecessors, Cavanagh designed garments for the American and British elite, although he was most recognized for designing Princess Alexan The inclusion of in the Sunday Mirror attest s to Gold Coast sure to British couture fashion . Additionally, dressmaker terminology was employed to describe the unique features of each gown , providing Gold Coast women with an additional opportunity to learn the complexities of British couture fashion . This example demonstrates that the latest British couture fashions were visually accessible to Gold Coast women, the forms of which could be copied by local Gold Coast seamstresses. These images do not indicate if Gold Coast women were actively consuming British couture fashion. Unlike the majority of fashion photographs in the the Sunday Mirror , the models wearing designs by Amies, Sherard, and Cavanagh were all European, which implies that these particular fashions may have been included to appeal to the wives of colonial officers. Although this is a plausible explanation, one of the earliest documented and most
90 s ignificant fashion shows in Accra , the 1958 fashion show of Norman Hartnell, suggests that British couture fashions were aimed at both British and African women living in the Go ld Coast. Fashi on Show in Accra Hartnell was known as an innovator early on in his career as a British fashion designer and couturier . journalist Baron Adolphe de Meyer credited Hartnell for revolutionizing 1920s fashion by designing alternatives to the short dresses that were iconic of the 1920s Parisian flapper style ( 2012: 38). Hartnell was most recognized for his lifelong partnership with the reigning Queen Elizabeth, who he began dressing in 1936. As fashion historian Michael Pick explained, Hartne ve the coordinating hats, gloves, bags, and shoes When Princess Elizabeth was crowned Queen of England in 1953, Hartnell designed her elaborate coronation gow n , a creation that cemented his historical importance as a British fashion designer, strengthening his ties with the young er generation of the British royal family . Hartnell continued designing garments for the Queen Mother, Queen Elizabeth, and her trend setting sister, Princess Margaret, until his death in 1970 at the age of 77 . exposure . As early as the 1930s, the famous New York boutique Bonwit Teller began selling his designs , pro minently featuring his garments in their advertisements ( 2012: 51). Hartnell continued to develop his notoriety as a global fashion designer by hosting fashion shows abroad and creating unique fashion collections for specific countries, which Pick describ es as export collections. Hartnell created several of these export collection s in
91 the 1940s for North and South America, as well as for Turkey . According to Pick, as favorable publicity (2012: 126). gowns inspired by Turkish dress styles and design motifs, which were shown to a large number of Tu rkish journalists and diplomats . Hartnell hosted several fashion shows in the United States durin g the height of his popularity , including a 1953 exhibition of evening g owns on the Greek ship Olympia Astor Ba llroom (2012: 214). By continually exposing a div erse global population to his designs, of the first British fashion designers to attain global celebrity brought him to Ghana , when he organize d an exhibition of his designs, to be shown in Accra, the year following independence . A month prior to the event , the Sunday Mirror announced the upcoming First of its kind in Ghana ( Dre The three day fashion show was organized by Hartnell, the Britis h Overseas Airways Corporation , and the Union Trading Company. The event was designed to showcase a diverse array of evening After attending a rehearsal for the show, the one of the biggest shows ev show in Accra significant and a clear departure from earlier representations of British couture fashion featured in the Sunday Mirror is that his designs were repeatedly featured on Ghanaian , not European women . As part
92 of the article announcing Hartnell oming show, a subheadline accompanying a photo stated they will be models, paired with two attractive women who will be among the models at the big dress show next month. They are (left) Mrs. B.W.A.T. King and Miss Rose Odamtten 14 ). The following week, model of beauty 1958: 20). As described by the Sunday Mirror , Odamtten was dressed in s with an exaggerated collar and elaborate pleating (Figure 2 15 ) . The column reiterated impending arrival and emphasized fashionable appearance: cannot help scanning this beautiful girl from top to t beautiful f ashionable dress fashion extravaganza, the Sunday Mirror published a brief summation of as a designer for the British royal fami accompanied by photographs from the show that depict ed two Ghanaian women modeling Hartnell coat for fashionable handbag and high heeled shoes 16 ). The second photograph depicted another Ghanaian woman patterned short s Although the background of the photographs suggests the audience was largely white the prio fashions on Ghanaian models. B y showcasing his garments on Ghanaian women, Hartnell sent a clear visual message
93 that his fashions were not exclusively for European women, but for an African, specific ally Ghanaian clientele as well. A brief discussion of the role of African and African American wome n in the The first African American woman to model for French fashion designers was Dorothea Towles, who was hired by Christian Dior in 1949. Towles worked for Dior, as well as Elsa Schapperelli, throughout the 1950s, prompting Jet magazine to proclaim Europe and the only woman of color ever to work for the top fashion houses of Pari s ( Jet Despite Towles success, African and African American women were not broadly accepted as models in Europe and America. British Vogue did not feature an African American woman on their cover until 1966, a year after the same model, Dony ale Luna, was sketched for the January 1965 cover of . The almost complete lack of African and African American women as models inherently suggested that Africans and African Americans were not viewed as potential consumers of world fashion his inclusion of Ghanaian models implies that he recognized Ghanaian women as consumers of world fashions, including garments designed by well established British fashion designers. E ven if this assertion is difficult to substantiate, the Daily Graphic and the inclusion of photographs featuring only Ghanaian women consumers of world fashi ons and participants in a broader, global fashion arena.
94 actual consumption of designer European fashions is illustrated by the 1959 the Sunday Mirror article The article featu red a photograph of Mrs. Mary Edusei the wife of the Minister of Tran sport and Communications. Edusei was shown wearing a belted, sleeveless, scoop neck dress (Figure 2 17 ) . The article announced year, after comparing very many d Most Glamorous Dress of the Year College ( 1959: 9). The article further explained continent for current fashionable dresses. Later, back in London with her husband, she made her choice of dresses and ordered them ( 1959: 9). Edusei serves as an exemplar of elite Ghanaian women, who were not only aware of world fashions, but were actively consuming them in Ghana and abroad. The emphasis on the cost of t may have been purchase d from an established couturier , As this section has illustrated, Ghanaian women were exposed to and actively procured a diverse array of world fashions, including garments created by established European fashion designers. Gold Coast women did not limit their consumption of clothing to world fashions, they were active purchasers and producers of what I classify as international fashions . As established in Chapter 1, international fashions refer to garments that blend two or more distinct styles of dress, while actively maintaining and he most prominent
95 international fashions were inspired by Asian dress styles , altho ugh exce r pts from the Sunday Mirror suggest the popularity of Asian designs fluctuated rapidly . O n the cover of a 1953 issue of the Sunday Mirror , a photograph depicted a w oman identified as 1953: 1). Mettle of Accra has given it a Gold Coast touch e 2 18 ). The old ric, which can be identified as a wax printed cloth. A few months later, the Sunday Mirror featured a photograph of two Ghanaian women wearing saris of matc hing fabric (Figure 2 19 ) . Th e caption stated Prempeh and her friend Mrs. Aade are here seen dressed in Indian fashion 1954: n. pag.). In addition to saris, Gold Coast women were inspired by East Asian styles of dress. A 1955 issue of the Sunday Mirror published a photograph of two Chinese fitting dress which brings out body features. The upright collar and the gash in the side down to the hem add a striking attraction. The women wearing this fashionable dress above are Singapore nurses 1955: 2) (Figure 2 20 ). This dress style, , a year la ter in an article describing the flight 1956: 9) (Figure 2 21 ) . Several years later, a photograph of two Ghanaian women dressed in the Sunday Mirror (Figure 2 22 ) . An anonymous
96 Ghanaian wome The high collar of both garments, as well as the overall print of th e fabric, prompted the contributor to classify styles of dress. As the article explained your mind to China and other Eastern countries, but are still essentially Ghanaian ( 1956: 9). As this quote indicates , s not detract from its identification as a Ghanaian form of dress. T style of dress , while simutaneously being further indicates the existence and independence fashion culture. Although world and international fashions were prevalent and overwhelmingly popular in Accra prior to and immediately following independence, they re ceived their share of criticism. Several Ghanaian columnists expounded on the disadvantages of : dress in the middle of a hot afternoon. How she drips with perspiration, which often leaves unpleasant reminders stained on her dress Gold Coast Africans dissatisfaction with world fashions intensified as the country neare d independence, as evidenced by responses to a 1957 Sunday Mirror article that posed the following ow modern should the African woman go? Should African women adopt the dress of Western women ( 1957: 1)? The newspaper received a fashions, such as one citizen of Western women for the simple reason that our women look more beautiful, admirable
97 and attracti ve in their African traditional attire (Foley 1957: 5). Another individual it; this will be better than trying to copy the Western woman blindly to the neglect of ou r culture and tradition As these examples illustrate, not all Gold Coast Africans viewed the adoption of world and international fashions as a positive phenomenon. Many considered the incorporation of these s of dressing a negative development, threatening the continuity of establ ished dress practices. Despite some dissension, world and international fashions played a significant role in the dress practices of Gold Coast women. As evidenced by t he photograp hic examples of attire at elite events in Accra, coupled with their involvement show , Gold Coast women were actively engaged in the documentation, consumption, and adaption of world and international fashions . By situating the profusion of world and international fashions in a pre independence context, the significance of these garments is elucidated. Elite Gold Coast women were actively consuming and displaying these fashions to assert their power and autonom y in a colonial state. The notion of European style garments shifting the power dynamic between Africans and Europeans is referenced by Sandra Klopper, who explored how elite South Africans adopted specific forms of European attire as indicators of wealth and a utonomy. As Klopper states (Klopper 2007: 335). The repeated inclusion of Gold Coast women wearing world
98 fashions asserted their power and autonomy, portraying them as equal to Europeans in their consumption of fashion, challenging established divisions between the colonizer and the colonized. Gold Coa particularly from Asian countries, attested to their ability to navigate multiple realms of fashion, further insinuating their power as participants in a global fashion culture. As Gold Coast inde pendence became an approaching reality, the dress practices celebrated by elite women shifted to include local forms of dress, as distinctly Ghanaian fashions became vehicles for creating and promoting the independent nation of Ghana. Local Ghanaian Fas hions in Accra In addition to world fashions, the Gold Coast had equally prevalent an d well docu mented local fashions. Suzanne Gott alludes to a definition of Ghanaian fashions in her discussion of the Ghanaian kaba, a hybridized garment that has the que ever changing world of fashion applied to the broader category of local fashions, suggesting that specifically G hanaian fashions are amalgamati ons of global and local styles that maintain a visual connection tices is exemplified by a 1957 arti cle discussing the creations of Mrs. Letitia Obeng, a lecturer at the Kumasi College of Technology (Figure 2 23 ) . explained th occasions while she was studying overseas. She also decided to modify and adapt her native attire to suit the different functions she might attend According
99 r eturned from overseas five years ago. The effect of her experiment has been so much the traditional costume The show was divided into three sections: dance costumes, traditional costumes, and funeral costumes, with an overwhelming emphasis placed on variations of the kaba. The models sporting kaba designs showed different styles for the office and business wear, morning shopping in various stores and in the market, as well as going out in the afternoon and evening ( 1957: 9). A few of the neckline kaba worn with one with one shoulder bare (1957: 9). Photographs were included, such as one image depicting two women and a child 8) (Figure 2 24 ). As this article suggests , in addition to staying abreast of world fashi ons, some Gold Coast women were actively involved in revising the forms of local fashions , such as the kaba . Oben g is a potentially local fashions, as she emphasized that established forms of Ghanaian dress could be adapted for a variety of contexts and occasions. By changing small details of the kaba, such as the sleeves or the neckline, the dress forms referenced by Obeng were transf ormed into fashionable garments, subjected to the same whims an d revisions as world fashions. rovide sufficient evidence that a local, specifically Ghanaian realm of fashion existed in pre indep ende nce Ghana. It could be argued that was an isolated event, one that
100 showcased dress. The strongest evidence suggesting Ghanaians were highly attuned to the changing styles of specifically Ghanaian attire is evidenced by articles and photographs t hat document the rise and fall of a j Although not piece wrapped and sewn elements of femal e dres e variations on the kaba form (Gott 2010: 13) . As the following discussion will illus trate, the documentation of subsequent dismiss al of the j as a kaba style undoubtedly demonstrates the existence of local Ghanaian fashions. On the front page of the December 2 0 th , 1953 issu e of the Sunday Mirror a photograph captured two women casuall y strolling in matching outfits, comprise d of a long skirt and a short sleeved peplum blouse (Figure 2 2 5 ). The skirt is relatively plain, whereas the peplum blouse features a variety of innovations to the kaba form, including a scalloped v neckline , scalloped sleeves, and a dramatic and exagger ated ruffle along the bottom of the blouse. Additionally, the appears t o have included a high waisted belt, further accentuating the voluminous qualities of the peplum blouse. two intimate friends Miss Ivy Bamor (left) and Miss Sarah Abbey (right) introducing the new style which is likely to [start] the craze in Accra. As Christmas approaches, this
101 new style is opportune , 1953: 1). To ensure that readers saw both the front and the back of the garments individual seamstresses the caption concl uded by referring the reader to see p age 10 for an additional image. The photograph on page ten shows Bamor and Abbey with their backs to the camera, illustrating that the scalloped v neck is echoed on the back of the garment (Figure 2 26 ) . The accompanying cap tion states that this new style of kaba Accra 1953: 10). Afte the Sunday Mirror style of kaba for two years and was frequently referenced in discussions of the latest, most attractive styles of dress . received its share of criticism. A week after being featured on the front page of T he Sunday Mirror , as mentioned by Hilda Addison in her article Accra, stating that aged women. I would like to see another style adopted by [them] (Addison 1953: n. pag.). The following year, as well as several other designs named capricious ka ba styles ( Amissah 1953: 3). in Accra, it fell out of favo r with . In an article from the Sunday Mirror discussing the strange names Ghanai ans attribute to their attire, the photograph of Miss Bamor and Miss Abbey was re printed with a starkly different
102 caption. The fashion contributor Edith Wuver but further stated t hat 6). Wuver admi tted was unknown, stating that it was ( 1955: 6). account was expanded by an unidentified author, who vehemently declared a following h designed in conformity with an acceptable theory with regard to warmth, modesty, or ele gance ( 1955: rep ( 1955: 2). conscious women to being rejected as an indecent and unattractive style o f dress. This documentation is significant, as it clearly attests to the existence of a fashion culture that actively documented the rapidly changing trends of fashion in Accra . existence of a specifically Ghanaian fashion culture. In the above mentioned discussions of popular dress styles from the mid 1950s, both Amissah and Wuver
103 1952, this dress style alludes to the existence of a local, Ghanaian fashion culture that predates the earliest examples of Ghanaian fashion documented in the the Sunday Mirror . What is most important regarding these excerpts from the Sunday Mirror is that the trends being documented are specifically Ghanaian. Though the form of the dress, such as a scalloped sleeve, may be influenced by European design s , the kaba has local significance to Ghanaians and is often identified as a signifier of Ghanaian identity. The exi stence of such detailed documentation of kaba styles attests to the importance Ghanaians placed on their own forms of fashionable attire, demonstrat ing that independence, and decades before academia recognized the African continent as being s Co Existing Realms of Fashion Two photographs from the Sunday Mirror visually summarize the existence of existing realms of fashion. The first photograph captured a group of fashionably dressed women engaged in conversation (Figure 2 27 ) . Several of the women wore hand woven wrappers, while the others sported the latest styles in one of the usual sights that greet you at a social function. Young women dressed as pretty as pictures vie with those of their sex who adopt the Western mode of dressing. And they sometimes
104 succeed in drawing all attention to themselves This caption , which likened the co existence of global and local realms of fashions to a competition, illustrates how Gold Coast women were actively electing to wear garments from both realms of fashion, depending upon the specific social context and the ir own personal preferences. The second photograph, from the March 4, 1956 issue of the Sunday Mirror , depicted a young Gold Coast woman wearing a kaba while simultaneously inspecting a European style dress (Figure 2 28 ) . Th e accompanying caption desc ribed the scene as which she plans to wear in the evening when she changes from the traditional cover cloth and headscarf to a more conventional Western wear. Here she is seen examining ( 1956: 1). This photograph epitomizes the existence of both world and local fashions, as it shows one Gold Coast woman actively participa ting in both realms of fashion simultaneously. As these photographs and my preceding arguments demonstrate , Ghana had a complex and vibrant historical fashion culture that consisted of three , co existing realms of fashion : world fashions, international fashions and local fashions. These three realms overlapped and informed one another, allowing for Ghanaians to begin reimagining and combining forms of dress from contrasting spheres of fashion following s independence, resulting in the creati on of garments that exemplified Ghanaian culture, for garments tha t existed on the seams of world, international, and local
105 fashions, allowed for the introduction of Ghanaian fashi on designers, as exemplified by Norteye. alms of fashion were a means for suggesting a level of power and autonomy in direct opposition to British colonization. The prevalence of fashionable, global citizens, whereas their incorporation of international fashions served dress styles and their inherent power as fashion cosumers. As independence from colonial rule became an achievabl e goal, local fashions became an integral part of assertion regarding the importa nce of newspapers in creating imagined conceptions of nations, I believe an additional form of print, indigenous textiles and printed fabrics, has played a important role in the formation and promotion of national identities, particularly in post independe nce Ghana. The potency of the print will be further addressed in subsequent chapters, illustrating that only intensified since its historical beginnings, becoming one of the strongest fashion centers in West Africa . This shoul d come as no s urprise; as one contributor to the Sunday Graphic succinctly
106 Figure 2 1. Nigerian Miss Grace Olubi (left) attending a race at the Accra Turf Club in 1957 , the Sunday Mirror . The Daily Grap hic Archives. Figure 2 2 . The 1956 wedding of Miss Hilda Vardon (pictured) and Mr. K.B. Agyensu , the Sunday Mirror . The Daily Graphic Archives.
107 Figure 2 3. The 1964 wedding of Joe Sam Welsing, the Sunday Mirror . The Daily Graphic Archives. Figure 2 4. Front page of a 1953 issue, the Sunday Mirror . The Daily Graphic Archives.
108 Figure 2 the Sunday Mirror . The Daily Graphic Archives. Figure 2 6. T the Sunday Mirror . The Daily Graphic Archives.
109 Figure 2 the Sunday Mirror . The Daily Graphic Archives. Figure 2 the Sunday Mirror . The Daily Graphic Archives.
110 Figure 2 the Sunday Mirror . The Daily Graphic Archives. Figure 2 10. Fashions at the 1957 opening of the Abmassador Hotel, t he Sunday Mirror . The Daily Graphic Archives.
111 Figure 2 the Sunday Mirror . The Daily Graphic Archives. Figure 2 the Sunday Mirror . The Daily Graphic Archives.
112 Figure 2 13 . British couture fashions featured in 1954 , the Sunday Mirror . The Daily Graphic Archives. Figure 2 14 . Photograph of two Ghanaian models par tic 19 5 8 fashion show, t he Sunday Mirror . The Daily Graphic Archives.
113 Figure 2 15 . Ghanaian Rose Odamtten wearing a Norman H artnell designer dress in 1958 , t he Sunday Mirror . The Daily Graphic Archives. Figure 2 16 . 5 8 fashion show, t he Sunday Mirror . The Daily Graphic Archives.
114 Figure 2 17 . , the Sunday Mirror . The Daily Graphic Archives. Figure 2 18 . Flore the Sunday Mirror . The Daily Graphic Archives.
115 Figure 2 19 . A 1954 photograph of two women wearing matching saris, the Sunday Mirror . The Daily Graphic Archives. Figure 2 20 the Sunday Mirror . The Daily Graphic Archives.
116 Figure 2 21 the Sunday Mirror . The Daily Graphic Archives. Figure 2 22 . , the Sunday Mirror . The Daily Graphic Archives.
117 Figure 2 23 . , 195 7 , the Sunday Mirror . The Daily Graphic Archives. Figure 2 24 1957, the Sunday Mirror . The Daily Graphic Archives.
118 Figure 2 25 the Sunday Mirror . The Daily Graphic Archives. Figure 2 2 6 . , the Sunday Mirror . The Daily Graphic Archives.
119 Figure 2 2 7 . Photograph illustrating the co existence of European and local styles of dress, 1957, the Sunday Mirror . The Daily Graphic Archives. Figure 2 28 . Front page photograph illustrating the co existence of European and local styles of dress, 1956, the S unday Mirror . The Daily Graphic Archives.
120 CHAPTER 3 On January 14 th , 1961, the Daily Graphic published the photograph of a fashionably dressed woman dis embarking a plane at the Accra airport (Figure 3 1). The headline, Julie The Girl from Paris , announced the return of twenty eight year old Juliana Norteye, a recent graduate in fashion and dressmaking from the Ecole Guerre Lavigne in Paris, France ( 1961: 8). Several months later a second article was and summarized her journey hand knowledge of everything that would enhance the beauty of Ghanaian womanhood with her fashionable garments from the late 1950s until her untimely death in 1993. Chez Julie and her fashions were repeatedly featured in the Daily Graphic and the Sunday Mirror , as well as in annually produced GTP promotional calendars. As excerpts f rom hand accounts from her immediate family will , post independence fashion designer. Throughout her career, Norteye re imagined historical forms of Ghanaia n dress by fusing local styles and fabrics with global trends, creating encouraging the continuation of local dress practices. This chapter places the development of No demonstrating how her fashions
121 reflected post career was ultimately a product of the significant changes that occurred f ollowing , directly informing the inspiration and creation of her garments. illuminate this period of rapid modernization and innovation. She strove to transform traditional Ghanaian garments into more wearable forms by incorporating el local materials and silhouettes with global styles and tailoring encouraged the continuatio n of Ghanaian traditional dress, ensuring it s relevance cosmopolitan elite by encapsulating their global, yet decidedly local identities . This chapter will ultimately demonstrate that Chez Julie was a pioneer of Ghanaian fashion, whose exuberant creations paved the runways for future designers in Accra. Juliana Norteye, born in 1933, was one of twelve children. Her father worked at the post office in Nsawam, a large village in the Eastern region located 40 km outside of Accra. According to her elder sister Edith Francois (Francois 2012 : personal interview ). that all of their children attended school through standard seven, which was eq uivalent to a middle school education. smaking began at an early age. Francois recollected: she got this ( 2012: personal interview .).
122 t her domestic sciences teacher, Eleanor year career, No rteye reiterated that her domestic science teacher and Madam Aforo Debrah were the two women who inspired her interest in fashion, expressing her gratitude for their early influence ( Eleanor Sam served as model; she was a fashionable woman who dressed in the style of a (2012 : personal interview ). A photo of Norteye and her sisters, taken in Kumasi in 1950 , illustrates their active emulation of British fashions (Figure 3 Sam and active incorporation of European styl es of dress. As discussed in the previous chapter, early issues of the Su nday Mirror from 1953 through 1957 included countless photographs of Gold Coast men and women dressed in European attire (Figure 2 4, 2 9, 2 10) , demonstrating the prevalence of world fashions in colonial Accra. After completing standard seven, Norteye began working at the Ministry of sewed to make ends meet (2012 : personal interview ). During this time Norteye made her first appearance in a 1958 edition of the Sunday Mir ror (Figure 3 3 ). A column ( 1958 : n. pag. ). The columnist then turned his att ention to Norteye, weather she has something new to wear. No wonder, for lovely Juliana Norteye is a
123 fashionable dress maker in Accra, who always has something smart to offer her customers ( 1 9 5 8 : n. pag. ). Despite the attention she was receivin popular media, Norteye wanted to further her career by formally train ing in fashion and wledge in fashion and dressmaking in : Paris, France. To fully understand the career and creations of Norteye, particularly her reinvention of historical forms of Ghanaian dress, it is necessary to situate her overseas education and the beginnings of her career in a historical context. At the time of her scholarship, Norteye was one of a generation of Ghanaians to be educated overseas. as included in this group, already in England on a scholarship to study home economics when Norteye set her sights on Paris. As she promising Ghanaian who had talent d be given a scholarship to go, train properly, government encouraged Ghanaians to further their education abroad, particul arly when the University College of the Gold Coast and the Kumasi College of Technology were established in Ghana prior to independence. The Ghanaian government did not send a majority of aspiring students outside of the country. They were highly selecti ve in whom they permitted to study abroad. This is supported by historian A. Adu Boahen, who asserted in his publication Ghana: Evolution and Change in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries s cholarships to students to pursue courses abroad not available locally, such as law,
124 career trajectory, as no formal courses in fashion design were available in Ghana during the 1950s. considered to possess the highest quality of education in specific fields. By fosterin g the creation of a highly educated group of Ghanaians who would contribute to Norteye returned to Ghana proficient in the methods and techniques of Parisian couture dressmaking, which was considered the pinnacle of fashion training during the mid twentieth century. Upo n her return, Norteye immediately began to revolutionize the dress styles of both Ghanaian men and women. Prior to independence, the main tenent of Africanization, which has been referred aians would fill 1963: 280, Grundy 1963: 444). In order to achieve this, the British believed that Ghanaians had to further their training and education, both in Ghana and ab road. In this respect, the process of Africanization was twofold: to ensure the eventual transition from foreign to local leadership and to increase educational opportunities for Ghanaians.
125 In the 1955 publication Ghana in Transition, political scientis t and sociologist David Apter expressed concern regarding the efforts to increase Africanization, suggesting such actions would have negative repercussions for the Gold Coast, 955: 282). Despite his apparent reservations regarding Africanization, he recognized, as did 285). into three temporal phases. The third and final phase of Africanization, which extended from 1948 until the publication of his article in 1963, saw the mos t advancements in regards to Africanization. In 1949, the Committee of the Legislature on Africanization of vide suitably of schola (1963: 25). The following year (1950), the Lidbury Commission was established, which re 1 After Kwame Nkrumah was elected prime minister and a Commissioner of Africanization was appointed (both in 1
126 1951), the process of Africanization was further accelerated, resulting in a steady increase o f Ghanaians in civil service positions, from 620 in 1952 to over 1,700 in 1957 (Price 1975: 44 than la 26). career since these policies affected areas outside of the Ghanaian governmen into the early 1950s demonstrate, a key goal of Africanization was to ensure that Ghanaians received further education and training abroad. The earliest Africanization policies focused almost exclusively on training Ghanaians for positions in the colonial government and the civil service. After Nkrumah was elected Prime Minister of Ghana, he expanded the scope of Africanization to include scholarship and training for more techn ical careers. In 1952, in cooperation with the Colonial Office and the U.K. Ministry of Labour, Nkrumah developed the Artisan Training Scheme. This initiative consisted of scholarships for artisans and tradesmen to receive schooling in the United Kingdom the 1952 report, 107 artisans and tradesmen were sent abroad, including two dressmakers and five tailors (Haizel: 66). nued to build on his early initiatives to increase the number of trained artisans. Nkrumah often stated that trained artisans and technicians were of the utmost importance to Ghana as a developing
127 nation. In several speeches on technical education from 1960 and 1961, Nkrumah dependence on egarding the importance of trained artisans are further demonstrated through his creation of the YPM, a youth socialist and nationalist ideologies (Biney 2011: 101 102). Alth ough the main goal was to create a group of well educated young people who were intensely devoted to their (2011: 102, Tetteh 1985: 82). Members of the Kwame Nkrumah Youth (a sub group of the YPM), ranging in age from seventeen to twenty years old, were taught a variety of trades, including dressmaking and textile design (2011: 102, 1985: 82). In his publication The Ghana Young Pioneer Movement , M.N. Tetteh also noted that In summation, the Africanization policies of the colonial government were relatively conservative. A s early as the 1920s, officials of the colonial government recognized the need for Africanization, yet few initiatives or policies were instituted until after World War II. Although the colonial government began incorporating Ghanaians into the bureaucra tic system by the early 1950s, the most significant changes for Africanization occurred after Nkrumah was elected prime minister. Nkrumah pushed for a rapid Africanization of Gold Coast bureaucratic positions, as well as the expansion of Africanization po
128 inclusion of technical positions, including seamstresses and tailors, suggests that tailors and seamstresses were valued as viable occupations important enough to warrant training over seas. The governmental support of technical training, as well as the early career by providing her with a critical scholarship to further her fashion training in Franc foreign influences as a threat to Ghanaian culture and society; Nkrumah believed that specific training and education would enhance established cultural practices, as eviden ced by Norteye and her innovative designer fashions. The Importance of Women in Post Independence Ghana the importance he placed on the role of women in creating his vision of a post Five Year Plan, presented by Nkrumah to parliament on March 4 th , 1959, provided Nkrumah hoped the Second Five Year Plan would result in an improvement of the standard of living for most Ghanaians (Biney 2011: 101). Nkrumah emphasized educating wome enter higher education, both in Ghanaian universities and abroad (2011: 101). By 1965 66, girls constituted 4 4 percent of total enrollment in primary school (Manuh 1991: 117). from 34 percent to 45 percent (Greenstreet 1972: 352). There was a similar increase in
129 middle school s, with the attendance of girls increasing from 26 to 35 percent (1972: 352). necessary to examine his personal philosophies, based primarily on excerpts from his own speeches. T he potential bias inherent in his opinions will be tempered by the scholarly research of D. Zizwe Poe and Kwame Botwe Asamoah, who argued that their contributions to his par ty and to the newly independent nation of Ghana. Excerpts from the Daily Graphic further attest to the dramatically increased number of women he provided Ghanaian women wit h significant opportunities during his presidency. of women into the formation of a newly independent nation, provides further evidence regarding the educational opportu nities afforded to Norteye. On July 18 th the Beaden Powel Memorial Hall in Accra (Rahman 2007: 187). Nkrumah frequently expressed his belief that women had played a valuable role in the fight independence, further suggesting they had a significant role to play in advancing the resting on the shoulders of all women of Africa and African descent. They must realize that the men alone cannot complete the gigantic task we have set ourselves. The time has come when the women of Africa and of African descent must rise up in their political, social , economic, cultural
130 barometers of independence; in his Handbook of Revolutionary Warfare , Nkrumah he Asamoah 2005: 154). Nkrumah echoed this sentiment in The Ghanaian Woman Nkrumah The value Nkrumah placed on women, particularly for his formation o f a newly independent African nation, undoubtedly stemmed from the key role women played as ckbone of members throughout Ghana (2003: 131 132). Their equal treatment was ensured upo n efforts. A the most oppressed in Ghanaian society and that sector, according to Nkrumah, was into the National Council of Ghana Women in September of 1960, which provided
131 (2003: 133). Asamoah, who stated that one Asamoah 2005: 153). The inclusion of women in the Ghanaian government and workforce was virtually unknown during co lonialism, yet as Botwe Botwe common knowledge that w omen were more influential in the CPP than their male Excerpts from Accra newspapers provide additional evidence of the value September 8, 1957, t he Sunday Mirror Ghana who are now challenging over men at jobs considered in the past as exclusive to marks the beginning of a new period in the administration of the Post and (Figure 3 8). A second article, from 1961, documented two women working as carpenters. The article the saw, both work at a furniture shop
132 discussed in the preceding chapter, the Daily Graphic and the Sunday Mirror were controlled by the London Daily Mirror Group until Nkrumah purchased the publications the Daily Gra phic and the S unday Mirror were subjected to strict governmental censorship and press control, often depicting Nkrumah and his government in an unfalteringly positive light. Since the two articles referenced above date prior to 1962, they likely provide a inclusion of women in the newly formed nation of Ghana. independence workforce d oes not imply that they were afforded the same opportunities as their male counterparts. As Greenstreet suggests, the tendency during the 1950s and 1960s was to employ women in positions that commanded lower wages (Greenstreet 1987: 24). Women were prohi bited from certain employments, such as laboring in mines, and were not awarded maternity leave until 1967. Despite these inequities, the statistics clearly women wer e offered significant educational opportunities, making them an increasingly political rhetoric and governmental policies encouraged women to further their education, both in Norteye was awarded a partial scholarship from the Cocoa Marketing Board in 1958 to further her educati on abroad and left for Paris at the age of twenty six. She
133 school, Ecole Guerre Lavigne. The school, which was founded by the tailor Aleix Lavigne in 1841, emphasized t he importance of highly skilled, technical training, which 2012: personal interview). Soon after her arrival in France, Norteye visited Francois in no way rsonal interview). Francois accompanied Norteye back to France and reminded her sister that she had to l interview). Ode KragbÃ©, believed there was another facet for further training, Naa ought the French were very racist. At that time, you could count the blacks in the streets in Paris. It personal interview). When Francois left England to return to Ghana, was going with me. She was so upset. And I think she really resolved to go and finish quickly; she wanted to go home. Luckily, we went [ to the port] with a friend, so the friend took her;
134 Norteye faced during her time in Paris, she was determined to finish her training. As Franc interview). These anecdotes attest to the difficulties Norteye faced as a Ghanaian studying in France. They also suggest that Norte ye, like her sister and many other Ghanaians, had a strong desire to advance her own training and education. Upon completion of her degree , Norteye visited several dressmakers and fashion designers in Germany, England, Austria, Belgium, and Switzerland b efore returning to celebrated in the Daily Graphic developing fashion scene. By July 1961, Norteye and her latest d esigns were featured in a two page spread in the Sunday Mirror (Figure 3 4 ). The dresses illustrated in the article were European in style, yet the author asserted that Christianborg home, I observed not only dress styles typi cal of each of the countries she visited, but Julie had started working on several new creations to suit the African The model featured in the Sunday Mirror ster, Edith Francois (Figure 3 5 ). Francois, who often modeled for Norteye, remembered that the photographs were controversial. This is indicated by her father in , who as Francois recollected, believed the low cut back of the cocktail dress was too revealing. His reaction is characte ristic of the time period; in a 1953 article from the Sunday Mirror to cover the body, whatever style it is, and so women must limit the trouble and expense of falling victim to the vari
135 so whatever she asked me to do, in indign personal interview). At this point in her career, Norteye moved her workshop from her small building she rented in Osu on Oxford Street. As KragbÃ© A year later Norteye was featured again in the Sund ay Mirror , this time on the front page of the newspaper, under t 6 )! nd and the men what made this wedding gown so a full length photograph of the back of the wedding dress was fe atured, accompanied o combine the
136 h numerous, are undiscernable . t if analyzed with the rest of her early garments, particularly her designs featured in the Sunday Mirror , her initial style is evident: Norteye was creating garments that were influenced by European silhouettes, specifically emulating the latest Parisian fashions. In 1962, a Parisian fashion show sponsored by a group of French fashion h ouses The Daily Graphic . Sixty diverse garments were displayed, including bathing suits a nd evening gowns. According to the author, the latest French fashion trends featured low controversial 1962 sweetheart neckline dress featured a low waist with full skirt, expose d arms and back, and a fabric that was subtly patterned. This garment illustrates that during the early 1960s, Norteye was not only aware of the latest trends in French fashion, but she was actively importing them into Accra through her own designs. Howe ver, as alluded to by an aforementioned article in the Sunday Mirror , Norteye was text iles and forms of dress . the Sunday Mirror , she was owned textil e manufacturing company, GTP. GTP opened in 1963 and recruited
137 Norteye to create fashionable garments for their ad campaigns and annual promotional time, we were calling yard. Not many people were interested in African prints then. Those who did preferred GTP encouraged the incorporation of wax printed textiles into her designs. Her collaboration with GTP reinvigorated the local that reflected global fashion trends and reinforced a collective Ghanaian id entity. What made these particular fashions distinct was their melding of two separate spheres of fashion. As the previous chapter illustrates, prior to imitation of European fashions or the creation of variations on the kaba. The fashions creating garments that were inspired by European and American trends, but sewn from local materials, su ch as Ghanaian wax print cloth. This resulted in a new category of regularly created garments for her own annual fashion shows at the State House in Accra. 2 shows dated to the 1960s; one was held at Osu Castle, another at the first Ghana International Trade Fair in 19 2 parliament since 19 81. It additionally serves as a venue for hosting elite oriented events, such as fashion shows and banquets.
138 scale one night international fashion show, featuring latest designs from many nder the patronage of Madame Fathima Nkrumah (1965: 1). The designers and dress makers have made in their professions and the exquisite styles that have been put to the traditio Sunday Mirror styles were designed and made by Paris trained dressmaker Mrs. Julie Quayefio (Chez ately, the newspaper did not identify which garments 1960s Ophelia de Vore School of Charm to host a fash she would have her own fashion show, bringing personal interview). appeared in a 1984 edition of the Sunday Mirror (Yeboah fashion shows were significant social events, as described by the Sunday Mirror contributor Yeboah 3 Yeboah Afrai described the 3 C250 refers to the cost of attending the show (250 cedis). At the time of the event, Ghana was experiencing severe inflation and 250 cedis w ould have been a relatively high price to pay for attending a fashion show. The blackout mentioned by Yeboah Afari suggests that the entire city may have
139 look ing beachwear, and ending centering on roomy garments and veil like headwraps the extravaganza displayed over 90 creations from Chez Julie Fashions Ltd. a nd Ets . (1984: 14). In the January 5 issue of the Sunday Mirror although other designers were fashion exhibitions remained significant social events. various presidents, ministers, and other governmental officers, such cy, Francois met Faustina Acheampong, the wife of General Acheampong, in the Chez Julie boutique. 4 further suggested by a photograph from the Sunday Mirror , which captures Norteye at one of her fashion shows, Information from 1982 1985 (Yeboah Afrai 1984: 14 ). Both Francois and KragbÃ© were quick to emphasize that her clientele was not limited to elite Ghanaians. As Francois a broad appeal and included middle class Ghanaians and clientele who paid for their garments in installments. Regardless of their economic experienced a loss of power at the beginning of the show, however the lack of electricity and the hig h cost of the ticket, as Yeboah Afari claims, did not deter Ghanaians from attending the event. 4 1978.
140 The Unexpected End of Chez Julie In 1973, Norteye moved her boutique to a location close to Danquah Circle on Oxford Street, where it remains to this day. Norteye continued to host annual fashion shows from the 1970s until the early 1990s, occasionally making trips to New York City and Los Angeles to showcase her designs at various trade fairs. In 1986, Norteye final night o f the eight day event, a celebration was held in the banquet hall at the Nkrumah Conference Center. The event featured a variety of musicians and the crowing of Miss INDUTECH, as well as fashion designs by Norteye . Her kente wedding attire, created for b oth the bride and groom, was highlighted in the Sunday Mirror as In August and November of the same year, Norteye featured her fashions at two separate events, the first be ing a musical performance by Carol Bridi, the second a gala event ( 1986 : 7, ). Photographs of her fashions were included in the S unday celebrated fashion designers (Figure 3 7 ). In November 1991, Norteye celebrated her thirtieth anniversary as a fashion designer with a speci Instead of organizing a retrospective of her most important designs, Norteye chose to media. She inc luded garments of tie dyes, batiks, and screen printed fabrics that she
141 produced herself, as well as a line of jewelry she created exclusively for her shop (1991: 13). Two years after her thirtieth anniversary, Norteye passed away suddenly, sending shock persona l interview). Ode KragbÃ© attempted to run fashion collection in December 1994. The venture proved to be unprofitable, as it was closed the boutique. KragbÃ© said she was flooded with calls from interested buyers; but ily to rent this As she searched for someone who would buy the boutique and continue the brand her mother diligently worked to create, she was contacted by Ricci Ossei , a Ghanaian fashion designer who was hoping to re launch his brand after a f ive year hiatus. According to stand at the window, looking. So as soon as he came, I knew he was the right per son. began preparing for the re opening of Chez Julie, creating his own collection of re e
142 As Ossei prepared for the re launch of the Chez Julie boutique, he died unexpectedly in Aug ust 2001, halting all plans for the future of Chez Julie. His death was a shock to all involved, especially KragbÃ©. The Chez Julie boutique continued to remain unoccupied, which, KragbÃ© admitted, hasten rs, the shop was closed. And that was when the name died out, opened Chez Julie. The bout ique remains open, filled with high end, fashionable garments and accessories from several West African designers, although any traces of its original boutique for almost ten years, her legacy continues to live on through her garments. When KragbÃ© first re Nkrumah and the Creation of a Collective Ghanaian Identity In order for Nkrumah to maintain his position as leader of a newly independent nation amidst opposition from political factions, he embarked on a mission to create a homogenized nation through the careful and calculated representation of specific frequently borrowed from the Asante to advance nationalist and political objects
143 resulting in what s 21). According to Hess, Nkrumah and his government were in the process of actively s were not limited to exhibitions and performances. Hess provides several examples of artists like Vincent Kofi, whose sculpted forms combined nationalist with the head of an Asante akuaba state controlled exhibitions, performances, and artisans in creating a homogenized representa tion of Ghana. newly independent nation. She argued that forms of dress and the Ghanaian body Nkr kente cloth, with a Western style shirt underneath that bears associations with socialist leadership (2006: 141). Nkrumah was actively engaging in re imagining how to represe nt Ghanaian traditional culture to a newly independent nation, blending iconic symbols of Ghanaian dress, such as kente cloth, with Western styles of clothing to create a modern, yet identifiably Ghanaian style of dress. nudity campaigns further indicates means for furthering his goal of creating a homogenous and unified Ghanaian identity.
144 nudity campaign began as a no n northern Ghanaian women; the absence of cloth in their dress practices was considered r bodies with beads, animal skins, and leaves (Allman 2004: 144). Hannah Kudjoe, a female activist and member of the CPP, initiated the campaign and collaborated with numerous groups from 1958 to 1963, including the newly formed Ghanaian government, but h er efforts met with little success. In 1964, Nkrumah appointed Kudjoe to a position in the Ministry of Labor and Social Welfare and re government. Throughout the entire process of the campaig n, Allman stated officials who were primarily concerned with national image feared that any publicity national project commissioner of the northern region who lambasted northern Ghanaian s for their the themselves
145 153, 154). northern Ghanaian women as a significant hindrance to the creation of a unified, nationalist ident Surprisingly, northern Ghanaian women were not provided with distinctly Ghanaian and American second hand clothing. This contrasted sharply with the styles of dress being championed during the 1960s in Accra, which were decidedly more cosmopolitan. (2004: 157). Ultimately, Nkrumah considered dress to be one of the most potent vehicles for expressing hi s conception of a newly independent, African nation. As explained by historian Ama Biney, Nkrumah viewed dress as a key method for the expression in his ambition to create a n exemplified by a 1956 Sunday Mirror article. With remarkable foresight, the author ependence to the Gold Coast, new vistas for the development of our national cultural identity will be opened up. And it may no longer be wise or prudent for us to continue apeing our white benefactors particularly ). As an alternative to Western dress, Bruce ded a photograph of a young Gold Coast woman wearing the
146 accompanied by a matching wrapper and a plain blouse (Figure 3 9). 5 After demonstrating the need for a new when the Sunday Mirror newspaper asked for submissions from its readership and over a period of weeks, it vanity for Ghana women to copy the culture of another nation. Now that our co untry is independent, it is up to us to improve our own culture. With this in view, it will serve no sheer attack on our national dignity, tradition and culture, and indigenous sense of women who are and we must do our best to remain Africans in our ways of dressing, in our music and art and the like so that we may be able to make some contributions to world As these opinions demonstrate, the Sunday Mirror readers were clearly concerned that Ghanaians, particularly women, should adopt a style of dress that 5 (Picton 1995: 28, Bickford 1997: 11).
147 reflected Ghana These comments suggest that Ghanaians, particularly men, were concerned with ensuring that local forms of dress would not be o this particular discussion of post indepe ndence fashion, as he emphasized that Ghanaians should improve their own culture by utilizing established Ghanaian traditions of dress, instead of imported fashions. The research of Hess and Allman demonstrates that Nkrumah and his government were highly cognizant of the importance of dress in creating a unified representation of Ghanaian identity. While Nkrumah promoted specific, established dress practices such as wearing kente cloth, he simu l taneously support ed the erasure independent nation. suggested by who emphaticall y stated that , particularly in regards to primary rhetoric regarding the maintenance of traditional dress practices is the acknowledg ment formed identity as a n independent African nation. Bruce stated this explicitly, 1). It is within this post independence context, a time of intense creativity and development in Accra, that Norteye began the second phase of her fashion career, one that was greatly influenced by her partnership with GTP in the mid 1960s. Norteye
148 dramatica lly shifted her design focus from French and British inspired fashions to blending European styles of dress with Ghanaian textiles and silhouettes, resulting in traditio nal culture. Ghanaian forms of dress, they were constructed through the careful interweaving of both styles, resulting in garments that reflected the values of a majority of Ghanaians in Accr a , as well as the values and governmental policies of Nkrumah. It was this collective desire to uphold Ghanaian traditions, but to suggest a modern, more These garments, de The Sunday Mirror , epotimize what I define and indicate the Innovating Traditions: N Akwadzan and Kente Kaba To fully understand the significance of Norteye and her transformation of Ghanaian materials into stylish garments that deeply resonated with the citizens of Accra, four Chez Julie garments will be discussed: two examples f rom her collaboration Akwadzan and kente kaba. All four garments will be situated in a temporal and cultural context, a time when Nkrumah and his government were striving for the unification an d modernization of the country, in the hopes of transforming Ghana into the archetype for independent African nations. creations demonstrated her creativity and ingenuity, providing Ghanaian men and women with new and innovative forms of traditi onal dress that reflected a unified and homogenous national identity , as championed by Nkrumah and his government. These sentiments continued to be cultivated after Nkrumah was
149 deposed , which is reflected by y, Akwadzan and kente kaba illustrate how her emphasis on seamlessly blending traditional Ghanaian dress with notions of Euro pean simplicity and tailoring revolutionized the perception and the wear ing of Ghanaian traditions. independence, one of the main vehicles for expressing a unified, Ghanaian identity was through the donning of wax print fabric. As demonstrated by previously discussed articles from the Sunday Mirror , the majority of fashions highlighted prior to independ ence were world fashions or international fashions; wax pr int fashions were present, but the material became more celebrated and symbolic as independence became a reality. Documentation from the Sunday Mirror further demonstrate s that wax printed textiles rapidly gained in popularity the 1960s. One photograph from the Sunday Mirror showed a woman wearing a fitted shirt from wax print cloth, w hile another photograph captured a woman wearing a cassock inspired garme nt fashioned from a boldly pattern ed wax print (Figure 3 10 and 3 11 ). By 1970, wax print fabrics were a staple of Ghanaian fashion. This is attested to by additional excerpts from the Sunday Mirror , including a 1970 article that described the attire of contributor advised the Sunday Mirror emphasis laid on Ghana prints now ( 1970: 8). Several months later , another accent is on local prints and people in the world of fashion are maki ng full use of their
150 Although it is difficult to d efinitively prove that Norteye was the first to blend European trends with Ghanaian materials, her partnership with GTP and the widespread dissemination of her designs suggests that she played a significant role in championing Ghanaian wax print as a mater ial for fashionable attire. This is not to say that Norteye was the only person actively engaged in re working wax prin t cloth. As evidenced by photographs from the the Sunday Mirror , t here were countless seamstresses who were cre ating equally innovative forms, yet Norteye was the first established and widely published Ghanaian fashion designer who began to visibly incorporate wax print fabric into her fashions. inspired garments to creating d istinctly Ghanaian wax print fashions, it is necessary to analyze her designs 1971 promotional calendar, an example of which remains in Francois collection (Figure 3 12 ). The calendar portion of the publication was removed decades ago, but the cardboard backing to the calendar remains, featuring five photographs of glamorous women posing in a diverse array of clothing accompanied by the caption es crea There is no reference to a date, but because these garments were featured in an issue of the Sunday Mirror , they can be dated to 1971 ( 1971: 1 ) (Figure 3 13, Figure 3 14) . This series of p tailoring Ghanaian wax print fabrics. She skillfully used the large motifs of Ghanaian fabrics to create garments with innovative embellishments. This is evident in several of the dresses featured in the calendar , particularly the dress on the far right . Norteye used fabric with a pattern of
151 repeated circles, care fully cutting around the circle s edges to create a scalloped hem at the bottom of the skirt. She also cut circles from the fabric and used them as emb creating the playful effect of a semi exposed midriff. A second garment featured in the calendar is sewn fr om a well known Vlisco wax print cloth r Night . The print features two large, contrasting patterns divided by a border of geometric and floral designs. Norteye used the printed border motif as the central feature of her garment, creating the illusion that two prints were sewn together to create the co ntrasting patterns . The dress with exposed midriff was a popular style in European and American fashion during the late 1960s and early 1970s, as indicated by a 1970 issue of the Sunday Mirror (Figure 3 15 worn by a salesgirl in Accra who was identified exemplifying the latest trends in imported fashions to arrive in Accra ( 1970: 9). 6 The most significant the Sunday Mirro r and used GTP fabric to create a European styled garment with a Ghanaian flair. Norteye ected the top of provides an African, specifically Ghanaian interpretation of a European dress feature. of an iconic wax print design known po pularly a imbues the garment with a specific Ghanaian heritage, as the print is valued for its long history and 6
152 local meaning. , print to the act of drawing water from a well (Mensah 2012: personal int erview) . This garment is one example of Norteye stylish garments that a sserted a cosmopolitan identity while maintaining a specifically Ghanaian heritage. A second garment from the 1971 GTP cal endar is the empire waist dress that combines two popular dress styles of the late 1960s, the mini skirt and the maxi dress. Throughout 1970 and 1971, the Daily Graphic and the Sunday Mirror continually highlighted the popularity of both the maxi dress an ( By 1972, the Daily Graph ic stated argument in which skirts have gone from mini to maxi, then midi and back to mini, there seems to be an unspoken agreement not to bother any more to try and persuade women to accept one length ( 1972: 5). Norteye pr esumably agreed with the Daily Graphic , combining both dress lengths into one garment, eliminating the need to accept one style over the other. This dress was featured on the front page of the Sunday Mirror accompanied by the following caption: i or to be maxi? ( (Figure 3 13) . Like th inclusion of GTP wax print imbues this garment with a distinctly Ghanaian flair. By using locally produced wax print to create garments that were in accordance with
153 European and Ghanaian fashion trends, Norteye was pr oviding Ghanaians with garments that resonated with the Sunday Mirror previously discussed wax pr int fashions validated Ghanaian s awareness of global fashi on trends, while simultaneously reflecting their desire to present themselves as distinctly Ghanaian . independence trend in fashion alluded to in the previous chapter: the power of printed fa bric in promoting a nationalistic, cosmopolitan identity. arment was first created in 1968 , but remained unmentioned in popular media until its unveiling at 1971 annual Trade Fair, which resulted in the June 26 th , 197 1. The Daily Graphic Too ( 16). The columnist celebrated menswear creation n converted into a manageable outfit with an opening for the head ( 1971: 7). The Akwadzan , described by the Sunday Mirror wrapping a cloth around the upper torso ( 1991: 11). Norteye created her tailored version of the Akwadzan about their inability to wear cloth in the correct way, so she decided to come up with a solution, hence the bir 1971: 7). The columnists claims were further supported by the recollections of Francois, who stated that Norteye created the tailored Akwadzan traditional cloth becaus (Francois
154 2012 : personal interview). Akwadzan and more local. That was the idea ( 2012: personal interview). Over a decade later, Akwadzan was aga in featured in the Sunday Mirror Julie Fashion Extravaganza ( Yeboah Afari 1984: 14). Many of the sentiments from the Akwadzan , as e prayers of men Akwadzan was a ready to armhole (1984: 14 of shorts, to be wo rn underneath the cloth ( 1971: 7). The difficulty of wearing a traditional wrapper is attested to by the 1972 Sunday Mirror ( 1973: 7). As the author explain this page, we are introducing to Ghanaians and foreigners alike stages of putting on the cloth The brief art icle is accompanied by eight photographs of Osei Asibey Bonsu, proprietor of the Traditional Cloth Wearing School , demonstrating the proper techniques for wr apping Ghanaian cloth (Figure 3 17 ). As this brief article suggests, Ghanaians were being encour aged to wear cloth wrappers, but the process itself w as rather complicated. Norteye revolutionize d this form of Ghanaian dress, transforming it from a highly involved process of wrapping the body, to the simple donning of a ready to wear garment. As par t of a larger research project to document the history of Ghanaian d ress, Francois photographed a limited selection of her 1968 , which
155 included both male and female versions of the Akwadzan . Although the female version of the Akwadzan wa s photographed being worn by a young woman, the male version wa , , his hands, emphasizing the opening for the neck (Figure 3 18 ). This awkward gesture is crucial to unders of the tailoring of the Akwadzan . The model draws innovation: her ability to transform a traditional cloth into a more wearable garment by cutting and tailoring t he cloth. B struggles of wrapping and re wrapping a cloth are eliminated. The Sunday Mirror columnist attested to the relati ve ease of wearing this garment: be full of pre outing cr ( Men Akwadzan Akwadzan is fashioned from an adinkra cloth. This is evidenced by the stamped adinkra motifs as well as the thin, embroidered strips that run vertically on the cloth. D ue to the lack of contrast between the woven cloth and the stamped motifs, it can be inferred that the adinkra cloth consists of a woven black cloth and stamped motifs of either red or black. An adinkra cloth such as this would have been worn by attendees of a funeral to show their respect for the deceased. By cutting and tailoring an adinkra cloth, a textile that continues to serve as a marker of traditional Ghanaian culture and as appropriate funeral attire, Norteye was actively adapting a marker of tradition to better represen t the citizens.
156 The Sunday art included a series of Akwadzan (Figure 3 16) Akwadzan wi th Akwadzan , which seems to have lost none of the traditional manliness in its creation ( 1971: 7). The newspaper modifications to this form of attir e , the Akwadzan still represents a version of Ghanaian traditional dress. In fact, Bi garment is described as exhibiting , as well as indirectly referencing the comportment of Ghanaian chiefs and their corresponding regalia, which is considered by many to be the epitome of Asante and more generally speaking, Ghanaian tradition. Francois still owns and wears a female ver Akwadzan , which was the same Akwadzan modeled in her photogra phs of Ghanaian dress (Figure 3 19 ). The garment features a striking GTP fabric with the repeated motif of a bird perched on a branch, surrounded by a ring of leaves. The bird, outlined in red, is emphasized by the chartreuse background color of the circle and the ring of red leaves surrounding the entire motif. The cream colored background of the cloth, with the additional effect of red balance. favorite garments and she has worn it repeatedly throughout her life . She remembered wearing it as an evening gown during the 1980s to events at the State House and when she was given an award in 1986. As she explaine somebody had a birthday, and I had this Akwadzan
157 extended use of her Akwadzan and its continued appeal indicate the significance of this garment as a Another important garment included in the series of ph otographs from the late 1960s into the early a stylistically simple kaba and slit (Figure 3 20 three piece wrapped and sewn ensemble which developed through the creative fusion of indigenous and European elements of female dress Norte top had a low cut back, accompanied by a floor length wrap skirt. The most signifi cant feature of this kaba was that it was fashioned from hand she explained, When Norteye began making garments from kente, Francois remembered that her m other in law chided h ! ( 2012: personal interview) Francois rebuffed her mother in statement , valui ng the tailored kente wear it Francois further explained the garment by stating that [the kente] and the rest was used as a stole or something (2012: personal interview). As Francois suggested, she valued her tailored Akwadzan , her kente garments were more wearable than traditional attire.
158 Francois wore a variety of tailored kente garments from he kente skirt, a white blouse with a kente collar, and a kente suit. As suggested in the previous chapter, Norteye was not the first person to experiment with the cutting and tailoring of kente cloth. Despite this pre existin g trend in Accra, Francois insisted her sister was the first to tailor kente into fashionable garments. the Sunday Mirror Ghanaians also recall that the current kente craze which involves the combination of plain fabrics and kente was introduced way back in the 60s under the Chez Julie trade name When the Sunday Mirror asked Norteye about her kente t fashion is like that. Sometimes, a design takes a long time to be popular o 13). This suggests that although Ghanaians were experimenting with cutting and prominent designer of the 1960s to the 1980s, she may have been attributed with starting this particul ar phenomenon. Regardless of whether Norteye was the originator of this trend, by creating tailored garments from kente cloth, Norteye was able to further diversify the ph ysical methods of wearing kente, ultimately creating the Daily Graphic , concl uding with will ta ke up the challenge ? Bruce 1956: 1) As this chapter has demonstrated, Juliana prominent Ghanaian fashion designer to succes sfully revolutionize Ghanaian forms of
159 dress, creating garments that reflected the political and cultural shifts of post independence Accra. Inspired and informed by , as well as her experiences abroad, Norteye reconstructed the physi cal forms and textiles of Ghanaian dress by blending them with international fashion trends, creating styles that preserved participation in a global fashion network. garments that I classify as wearability , are ultimately the first cosmopolit an designer fashions in Accra imbued with a distinct and identifiable nationalist influence . ionally attest to the inherent power invoked by specific forms of dress. By shifting her focus from creating world fashions to blending global asserted the importance of Gha naian culture and furthered the establishment of an creating fashions that were distinct independence culture. This is perhaps one of the strongest means for asserting power and autonomy: transforming the symbols (in this case, clothing) of your oppressor into visual expressions of your own identity. ntroduction and the subsequent acceptance of nationalist and cosmopolitan designer fashions, garments that seamlessly blended global styles with local materials and forms of dress while maintaining a distinctly Ghanaian identity, ushered in a new realm of fashion in Accra that ha s continued until today.
160 garments have earned their description as innovations to Ghanaian dress have allowed successive fashion designers to further re imagine indigenous textiles and dr ess practices, ultimately reflecting the changing nature of Accra and its cosmopolitan citizens.
161 Figure 3 1. Photograph of Juliana Norteye returning to Accra in 1961, the Daily Graphic . The Daily Graphic Archives. Figure 3 2 . Photograph of Jul iana Norteye (far right) and her sisters in Kumasi, 1950 , Personal collection of Edith Francois .
162 Figure 3 1958, the Sunday Mirror . Personal collection of Edith Francois. Figure 3 4 . Girl with an Ambition 1961, the Sunday Mirror . Personal collection of Edith Francois.
163 Figure 3 5 . Edith Francois modeling a Chez Julie garment, as seen in the Sunday Mirror , 1961. Personal collection of Edith Francois. Figure 3 6 , the Sunday Mirror . The Daily Graphic Archives.
164 Figure 3 7 Lorraine modeling one of her designs, 1986, the Sunday Mirror . The Daily Graphic Archives. Figure 3 the Sunday Mirror . The Daily Graphic Archives.
165 Figure 3 , the Sunday Mirror . The Daily Graphic Archives. Figure 3 10. A wax print fabric shirt, 1966 , the Sunday Mirror . The Daily Gra phic Archives.
166 Figure 3 11 . A cassock inspired, wax print fabric dress , 1 967 , the Sunday Mirror . The Daily Graphic Archives. Figure 3 12 . GTP calendar featuring Chez Julie fashions, 1971. Personal collection of Edith Francois.
167 Figure 3 1 3. the Sunday Mirro r. The Daily Graphic Archives. Figure 3 14. the Sunday Mirror . The Daily Graphic Archives.
168 Figure 3 15. Exposd midriff dress, 1970, the Sund ay Mirror . The Daily Graphic Archives. Figure 3 the Sunday Mirror . The Daily Graphic Archives.
169 Figure 3 the Sunday Mirror . The Daily Graph ic Archives. Figure 3 18. Akwadzan , c. 1968 . Personal collection of Edith Francois .
170 Figure 3 Akwadzan , c.1968 . Personal collection of Edith Francois . Figure 3 20. Phyllis Lamptey mod . Personal collection of Edith Francois.
171 CHAPTER 4 1980 s any thing predictable about the world of fashion, it is its u n predictability . Ajoa Y eboah Afari Sunday Mirror Fashion Contributor In order to fully understand the blossoming of Ghanaian fashion during the early 1990s, it is necessary to acknowledge the dea rth of documented fashion during the late 1970s throughout the 1980s, a tumultuous and economically impoverished time for Ghana . By 1983, as part of President John Jerry year Economic Recovery Program, the Secretary for Finance and Economic Planning implemented what historian Ken government since independence Shillington considered the years of 1982 and 1983 to be a hardships of which This chapter will attest to how restrictive laws and anti elitist rhetoric of state John Jerry Rawlin gs, created an absence of fashion production , with a particular deficien c y of fashion designers and runway shows . Although fashion as an elite pursuit almost disappeared , resulting in two intriguing de velopments: a n emphasis on creating elaborate and innovative kaba designs from wax print fabric, and the fervent promotion of locally produced Ghanaian textiles, including wax print, batik, and tie and dye . These shifting fashion trends encouraged the con during the early and mid 1980s and indicated an important shift in the characterization of a nationalist, cosmopolitan identity. During
172 the 1980s, Rawlings championing of local materials and dress styles encouraged th e elevation of the kaba, which became a form of elite attire synonymous with a distinctly Ghanaian, nationalist identity. This chapter will additionally explo re the work of Ricci Ossei, a Ghanaian designer who developed his fashion career in the United S tates during the 1970s, but who received limited coverage upon his return to Ghana in the 1980s due to Rawlings restrictive policies. , accentuated with local textiles and motifs , served as catalysts to reinvigorate A fashion culture and influence d the creations of future Ghanaian fashion designers . As a 1997 article on emerged onto the fashion scene, Ossei still holds his ow n ( 12). how he used his designs as vehicles for symbolically addressing notions of internationality and inclusiveness , creating garments that evoked strong associations with cosmopolitanism. lically represented the al approach to fashion , coupled with his awareness of the appeal of African fashion to both Ghanaians and African Americans, is crucial to understanding the increasingly global approach taken by the Ghanaian fashion designers who succeeded him.
173 Elite Citizenry Following the brief June 4 th Revolution led by Flight Lieu tenant John Jerry Rawlings, th , 1979 , under the leadership of Dr. Hill a Limann, a member of the PNP . Dr. Limann inherited a country faced with significant problems. As explained by political scientist E. Gy imah Boadi, due to a number of factors, including high rates of inflation and a shortage of foreign exchange, ad entered a state of infrastructure was collapsing; roads had deteriorated to the point of being imp assable, the railway system was inefficient, and the supply of water and electricity was unreliable (Gyimah Boadi 1 993: 2). been building since the overthrow icies proved to be as ine ffective as those of his predecessors (P e llow and Chazan 1986: 47). Despite Limann misfortunes , his regime lasted twenty seven months before Rawli ngs led a second military c oup, installing himself as the leader of Ghana until 1992. 1 According to Gyimah Boadi, the failure of : the short time he was provided and his difficulty in providing which Rawlings was able to briefly accomplish during his first military coup in 1979 (Gyimah Boadi 1993: 2). On the day of revolution in 1981 , he announced on Ghanaian radio that 1 After relinquishing his position as the militar y leader of Ghana in 1992 , Rawlings was democratically elected president of Ghana in 1992 and remained president until 2000.
174 would transform the social and economic order of this country (Raw lings 1982: 1). As further explained by anthropologist Deborah Pe llow and political scientist Naomi Chazan, against corruption, privilege, and inequality As suggested by Pillow and Chazan, revolution focused on the plight of the common Ghanaian. Th is is further at tested to by Gyimah Boadi , who stated that widely used (Gyimah Boadi 1993: 6) (Fig ure 4 1) . classes were held responsible for the country corruption and economic degradation. (Shillington 1992: 76). This is further supported by Gyimah forces that had to be eliminated Boadi 199 3: 7). Both Gyimah Boadi and Shillington describe Raw lings as staunchly anti elitist, a characterization that is su pported by Rawlings own words. I n a radio and television broadcast on July 29 th , 1982, Rawlings emphasized the clear disparities between the wealthy and poor by describing the visible contrasts between maternity floors at the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital . As Rawlings described, w hereas the majority of Ghanaian
175 is fresh, the place is clean and the whole atmosphere is hospitable (Rawlings 1982: 48, 49) . ileged women on in a different world. Even their babies enter a world of misery and humiliation from the very day of their birth, while their more fortunate friends are born into comfort and which is at the root of all the tensions and conflicts in our society. To have peace in this country we must tackle this problem at the root (1982: 48). Rawlings was more explicit regarding his disdain for the elite in a speech marking ty because the few rich and influent ial people were allowed to cheat of the interest 3). criticisms of citizens undoubtedly had a significant effect on their lifestyles , particularly their This assertion is supported by Shillington , who stated that during the early 1980s, indulging in conspicuous consumption whilst the mass of Ghanaians starved, and people widely believed they had Jerry Rawlings to thank for that 116).
176 Based on the arguments of both Shillington and Gyimah Boadi, coupled with excerpts from Rawlings own speeches, it is likely that the documentation of fashion and fashion events virtually disappeared from the pages of T he Sunday Mirror and T he Daily Graphic due to Rawlings attack on the excessive lifestyles of eli te Ghanaians. This is not to say that elite Ghanaians stopped consuming designer fashions . During the early 1980s, several fashion shows were organized by Ricci Ossei and Juliana Norteye, which were highlighted in the the Sunday Mirror . This suggests th culture persisted ndemnation of elite lifestyles. However, elitist policies and rhetoric, the overall presence of elite fashion in popular media was drastically reduced. The ant i elitism exhibited by Rawlings was more than rousing rhetoric ; his populist beliefs directly informed many of his governmental policies. One area of popular culture that was greatly impacted by Rawlings owned media ( Hasty 2 005) . Rawlings enacted measures to ensure strict control over concurrently illustrates the pervasiveness of his populist beliefs, providing was virtually erased from the pages of the Daily Graphic and the Sunday Mirror . This is not a Coup , Part Two Popular Media Prior to Rawlings regime, President Dr. Hilla Liman provided the press with unpreceden ted freedom and protection by establis hing first Press Commission in 1980. The direct political interference so that journalists in the public sector can discharge their duty of objectively informing the people and acti ng as watchdogs on governmental
177 activities without fear of reprisals from the government ( Ansah 1991: 8 ). The commission was independent from the government, which further ensured commission members we re not inappropriately swayed by appointed officials. Although the Press Commission did exhibit biases towards specific individuals and political parties, as Clement Asante argued, President Hilla Liman ibili ty of the Ghanaian press (1991: 8) . The state owned was short lived; immediately following the December 31 st Revolution, Rawlings began to institute policies that brought the Daily Graphic and the Sunday Mirror under govern mental control. As he stated in a press briefing for local and foreign journalists on January 18, 1982, Rawlings is funded by the taxpayer, which in Ghana, means the poor masses. In the past, the press had been used against these very people. We now want to be sure that the press ression (Rawlings 1983: 15). Republican Constitution, the Press Commission was dissolved, granting Rawlings immediate control over state owned termination of the editors of the Sunday Mirror and the Daily Gra phic , Ge orge Aidoo and Nana Addo Twum. Following the appointment of a new editor to the Daily Graphic , the newspaper was renamed the and readers of this national daily newspaper that the Graphic bel
178 (the masses in Ghana) and must therefore be used to promote their interests and aspiration (Anokwa 1997: 20) (Figure 4 1 ) . Clement Asante provides a slightly different explanation for the addition of the Daily title , stating that it provided the newspaper with nd posture 107). Additionally, Asante stated that the Daily Graphic speeches by Rawlings or other revolutionary cadres on t further emphasizing the significant role of mass media in propagating his political agenda (1996: 107) . owned new spapers, but ensured that both the Daily Graphic an d the Sunday Mirror operated as an extension of the Rawlings government. The limitations Rawlings placed further contributed to the effacement o f elite culture , dramatically a ffecting the presence of in popular print media. In addition to the highly restrictive policies enacted by Rawlings , economic hardships severely impacted the physical production of newspapers during the early 1980s . a shortage of newsprint, which caused most newspapers, both privately owned and state controlled, to drastically reduce the number of pages in each issue ( 1996: 115). According to Asante, the Ghanaia n Times was only producing 5,000 copies of their publication, despite the machinery capability of producing 250,000 copies daily. The difficulty in procuring imported newprint forced the Ghanaian Times to suspend publication for a period of time in 1981 ( 1996: 116). The Daily Graphic suffered similar hardships; in an editorial
179 from the early 1980s, the Daily Graphic the Daily Graphic and the Ghanaian Times ] have no newsprint, ink, photographic materials and other printing input . The Times and the Graphic have no vehicles to take their reporters out on Although the Daily Graphic purchased an updated printing press in 1978, both newspapers were plag ued with technological problems that impeded the production of timely publications ( 1996: 116). The difficulties of the Daily Graphic in producing newspapers likely limited the scope of its publications, which provides an additional hion was less prevalent in the media during the early 1980s. As this evidence demonstrates, the policies of Rawlings and the failing economy had direct Fabrics A third factor that contributed to the temporary decline of fashion culture was the on the textile industry. Wendy Asiama, a fashion contributor to the Sunday Mirror , published a comprehensive and informative 1981 . documented the development of Ghanaian wax print factories, as well as the hardships these factories faced in the late 1970s and ear ly 1980s. As Asiama noted , the first Ghanaian wax print companies were formed in the early 1960s, including GTP , ATL , and TTL . When these companies initially began producing fabrics , they were significantly cheape r than imported European wax prints, thus garnering the name Due to their lower cost, Ghanaian wax pr ints were initially viewed as less desirable by Ghanaian women ( Asiama 1981: 5 ) . This p rompted textile companies to
180 commission recognized de signers, as exemplified by the partnership between GTP and Juliana Norteye , to create fashions using their wax print fabrics in the hopes of improving their overall image and appeal (1981: 5 ) . To further encourage ile industry, the government instituted a ban on all imported textile s in 1975. Simultaneously, the Ghanaian government began actively promoting locally produced textiles by exhibiting them rade Fair site in Accra. The event received extensive attention in both the Daily Graphic and the Sunday Mirror , with a significant amount of press coverage focused on Ghanaian wax images of women wearing Ghanaian wax print were featured, including an image of a GTP Company representative, wearing what was described as in Ghana dress ( . 1975: 6) (Figure 4 2 ) . n on imported goods had negative repercussions. imported materials necessary for the production of wax print fabric, including dyes and replacement parts for machinery, causing a steady decline in their production levels. By 1976 1977, all three companies were producing only 15.9 million yards of wax print fabric, instead of the 78 million yards they were capable of producing when operating at full capacity (Asiama 1981: 5) . By 1979 1980, the total amou nt of wax print fabric dropped to 12.7 million yards, which Asiama explained w tial wax print consumers ( 1981: 5). As Asiama correctly predicted, the amount of fabri c produced continued to decline wel l into the early 1980s.
181 ban on imported wax print, coupled with the declining productivity of textile manufacturers , resulted in a dramatic increase in the cost of wax print fabric. As bought some of these prints for only 200 [per] half piece or less, only to sell at 400 or 500 ( 1981: 5). As the wax print rapidly increased, reaching its zenith in the early to mid 1980s. the remarkable increase in the cost of wax print fabric made it exceedingly difficult for Ghanaian women to wear garments sewn from locally produced textiles. As fashion c ontributor Suzie Okyere stated: fashion Okyere elaborated on the increasing expenses, explaining that the average price of three yards of wax printed fabric , as sold in the market, was [as set by the government] ( 1983: 14). 2 The following year, the Sunday Mirror fashion contributor Ajoa Yeboah Afari mn t o the topic of wax print cloth. Yeboah Afari cap t ured the mood of the mid 1980s: th oughts occupy most minds (Yeboah Afari 1984: 3). Yeboah further documentation of the rising costs of wax print clo th, as well as the sheer difficulty of procuring wax print cloth to purchase market, especially in the rural areas. Months long of under production or suspension of 2 by) is 563.00 cedis pe
182 t about an acute shortage of cloth ( 1984: 3). Concerning the price of locally produced wax print, Yeboah Afari noted that us know the official price of cloth. The last I heard it was around C500 a half piece for locally told that the open market price when you get it is about C3,500 for locally made cloth and between C5,000 C7,500 for imported ones ( 1984: 3). A final anecdote from a 1986 submission to the advice column, reveals that wax print clo th maintained its high price beyond the early 1980s. A man wrote to the Sunday Mirror advice columnist, stating that gave her money t o buy two half pieces of cloth in preparation for the performance of customary marriage rites As Etuo explained, he and the woman prepared to mar hand, do I have any moral right to retrieve them ? ( 1986: 12 ). are rough and two half pieces of cloth are worth something (1986: 12). acknowledgement of t he monetary value and his desire for its return suggests desirable and valued local commodity, imbued with both monetary and cultural value s . The prices discussed by Asiama, Okyere, and Yeboah Afari reflected only t he cost of the material; they did not account for the equally rising cost of having cloth sewn into garments . As mentioned by Yeboah Afari, the cost of employing a seamstress ranged from C300 to over C12 00, depending on the complexity of the design and the
183 reputation of the seamstress. The opening statement of an article Dresses locally produced textiles and gar most of us may soon take to wearing swimming trunks and bikinis instead of clothes or cloth ( Th e shortage of wax print and the increasing cost of producing garments had a Without sufficient materials, the production of fashion designers could have been signific antly curtailed. Additionally , Rawlings open criticism of elite Ghanaians excessive lifestyles likely discouraged el ites from publicly consum ing fashions by local designers, wh ich would directly decrease their to completely deteriorate. T he increased ex pense of dressing and the overly populi st Rawlings . Instead of focusing on elite fashion designers and their creations , Ghanaian seamstresses and their reinterpretations of the kaba, as well as their growing use of locally p roduced textiles championed by the Rawlings government. Coming into its Own: The Growing Significance of Locally Produced Cloth and Clothing encapsulated by the words of Yeboah society is moving in many new directions, so maybe it is not inappropriate to touch on a of the cloth 1984: 3). Yeboah Afrai continued: imaginations have run riot and people have gone
184 mad, pleasantly so, with the scissors. Never has so much creativity gone into the ntama [cloth] with bias binding, taffeta, foam, pleats, stain , scallops, bows, belts, sashes there are no words to describe the styles This explosion of fashion, specifically related to the kaba and variations on its form, is reiterated in several articles from the Sunday Mirror , women showed that a lot of creativity can be achieved with the little that (Okyere 1984: 14). Okyere claimed ng aspect of fashion was in The more expensive the cloth, the more the v Okyere Elsina Models as exemplary of this blossoming creativity , including photographs of kaba ure 4 3 ). This is further attested to by the Sunday Mirror fashion contributor Nanabanyin more women are today turning to t he wearing of ntama (wax print cloth) to provide them with elegance for all occasions Dadson alluded to the shifting cultural values of wax ( wax print them ( 1984: n. pag. ). Both Okyere and Dadso kaba designs allude to a pa rticularly interesting phenomenon that developed from the increasing price of Ghanaian wax print: it s transformation into a luxury commodity and its subsequent use as a medium for fashion.
185 The revaluing of Ghanaian wax print is discussed by Yeboah Afari, Okyere and Dadson . Yeboah Afari offered several explanations for the blossoming of creative kaba on it, women want to make the most of it Yeboah Afrai does not directly answer her own question, however Dadson supplies a more concrete, albeit disparaging and cynical explanation for the embrace of local wax print. According to f Ghanaian women to ( 1984: 3). tone, her explanation does suggest that locally produced wax print may have transitioned from its reputation as cedi cloth to a more valued luxury commod ity. has come to achie This opinion is echoed by continued wearing them to provide them with elegance for all occasions 14). It is important to note that the opinions of Yeboah Afari, Okyere and Dadson e contributors were writing for newspaper s that were under the auspices of his government . This suggests that a lthough the increased price of wax print imbued the fabric with more exclusivity, aiding a ctive promotion of local textiles and art forms also had an effect on popularizing Ghanaian wax print, as well as locally produced batik and tie and dye.
186 Rawlings repeatedly em phasized the need for Ghanaians to produce and consume their own products. In a speech addressing members of the Third Quadriennial Congress, Rawlings stated that has become reduced to the simple question of whether we are able to provide food to feed ourselves, whether we are able to r educe our reliance on imported items and be able to cater for ourselves In Rawlings keynote address at the the potential of becoming one of Gha Rawlings active endorsement of locally produced textiles not only encourage d economy , but it combated a developing trend that threatened struggling wax print industry . D ue to the increasing cost of locally produced fabrics and clothing, many Ghanaians were forced to purchase uro hand European a nd American clothing sold throughout Ghana. As explained by Yeboah Afari, districts where second hand clothing is all people can find to cover their bodies (Yeboah Afari 1984: 3). T his problem was discussed in the 19 86 Waw ailors and dressmakers have been thrown into a is their best season but business prospects this year are bleak (Safo 1986: n. pag.). The author referenced the
187 increasing expense of pri nted cloth and tailor made garments as the driving force s behind the embrace of awu. Rawlings was faced wi th the difficult task of deterring Ghanaians from purc hasing cheap, imported clothing s local textile industry. In order to deter Ghanaians from purchasing Ob uro ni wawu , the Ghanaian government began activel y promoting l ocally made fabric, particularly wax print cloth, batik, and tie and dye. Since the Daily Graphic and the Sunday Mirror were under the direct control s understood as part o produced textiles. The newspapers documented a wide range of locally produced textile exhibitions and published articles that focused on sp ecific textile artists who created batiks and tie and dyes, as well as seamstresses who utilized locally produced fabrics. The consistent coverage of these textiles began in 1985, with a n article on a ten day batik training workshop organized by the German based Goethe Institute and spo nsored by the Arts Council of Ghana. Following the batik workshop, the Goethe Institute began hosting monthly exhibitions of batik artists, ma ny of which were documented in the Sunday Mirror . The first exhibition featured batiks by Mrs. Rejoice Adjasoo, unknown author celebrated Adjasoo for the creativity of her designs and the fastness of her dyes. to clothe Ghanaians, es pecially now that the big textile manufacturing companies are producing below expected targets ( 1985: 11). In December 1985,
188 Adjasoo had a second exhibition at the Goethe Institute. An article explained that whereas her first exhibition focused on large batiks meant for interior decoration and dresses, chair backs and such items that could be used straightaway ( 1985: 11). After the opening of the exhibit ion, a photograph of Mrs. Adjasoo showing several of her batik garments was included in an i ssue of the Sunday Mirror (Manu 1985: 8). Institute sponsored a second exhibition that featured bat iks by Mr. Haka, as well as paintings and sculptures by E. Anku Golloh and Francis Boateng. The accompanying photograph showed Mr. Haka explaining his batik fabrics to Mr. Franck Meyke, secretary of the West German Embassy in Ghana. A third exhibition of batiks by Edwina Dankwa was held at the home of Mr. L. Andjelkovia, Counse llor of the Yugoslavia Embassy in December 1985. As the rapid succession of artic les on batik fabrics suggests, the Sunday Mirror was actively documenting the production of these t extiles, which likely reflected the hopes of the Ghanaian government to increase consumption of locally produced fabrics. The most significant promotion of locally produced textiles and garments was part of an event organized by NASSTAD in 1986. The May 3, 1986 issue of the Sunday Mirror in Ghana Clothes Exhibition (Kissiedu 1986: 1). The Sunday Mirror contributor Samuel Kissiedu described the event and skirts made from both local and imported textile materials It is highly probable that
189 motion in the Sunday Mirror was another attempt by the government to dissuade Ghanaians from actively purchasing second hand E uropean and American clothing. Mr. Kofi Amoatey , the senior cultural officer of the Arts Council of Ghana, voiced similar concern s stating that craftsmanship among our tailors and dressmakers, some of us still depend on imported clothing Following NASSTAD, one o f the seamstresses who participated in the exhibition was featured in the the Daily Graphic artic declared that the name y of most visitors to the exhibition 1986: 3). indicated the growing popularity of wax print fabrics: coutesy of Akosombo Textiles Limite beautiful things that can be made from them for both men and women ( 1986: 3). Former First Lady Nana Konadu Agyeman Rawlings offers the most convincing evidence that the Rawlings regime aided in developing the popularity of wax print fabric. In an interview I conducted in June 2012 addressing her personal style , Rawlings recollected: available and we were trying to improve ed working, then it would be a good idea if we were wearing their fabric. Then there would be a multiplying effect. So I decided
190 instead of making dresses with the Ghanaian fab ric, I would make the traditional [garments] and I would make it fashionable Rawlings also asserted that statement. I wanted people to start wearing things from here. My husband was personal interview). The sentiments of Rawlings were echoed by Mr. Zamek, head of they must also sew what they wear This indicates that the notion of sewing your own clothing from locally produced materials was perceived as a signif icant Rawlings admits that some individuals initially reacted negatively to her donning of local wax print, echoing the sentiments of the Sunday Mirror contributors who stated that Ghanaian wax print was viewed an they felt that by wearing that [wax print] , people would think I had never been to school. I said, so be it. I wanted to ch ange the mentality of people. So I kept wearing it until others wore it because if I wore it, then others would say, (Rawlings 2012 : personal interview). As these comments indicate, economic recovery was to encourage Ghanaians to purchase locally produced textiles, particulary wax cloth. Mrs. Rawlings championed the use of local cloth , consistently wearing garments from wax print and employing seamstresses instead of recogni zed
191 Ghanaian fashion designers to create her vast array of garments. Rawlings aided in the elevation of the kaba as a form of elite dress, simutaneously celebrating the garment as . This resurgence of locally produced textiles, particularly Ghanaian wax print, is evidenced by the the Sunday Mirror contributor Margaret Safo been the helpless losers in their tussle with the Oburoni w awu (used clothing) dealers, to control t he textile trade in the country (Safo 1987: 14). She continued: seemed perfect and smooth sailing for the second hand dealers, something is suddenly h and African print by Ghanaians (1987: 14) The author attributed this resurgence of locally produced fabrics to the aforementioned 1986 NASSTAD exhibition. As the following c hapter will illustrate, the developing trend of using locally produced materials continued ry fashion scene, which draws on all manner of locally produced and imported materials. This section h as attempted to summarize the varied factors that contributed to the apparent absence of fashion designers and fashion shows in Accra during the late 1970s to the populist approach to governance, r media, particularly the consistent and established documentation of fashion designers and their Despite the apparent absence of elite fashion, culture continued to thrive, albeit with a focus that reflected Rawlings anti
192 culture shif ted to celebrate garments created by tailors and seamstresses, sewn from a . Due to difficulty in procuring wax loca lly produced fabrics, it is likely that wax print fabric and the kaba became a new by the Ghanaian government. These fashions reflected a revised form of nat ionlist dress, one that was deeply imbued with Rawlings populist rhetoric and policies. As slowly regained its place in popular culture, resulting in an absolute explosion of designer fashion s in the early 1990s and a return to the style of nationalist, cosmopolitan fashions introduced by Norteye. An Interpreter of Life , it is nece ssary to acknowledge the career of another designer who followed in the footsteps of Juliana fashion designer to gain international attention for his designs. Ossei b egan his career in Los Angeles creating high end patchwork denim jeans and returned to Ghana in 1985 to continue his career in fashion . As Ossei stated in 1987 base, I wanted to share my experience with my people ( Dadson 1987: 6). Ossei was active from the mid 1980s until the early 1990s, w hen he retired as a fashion designer
193 3 Ossei re launched his brand in 1997, but his career abruptly ended when he died unexpectedly in 200 1. As previously discussed, due to Rawlings populist approach and popular career in Ghana is relatively sparse. Despite the lack of extensive documentation of his desi ion designers as an early contributor to the As one article suggested the period between 1980 and 1992, it appeared that no fashion activity took place in G hana without the involvement of Ricci Ossei ( 1997: 21). To illustrate his contribution, t his section as a fashion designer, both in the United States and Ghana. To illustrate Ossei his style will be examined, including p his final collection of garments fashioned from denim and batakari cloth , exhibited posthu mously at the 2009 Ghana Fashion Weekend. In 1979, the Daily Graphic published an article born in the 1940s in Akwatia, a town loca ted in eastern Ghana (Dadson 1987: 1). 4 began unexpectedly; he left Ghana in 1965 on a government 1979: 5). When 3 Not much was to be heard of the man and his clothes for five long years except a on c e in a while ride in town aboard an old American jeep ( 1997: 21). 4
194 and he was left without sufficient funds to continue his schooling ( 1979: 5). Ossei he sold his concepts for designing and marketing clothi ng to manufacturers in Village Gate, London ( 1979: 5, 1980: 6). During the fuel crisis of the mid 1970s, Ossei lost his job in London and moved to Los Angeles in 1975, where he began creating his own fashion line. With no formal trai ning in fashion design or tailoring, Ossei focused on re working existing garments, specifically denim jeans, into fashionable attire. denim as a material for his fashions was likely influenced by the denim craze the United States experi enced during the 1970s. As documented by American popular media and fashion scholars, denim transiti oned from being the sartorial p erogative of rebels and hippies to becoming an integral part of American designer fashion. on removing the waistbands from jeans and the Daily Graphic , Ossei recounted that he purchased 500 to 1,000 pairs of jeans with $250 hem (1980: 6). Ossei claimed they worked twenty hours a day, cutting the denim into strips, and after three months, he had created his 1980: 6). On June 18, 1976 Ossei filed for the business name St. Ossei, Inc., locat ed in Sherman Oaks, California. It is unknown of all three. That same year, as Ossei was beginning to develop his fashion label in the United States, he reportedly r eturned to Ghana and organized his first fashion show, 1997: 1).
195 The year re mentioned in the Los Angeles Times th December 12, 1975. The author sarcastically suggested that the competition and enim manufacturers have gotten so certain of their fixed place in the style syndrome that they are even throwing their own award ceremonies The s designs were judged by editors from local trade publications ( 1975: 6). The grand prize, o f a kind 1975: 7). Outside of this brief reference, t the Los Angeles fashion scene . litt le attention in reported fame and notoriety in the United States was discussed early and often in Accra. In 1979 Ossei was lauded r the world ( 1979: 5). He was further recognized for his elite clientele, which supposedly include d American celebrities like Diana Ross, O.J. Simpson, and the Staple Sisters ( 1979: 5 ). Regardless of the accuracy of these reports , by the time Ossei returned to Ghana, he had appeared in fashion superstar
196 Ossei returned to Ghana in 1985, after spending ten years in the competitiv e Los Ang eles fashion industry arrival in Accra coincided with the decline of the denim business in Los Angeles, as well as the recovery, both of which likely influenced his decision to return . 5 Upon his arrival, Ossei used fashion culture. in March 1986, during ndustrial and Technological Fair (INDUTECH). An article in the Sunday Mirror noted that Juliette, Jo Ann, St. Ossei, and a host of them have taken their place on the top floor of the African pavilion ( Dadson 1986: 11). followed by two large the Daily Graph ic and the Sunday Mirror ( Dadson 1987: 6). The event was held at the State House in Accra and a television crew from the then Federal Republic of Germany filmed the entire event ( 1987: 6). The turing fifteen models from the United States, Nigeria, and Ghana ( 1987: 6). Ossei garments also echoed his international experiences and identity; Ossei told the Sunday Mirror : but my work is universal. I love the balance of life and I try in my designs to marry my 5 s 7 billion a year jeans industry . Between the years of 1982 and 1984, Levi Strauss & Co. closed twenty two plants, while Wrangler closed nine.
197 the other determine the features of the design that are African 1987: 6). Ossei continued to participate in fashion shows both locally and internationally. In 1987, he participated in a fashion presentation organized by UNICEF London ( 1987: 6). At the time, eer, stating that (1987: 6). the Ambassador Hotel Arden Hall in Accra. The Sunday Mirror provi ded an account of his creations , stating that the majority were sewn from Irish muslin and silk, with white Kuma 1987: n. pag. ). fashion culture was the addition of a mass produced, ready to wear clothing line. According to the the Sunday Mirror creative director Kweku Poku necessarily expensive ( Dad son 1987: 6). the Sunday Mirror and more affordable scale include footwear, cosmetics, and other products ( 1987: th , 1988. The event w as filmed by GBC and the event aired on national television on August 6, 1988. 6 6 roadcasts, to view broadcasts filmed in the 1980s and earlier.
198 The model paired with a dark sleeveless top screen ( 1988: 15 ). thing was likely an attempt to maintain his relevance during an era when elitism and designer fashions were treated with disd ain by the Ghanaian government; his decision clearly reflected the and was further influenced by populist rhetoric. As illust the majority of his garments during the late 1980s were primarily inspired by Western designs. This is supported by the recollections of Mrs. Akosua Nyantekyi Owusu, who was an active the late 1980s and 1990s. Nyantekyi Owusu stated : Owusu 2012: personal interview). Nyanteki s fashion culture. In the early 1990s, after two of his fashion shows were classified b y the Sunday Mirror eared from the Accra fashion scene ( 1997: 1). He produced no new clothing for either of his fashion lines until May of 1997, when he re Ossei descr silk designed with traditional motifs printed in Asia, with the other 20 percent of the woven fabric from Ghana ( 1997: 9). The
199 Sunday Mirror featured a color photogr aph of one of his garments from hand woven Ghanaian fabric, a full length tunic made from batakari cloth , a material that is synonymous with the Northern region of Ghana ( Figure. 4 4 ) . likely coincided with his inclusion in Revue Noir 1997 special issue on fashion, which included other African fashion designers like Alphadi, Oswald Boateng , and Claire Kane ( Revue Noire 1998: 127). The publication included photographs of two of his garments, one a vertical striped dress of indigo clo th with denim accents, the other a pair of his 1998: 127) ( Figure 4 5 ) inclusion in seminal issue on African fashion suggests that by 1997, he had achieved a level of success and no toriety in Ghana and internationally. before he was scheduled to reinvigorate the Chez Julie label and re open her original boutique. Ossei created a collection of garments i nspired by his past successes that was to launch. Since Ossei died before the re opening of the Chez Julie boutique, his garments were never shown formally and the Chez Julie boutique remained closed for several more years. It was not until 2009, under the auspices of Ghana Fashion Weekend, collection was premiered to the public. The third and final Ghana Fashion Weekend Conference Center from July 1 t o July 4 , 2009. The four day event featured established and emerging designers from Ghana, as well as thirteen designers from other African nations, including Cameroon, Rwanda, Burkina Faso, and Senegal. T fashion exhibition on Friday, Jul y 3, included a runway sho w in memory of Ricci Ossei.
200 His runway collection was preceded by established Ghanaian designer Kofi Ansah and his collection was fo llowed by the well known Nigerie n designer Alphadi. This suggests signs in a specifically Ghanaian, and a broader African , context. A black and white photograph of Ossei served as the backdrop for the runway show, which showcased his final designs. At th e conclusion of the runway show , internationally known as Ghanaian hiplife artist Reggie Rocksto ne, paid tribute to his father. 7 Rockstone reiterated that the collection had remained unreleased the event. In order to u examine his repeated incorporation of denim into the majority of his documented fashion collections. Due to the lack of archival designs , I will rely on his stripped denim garment that was published in Revue Noire and his final collection of denim and indigo cloth fashions , which I photographed in 2009 , as exemplars of his design aesthetic . Jon Fiske public ation Understanding Popular Culture , arguing that jeans are imbued with a variety of meanings, but above all, they represent Americanness : contribution to the internation (Fiske 1989: 1, 4). This suggests that regardless of who adopts jeans as an item of fashionable appreal outside of the r icanness 7 Hiplife is a popular form of music in Ghana that blends the genres of highlife and h ip hop music to create a style that is rooted in African, Caribbean, and African American rhythms and sounds. It emerged primarily during the 1980s; Reggie Rockstone is considered one of the founders of this particular genre of Ghanaian music.
201 4). To illustrate his poi nt, Fiske di scussed how Russian youth wore denim during the 1980s as a visual mea ns of defying conformity, which Russian authorities, particularly in Moscow, viewed as symbolic of American decadence ( 1989: 4). ifier of American culture has important l Los Angeles based creations, suggesting that by creating exclusively denim garments, Ossei was attempting to identify with American culture, creating garments that would appeal to an arrival in Los Angeles in 1975 , it was likely apparent to the young designer that denim garments were considered the height of fashion and if he wanted to succeed, he would have to incorporate denim into his designs. In an interview with the Sunday Mirror , cover their skins ( ). economic class es . By emphasizing the quotid ian qualities of denim, Ossei indirectly acknowledged ec hoed repeatedly throughout his interviews. The fact that Ossei viewed denim as a mate rial with international relevance may have influenced his decision to continue using denim after his return to Ghana in the mid 1980s. The growing popularity of denim in Accra, due in part to the rising costs o f locally printed wax cloth, the combined affordability and availability of imported second hand clothing, and the popularity of Ame r ican and Western clothing , were additional rea son s
202 produced fabrics, both the Daily Graphic and the Sunday Mirror featured jeans & shirts from Par is (UTC 1986: n.pag.) ( Figure 4 6) . In addition to advertisements, several of the fashionable women captured by the Sunday Mirror's roving camera were shown wearing denim. By 1982, a Ghanaian woman wearing denim jeans and a t shirt was described as repr esenting one of the two typical styles of dressing for the average Ghanaian woman (Okyere 1983: 14). 8 of his own identity as an American and Ghanaian fashion designer. By continually creating ga rments in Ghana that incorporated denim, Ossei was able to repeatedly link himself to his previous career in Los Angeles and his proclaimed successes, as well as imbue his clothing with a si gnificant international flair. s were hig hly aware of international trends and actively purchased garments from other countries, further The most important ions is that he did not use denim it its pure, unadulterated for m; he continually reworked the material by cutting it into strips and sewing these pieces together with other denim remnants of varying hues , creating visually stimulating, monochromatic garme nts . This technique is best seen in his p hich he began creating in 1975 and continued to create throughout his career. The image of p that appeared in Revue Noir fashion issue is exemplar y of this style ( Figure 4 5 ). The outfit , which dates from 8 The oth er style of dressing, as defined by Okyere, was the kaba.
203 1997, p nim pants and a matching vest. Both garments were made from an amalgamation of denim jean waistbands, the same technique that originally garnered Ossei attention in the aforementioned Los Angeles denim competition . , particularly his discussion of the meanings of altered denim, provide s an additional lens for interpreting the potential A ccording to Fiske even to gesture toward such social resistance, they need to be disfigured in some way tie dyed, irregularly bleached, or particularly, torn Fiske ar gued that by disfiguring jeans of resistance to them , im garments, partic suggests that Ossei was attempting to challenge an established icon of American dress, exhibiting some degree of resistance to an iconic element of American culture. Although O ssei is attempting to subvert t he accepted meaning of denim , by analyzing his garments , a more nuanced assessment of his intentions is achievable. rments were created from his active deconstruction of existing jeans, sewin g the pieces together to create a garment that emphasized both the disparities and similarities between each strip of denim. Ossei offered an explanation belief in the need for togetherness among people of all races ( 1979: 5 ).
204 waistbands together is symbolic of life. You find all the different characters be wea junkie to a President ( Ossei also emphasized the importance of touch in relation to jeans; he believ e which a re made from the stripped waistbands of jeans already worn by others, get the feel and touch of others ( Ossei linked this to his other ( disfiguring denim, only to re combine it in new configurations, suggests a deliberate act of challenging established norms of designer denim. While Ossei was originally appealing to Los Angeles fashion consu mers by creating expensive, one of a kin d patchwork denim garments, he wa s simulta neously challenging the inherent elitism of designer fashions by visually referencing disparate segments of denim, which to Ossei, represent ed the diversity of humankind. Th us the garments are exclusive in their manufacturing, but inclusive in their symbolic meaning. Ossei was and the social and class divisions between these two individuals, who are ind icative of larger social categories. This suggests that Ossei was engaged in subtly challenging the Los Angeles fashion system from within by creating garments for the exclusive designer denim market in Los Angeles that symbolically referenced togethernes s and mass appeal. This is further supported by an article from the Sunday Mirror that stated, ch is a slightly different
205 shade of blue, so all colours come together to make the St. Ossei jean ( Dadson 1987: 8). imaginings of denim become more complex and meaningful when incorporated into his Ghanaian fashions, whi ch consisted of patchwork denim combined with locally produced textiles. The most comprehensive posthumous collection, exhibited at Ghana Fashion Weekend 2009. was comprised of twelve gar ments for men and women, predominantly constructed from denim and locally produced indigo cloth (Fig ure 4 7 ) . To honor Os sei and the success of his son Reggie Rockstone, the male garments were all worn by well known contemporary musicians , including Tinny , Samini, Kwaw Kese, working of denim, creating garments that were literally patched together from a variety enim and Ghanaian fabrics in unexpected ways. He repeatedly used the curved, front pocket, as well as the back pocket of jeans, to create visually interesting and surprising front pocket s for his shirts (Figure 4 7) . He transformed strips of denim into c uffs on his shirts and shorts, as well as into shirt collars. Ossei incorporated large horizontal strips of denim into the designs of several shirts to visually interrupt the verticality and visual complexity of the indigo cloth (Figure 4 8) . His combina tion of blue denim and various shades of deep blue indigo cloth is striking, each garment akin to an abstract work of art with an emphasis on simplified shapes. serves as the visual culmination of his concepts of fashion . The ma
206 fashioned from kaleidoscopic combinations of denim and indigo cloth. By combining these tw o disparate materials, Ossei harnessed the power of denim as an icon of American fashion while res isting its classification as a material that is distinctly symbolism of denim and suggests that it can equally represent an African, specifically Ghanaian identity. Th is act of of denim and indigo cloth represent the pinnacle of his personal philosophies; Ossei created a collection of garments that symbolically brought Ghanaian and American cultures together , repres enting complex international identities. own words: powers: it makes the individual feel free and be c ause of its universality, it breaks down barriers between dif ferent people ( Dadson 1987: 7). northern Ghanaian batakari cloth as a material for his fashions. Batakari cloth became an iconic Ghanaian textile after Kwame Nkrumah and fell independent movement wore batakari cloth to announce colonial rule on May 6, 1957. Batakari cloth is often sewn into a garment called a ated plea ting that is considered a prestige garment, particularly in northern Ghana. Ossei challenged this concept, using batakari cloth to create stylish garments for women. earliest documented use of batakari cloth was n article from the Sunday Mirror stated
207 baggy ( 1987: 7). not published until 1997, when a color photograph of one of his batakari garments was featured on the front page of the Sunday Mirror (Fig ure 4 4 ) . The caption described the loose fitting, wide sleeved dress ed item of clothing for many Ghanaians both men and women. version Despite the Sun day acknowledgement of batakari as a material for both men and women, batakari smocks are often considered the pr erogative of men, particularly men in positions of power, as exemplified by two famous men who frequently wore batakari smocks, Kwame Nkrumah and Jerry Rawlings ( Lamb 1975: 144 ) ari as a material for and manipulating this material into their own fashions. Unlike his denim fashions, which emphasized the shredding and subsequent reconstructio n of the material s batakari dress is simplistic, presenting the cloth in a relatively unaltered form. Ossei likely began incorporating batakari and other local s to identify with our culture. This opening is bringing all talents in the country to express what nature has given to them to serve mankind ( believed that Ghanaians were being encouraged to revisit their locally prod uced textiles, a trend that becomes more evident through the garments of succeeding designers.
208 cci Ossei was primarily concerned with , as he himself stated, of fashion ( Dadson 19 87: 8). ; he strove to create garments that were intellectually meaningful, and yet aesthetically pleasing to a myriad of global individuals . Ossei did not limit himself to creating garme nts exclusively for Ghanaians, rather he hoped his melding of iconic textiles from the United States and Ghana would ensure that his clothing appealed to a broader, more international audience. In addition to reflecting personal philosophies, his fashions resonated with the populist policies of Rawlings relevance as a designer during an anti elitist era . use of affordable and attainable materials, coupled with the explanation of his garments as symbols for the melding of disparate policies and rhetoric. The linkages between the ideologies of Rawlings and Ossei ionalism that developed during the 1970s and early 1980s, an anti elitist nationalism that emphasized equality among all Ghanaians . preclude their association with cosmopolitanism . The ma international materials and styles of dress, particularly denim, a globally recognized fabric that has maintained strong associations with American on denim, coupled with his allusions to specific Ghanaian ideologies, further imbued his designs with a cosmopolitan identity . His final collection of garments , which I believe
209 represent the culmination of his career, encapsulate his interpretation of a distinctly Ghanaian, nationalist cosm opolitanism. The garments maintain ed his intellectual approach to design, blending a variety of denim pieces to invoke his concept of equality that resonated with Rawlings populist rhetoric . His addition of indigo cloth complicates his creative intention s; by incorporating a material associated with northern Ghana, the global that invokes cosmopolitanism by blending the textile heritage of Ghana with a ubiquitous material of global fashions . reflected the nationalist cosmopolitanism of his era . a materia l imbued with a global identity serves as a symbolic assertion of power. By dismantling denim a nd reassembling the scraps with large swaths of Ghanaian textiles, Ossei is actively asserting that denim is part of illustrating how the creations of Ghanaian fashion des igners continue to assert a level of power and autonomy , celebrating the complexities of a collective Ghanaian identity. , representative of the e fashion designers, particularly fabrics as representative of their own international, cosmopolitan identities. Ultimately, Ossei continue d the creation and promotion of cosmopolitan designer fashio ns, as exhibited strong visual associations with the global fashion community, while maintaining a distinctly Ghanaian identity.
210 Thi several significant changes , including the obscuring of elite fashion and the championing of locall y produced fashions made of Ghanaian fabrics opening quote suggests inherent malleability allows it to persist , during even the bleakest of times. The presence an d persistence of Ricci Ossei during this time period further attests to the began to unfold .
211 Figu re 4 1. The revised name of the Daily Graphic , 1983, the . The Daily Graphic Archives. Figure 4 2 . Photograph of GTP representative as a means for promoting Ghanaian wax print fabric, 1975 , the Sunday Mirror . The Daily Graphi c Archives.
212 Figure 4 3 . Fashion show at Elsina Models with diverse kaba styles, 1984 , the Sunday Mirror . The Daily Graphic Archives. Figure 4 4 . A St. Ossei garment of batakari cloth , 1997, the Sunday Mirror . The Daily Graphic Archives.
213 Figure 4 Revue Noire . Photograph by Eric Don Artur. Figure 4 6. Advertisement for imported denim, 1986, the Sunday Mirror . The Daily Graphic Archives.
214 Figure 4 7 . Garments from St. at the 2009 Ghana Fashion Weekend , 2009, Photograph by Christopher Richards . Figure 4 8 . at the 2009 Ghana Fashion Weeke nd , 2009, Photograph by Christopher Richards.
215 CHAPTER 5 : THE RESURGENCE OF FASHION IN 1990S ACCRA AND THE CAREER S OF JOYCE ABABIO AND KOFI ANSAH The early 1990s was a transitional phase sh ift ing from authoritaria n rule to a fledgling democracy. The era was marked by the resurgence Ghanaian fashion designers returning to Ghana from abroad , hosting countless fashion sho ws and creating a diverse array of exuberant and avant garde garments. The 1990s saw Ghanaian fashion beginning to influence international designers and global fashion trends . As described in the Sunday Mirror minded people all over the wo rld these days turning their attention to what comes out of Africa, the continent is now becoming a rich source of inspiration for many fashion designers Ghan his chapter will begin by highlight ing three of the most important fashion shows held in A ccra during the 1990s Fashion , . Despite the renewed attention to elite fashion, local forms of fashion continued to maintain their significance . The kaba continued to grow in popularity as a signifier of local, fashionable attire, particularly due to the efforts of several highly visible and politically important wome n who were proponents of wearing the kaba , as exemplified by Nana Konadu Agyeman Rawlings. During the 1990s , the resurgence of kente cloth as a material for fashionable garments captivated Ghanaians. This chapter will explore the revitalization of kente cloth, particularly how Ghanaian fashion designers promoted the textile by producing kente fashions throughout 1990s . T he career of two designers will be highlighted: Joyce Aba bio, a designer known and respected for h er continued use of kente cloth,
216 and respected designers who frequently incorporated kente cloth and other indigenous materials into his haute couture creations. and burge oning fashion culture during the 1990s, setting the stage for the continued proliferation of Ghanaian fashion in subsequent decades . All Runways Lead to Accra: The Pr oliferation of Fashion Shows during the 1990s The resurgence and rapid growth of s fashion culture during the 1990s , complete with a variety of fashion designers and fashion shows , was due in part to improving economy . Despite the dismal economy of the 1980s , it had begun to recover by the end of the decade . According to Shil lington, 600 million dollars of foreign exchange arrears in 1990 signified that economy had finally been restored (Shillington 1992: 122). In addition, President Rawlings began lifting several of his most restrictive owned newspapers. By the end of 1991, Rawlings abolished the regulations imposed on lowing the Daily Graphic and the Sunday Mirror to resume freely docum ent ing all aspects of life in Ghana, and specifically Accra. Most significant ly for this research , several contributors to the Sunday Mirror revived the active chronicling of fa shion designers, events , and advice columns hion culture. One article from 1991 marked what I believe to be the unofficial return of to the pages of the Sunday Mirror . The article, gs documented the latest trends in fabrics for t he holiday season, including the developing style of incorporating local materials into clothing se
217 together with local stuff like facsimile kente combinations, batiks, a nd tie dye fabrics and African prints, it does not take one too much of an effort 11). After the reapp earance of the Sunday fashion advice columns, the soon followed . The majority of One of the earliest documented fashion shows of the 1990s was Juliana aforementioned 30 th Anniversary fashion show, held at the Accra Golden Tulip Hotel on November 15, 1991 ( presidential election, a politically themed fashion show was organized , featuring garments by Lina Acheampong. A photograph featuring f our of s garments w as included in the Sunday Mirror , each representing one of political parties at the time ( Figure 5 1 ). 1 how included garments from Mawuli Okudzeto, as well as the designer labels Mama Dee, Eadata, and L & J ( ). By 1993, several large scale fashion shows were organized , including G hanaian fashion revue , held at residence in Accra and Move ( 1993: 9). The Sunday Mirror attested to the increasing professionalism event 1 Each garment was emblazoned with a large appliquÃ© that was representative of a particular political party. For example, the garment representing NPP was adorned with an oversized appliquÃ©d elep ant.
218 occurring in some fashion conscious European city, but was actually rolling off in Accra, Ghana (1993:11 ) . Fashion shows continued to be held throughout the 1990s, ranging from large sca le, international extravaganzas to smaller scale fashion shows sponsored by individual designers. At least three fashion shows were held annually throughout the 1990s, which demonstrates the return of Ac hriving fashion culture and growing significance to both elite and non elite Ghanaians. In order to capt ure the essence of the decade , it is necessary to discuss three major fashion events that were Extravaganza These three fashion shows were the highlight of fashion events in Accra during the 1990s, serving as exem plars of the renewed strength and vibra ncy of fashion culture an d the growing significance of incorporating fashion designers from international circles . lk Extravaganza Fashion Revue was advertised in the Sunday Mirror ght of elegance and distinction. The event was organized by Bina ifer Chothia, a fashion designer of Indian and Ghanaian descent who was a fixture of Ghanaian fashion from the late 1980s to the early 1990s ( Asare 1992: 11 ). Chothia, known for her bespoke clothing which the Sunday Mirror described as response to the growing popularity of African inspired fashion in Europe and America (1992: 11) . As further explained by the Sunday Mirror fashion contributor Loretta Asare, African designers have inundated the
219 psurge in the right perspective (1992: 11). esigners and models from across Africa, Europe , and America. The most globally recognized participant in the show, who received extensive press coverage, was Ghanaian born, British designer Joe Casely Hayford . Casely Hayford was known for designing garme nts for an array of British musicians, including Soul II Soul, Jazzie B, U2, and Duran Duran ( 1992: 11). A second British designer of Ghanaian descent, Ozwald Boateng, also showcased his designs at the Although Boate ng would become one of the most significant menswear designers in Europe , at the time of the show, Boateng was twenty five years old and just emerging as a fashion designer. Not only did his participation in the n to Ghana, but it was one of his first international fashion shows. 2 In addition to Casely Hayford and Boateng, British designers Johann Brun and Andrew Coombs were participants, as well as Nigerian designers Anne Okuzu and Olu Remi, Ivorian designers F ifi and Ndeye Awa, and Ghanaian designers Binafier Chothia and Joyce Ababio. The models for the show included Nigerian born, American model , and Jane Spencer. In addition to r e ceiving extensive coverage in the Sunday Mirror , the 2 Boateng opened his first studio in 1991 and showcased his fashions for the first time in a solo show during the 1994 Paris Fashion Week. His 1994 fashion show was so successful that he was able to open his own boutique on Savile Row , London in 19 95 .
220 Clothes Show The Pulse ( Asare 1992: 7). planned for the end of 199 According to the Sunday Mirror , the fashion exhibition had two main goals: to provide an opportunity for African designers to come together and potentially form a Federation of African Designers (FAD), as well as to r aise money to support the National Council on Women and Development (Bonsu 1993: 9). The fashion show had an additional purpose, a s explained by Kofi Adjei, a me project the indisputable talents of fashion designers nut ured and developed in Africa 1993: 9). The show itself featured renowned African designers from throughout Africa and Europe. Ghanaian born, U.K. based designer Joe Casely Hayford participated, as well as Ghanaian designers Ricci Osei, Joyce Ababio, a nd Kofi Ansah. Remi from Nigeria 1993: 9). W hat is particularly notable is that several of the participating African designers were well established and internationally recognized. These desig ners were exem plified by Nigerie n Alphadi and Malian Chris Seydou, as well as Ivoirian Angy Bell and Burkinabe Path e 9). Like designers. Nigerian model Wale returned for the fashion s how, accompanied by models from Nigeria, France, 9). To further attest to the significance of participating designers, the Sunday Mirror offered descriptions of several, including Alphadi and Seydou. The article described A
221 Seydou was y 11). Although these statements are clearly part of the Sunday promotion of the fashion event, they provide an accurate description of these , as vie wed by popular media, during the 1990s. The Sunday statements of the are supported by academic scholarship, including the research of art historian Victoria Rovine , who described Seydou as desig special issue on fashion further supported Seydou had become accepted and expected in international fashion circles. By 1993, Seydou had returne d to Mali and was celebrated for his innovative use of bologan cloth in his fashion designs, further suggesting that Seydou was at the height of his career when he participated in eyd ou passed away in March of 1994; it is possi was one of his fina l international fashion shows, accentuating the significance of this particular event. The fashion exhibition was held on December 18 th , 1993 at the luxurious Golden Tulip Hotel. The show was cente red around a stage inspired by African huts and decorated with African motifs, a setting described as invoking 1994: 14). The catwalk extended from this imagined African village across the Golden which und oubtedly created a visually impressive experience for designs of the participating fas hion designers, is reflected in Adwoa Serwaa Bonsu
222 review of the show . Bonsu opened her column by stating that star ed at the clothes that were exhibited at the were enough to tell that Africa is now a rich source of inspiration for many fashion designers Bonsu provided a deta iled account of each desig Seydou featured s everal of his bogolan garments and Kofi Ansah exhibited evening and cocktail kente dres s es. Despite the absence of photographs visually chronicling the event, it s extensive cover age in both the Sunday Mirror and the Daily Graphic , coupled with was one of the three most significant fashion shows of the 1990s . most recognized fashion designers, a second international fashion show was held in Accra . a lso a large scale, internat ional fashion show , but featured less well known des igners . The event was conceived by fashion designer Margaret Ofori Atta, who had recently returned to Ghana after living and working in Europe for thirteen years (Bonsu 1993: 1). Ofori Atta partnered with Event Field, the company know n for organizing the Paris, to help plan and design . In addition to featuring Ofori the show included Ghanaian designers Nora Bannerman and Mary Anna Grant, as well as Senegalese designer Colle Ardo Sow . Althoug h initial advertisements for the show stated that Nigerie n designer Alphadi would be involved, he was eventually replaced by Johathan Appah Sampong, a Ghanaian designer based in California. This change in participants was nt with
223 th , 1993 at the Labadi Beach Hotel. Like was placed . According to Bonsu, it was one of the first elements of the show th at caught her eye. She described middle with a short flight of stairs and then stretching across the pool. Just esquisite [sic] ( 1993: 15). Bonsu recounted that t he fashion show was organized in two p arts; the first segment featured the cre ations of the invited designers: Mary Anna Grant, Jonathan Appiah Sampong, Nora Bannerman and Colle Ardo Sow , while the second half was dedicated solely to the work of the organi zer, Margaret Ofori Atta and her label MagDanelli Designs. A diverse array of garments were exhibited, including an assortment of jogging suits and an evening gown of kente and organza that 1993: 15). A single photograp the Sunday Mirror , alt hough the garments in the photograph were not attributed to a specific designer ( Figure 5 2 ). The garment in the foreground of the photograph appears to be a dress sewn from fabri c mimicking the patterns of Malian bogolan cloth , indicating . The skirt and jacket ensemble in the background is made from a similar material, although the patterns are more reminiscent of Ghanaian batik fabric than bogolan cloth . Due to the lack of information and the poor quality of the photograph, it is difficult to ascertain any further details regarding these garments . The photograph does indicate that participating designers were creating fashions from lo cal, African materials, in addition to garments from imported fabrics.
224 indicate the renewed strength and vibrancy o culture, further ai ded by recovering ec o nomy, the reinstatement of a more stable , democratic government, and the return of several successful Ghanaian fashion designers . The shows further illustrate the high standard Ghanaian fashion reached during the mid 199 0s. G hanaian fashion shows were elaborately staged international events that brought together a selection of the most recognized and celebrated African designers of the time. The extensive documentation of these events by Ghanaian newspapers and television net works further attests to the growing popularity of fashion in Accra . s fashion shows indicate s that these events were organized on a regul ar basis throughout the 1990s. The fashion shows ranged in focus from reminiscent of event held at the Nogahil Hotel , featuring former winners of the Miss Ghana as model s ( 1994: 11). This brief indicates that during the 1990s, elite fashion returned to popular media and was once again a visible and promoted aspect o culture achieved new heights with the organization of internationally recognized fashion shows that illu strated to Ghanaians that African fashions were indeed innovative, productive, a
225 The Continued Popularity of the Kaba designer fashions continued to co exist with local fashions, particularly the kaba, which persisted as anoth er form of fashionable attire. Bui lding on its popularity during the late 1980s, the popularity of the kaba increased as a fashionable garment during the 1990s. According to one article in the Sunday Mirror he local wear for maid servants and the illiterate, has now shot up to become the sophisticated attire worn for 3 These sentiments were reiterated in another column from the Sunday Mirror , stating that goes, be it the market, work or church, th e re is bound to be a kaba The popularity of the kaba can be partially attributed to the versatility of the garment and the diversity of kaba styles. As the Sunday Mirror kaba has gone through a number of creative additions and adaptations and promotions which have helped it become much more elegant and in tune with contemporary fashion 1993:1). The contributor continued by statin there is hardly any harm that any foreign influence can do to discourage the beloved blouse and the matching ntama long skirt or wrapper 1993: 1). One contributor made a direct 3 Although the exact origins of kaba are somewhat difficult to substantiate, a very distinct, well defined mythology regarding their creation exists and is readily expressed by Ghanaian women. In many interviews, Ghanaian women reiterated that kaba that during the late 19 th and early 20 th 2010: 14).
226 has even been made more wearable 1). These assertions are supported by art historian Suzanne Gott, who stated that a status that it kaba tage while embracing the ever contemporary Ghana, the fashionable stylishness associated with virtually all women continues to find its most valued expression in the three piece kaba ). As illustrated by previous chapters, the malleability of the kaba has allowed it to reflect the political and cultural shifts of specific eras, makint it a potent symbol of Ghanaian nationalism through multiple decades . Immediately following independ ence, the kaba was transformed into a form of elite, nationalist fashion, whereas during the Rawlings regime, it initially functioned as a populi st form of nationalist attire . As the following section will explore, with the help of First Lady Nana Konadu Ageyman Rawlings, the kaba gained further significance as an appropriate form of nationalist attire for professional women. The significance of the kaba as a fashionable garment during the 1990s is best indicated by the creation of an annual fashion show and design competition known as
227 4 The Sunday Mirror documented the C on, stating that a total of six individuals designed kaba in three categories: casual, occasional, and business. The winner of the competition, Miss Esther Rabukour Agbettor, received a cash prize of C30,000 and competed with the winners from the other re gions in the final fashion show, held in Accra on September 7 th , 1991. Documentation of highly publicized 1993 iteration, it is likely that the kaba show was an annual event that was held for se veral consecutive years . The 1993 advertisement described the event a grand prize of C300,000 and ticket s to Paris ( 1993: 4). The Sunday Mirror documented the competitions for the Northern and Central regions, but the remaining regional 27 th , 1993. limited coverage, likely due to the deluge of international fas hion events that occurred in December. According to the Sunday Mirror , fifteen kaba designers fr om Accra, Bolgatanga , and Kumasi participated in the show, creating garments in the same categories as previous competitions : casual, office wear , and evening wear (Adiash 1993: 7). The winner of the competition, Afi Agbenyegal of Alfie designs, received the grand prize of C300,000 and two tickets to Paris. Unlike other fashion events, the Sunday Mirror claimed the ( 1993: 7). This 4 Although not all of the geographical regions were mentioned in the article, they included: Central, Eastern, Western, Northern, and Greater Accra.
228 comment implies that the kaba fashion shows were more inclusive of an economically diverse population of Ghanaians . The kaba maintained its popularity throughout the 1990s, as attested by the Sunday in Starting in 1998, The Mirror featured a two page, color spread of the latest fashion trends, which often focus ed on the latest kaba styles Less Formal Occas the Sunday Mirror would 1998: 9). An array of kaba styles we re included, from kabas that resembled blazers, to kaba s with elaborate scalloping (Figure 5 3 ). The following week, kaba designs for formal occasions were highlighted, including a dramatic kaba with large fabric rosettes on each shoulder ( Figure 5 4 ). popularity as a fashionable garment can be partially attributed to the increasing visibility of politically important Ghanaian women who chose to wear the kaba. During the 1990s, the Daily Graphic and the Sunday Mirror repeatedly featured ph otographs of Ghanaian women, particularly women in official government positions, wearing a diverse and elaborate array of kaba designs. Although difficult to substantiate, the repeated inclusion of recognized and powerful women wearing kaba likely encour aged other Ghanaian women, both elite and non elite, to don the iconic garment for a variety of contexts. One example of a politically influential woman who regularly wore kabas is Ama Benyiwa Doe, the Minister of Employment and Social Welfare. Doe and her expressive
229 kabas were featured repeatedly in the Sunday Mirror and the Daily Graphic , as exemplified by the front page photograph that captured her mid stride with briefcase in hand ( Figure 5 5 ). The image usin ess 1994: 1). Figure 5 6 kaleidoscope of wax prints, whereas her kaba for the Adventist event featured a profusion of ruffles on the bodice. Both garments attest to the creativity of kaba designs during the 1990s, as well as the growing importance of the kaba as a garment appropriate for all occ asions, particularly official government business. Mrs. Matilda Esi Fiadzigbey, President of the Ghana Institution of Surveyors from 1995 1996, was another woman who opted to wear the kaba. An image of Fiadzigbey wearing a kente kaba with exaggerated, ru ched sleeves was featured in the Sunday Mirror girls who have their eyes on high rated professions can look up to 1995: 5). The most significant proponent of wearing kaba was Former First Lady N ana Konadu Ageyman Rawlings. Rawlings made a concerted effort to wear kabas sewn from local fabric on a regular basis, a sartorial choice that lasted for the duration of her as both head of state and the P resident of Ghana. As Rawlings e from our factories for two reasons: trying to improve the economy , so I thought it would be good if I promoted the cloth to encourage Ghanaians to wear it when the factories began producing again. I also
230 want to be a role model for anyone while wearing Western clothes personal interview). 5 Rawlings explained that initially, elite Ghanaians reacted negatively to her adoption of the kaba and wax print fabric: hy is she behaving like an il wanted to make a change and I wanted In spite of criticism from her peers, pushing h, es, I Rawlings was regularly featured in the Daily Graphic and the Sunday Mirror wearing elaborate forms of kaba , particularly after her husband won the presidential and the vice s kaba was a mix of solid fabric and kente cloth, while Marian Arkaah wore a kaba of printed material, presumably wax print ( Figure 5 7 ). When Rawlings met with Mrs. Sandy Cooper, a representative of the Trade and Investment Mission of New Jersey, she wore a kaba with oversized ruffles on the neckline ( Figure 5 8 ). At an event celebrating the inauguration of the Council of Indigenous Bu siness Association Rawlings posed with two female executives wearing a belted, peplum kaba with oversize d sleeves, a feature that she believed provided her with more of a physical presence (Rawlings 2012 : personal interview ) ( Figure 5 9 ). 5 980s, before her husband was formally elected President of Ghana. As discussed in the previous chapter, the 1980s was an era of extreme economic difficulties and locally produced wax print was scarce.
231 When Rawlin gs was presented with a chieftancy staff in honor of her efforts to provide electricity to a small town, she wore a highly patter n e d kaba w ith a matching headwrap ( Figure 5 10 ). Almost every time Rawlings was photographed, she was wearing a variation of t he kaba. In my interview with Rawlings, she spoke briefly of her varied : personal interview ). The single pho tograph that suggests the potential s kaba wardrobe was taken s visit to the United States in 1995. The Sunday Mirror captured a single photograph of the two f irst ladies together, describing them as pose one may describe 1995: 8). Although the women were equal in their roles as first wives, their clothing was far from identical. Hillary Cli n ton wore a conservative tailored suit with understated jewelry , whereas Nan a Konadu Agyeman Rawlings opted for a boldly patterned, belted peplum kaba, accented with a kente stole ( Figure 5 11 ). The visual statement made by this pairing is incredibly significant. By wearing the kaba during her visit to the United States and in a n official photograph with the First Lady of the United States, Rawlings was asserting that the kaba is appropriate attire for even the most formal and important of occasions. The kaba not only represents Rawlings Ghanaian identity and heritage , but her pride in expressing this identity through her clothing. The description provided in the Sunday Mirror appearances; although their clothing is starkly different, they are considered equals, imbuing t he kaba with extreme potency and further suggesting the kaba is equivalent to the finest of American formal wear.
232 as exemplified by a photograph in a 1997 issue of the Daily Gra phic ( Figure 5 12 ) . The image, which captured Rawlings and a group of women celebrating the anniversary of st Revolution, is awash in colorful wax print. Rawlings is wearing her favored style of kaba : a peplum blouse with exagger ated sleeves. The women visible in the background of the image are also wearing kaba s , several of which were sewn from a commemorative cloth celebrating the 40 th independence from colonial rule . This photograph provides additional visual evidence wearing the garment on a more regular basis. ant to wear it, I interview). In 1998, Rawlings was acknowledged by the GTP wax print company at x print and kaba designs (Bonsu 1998: 17). particularly with the celebration of both elite and kaba fashions, it continued to expand into new territories. The further developm by the introduction of a new sectio n in the the Sunday Mirror called Silhouettes . Each week, this small section in the newspaper feature d drawings of new and innovative dress styles for both men and women, a ccompanied by a brief description of each garment. The intent of Silhouettes was presumably to provid e inspiration for seamstresses and tailors, as well as their clientele , to create new and stylish garments ,
233 ranging from boubous to parachute pants ( Fig ure 5 13 ) . Several of the Silhouettes featured kaba designs, such as the drawings featured on May 6 th , 1995 , which were purpose ensembles appropriate for business and social functions ( 1995: 8) ( Figure 5 14 ). In other examples, European inspired garments neck dress, with the opening in the front, which 1995: 8) ( Figure 5 15 ) . Silhouettes even gave advice on the types of fabrics to use, as well as the style of shoe that should be worn with specific garments. The illustration of a short evening veting glamour of sparkling sequin details and lame fabrics are recommended for this piece, with the elegant, open waisted Figure 5 16 ). The introduction of Silhouettes indicates a further culture, one that encouraged a more accessible and approachable type of fashion. Silhouettes was likely developed for the average Ghanaian who could not afford the exclusionary prices of elite fashion labels, yet wanted to sta y abreast of local and global fashion trends, further demonstrating the renewed importance of fashion in Accra, particularly in popular media. The Kente Craze: The Proliferation and Origins of Kente fashions in 1990s Accra As acknowledged in previous ch apters and echoed by designer Joyce Ababio, Ghanaian fashion designers of the 1990s were not the first to incorporate kente cloth into their creations. As Ababio emphatically stated, garments sewn from kente cloth 2012: personal interview). Although my research indicates that Juliana Norteye was the first fashion designer documented using
234 kente cloth in her designs, the practice of cutting and tailoring kente into fashionable garments originated earlier, before the The earliest documented example of kente cloth used in a garment was featured in a March 1958 issue of the Sunday Mirror . The photograph showed two Ghanaian women attending a horse race in Accra dressed in Western inspired garments (Figure 5 17 s wearing a flared afternoon 5). Upon closer inspection of the photograph, thin strips of kente, which have been scernable. The width of the strips, coupled with the repetition of specific kente motifs, like the double stripe, suggest that the creator of this garment cut an existing kente cloth or single kente strip in order to has long been considered a high status textile that was rarely cut or sewn into garments prior to the 1990s ; this photograph provides concrete evidence that Ghanaians have been experimenting with kente cloth and transforming kente into fashionable attire a s early as 1958, if not before. The importance of this garment is that it illustrates one of the earliest examples of a cosmopolitan, Ghanaian fashion garment. The silhouette of the dress is Western inspired, yet the inclusion of kente imbues the garment with a distinctly Ghanaian flair, existing identities as a Ghanaian and global fashion participant.
235 After 1958 , the depiction of Ghanaian women wearing kente garments in the Sunday Mirror steadily increased. Photographs o ften illustrated women wearing kente sewn in the style of a kaba or a kente skirt paired with a Western styled blouse. This is supported by several photographs and articles, including a brief December 1958 column documenting the fashionab le dress of two b ridesmaids who wore kente skirts paired with elaborate blouses (Figure 5 18 ). The Sunday Mirror hailed the women as fashionably that was the craze for this Christmas! It nte skirt paired with a blouse that was the latest style in Accra. In other instances, Ghanaian women were more inventive with their kente garments; Mary Carlis photographed in May 1958 wearing a V neck top featuring a strip of kente along the neckline (Figure 5 19 ). In a photograph accompanying a column as shown wearing a sleeveless kente dress with a peter pan collar, accessorized with a matching kente stole (Figure 5 20 ). A final example from the holidaying abroad? I sincere several suggestions for outfits from local fabrics, including an elaborate kente evening
236 coat made in kente cloth (1959: 18). A sketch of the suggested kente evening coat with matching dress was included in the article, lik ely to encourage Ghanaian women to have the garments made by their seamstresses (Figure 5 21 ). As these photographs and accounts from the Sunday Mirror suggest, kente was embraced as a ma terial for fashionable garments. The textile quickly grew in popula ; likely due to lly associated with a collective Ghanaian identity, symbolically represent ing a united, independent Ghana. These garments additionally demonstrate that few limitations were Kente cloth gaments were n ot limited to Ghanaian women; European women were also documented adopting kente cloth garments as a form of fashionable attire (Figure 5 22 Ghanaians, both here and in other parts of the world The article focused on Anne Rado, the wife of an English lecturer in Accra who readi ly adopted kente fashions for various events, Anne may have a number of different
237 In a later issue of the the Sunday Mirror , an account was provided of Monueli tional Handicrafts Exhibition , in which Dekonor showcased the quality, versatility and wea rability of kente cloth. Dekonor was and I am quite determined to achieve it before this exhibition closes is to see British women brave enough not only to buy our kente c l challenge to British women was recorded by the Independent Television News company and subsequently broadcast throughout England (1958: 7) . Although it is doubtful that British women began actively adopting kente cloth as a new form of apparel, the articles on Rado and Dekonor suggest that the kente phenomenon was not limited solely to Ghanaian women, further demonstrating the role of kente cloth in promoting and imately, these , the textile experienced a second renaissance during the 1990s , gaining renewed popularity among Ghanaians as part of other fabrics caught on, one hardly goes on any outing without seeing different fashionable creations of Vida Akua A muah, stating that she others and a ttributing her with creating some of the earliest 1990s kente fashions
238 the Sunday Mirror preserve of royalty. Today, the situation is vice versa. There is cur rently what many cluded twenty original innovators of this creative craft, they are quite intelligent and capable of (1991: 10). In exponents of westernism in the form of ties, cumber bands [sic] , ladies dresses, belts n show was held at the Novotel hotel, cally combined kente cloth with other materials to create wearable and affordable garments. The highlight of the show, as described by the Sunday Mirror was refereshing to se e a groom in a kente suit w ith cummberbands [sic] and all and his
239 previously acknowledged , uring the late 1950s, kente became a symbol of Ghanaian identity and independence. These concepts were fabric in the world which is synonymous with the history and rich culture of a people, (Koomson 1991: 10). As this comment suggests, Ghanaians wore kente garments to identify with their own culture and histories. Additionally, kente w as becoming a significant part of African American fashion during the 1990s as a wearable symbol of African heritage. As one contributor to the Sunday Mirror coupled with the beauty, i ngenuity and intricate designs of the fabric, has resulted in an author is clearly overstating the importance of kente cloth in foreign markets, kente did garner signific ant attention during the 1990s, on European and American runways and in African American popular culture. This is supported by the research of art historian style fabrics reached fourt een billion dollars in the United States, and kente was by far the hottest selling celebrate their culture, coupled with the developing popularity of African inspired garments in W estern fashion fashion culture.
240 Additional Fashion Designers during the 1990s Before discussing the careers and fashion designs of Joyce Ababio and Kofi Ansah, I will recognize several other Ghanaian fashion designers who garnered significant attention during the 1990s. Although many of these individuals are no longer and warrants acknowledgment. These designe rs and their garments will provide further evidence to suggest the rapid revitalization of Ghanaian fashion during the 1990s , the continued diversity and creativity of Accra and the growing significance of locally produced textiles, parti cularly kente cloth, in the garments of Ghanaian fashion designers . In addition to Ansah and Ababio, one of the most active and creative Ghanaian designers during the 1990s was Margaret Ofori Atta. Ofori Atta, who returned to Ghana in 1993 after thirteen years in Europe, introduced her fashion label MagDanielli by organizing and participating in the . Prior to her return, Ofori Atta had participated in fashion shows in both the United Kingdom and the United States (Bonsu 1993: 1). Atta was included in the M NET Africa Showcase in 1995 , the 1993 and 1995 Pr Ãª t Ã€ Porter F Ã© minin in Paris and the 1995 Igedo Trade Fair Exhibit in Germany . Her designs were repeatedly featured in the Sunday Mirror , as exempl ified by a group of photographs of male and female garments from 1995 ( Figure 5 23 ) . Ofori the Sunday Mirror described on e of her garments for the Igedo Trade Fair Exhbition as In 1996, a printed kente bathing suit, created by Ofori Atta , was featured prominently on the front page of the Sunday Mirror ( Figure 5 24 ). Ofori diversity and the
241 comple xity of African cosmopolitanisms is best captured by her garments featured in the Sunday Mirror during Eid al Fitr, a day of celebration and feasting that marks the end of Ramadan. Ofori included piece, embroidered boubou and an elaborate kaba and slit with a coordinating headwrap ( Figure 5 25 ) . All of the Ofori specifically for Muslims, coupled with her use of local materials like kente, batakari , and batik, illustrate her diversity of styles, as well as her attention to small, but important details. Another popular designer in the late 1990s was Rhodarlyn Naa Shika Anyah and her label Fantasy Designs. Anyah was first featured in the Sunday Mirro r in 1993 , for the Old Ridge Church in Accra, in which she exhibited party clothes, casual wear, and beachwear for boys and girls. A photograph of two of the young models was featured on the front page of the the Sunday Mirr or ( Figure 5 26 ). Following her first documented fashion show, Anysah transitioned to creating womenswear. Anyah often combined locally produced textiles, such as kente and batakari cloth, with imported fabrics to create fantastical designs. One example of garment s featured in the Sunday Mirror was a mid length top of batakari and organza, paired with batakari trousers ( Figure 5 27 ). A second design was comprised of a kente dress and a see thru organza coat, with plackets of matching kente cloth ( Figure 5 28 ). Anyah was also known for creating bold and exaggerated statement hats, such as the pointed cap featured on the front page of the Sunday Mirror , accompanied by the phrase 1995: 1) ( Figure 5 29 ) . In addition to he r innovative fashions, Anyah actively trained young women to become skilled
242 the Sunday Mirror documented the graduation of two student completing two years of training in free hand cutting and dressmaking ( 1993: 5). Kwesi Nti is likely the most recogn ized Ghanaian shoe designer and was an active top fashion designers. Nti received a two year diploma for shoe and belt designing in Italy and returned to Ghana in 198 6 (Bonsu 1995: 11). He ga ined national attention in 1993 s how at the British Council H all. Following this initial partnership, he continued to work with Ansah and several of the Pr Ãª t Ã€ Porter F Ã© minin held desig ned a collection of shoes for each of the participating designers ( 1995: 11). A pair of his stylish kente shoes were even highlighted in an issue of the Sunday Mirror , one Ghanaian designer whose creat 1995: 9) ( Figure 5 30 ). were recognized by Revue Noire when they included him as one of a small group of African accessories designers featured in their 1998 special issue on African fashion. S everal other desig ners worth mentioning were also featured regularly in the Sunday Mirror . Nora Bannerman, who was recognized in the previous chapter as a creator of stylish kaba designs , participated in both the 1993 and 1995 Pr Ãª t a Porter Feminine show in Paris, as well as the Igedo Trade Fair Exhibition in Germany (Crabbe
2 43 199 5: 15). Illona Ajavon also participated in both shows in 1995. Tetteh Adzedu, better known as Adzedu of Shapes, relied heavily on local textiles and fabrics to create his garments that emphasized wearability and bold shapes. His debut collection, which featured batik, indigo cloth , and Hausa fabric, was featured in (Bonsu 1994: 14). Besides these six designers, additional Ghanaian fashion designers were actively documented by contributors to the Sunday Mirror . These names and fashion labels included Jimmy Delaja, Tetteh Plahar, Alfie Designs , Hay Looks Fashions , Winnigol Fashion and Mawuli Okudzeto. This profu sion of fashion designers indicates the renewed importance of elite fashion in Accra during the 1990s Unlike many designers who were successful during the 1990s, Ababio and Ansah have maintained their status as significant fashion designers, remaining active changing fashion culture. Ababio, who still owns and runs her own fashion label, has recently focused her energies on developing a well respected fashi on nted emerging fashion designers . Kofi Ansah, who accepts apprentices and mentors an organization for young, aspiring fashion designers , creating the highest forms of haute couture fashion in Accra. Their continued involvement in fashion scene, the creativity and quality of their designs , as well as their accessibility and willingness to share their own knowledge and experiences makes them exemplars of for further exploration .
244 I was Joyce Ababio grew up in the suburbs of Accra and was interested in fashion from a young age. She described liked my things a certain way. My mom did fashions as well; I would call her and sketch what I w (Ababio 2012 : personal interview ). Ababio echoed these s entiments in a n article from the Sunday Mirror , recollecting that was born to sew. My mother is a dressmaker and I have a sister who sews, but not professionally. My best subject in school was needlework. I just loved to sew (Bonsu 1995: 11 ) . Ababio attended the prestigious Achimota School before traveling to the United States in 1984 for a bachelor s degree in Medical Technology at St. Cloud State University in Minnesota ( 1995 : 11 ) . Her foray into th e medical field was short lived; as the Sunday Mi rror a degree in Fashion Design from the Texas ( 1995: 11 ) . After completing her degree, Ababio apprenticed with Texan Vic tor Costa, a well known fashion designer during the 1980s and 1990s , recognized for his special occasion dresses and his affordable copies of couture garments . 6 the silhouettes of her page ant designs. Ababio and her husband left the United States to return to Ghana in 1992 , but as Ababio [to Ghana] , my husband was. I came with my mind set that I was going to rest a year; Ababio 6 Victor Costa is best known for copying the designs of established couture designers like Arnold Scaasi and Yves Saint Laurent.
245 recruited to participate in two of the aforementioned fashion shows in Acc ra, the Fashion Revue que Noire Revue Upon her arrival, Ababio was introduced to fellow designer Binafier Chothia, who immediately recruited her for the upcoming Catwalk Extravaganza Ababio was completely n p ulled out a sewing machine, [but] once I got started, I knew I was going to be a part of it 2012 : personal interview ). sleeping. I worked day and night, day and night. I ended up wit h thirteen wedding gowns and eleven eveningwear [gowns] , black and white 2012: personal interview ). received by the press , as attested to by Lorreta Catwalk Extravaganza in the Sunday Mirror : occasion wear, was quit Her fashion debut was referenced in a later article from the Sunday Mirror , announcing that Ababio quick entrÃ©e on the fashion scene when she showcased splendid evening and bridal wear at the fashion show which was dubbed Catw ). [with Catwalk Extravaganza] up, so they [Ghanaian women] found my house and they came and bought : personal interview ). sh ow, which marked another personal success for Ababio . As documented by the
246 Sunday Mirror most applause. Joyce is making waves in the Ghanaian fashion scene with her expertly tailored special occas ion and wedding repertoire In addition to , Ababio participated in a second frique Noire Revue most significant fashion show s to be held in Accra durin g the 1990s. After her inclusion in these highly publicized fashion shows , Ababio was considered by popular media to be one of the foremost fashion designers in Accra. One of her most significant achievements , which cemented her importance in Acc , was winning South Africa. As recounted by fashion contributor Adwoa Serwaa Bonsu, Ababio explained: Ghana to present for the spectacular dress contest, but before I could start, I was told that another designer was handling that, so I should make her some evening clothes Bonsu 1995: 11 ). Ababio made three dresses in four days for Miss Ghana 1995 Manue la Medie and was not evening clothes she could wear to formal events. So you should have heard my screams when I heard for the first time that it won an award 1995: 11 ). At the same time she was designing dresses for Miss Ghana 1995, Ababio decided to open her own fashion school. As Ababio explained, after establishing a workshop for her designer label , she had a difficult ti me finding machinists who had the technical tra ining to meet her high standards
247 they could do : personal interview ). In order to avoid constantly tra ining her employees, Ababio established an informal school in 1995 at her workshop in Asylum Down. Ababio started with five stu d ents, whom she trained in the theories of fashion design, pattern drafting and the physical construct ion of a garment (2012 : pe rsonal interview enrollment incre ased and by the year 2000, she moved f rom her workshop in Asylum Down to a much larger building near Independence Square, located in the center of Accra . Currently, Ababio has hundreds of students en rolled in her school from througho ut West Africa, with many of them becoming successful fashion designers. Despite her school, called Vogue Style School of Fashion and Design , she continued to participate in various fashion ev ents , including fashion show h eld at the British Council Hall. In 1996 , she organized a solo fashion show to showcase her latest designs at the Golden Tulip Hotel. The Sunday Mirror described the evening as consisting of four c ollections of garments was the evening wear collection, a speciality of Vogue Th e following year, Ababio organized another solo fashion show to exhibit her 1997 collection. The event was again held at the Golden Tulip and received extensive coverage by the Sunday Mirror . Like her previous show, garments were divided into se occasion day wear , length dress w ith sweetheart neckline sewn from kente cloth and lace, was featured on the
248 cover of the Sun day Mirror every 1) ( Figure 5 31 ) . Ababio continued to organize solo fashion shows until 2003, when she Ababio 2012 : personal intervie w ) , hosting a fashion s how and opening a new boutique located on the ground floor of the Vogue Style School of Fashion and Design . Since the inception of this to produce formal attir e sewn from strip woven kente cloth . A n article announcing the premier e kente cloth and encourage both Ghanaians and foreigners to purchase products made in Ghana ( 2003 : 1 ). Although Ababio has used a diverse array of fabrics and materials to create her fashions, she has relied heavily on kente c loth, gaining a reputation in Accra for creating elegant and sophisticated kente fashions. Ababio is thus exemplary of the 1990s trend of incorporating local textiles, particularly kente cloth, into her garments. of kente is further reminisc elite citizenry. In order to explore this topic further, several of discuss ed, including her evening gown for Miss Ghana 1995, as well as several As the previous section has demonstrated, Ghana and its fashion designers were aware of the increasing popularity of Ghanaian texti les in Europe and America during the 1990s , which directly informed their creations. Ababio felt that she should contribute
249 her already seen other people from the Western w 2012 : personal interview ). This sentiment served as a catalyst for Ababio to rely more heavily on kente cloth for a majority of he r fashions . of a broader Ghanaian and global fashion trend during the 1990s: the renewed importance of kente and other indigenous African textiles by Africans, as well as African Americans, as a material for fashion. I n addition to desire kente cloth, Ababio began incorporating kente into her fashions because she wanted to wearability desi gns kente made out of silk. I t was royal blue with some gold and it was so beautiful. All I could think about was why are people keeping this in their drawers when we could be wear ing it : personal interview )? Ababio expressed that in creating her kente in a trunk. Everyone could wear it. It can be used for anything, be it day, evening or whatever 2012: personal interview ). Miss World competition, received the most media attention of all her garments and solidified her reputation as of on igners. This award winning garment , a sophisticated, exuberant evening gown with kente accents , exemplifies approach to fashion ( Figure 5 32 ) . The evening gown i s an amalgamation of
250 two dress forms: t he upper portion of the strapless dress, fash ioned from kente, features a sweetheart bodice and a voluminous balloon skirt. Underneath this upper portion of the gown is an ankle length, black velvet column skirt. The color scheme and pa ttern of the kente cloth in the same kente as worn by the paramount chief Nana Akyanfuo Akowuah Dateh II in Eliot Elis frequently referenced 1970 photograph ( Figure 5 33 ) . Ross identified this pattern in his comprehensive tome Wrapped in Pride as was later revised (Ross 1998 : 119). It is doubtful Ababio selected this particular kente cloth for its specific fashiona t use names. We use d different styles : personal interview ). Although Ababio may have been unaware of the overall meaning of her chosen kente pattern significance, as it repr , serving as a visual symbol of . Ababio likely chose the kente cloth for this reason, as the garment would be representative of culture and home country. It is also possible that Ababio c ommissioned this particular kente pattern and color scheme, as she mentioned in several interviews that she employed weavers to create kente based on her own specifications. Although Ababio created a variety of fashion designs, she was best known for her f ormal kente attire, as indicated by several color photographs from The Daily rchives ( Figure 5 34 ) . Although these photographs were unlabeled, a
251 careful examation of the background of each photograph reveals that these kente fashions were creat 7 Each garment was crafted from a single piece of kente cloth, as evidenced by the contrasting kente borders on the hem s of all three garments. The bright blue and white color scheme of one kente gown indicates that Ababio was commissioning weavers to create specific color schemes, as the colors are not typic al of historical kente cloths ( Figure 5 35 ) . The silhouette of each garment is relatively simple; all three are nar row floor length gowns with slight variations in the style of the neckline and sleeves, allowing the patterns and color schemes of the kente cloth to serve as the focal point of each g arment. garments are indic ative o f one of the prominent trends of Ghanaian fashion du ring the 1990s. Kente cloth was popular both in Ghana and abroad. During a time when kente was sewn into all manner of goods, ranging from ties and shoes to teddy bears, Ababio consistently transformed kente cloth s a form of attire for special events . As Ross has noted: more international and stylish guise. By tailoring kente cloth into contemporary silhouettes, Ababio made kente cloth wearable 7 In the photograph of a woman wearing a predominantly gold kente, there is a sign in the background here is a large banner with appears in two additional photographs of women wearing kente gowns, both of whom are carrying a single flower and wearing elb ow length gloves trimmed with white fur. Based on these similarities, I strongly believe these photographs are from the same Joyce Ababio fashion show. I estimate these photographs to be from 2003, as most of the photographs in the Daily Graphic albums a re from the late 1990s and early 2000s.
252 and cosmopolitan , much like her predecessor Juliana Norteye. This is not to say that Ababio did no t use kente in other garments; Ababio stated that she wanted kente cloth to be used for all manner of clothing, incorporating and activewear for women. Norteye hoped to broaden the use of kente cloth, furthering its importance as an indicator of a nationalist, cosmopolitan identity. Despite her expansive approach to kente, h er formal kente gowns received the most attention in newsprint, suggesting they were her most popular designs among fashion con s cious women in Accra. Formal kente fashions were synonymous with label and were ultimately her mo st influential fashion garments , establishing a genre of kente fashions that would be elaborated upon by a younger g eneration of designers. 8 Accra, most significant was her creation of the only independent fashion school in Ghana, the Vogue Style School of Fashion and Design . 9 As previously stated, after her initial success following her premiere at friends and community members began approaching Ababio to request that she teach their children how to sew. As Ababio recoll different textures of fabric have to be handled differently. My idea w (Ababio 2012 : personal interview ). For over seventeen years, Abab has offered one year certificate programs in fa shion design and graphic design. In the last 8 several collections of formal kente attire, including a collection that combined kente cloth with silhouettes of traditional Swiss costumes. Ann Marie Addo of JIL fashions has an exclusive line of formal kente fashions that are dramatically embellished with rhinestones and beads. 9 The majority of fashion programs in Accra are part of larger universities or polyte chnics.
253 five years, she has graduated several students who are becoming well known fashion designers in Ghana and abroad, including Aisha Obuobi, Brigitte Merk i, and the design team of Sumaiya Mohammed and Kabutey Dzietror , known as PISTIS . Several of her students have received scholarships to attend fashion programs in the United States, program in fashion des ign. In 2013, Ababio achieved approval from the Ghanaian government to begin offering two year and four year degree programs in fashion design, prompting Ababio to re name her school the Joyce Ababio College of Creative Design. as an instructor and mentor have been recently although her main focus is the further development of her college. Ababio was one of the most significant Ghanaian fashion designers of the 1990s, with her formal kente fashions illustrative of a significant fashion trend that h as continued to this day. While Joyce Ababio was gaining fame for her fashion designs , Kofi Ansah , a Ghanaian born, B ritish edu c ated fashion designer whose garments were gaining popularity among British elite, retur ned to Ghana to continue his career in Accra. Ansah frequently refers to himself as the implying that he established, Ansah was not the foun der of Ghanaian fashion, calling into question several of his recollections regarding his career and successes . Despite the potential bias of his reflections, they provide a colorful account of his career and are important to
254 record, with future research hopefully providing a more nuanced understanding of his contributions . 1990s, Ansah distinguished himself from other designers by creating elaborate and imaginative garments that had an i nternational flair , y et were deeply connected to his Ghanaian heritage. Like Ricci Ossei, Kofi Ansah began his fashion career in Europe. After completing his secondary schooling in Ghana during the late 1960s , Ansah had difficult y choosing his future career path. As he n I , I was (A nsah 2012 : personal interview ). Following his short forays into medicine and architecture , Ansah decide d his best option would be to e migrate to England. As Ansah stated in his own descriptive and facetious manne went to England and checked myself into a nice mental home called Chelsea School of Art : personal interview ). In the 1960s , London was known for its thriving fashion culture . e noted in his publication Style City: How London Became a Fashion Capital developed during the 1960s as a global leader in innovative fashion When Ansah arrived in London in the early 1970s , the economic boom of the 1960s was Although much of the carefree
255 of Art maintained their creativity and innovativeness, likely influenced by iconic British designers of the 1960s, such as Mary Quant and Ossie Clark. Ansah recollected that , British fashion was totally un restrained, like a young filly out in the wi ld ( Ansah 2012 : personal interview ). He recalled that his classmates were very experimental in their dress, one coming to class wearing a trash bag he had transformed into a shiny coat ( 2012: personal interview ). Ansah was clearly influenced by his time at the Chelsea School of Art, which ultimately informed his exuberant and imaginative approach to fashion design. Ansah graduated from Chelsea in 1977 with first class honours and by the early 1980s, he was participating in international fashion exhibitions . As a member of the London Designer Collection, Ansah held his first fas hion show in 1982, presenting a collection that consisted primar i ly of structured jacquard skirts and suits . For his earliest designs , Ansah believed that a good designer, I had to create very British clothes, like things the Queen of England would wear 2012: personal interview ). Ansah recalled that his initial collection sold well, recounting buyers from all came to his show and expressed interest in purchasing his ( 2012: personal interview ). Following the advice of his group coordinator, Ansah later contacted two of the buyers and much to his dismay, explained that he had to cancel their orders due to his limited production ability. This anecdote, in addition to revealing achieve success and fame as a fashion designer, illustrates what Ansah describes as the
256 the youth in post independence Ghana. As assured us that the sky was the limit and let no one tell you otherwise. You can be anything you want to be if you put your mind to it. I had no fear 2012: personal interview ). n imp ortant collect ion that drew on his Ghanaian heritage. c e they [the British elite] have accepted you, then if you come out with something quirky or not what 2012: personal inter view). The collection, known as The Blue Zone, premiered in1988 at the Dorchester Hotel in London as part of a larger event organized by the Ivory Coast Embassy to celebrate the anniversary of Ivorian independence. Following its official unveiling, Ansah stated that he showed the Blue Zone at the 1988 London Fashion Week , where it received 2012: personal interview ). The collection consisted o f an array of garments : bustiers and corsets, parachute pants and bolero jackets , even kitten heels, all fashioned from a striking and boldly patterned blue denim ( Figure 5 36 ) . According to Ansah, the Blue Zone collection was his most successful collection charity show and I had these clothes there (from the Blue Zone collection). A certain, very famous royal bought an outfit and [my collection] ignited interview ). To further illustrate the success of his Blue Zone collection and its popul arity among the British elite , Ansah recounted a personal experience that involved the
257 10 As Ansah stated , during a visit knew immediately ). Ansah brought pieces of his printed denim designs to Accra in 1992 . Ansah explained that runs of this printed denim. I did them in England, but I brought them he re (to Ghana) . I had a large stock and people started buying them, they were quite hot interview). A nsah returned to Ghana in 1992, so that his children could experience life in zed, so I thought I needed : personal interview ). A second reason for his return was his desire to further develop and influence his native country. As Ansah president, Kwame Nkrumah, who inspired me to no end. So I just said, let me come and put something 2012: personal interview ). the , beginning a long and successful caree r as one of fashion designers. fashion culture , transforming his predominantly European couture designs into garments that would resonate w ith Ghanaians, without sacrificing his training and originality . The earliest reference to Ansah in the Sunday Mirror mentioned his participation in the 1993 PrÃª t a Porter Feminin in Paris, accompanied by a photograph 10 2012).
258 seamlessly mixing diverse prints is clearly evident ( Figure 5 37 ). The garment consists of what appears to be a sleeveless top, high waisted pants and a headwrap, all sewn f rom a variety of intricately detailed, indigo batik cloth. Instead of clashing, the monochromatic color palette and grid like structure of the batik designs creates a harmonious, fluid appearance. The name of his collection, coupled with the dramatic hea dwrap, suggest s that Ansah was drawing inspiration from the Tuareg people of West and North ern Africa, who are famous for wearing garments of the deepest indigo. The designs of the batik, which include a crosshatched motif and circular patterns, are more reminiscent of Nigerian or Ghanaia n Ansah , aiding in the organization of the event and exhibiting h is own collection. In an article announcing the show, Adwoa Bonsu described the designer himself in the ostentatious couture market. He has produced a collection of Western shapes in African fabrics. Hues of blue domi nate and the flamboyance of his couture cutting is incorporated into this range of ready to It is likely predominantly featured varying hues of blue. By 1995, Ansah and his fashions were featured on the front page of The Sunday Mirror , officially announcing the opening of his Art Dress Limited showroom located near the Hotel Shangri La. As the anonymous author explained
259 his use of local fabrics 1995: 11). This observation was echoed by Ansah, who stated that to use any W : personal interview ). The author continued by asserting that ca ( 1995: 11). Despite his contemporary focus on creating expensive, haute couture clothing , Ansah initially his designs at affo Dress showroom are moderate compared to what such good quality stuff would cost in be able to wear his prices fairly 11). The ions is difficult to ascertain, however currently, Ansah prides himself on the exclusivity of his designs , producing clot hing that o nly a small portion of elite population can afford . T his is significantly different from his approach mentioned in 1995, which appears to have been more inclusive . An sah continued to participate in group fashion shows Ansah also collaborated with other designers, such as shoe designer Kwesi Nti and milliner Miss Koo. In a fashion show from November 1995, Miss Koo created highly fanciful hats to comple , including one that mimicked the shape of a teacup ( Figure 5 38 ).
260 Ansah collaborated with Kwei Nti and Miss Koo for his solo fa shion show in 1995 , held at the annual dinner dance of the British Women Association on November 4, 1995. women, particularly Mirror contributor Adwoa Bonsu, who described Ansah 11). titled The Greatest Show in the West designs ranging from beachwear to evening wear fab rics. voluminous coats with effortless tunics, fitted short skirts or long splits with lean gamine 1995: Ansa was as reds, with blacks, blues with whites, greens with 1995: 11). Bonsu con simple fabrics could be transfor 11). Two photographs of ( Figure 5 39 ) . was further illustrated on the front page of the December 29, 1995 issue of The Sunday Mirror , which featured two photograp hs of his latest designs. The garment on the right was comprised of several fabri cs, including what resembles an indigo tie and dye and a fabric mimicking bogolan motifs ( Figure 5 40 ) . The second garment appears to have
261 been an amalgamation of beadwork and printed fabric, although due to the poor quality of the image, i t is difficult to draw terial . These in combining seemingly disparate materials into frican fashion, accompanied by five color photographs of his various fashion garments . the Sunday Mirror and the Daily Graphic . They ranged from the unexpected, like his dram atic velvet interpretation of a kaba and slit , to the reworking of popular looks, such as his wax print dress with matching teacup hat ( Figure 5 41 , 5 38 ). During this time Ansah began collaborating with GTP, which not only influenced his fashion collecti ons, companies. Following the economic hardships of the 1980s, GTP was struggling to produce quality wax print. As Ansah recollected: one : personal interview ). Mary Ann Littrell documented colors considered undesirable by the Ghanaian consumer (Littrell 1985: 67). Not only was GTP short on dyes, but they lacked proper finishing chemicals, which meant, as Ansah Ans ah 2012 : personal interview ).
262 : personal interview ). 11 Ansah remarked that i n ord er to restore their reputation, GTP wanted to laun ch a new line of fabrics. According to Ansah, he advised against re 201 2: personal interview of Sikaprint, a n assortment of solid co lored fabric s printed with metallic motifs , including feathers and an array of geometric patterns. a metallic foil to the surface of the Sikaprint fabrics. On February 1 st , 1997, the Sunday Mirror documented Sikaprint fashion show, featuring an array of garments designed exclusively by Ansah . s fashions, which featured imaginative silhouettes and a melding garments were created to showcase latest fabric. The designs are relatively simple, with an emphasis on wearability, as evidenced t suits ( Figure 5 42 variation on the kaba and slit as part of his Sikaprint fashion show, indicating that Ansah was clearly designing to appeal to a broader clientele ( Figure 5 43 ) . After aiding in the launc s Sika print, Ansah was an active participant in introduction of wax print fabrics . As Ansah explained, GTP hoped to remind Ghanaians that they were cap able of producing high quailty, colorful wax print fabrics . fashion 11 It is necessary to acknowled during the 1990s, resulting in a shortage of cloth, but whether or not GTP fabri c was considered one of the worst producers of wax print fabric remains unsubstianted.
263 show on March 28 th , 1998. According to Ansah, his main advice to GTP was that 2012: personal interview ). was heeded, as photographs from the event illustrate a complete lack of yellow prints in favor of a more diverse color palette of reds, greens, blues and creams. The new colors was acknowledged by the Sunday Mirror Ansah recounted the fashion even t in detail, stating that wardrobes, so we did a rebirth. At the beginning of the show, we had a dummy of a baby and then we piped in the sound of a baby c Ansah 2012: personal interview ). the event showcased Ghanaian fashions from the 1960s through the 1990s, ending with designs for the future, dubbed Sika Futro . I n addition to Ansah, who designed fashions inspired by the 1980s and 1990s, Alfie Designs and Winigol designed fashions for the 1960s and 1970s. All three designers created fashions for the future, which Bonsu described as garmen ts meant only for the catw alk. elaborated by a promotional article from the Sunday Mirror role advancement in technology and with an eye towards development, GTP is now
264 producing seven non 1998: development of African prints from the 60s through the 90s and beyond into the future 1998: 21). Only one of s garments was featured in the Sunday Mirror , a voluminous, floor length dress sewn from a dizzying print of cowrie shells. Although Ansah did not mix this fabric with other prints, it further attests to his ability to manipulating prints and create dazzl ing fashions. Much like other fashion materials, the popularity of wax print is cyclical; t he reincorporation of wax print fabric as a material for elite, designer fas hions illustrates its second revivial following its popularity during the late 1950s a nd 1960s. Similar to its symbolic me anings following independence, w ax print in the 1990s served as a representation of a Ghanaian nationalist identity. The fabric became a symbol for the country and could be worn equally on the market streets and the ru nways of Accra. T he prece ding chapters will demonstrate that the popularity of wax print fabric continues to wax and wane, while maintaining its importance as a symbol of a Ghanaian nationalist identity. Ansah continued to develop his reputation as one designers, participating in fashion shows i n Accra and throughout Europe. Ansah was the winner of the Millennium 2000 African Fashion Awards and he designed the wax print fabric i l ee Celebration. In 2 008, Ansah designed the costumes for the opening and closing ceremonies of the African Cup of Nations, which was hosted by Ghana. Since 2009, Ansah has participated in several of
265 in Rome , which aim to promote Africa n fashi on designers and provide them with international exposure . In 2009 , Ansah also participated in the third and final Ghana Fashion Weekend, in which he was featured as one of the incl usion in fashion designers included, and the only one representing Ghana, Ansah was praised co developing future fashion designers, particularly his involvement in the founding of the Federation of African Designers (FAD). Ansah remains an active participant in A frican and European fashion shows, creating at least one new collection on an annual basis. As Ansah continues to serve as the advisor for The Web e hopes to involve young, aspiring designers in his next project, which will focus on partnering with E uropean designers to create African inspired fashions in Accra regularly accepts a small g roup of apprentices, whom he trains to uphold his exacting st andards of garment construction and fashion design . s not A s C outure : An Assessment of Kofi Fashions Kofi Ansah can be consi dered the first formally trained, haute couture fashion designer in Ghana . Althou gh his original collections focused on stylish and expertly tailored garments for ever y day wear, his most recent collections indicate his strength in creating unexpected and avant garde garments that are rooted in imagined vision s of Africa, creating desig ns that blend iconic African textiles with Euro centric fantasies of
266 the African continent . creation of unabashedly bold haute couture designs , is the creation of garments that subtly allude t o African inspirations, creating clothing that emphasizes form and o fashion design, three of his most significant fashi on collections will be assessed: his Blue Zone collectio n from the late 1980s . By examining a collection from the beginning of his career and with examples of his more recent wo h and the shift in his design aesthetic will be established. known contemporary fashi on designers. in 1988, was his first collection to be released in Accra. A publicity photograph of the featuring four models posed in printed denim is ( Figure 5 36 ) . Although the collection premiered in 1988, Ansah explained that he developed the concept for h is Blue Zone collecti on in 1986 and produced his fir st prototype garments in 1987. Ansa h collaborated with the well known English wax company ABC textiles , a company that exported fabrics to Ghana, to print a bo tanical wax print design onto a sixteen ounce denim that 12 c ollaboration 12 Sixteen ounce denim is considered a heavier denim, which likely could better withstand being printed with an additional design. When Ansah mentioned these garments and the weight of the denim, he said
267 with ABC textiles initiated his continued practice of incorporating African textiles and motifs i n to the majority of his future fashion collections. What is the Blue Zone limited color palette. Instead of th e bold and visually jarring colors associated with most wax print patterns Blue Zone garments are monochromatic, encompassing shades that range from an almost white blue to a deep indigo blue color palette was intentional and went beyond his personal design aesthetics . I n order to appeal to a Western clientele Ansah restricted his color palette to blues and whites, shades he believed were preferred by Americans and Europeans. As Ansah teasingly asked me during The French flag? The British flag ? Ansah 2012: personal interview ) Ansah further explained the color palette with the following anecdote. Shortly after the premiere of Blue Zone collection , he participated in the London fashion buyer event Pure London , held annually at the Olympia London exhibition center. Prior to this event, Ansah recollected that one of his garments , a Chic ( 2012: personal interview). Ansah explained that the dress, which featured bold colors, your skin, wishes 2012: personal interview ). recollections are accurate, then his assumptions were correct; shades of blue and white appealed to 1980s European
268 aesthetics of fashion more than the brighter and vibrant colors characteristic of West African wax prints and Ghanaian kente cloth. designed with European consumers in mind, but the garments were African in inspiration . By using a wax print pattern that was created for West Africa by ABC Textiles, Ansah subtly infused his colle ction with a West African flair, identifiable only to ind ividuals familiar with wax print fabrics. These garments create a dazzling dichotomy; the botanical pattern is bold and visually arresting , yet due to its monochromatic qualities when printed on denim, the print does not immediately resonate with preconce ived notions of African wax print fabric. It is thi s notion of the overtly visible with covert meanings and intentions that makes approaches to fashion : his continued persistence on creating African inspired clothing that does not fulfill preconceived Western notions of African fashion. As Ansah explained to me in 2012, when foreigners come to his shop, he believes they are confronted with several realities that influence their in terpretation of ultimately, African. So their whole psychological make 2012: p ersonal interview ). Ansah would you think? Look at the garments on their relative merits, not the person who made it 2012: personal interview ) . In a discussion I had with Ansah in 2009, he was more direct. He explained that he wanted his garments to be sold in high end
269 department stores, like Neiman Marcus or Saks Fifth Avenue, with the hopes that potential customers would appreciate his designs for their exquisite tailoring, material, and style, only to later discover that his designs are created in Ghana, incorporating Ghanaian and West African materials and motifs. One of s most recent collections that further exemplifies this approach to fashion design was his Spring 2009 AltaRoma collection, which Ansah referred to as the The collection was comprised primarly of strip woven, Ewe kente cloth, but the c olor palette was uncharacteristic of both Ewe and Asante kente. Instead his botanical inspiration , incorporating colors that invoked the shades of flowers. The torso of one cocktail dress was fashioned f rom kente cloth of pastel green, purple and yellow , accented with similar colors of taffeta . A second dress , featuring a bubble skirt and halter neck , was sewn from kente with shades of pastel yellow, green, and lilac ( Figure 5 44 ). One of the most striking garments from the collection, which I saw being cloth ( Figure 5 45 ). During our conversations, this coat served as the epitome of viously mentioned aspiration of having his garments appreciated for their quality of design and material was in reference to this coat. The material s of garments are not only recognizably A frican, they are clearly Ghanaian, as they feature culturally si ,
270 visually softening his garment s subtly reference West African and Ghanaian textiles in an attempt to, as Ansah would say, appea I think these t wo collections go beyond the alteration of West African and f ashion in a subversive and in herently clever manner. Ansah has the ability to disguise purposefully emphasizing West African textiles and motifs as the focal points for his garments. This is particularly evident in his on, which superficially appears to have no connections with West Africa n fashions and textiles, yet is purposefully linked to the complex history of Europ ean produced wax print . , his second approa ch to fash ion design could be considered fashion hyperbole. This approach, which emphasizes bold and fantastical designs, is exemplified by his Winter 2009 AltaRoma Collection ( Figure 5 46 ) . Originally shown in Rome, Italy, Ansah revised the collection, to include menswear, for the 2009 Ghana Fashion Weekend. Although not titled, Ansah described his Winter 2009 collection as garments that Malian heroines would wear to present themselves to the czar of Russia (Ansah 2009 : personal interview ) . The entire collection was fashioned primarily from bogolan cloth, with accents of black and white kente clot h a nd heavily embroidered pieces of PVC plastic . The garments ranged from floor length coats and evening gowns to mini dresses paired with bogolan leggings ( F igure 5 48 ) . Unlike his previously discussed collections, Ansah presented bologan
271 cloth in its unadulterated form; a highly rec o g nizable textile that is synonymous with both African textiles and contemporary African fashion. By prominently featuring bog o lan, Ansah is both visually asserting that these garments are African inspired and inspired fashion . Ansah created this collection during a time when African inspired fashion was dominating Eu ropean and American runways. As explained by Time: African style expressed in hand blocked prints paired with recycled denim This special issue of Time included a photo spread that proclaimed ( 2009: 36). This notion of African inspired fashion, one that relies heavily on stereotypical representations of African print fabrics and textiles, as well as muted . Ansah employed bogolan cloth as his iconic African print, juxtaposed the material with a variety of earth tones, and accessorizied the models with headwraps, bold jewelry, and spears runway presentation of this collection created a fanta stical and imagined representation of Africa that echoed the African inspired collections of p
272 My analysis of as a fashi on designer, as well as his intellectual approach to designing fashions. Ansah is clearly aware of the European fashion market and deftly creates garments that both subvert and fulfill the expectations of African and African ins col lections ultimately reflect his own identity and personal history; his garments are clearly rooted in both a European and a Ghanaian context. Ansah skillfully blends this dichotomous background into his fashion designs, creating garments that reflect Euro pean silhouettes and styles, but that are intensely evocative of West Africa and Ghana, ultimately continuing the trend established by Juliana Norteye of creating cosmopolitan designer fashions. This chapter has demonstrated that the 1990s was an era of fashion culture. A plethora of Ghanaians introduced designer fashion labels, showcasing their diverse creations at a multitude of shows and events. As the significance of designer fashions returned, the kaba continued to develop as a fashionable form of nationalist attire, particularly with the support of Former First lady Nana Konadu Ageyman Rawlings. The 1990s was also a time for the resurgence of kente cloth as a m aterial for fashionable attire. Ghanaian fashion designers return to kente cloth, exemplified by Joyce Ababio, echoes earlier renaissance as a visual signifier of Ghanaian heritage. As the popularity of kente cloth extended to diasporic Africans and African Americ ans , kente became a symbol for broader notions of African heritage . encapsulates how Ghanaian fashions continued to represent a nationalist
273 cosmopolitanism. The gown was intended as a symbolic represent ation of the nation , with kente cloth as the material that best e mbodied the state, a symbolism rooted in independence philosophies. As with previously discussed de signers, the fashions of Ababio and A nsah population. The 1990s marked the and their assertion of power and autonomy through the consumption of designer fashions and the organi zation of fashion shows. Furthermore, the garments produced by Ababio , and particularly Ansah , served as additional assertions of power, as the majority of their designs invoked distinct associations with Ghanaian culture. B y manipulating his fashions to appear Western, while subtly saturating them with meanings indicative of a Ghanaian identity, Ansah created garments that appeal ed to a W estern aesthetic, but that were distinctly Ghanaian. Instead of , his fa shions allow ed consumers to wear his garments without realizing their intense Ghanaian symbolism, a complex and clear assertion of his own power as a designer, and of Ghanaian culture. As indicated by the designs of Joyce Ababio and Kofi Ansah, the two f ashion nationalist cosmopolitan fashions remained relevant to the citizens of Accra. Similar to the designs istinctly Ghanaian materials with European silhouettes and tailoring, creating fashions that evoked a distinct Ghanaian identity, while asserting their belonging to the global fashion community, ultimately resulting in the continuation of Ghanaian cosmopol itan fashions.
274 As the following chapters will indicate, the importance of cosmopolitan and nationalist fashions continues in Accr a, with the materials used to create these fashions experiencing the most drastic revisions.
275 Figure 5 1 . Garments Inspir ed by political parties, the Sunday Mirror , The Daily Graphic Archives. Figure 5 2 . fashion show, the Sunday Mirror , The Daily Graphic Archives.
276 Figure 5 3. the Sunday Mirror , The Daily Graphic Arc hives. Figure 5 4 . the Sunday Mirror , T he Daily Graphic Archives.
277 Figure 5 5. t he Sunday Mirror , T he Daily Graphic Archives. Figure 5 6 . The Sunday Mirror , The Daily Graphic Archives.
278 Figure 5 7. Nana Konadu Agyeman Rawlings (left), t he Sunday Mirror . The Daily Graphic Archives. Figure 5 8. Nana Konadu Agyeman Rawlings (right), The Sunday Mirror . The Daily Graphic Archives.
279 Figure 5 9. Nana Konadu Agyeman Rawlings (far right), the Sunday Mirror . The Daily Graphic Archives. Figure 5 10. Nana Konadu Agyeman Rawlings (center), t he Sunday Mirror . The Daily Graphic Archives.
280 Figure 5 11. Nana Konadu Agyeman Rawlings and Former First Lady Hillary Clinton, t he Sunday Mirror . The Daily Graphic Archives. Figure 5 12. Nana Konadu Agyeman Rawlings (foreground, right), the Sunday Mirror . The Daily Graphic Archives.
281 Figure 5 1 3. Silhouettes, the Sunday Mirror . T he Daily Graphic Archives. Figure 5 14. Silhouettes, the Sunday Mirror . The Daily Graphic Archives.
282 Figure 5 15. Silhouettes, The Sunday Mirror . The Daily Graphic Archives. Figure 5 16. Silho uettes, t he Sunday Mirror . The Daily Graphic Archives.
283 Figure 5 t he Sunday Mirror . The Daily Graphic Archives. Figure 5 18. Ghanaian bridesmaids wearing kente cloth, the Sunday Mirror . The Daily Graphic Archives.
284 Figure 5 19. Mary Carlis the Sunday Mirror . The Daily Graphic Archives. Figure 5 20. Comfort Botchway wearing kente dress, the Sunday Mirror . The Daily Graphic Archives.
285 Figure 5 21. Kente evening coat, The Sunday Mirror . The Daily Graphic Archives. Figure 5 22. Anne Rado wearing kente gown, the Sunday Mirror . The Daily Graphic Archives.
286 Figure 5 23 . Garments by Margaret Ofori Atta, the Sunday Mirror . The Daily Graphic Archives. Figure 5 24 . K ente bathing suit by Margaret Ofori Atta, the Sunday Mirror . The Daily Graphic Archives.
287 Figure 5 25 . Garment by Margaret Ofori Atta, the Sunday Mirror . The Daily Graphic Archives. Figure 5 26 . fashion show, the Sunday Mirror . The Daily Graphic Archives.
288 Figure 5 27 . Garment by Fantasy Designs, the Sunday Mirror . The Daily Graphic Archives. Figure 5 28 . Garment by Fantasy Designs, the Sunday Mirror . The Daily Graphic Archives.
289 F igure 5 29 . Hat by Fantasy Designs, the Sunday Mirror . The Daily Graphic Archives. Figure 5 30 . Shoes by Kwesi Nti, the Sunday Mirror . The Daily Graphic Archives.
290 Figure 5 31 . Wedding gown by Joyce Ababio, the Sunday Mirror . The Daily Grap hic Archives. Figure 5 32 . Joyce Ababi Joyce Ababio .
291 Figure 5 33 . Chief Nana Akyanfuo Akowuah Dateh II wearing kente cloth, 1970. Photograph by Eliot Elisofon, Eliot Elisofon Photograph Arch ives. National Museum of African Art. Figure 5 34 . Kent e evening gown by Joyce Ababio, The Daily Graphic Archives.
292 Figure 5 35 . Kente evening gown by Joyce Ababio, The Daily Graphic Archives. Figure 5 36 . n, Personal Collection of Kofi Ansah.
293 Figure 5 37 . the Sunday Mirror . The Daily Graphic Archives. Figure 5 38 . the Sunday Mirror . The Daily Graphic Archives.
294 Figu re 5 39 . the Sunday Mirror . The Daily Graphic Archives. Figure 5 40 . the Sunday Mirror . The Daily Graphic Archives.
295 Figure 5 41 . the Sunday Mirror . The Daily Graphic Archives. Figure 5 42 . the Sunday Mirror . The Daily Graphic Archives.
296 Figure 5 43 . the Sun day Mirror . The Daily Graphic Archives. Figure 5 44 . s Enchanted Garden collection, P ersonal c ollection of Kofi Ansah.
297 Figure 5 45 . A garment from Enchanted Garden collection, Photograph by Christopher Richards. Figure 5 46 . Personal c ollection of Kofi Ansah .
298 Figure 5 47 . Ghana Fashion Weekend, Photograph by Christopher Richards .
299 CHAPTER 6 TH E ARTIST AND THE ENTREPRENEUR: THE CAREERS AND DESIGNS OF While the 1990s was a time of unprecedented growth and creativity for Ghanaian fashion , many designers who were wildly successful during this period slowly fad ed two designers of their generation who have maintained their success as Accra transitioned into the new millennium. In 1995 , in Be n Nonterah, a young Ghanaian in formally trained in design , premiered his first fashion collection . He quickly became a successful fashion designe r , aided by his Ghanaian woman with an eye for the unconventio nal and an attention to detail. This chapter document s the careers of these two inextricably linked designers , exploring how the dissolution of their collaborative brand in 2008 encouraged each to progress down their own career path . Nonterah continues t o build his highly successful and profitable design label, focusing on designs that invoke a distinctly African, yet global identity, whereas Arthur has chosen to focus on creating highly artistic and imaginative garments that are frequently imbued with he r personal history and identity. Nonterah and Arthur are important culture , as they represent an era of designers who were influenced by the iconic creations of the established African designers of the 1990s, yet they are more established and successful than the emerging designers of the 21 st century. Nonterah and Arthur are distinctive; there are no other designers who began creating fashions as young adults in the 1990s and ulture. As this chapter
300 will attest , both Nonterah and Arthur create garments that reflect their distinct approaches to designing fashion, earning Nonterah my designation as as A Pastiche of Inspiration : Th e Beginnings of Ben Nonterah and Beatrice Careers Nonterah was raised in Accra during the 1970s , although his parents were from Kassena, a northeastern district located near the border of Ghana and Burkina Faso . shion scene began at the age of 20 , when he informally modeled and briefly worked for the successful 1990s Ghanaian fashion designer Mawuli Okudzeto. relationship with Okudzeto remain unclear, No nterah was undoubtedly influenced by his experiences with him , as evidenced by one of first fashion collections . During the early 1990s, Okudzeto incorporated kente cloth and batik fabric into his designs , and he created bold patchwork garments from a diverse array of wax print fabric ( Figure 6 .1) . When Nonterah premiered his second fashion collection in 1995, several of his patchworks were According to Nonterah, his interest in fashion developed prior to hi s experiences with Okudzeto. Nonterah recalled that his grandmother sewed garments and that he : personal interview ). Nonterah studied fine arts in secondary school and intended to complete a degree in architecture in the United States, but when his plans went unrealized, 2010: personal interview ). As Nonterah s sewing machine my sister used to sell [greeting] cards, so my [first shirt] was bought by
301 I produced two other shirts with the funds I got from the sale, and I just turned it over and ov ( 2010: personal interview ). During this beginning stage of his career, Nonterah sold his clothing from a in the Airport Residential neighborhood of Accra. and subsequent boutique is significant , as it provided him with access to both elite Ghanaians and wealthy expatriots. A customer o recollected her first She explained that she thought his clo thing was attractive and visually inter e sting, but she found the cost of the garments prohibitive. A s she admitted during an interview, I also said, chuckling to myself, I know who their clientele is, they are located in the airport residential area, so they have expatriot 2010 : personal interview ). in 1994 press, was held at the Novotel Hotel. According to No nterah, the show wa s titled and was organized with the intent to promote young Ghanaian fashion designers and artists ( Nonterah 2012 : personal interview ) ( Figure 6 .2 ). Nonterah showcased a variety of designs , including an assortment of garments sewn from Ivorian printed fabrics that featured an array of motifs, from stylized human figures to a variety of fruit s . The Ivorian fabrics were a significant departure from the wax prints found in Accra; the colors were darker and there was a higher contrast between the individual motifs and the background of the fabric. When asked why he chose these do
302 ). A particularly innovative garment f rom his first collection was a culotte ensemble sewn from alternating vertical strips of Ivorian printed fabric and solid cotton ( Figure 6 .3 ) . The Ivorian fabric featured a pattern of dark green pineapples, which Nonterah paired with a matching shade of s olid cotton . This angular vests with narrow front panels and it incorporated alternating strips of cloth, a technique mimicking strip weaving that Nonterah continued to revise throughout his career. the model who presented this garment played an important role in his clothing overseas, a practice that Nonterah would return to throughou t his career . As Nonterah recollected, the model, who was a student at the University of Legon, would London every summer. Of course, before going on holiday, she would borrow money from her parents for the ticket. Another way to make money is she would sell some of my stuff 2012: personal interview ). Th is collection marke d the beginning of reliance on international customers to bolster the success of his burgeoning fashion label, a practice employed by a variety of African fashion designers and classified by 2002: 1). On June 10 th , 1995, Nonterah participated in his second fashion show, organized part of an event called in the following week issue of the Sunday Mirror ,
303 skill for designing garments with complementary accessories ( 1995: 8) (Figure 6 .4 ) . Nonterah recollected that the fashion co fa : personal interview ). Nonterah participated in his third fashion show on July 8 th 1995 , Look of the Year , held at the British Council Hall ( Figure 6 .5 ) . The fashion event was organized by the Walk Tall Model School and Agency fashion designers of the ti me, including Kofi Ansah, Joyce Ababio, Jimi Delaja, Adzedu of Shapes and Kwesi Nti ( 1995: 9) . Nonterah exhib ited a collection of thirteen garments that ranged from knee length, hooded patchwork jackets, to short dresses of black lace a nd industrially printed bogolan cloth ( Figure 6 .6 ). These garme nts illustrate both designer , as well as a key element of his style and his use of disparate textiles to create visually bold and st ylish garments. A week later, the Sunday Mirror published . One garment, a dress of alternating strips of plain and printed fabric with an exaggerated collar, was featured on the Sunday M s front page and ) ( Figure 6 .7 ) . 1 Two additional photographs were included in the Sunday brief 1 (the label was also known as Ben and Bee). Following the dissolution of his partnership with Arthur, the brand has been consistently
304 column on the event, both . The first photograph was of a hooded patchwork jacket , likely inspired by his earlier exposure to Okudzeto designs , while the second outfit featured a shirt of industrially printed bogolan juxtaposed with light and dark blue cotton ( Figure 6 .8 ) . The fabrics were arrayed in a complex pinwheel pattern, creating an ey e catching effect ( Figure 6 .9 ) . According to Nonterah, his inc lusion in this particular show was highly beneficial for his career, expanding his clientele to include more Europea ns and middle clas s Ghanaians. were again featured in a 1996 issue of the Sunday Mirror ( 1996: 9) ( F igure 6 .10 ) . the Sunday Mirror may suggest that . Furthermore, it indicates ing young fashion designers of the mid 1990s. visited the aspi to late 1990s ( Figure 6 .11 ). To further establish the success of his fledgling brand , Nonterah embarked on a uniqu e business venture that aimed to sell his designs directly to African American tourists in Ghana. Nonterah partnered with Mona Boyd, an African American woman who established the Land Tours Ghana Limited in 1995, a company aimed at offering travel package s for African Americans visiting Ghana a nd other West African nations. Boyd brought wooden st all to the inside of his parent s one of the p oints of shopping. We would have these tour buses, mostly of African -
305 Americans and about fifty to sixy people would come to the shop. It got he ctic, but it was interesting. : personal interview ). In addition to bringing tour ists directly to his boutique, Nonterah and Boyd hosted occasional fashion shows for African American tourists. Nonterah recollected that another fashion designer, Jimmy Delaja. At one point, she had 180 to 200 tourists, and 2010: personal interview ). In another interview, Nonterah reflected on the importance of African American tourists to his career. As he explained, relied a lot on foreigners and African American : personal interview ). Acknowledging the prominent role of African Americans in the consumption and de significant, as it indicates the global, cosmopolitan appeal of his creations. Americans and other tourists furthered the popularity of his garments among Ghan aian elites, as they became stronger symbols of a cosmopolitan identity. popularity with African American s , his earliest collections were greatly influenced by their sartorial preferences. Amer icans were looking for African fabric, especiall y the mudcloth [bogolan cloth] , it was a big h 2012: personal interview ). Nonterah primarily used an industrially printed version of bogolan, which he explained was preferable due to its flexibility and resistance to bleeding. Nonterah designs were further influenced by the creations of
306 mudcloth was a big thing at that time. I really loved the patterns in the mudcloth, so I used it and mixed ). During this initial period of success, Nonterah decided to expand his know ledge of the fashion industry by attending a fashion merchandising course at the Fashion Institute of Technol ogy. Nonterah spent five months in New York City in 1997 . Nonterah credited the course with providing him important information on pricing his garments, as w ell as managing his shop. At the same time, Nonterah was informally improving his sewing skills. I picked it up from watching the tailor I t : personal interview ). While Nonterah continued to garner attent ion as an emerging fashion designer, he met Beatrice Anna Arthur. cosmopolitanism: Arthur was born in 1970 in Odessa, Ukraine, the child of a Russian mother and a Ghanaian father. Arthur spent the maj ority of her childhood in Accra , but returned to Odessa at the age of thirteen, where she lived with her Russian grandmother. Living with her grandmother a fforded Arthur the opportunity to learn a variety of handicrafts, including embroidery and knitting. As Arthur explained : Russian woman is supposed to be an all around woman; you learn to shoot the Russian bow, but you also learn how to knit and fix your own tire. So I grew up in a context where a woman is supposed to be self 0 : personal interview ). During her teenage years in Russia, Arthur began experimenting with embellishing her own clothing. According to Renee Mendy Ongoundou, author of Elegances Africaines bought everyday clothes and completely
307 trans formed them by adding a few personal touches Ongoundou 2002: 86 ). During her late teens, Arthur returned to Ghana and began attending school at the University of Ghana in Legon, where she met Nonte rah at a student strike (2002: 86 ). As Arthur rec and coming designer. I : personal interview ). Arthur began informally collaborating with Nonterah in the mid advi 2010: personal interview ). While Arthur was assisting Nonterah she continued attending courses at the University of Legon, graduating with her degree in Sociology and Spanish in 1999. She wo rked at the Ministry of Tourism as part of her National Service until 2000. 2 T he following year, Nonterah and Arthur embarked on an official partnership, establishing the brand Exotiq in 2001 ( Figure 6 .12 ) . ip was a fruitful collaboration, particularly due to their shared vision of de hen people hear African clothes , they imagine a dashiki, lots of colors and embroidery, [clothes] that you rope and America. My vision is to do clothes that : personal interview ). Arthur expresse d s imilar sentiments regarding her designs : fashion because I year n ed for funky and sty lish clothes that had a little e thnic touch to them. Most locally made clothes were very traditional. I wanted something modern and with Afro Arthur 2013 ). 2 quires students above the age of 18 or recent graduates of Ghanaian universities to work for one year in either the private or public sector, as part of their civic responsibility.
308 ir combined creative e nergies, producing garments that blended their individual conceptions of fashion. One garment, an ankle length, tunic style dress, illustrates how melded in their designs ( Figure 6 .13 ). The main emphasis of the dres s is its large field bogolan fabric is also reminiscent of importance of bogolan in appealing to his diverse clientele. The addition of a small reflect incorporated into her designs. Although this particul ar garment suggests a blending of artistic visions, other garments, such as a bright orange tunic scattered with floral appliquÃ©s and zippers , indicate s the hand of one designer (in this case ) ( Figure 6 .14 ). Nonterah continued to market his brand overseas. In 2001, Nonterah partnered with an African American woman enamored with th eir designs, who agreed to informally assist in promoting and selling their fashions in the United States ( Figure 6 .15 ) . me to Chicago to have a show. She used to live in Ghana and she would buy a lot of garments. When she went back to Chicago, a lot of people gave her compliments, so she decided to invite me to come and showc 2012 : personal interview extremely successful . I got a lot of orders. 2012: personal interview ).
309 The year 2001 most significant accomplishments : winning the KORA award for fashion in Sun City, South Africa. As five, six, seven, eight years, so you can imagine what it was like f or me. It was like winning an endorsement. After KORA, people were crazy. I could even sell them said I wa 2010 : personal interview ). Their winn ing collection consisted of sixteen outfits, as well as accessories, that featured an explosion of embroidery and appliquÃ© ( Figure 6 .16 ) . Not only did this experience expand their clientele, it afforded them the opportunity to connect with established fas hion designers, such as Alphadi from Niger . In 2004, Nonterah and Arthur moved from their location at the Nonterah family garage to a free standing buil ding located in Labone, an area adjacent to the expatriate neighborhood of Osu. The two designers con tinued to collaborate until 2008, when they mutually decided to end their partnership and embark on separate design careers. Nonterah and Arthur opened e for her label, whereas Nonterah Nonterah succinctly summarized his partnership with ideas and I picked on some of her ideas. Of course , we both inspired each other. We 2012: personal interview ). Initially following the dissolution of their brand, each designer were virtually indistinguishable from their collaborative creation s. This observation was
310 echoed by Anne Adam s, a retired Cornell professor and one of Arthur most faithful and longstanding clients. When Adams compared the pieces that she purchased from the Benign label to garments that Nonterah and Arthur were creating : personal interview ). As time has passed, both designers have b egu n to distance themselves from their former label, developing their own distinct styles and approaches to fashion. Despite their continued efforts to highlight their own perspective s , both Nonterah and Arthur retain elements in their designs that are r eminiscent of their former collaboration . In order to understand their individual approaches to designing garments, the following section s will analyze garments from Nonterah collections produced after the conclusion of thei r professional p artnership. The s e two section s encapsulate each have fostered separate identi ties as entrepreneur and artist . The Designs of Ben Nonterah Upon establishing his own label in 2008 , Nonterah immediately renamed his a new logo, distancing himself from his former associations with Arthur . Nonter is a complex triangular form topped by a spiral motif, which he explained as referencing the circle of life and the personality trait of being grounded ( Figure 6 .17 ) . Nonterah stated that he decided to use his surname for his label becau are under privileged or under recognized . I decided to promote the name and therefore : personal interview ).
311 By 2009, Nonterah was actively participating in international fashion shows, beginning with the 2009 Arise Africa Fashion Week i n Johannesburg, South Africa, followed by the 2009 Festival International de la Mode Africaine (FIMA) in Niamey, Niger. In 2010, Nonterah showcased his designs at Sira Vision in Dakar, Senegal and at Labo Ethnik Fashion Week end in Paris, France. Nonterah participated alongside Kofi Ansah at the 2011 Switzerland Green Fashion event, showcasing garments sewn from locally woven textiles and other indigenous materials . In September 2011, Nonterah d ressed Amber Rose, an American model and celebrity Nonterah recounted t three outfits for the night. S (Nonterah 2012 : personal interview decision garments was indeed an important endorsement of h wardrobe changes were a popular topic in the American and Ghanaian blogospheres ( Figure 6 .18 ) . After the concert, Nonterah continued to emphasize his assocation with this highly visible American celebrity; the latest version of his website features a banner ( www.nonterah.com ). In 2011 , Nonterah shift ed his focus away from creating runway collections for international fashion shows to the expansion of his designer labe l. I n the latter half of 2011 Nonterah opened his second boutique, lo cated inside the Movepick Hotel . 3 As 3 The Move n pick Hotel was originally the Ambassador Hotel, built in 1957 as a gift from the United Considered to be the most luxurious and historically re opened in 2011 after a sign ificant remodeling.
312 Nonterah explained, the entire boutique, which features a bold color scheme of lime green and orange highlighted by large gold adinkra motifs, was d esign ed and built entirely by him and members of his staff ( Figure 6 .19 he stated. Nonterah believes the opening of his latest boutique is instrumental in expanding the presence of his brand. Nonterah elaborate d on his future plans : overall goal is to have outlets in different places and in different countries, so I thought this was another step. From this one, I will move to other West African countries and : p ersonal interview ). is evident collection , exemplified by a green and yellow kente gown ( Figure 6 .20 ) . The main portion of the gown i s sewn from two pieces of heavy handwoven fabric, in shades of turquoise and yellow. A strip of kente cloth is incorporated down the center of the garment, featuring similar hues of turquoise and yellow. The lower portion of the gown alternates between h orizontal strip s of tie and dyed eyelet fabric and brightly colored kente cloth. The garment is further adorned with a border of cowrie shells, embroidered adinkra symbols, and an appliquÃ©d, stylized bird ( Figure 6 .21 ) . The embellishment of the gown sugg ests the influence of rment is cri s p and tailored . The adornments do not detract from the silhouette of the garment, nor from its eye catching fabrics. The on balanced and purposefully placed motifs , as well as its thoughtful color scheme , is in the majority of his designs.
313 A second recalls his early fascination with bogolan . turtlen eck dress , made of bogolan cloth , is subtl ly adorned with paillette sequins, embroidered motifs, and fringe that accentuate ( Figure 6 .22 ) . As with the previously discussed garment, ornamentations are carefully place d; his subtle embellishment of stripes inside a rectangular motif, topped by an embroidered spiral, is an understated reference to his logo , which intentionally serves as the focal point of the dress. The garment additionally features a limited range of e arth tones , with complementing his chosen color scheme. anced approach to embellishment, coupled with his carefully orchestrated inter play of colors and fabrics, serve s as one of his distinguishing feature s , further enhancing the appeal o f his garments to a diverse clientele of Ghanaians and African Americans . . After a decade of incorporating a mÃ©lange of fabrics int o his garments, Nonterah has become adept at mixing both prints and colors. As expressed by one of his most devoted clients, Michelle McKinney Hammond, an author and businesswoman of Ghanaian and Barbardian parentage, cs and the colors that caught my eye, I think he has a great eye for coordinating fabrics and McKinney Hammond 2012 : personal interview ). e predominantly made of wax print . Nonterah explained his current approach to wax print (Nonterah 2012 : personal interview ).
314 His juxtaposition of a yellow wax print fabri c featuring a pattern of navy blue scrolls with a leopard printed fabric is expertly achieved, a harmonious, yet unexpected pairing ( Figure 6 .23 ). In a second garment from his Novotel boutique, Nonterah mixed cheetah and leopard with a cream colored wax p pattern of dark brown and bright blue geometric shapes ( Figure 6 .24 ) . This outfit, comprised of a high waisted skirt and a long sleev ed shirt with flounced sleeves, is exempliary His combination of contrasting fabrics is not visually jarring, as were his earlier patchwork garments from the 1990s . The result is an aesthetically pleasing outfit which is visually dazzling , yet not overpowered by one specific print. Even his most atypi cal garments, such as the floor length coat Nonterah designed for his 2009 FIMA runway show, are harmonious in spite of his outlandish use of motifs and materials ( Figure 6 .25 ) . Like the previously discussed bogolan dress, minance of earth tones, punctuated by occasional pops of bright orange. His embellishments of meandering embroidery and oversized adinkra symbols are symmetrical, as are This coat illustrates that despite its carefully executed design aesthetic . After accompanying Nonterah several times to purchase fabrics in Makola market, the primacy of prints to his design aesthetic became clear . Nonterah frequently ent er ed the area of textile vendors with a preconceived vision of what he intended to purchase, although he rarely voiced his wax print preference . Instead, he scan ned endless stacks of fabric, paying little attention to suggestions made by vendors or
315 friend s , until he found his desired material. In one shop, overwhelming arrays of imported fabrics were stacked from floor to ceiling, with most of the materials barely discernible from one another ( Figure 6 .26 ) . Nonterah patiently picked through the haphazard piles, illustrating his determination and commitment to his creative vision. In many instances, if Nonterah purchased a wax print, the textile vendor suggested the same pattern in a completely different colorway. Nonterah almost always rejected their su unspoken design aesthetic. is not the only element of his fashion s that has ensured his success as a designer; part of his ap peal is his selection of iconic silhouettes that are easily wearable and recognizable . The most potent example of this is his recent adaption of short and voluminous style made famous by Yves Saint Laurent for Christian Dior in 1958 . Nonterah has made several versions of this dress , using one wax print for the majority of the garment, but creating visual interest by adding sleeves and edgings of contrasting fabrics ( Figure 6 .27 ). Nonterah also includes variations on the shift dress in his design repertoire, as well as the famo us and popular safari suit . By relying on familiar forms of fashion design, Nonterah is able to make his fashions more appealing to a diverse clientele, particularly to African Americans and Europeans. The m ost significant aspect of clothing is that he consistently features West African fabric s and textiles in his designs. Nonterah blends conspicuous references to West Africa, such as his repeated use of printed and hand dyed bogolan, with materia ls and motifs that subtly reference African c ultures and textiles , such as his
316 inclusion of small adinkra symbols or isolated patterns from bogolan cloth . Although the specific fabrics and motifs may change, a distinct West African inspiration is ever pre sent . As Nonterah has matured as a designer , indirect references to West African cultures have become a significant element in his clothing. Since 2009, Nonterah has incorporated large, embroidered spiderwebs on several of his garments, particularly men ( Figure 6 .28 ) . As he explained, the spiderweb is an allusion to Kwaku Ananse, a popular character in Ghanaian folklore. 4 Nonterah view s this motif as a way to promote African and Ghanaian culture s . Additionally, Nonterah continued i ncorporating small, isolated . Nonterah elaborated on these embellishments: put little African accents that can still promote our tr (Nonterah 2012 : personal interview ). Nonterah explained his continued reliance on adinkra symb ols, stating a Asante adinkra His repeated use of adinkra and bogolan motifs , as well as the spiderweb, illustrate how Nonterah balances symbols that are easily recognizable and immediately identifiable as West African, with motifs that are obscure and require contemplation in order to fully understand their significance. One of Nonte Green Fashion Week collection. Initially, the shirt appears to make no allusions to West 4 Kwaku Ananse is a popular folk tale character in Ghana and throughout West Africa known for his cunning nature. Kwaku Ananse is often depicted as a spider, so any visual references to arachnids, such as cobwebs, are often associate d with him. Kwaku Ananse has special significance to weavers; one particular folktale claims that the spider and its web were what initially inspired the creation of kente cloth.
317 Africa, save for the shirt collar base, which is sewn from a subdued wax print fabric ( Figure 6 .29 ) . The embroidered design on the left shoulder of the shirt , which could relate to specific bogolan patterns, is a generic design added to stimulate visual interest and to make the shirt more universally appealing; t s allusion to West Africa is apparent on the back of the shirt , made of a burlap cocoa pod sack ( Figure 6 .30 ) . s label, stamped in bold block letters, reads Nont intensely meaningful and goes beyond simple notions of recycling ; it immediately invokes associations with the production and trade of cocoa pods, as well as its significance to Ghan The seemingly inconsequential burlap pocket flaps , sewn from the same material as the cocoa sack, serve as a further al . By positioning the burlap fabric, particularly the pocket flaps, aga inst a dark blue cotton, the burlap material becomes the focal point of the shirt , further e symbolic meaning . can be read as a clever double entendre ; suggesting that Nonter wn garment is Ultimately, cocoa pod shirt illustrates his ability to create complex and innovative designs that are visually appealing as they are meaningful. continued use of West African fabrics and motifs , combined with his skillful balancing of colors and his reliance on r ecognizable Western silhouettes , m ake his garments appealing to both Ghanaians and Westerners as exemplars of what Miche lle McKinney Hammond reiterates
318 really wear a take it [his clothes] to the United States, you can take it to London, it ( McKinney Hammond 2012 : personal interview ). These a ssertions are further supported by art historian g for international markets, Nonterah has created styles that are distinctively Ghanaian, yet trends with culturally sig nificant West African materials , as well as his cont inued efforts at internationally marketing his clothing, has fueled his success and popularity as a designer both in Ghana and abroad, earning him the moniker of In contrast to Nonter global appeal, equally valuing the local and global elements of his designs and cre ated with marketability in a champion of artistry and personal expression over other aspects of fashion design and production. Although Arthur describes her clothing in similar terms to Nonterah , stating they are indicative of an cosmo politan , garmen ts are more than a melding of global forms with African materials. Unlike other fashion designers, Arthur is an artist using fabric as a vehicle to express her eclectic creativity and to explore complex issues regarding her own identity. Arthur establishe d her designer label in 2008, opening a boutique the same year and officially premiering her designs at the 2009 Gha na Fashion Week end . Arthur participate d in a variety of fashion shows, including the 2010 AfriCollection in Fashion Week, the 2011 Chris Seydou Fashion
319 Week in Mali and the 2012 Malabo Fashion Week in Guinea. In Fall 2011, A rthur closed her boutique . This decision prompted her to begin creating even more imaginative and fantastical garments , as she was no long er limited by the need to produce saleable clothing . Surprisingly, t he decision had no adverse effects on her reputation as one of the most visible, outspoken and flamboyant fashion designers in Accra. In 2012 , Arthur was the recipient of the African Wom en of Worth Award for Excellence in Creative Fashion Design . Most recently , Arthur participated in the 2013 2013 Ouaga Fashion Week. Arthur was also nominated for the e award at the July 2013 Festival de la Mode et Mannequin Africain (FESMAA), held in the Republic of Benin. Despite the closure label, Arthur chose to retain the Ar thur explained its signific ance: mixed. They [Ghanaians] see m still seen as a foreigner proudly Ghana ian, : personal interview ). Thus, the significance of serves as a su btle command to her clientele, encouraging them to their choice of apparel . There is an additional significance s Arthur recollected, her friend s potential meanings and symbolism of bees. As Arthur ex plained what the bee meant [and] what it
320 across cultures, symbolizes something extremely positive, from the pollen, to the wax, 2010: personal interview). With its cross and an important visual motif in her designs . Arthur filled the interior of her former boutique with references to her favorite insect; a large painting of bees greeted customers upon entering and an idiosyncratic collection of stuffed bees dangled from the ceiling, functioning as talismans of positive energy and physical reminders of indus trious and productive nature ( Figure 6 .31 , Figure 6 .32 ) . Arthur further conflates her public identity with the qualities of bees that she finds most appealing , often referring to herself as . Arthur connects her complex juxtaposition of disparate fabrics to her diverse heritage. Her distinct and blended background provides her with a unique approach to fashion that is unrivaled by her contemporaries. When asked specifically regarding her patc man people, Russian many 2010: personal interview ). In regards to her preference for West African fabrics , Arthur stated that iland or ( 2010: personal interview ). As explanations imply, her continued reliance on dizzying patchworks for the basis of her garments is ultimately a visual expression of
321 her multifaceted ethnicity , reflecting what Arthur considers to be the inherent beauty of multiculturalism. A complex assortment of fabrics is only the beginning for Arthur; she takes the art of patchwork to the extreme, appliquÃ©ing addition al motifs on her garments and adorning them with all manner of decorative elements, ranging from embroidery and sequins to fabric paint and hair weave. A simplistic dress of blue wax print with large green and yellow motifs of birds is exemplary of her la yered approach. To add visual interest to the garment, Arthur appliquÃ©d large orange fish to the skirt of the dress , outlining them in silver thread and adorning each with individual gold sequins ( Figure 6 .33 ) . In a second garment, Arthur joined large s trips of contrasting West African cloth, including wax print, batik, and indigo stitch resist cloth, to create the bottom portion of a dress. She then adorned the strips with additional motifs , including one of the aforementioned fish, as well as a bright red wax print hand ( Figure 6 .34 ) . She further embellished these elements, adding a large red rhinestone to the pinched fingers of the hand , a playful ornamentation that illustrates Arthu continued modification of her gar ments separates her from other Ghanaian fashion designers, particularly her former business partner. embellishments are complexity to her creations. As this brief dis Arthur continually enhances the surface of her garments, creating a visual mosaic of fabrics and motifs . The importance is not th eir overabundance of decoration, it is their clear connection to A identity and personal histo ry. As
322 Arthur reflected hen I am expressing myself, I want to use something that is related 2012: personal interview ). Not arments a re dizzying collages of fabrics and embellishments , m probably known more for personal interview ). the consumer could ea artsy. Those were the clothes that were moving. And then on the other side, on l expressing myself and d oi 2012 : personal interview ). As garments were not made for consumption, although even her most subdued garments include allusions to her identity, such a s a small embroidered bee on the hemline of a garment. Following the closure o f her boutique in 2011, Arthur no longer needs to produce garments for purchase , providing her the freedom to focus on designing highly artistic and conceptual garments . One , which illustrates her penchant for creating fashions that reflect her complex heritage , premiered during Ghana Fashion Week 2009. The form of the g own, a strapless column dress, is stylistically simple; it is Arthur elaborate embellishments and use of specific f abrics that are imbued with specific meanings, illustrating Art y . The front and back of the bright purple gown are decorated with large embroidered matryoshkas, a widely recogniz able form of Russian folk art, which Arthur festooned with glitter fabric paints,
323 various types of ribbon and lace , and hot pink hair weave ( Figure 6 .35 ) . The matryoshkas, with their extensive and time consuming elaborations, are the centerpiece of the go wn, serving as a visual expression of ( Figure 6 .36 ) . Additionally, the profusion of embroidery and decoration further permeates the garment directly associates embroidery and other handicraf ts with her Ukranian upbringing . 2010 : personal interview ). . The dress is finished with a flounced edging of two contrasting materials: solid red cotton and alternating pieces of fugu cloth ( Figure 6 .37 ) . Although not as internationally us textiles. Fugu cloth has long been associated with n orthern Ghana, the region where the textile is predominantly woven and worn. In recent years, fugu cloth has gained popularity throughout Ghana, particularly am ong Ghanaian fashion designers as an ad ditional locally produced textile that symbolizes Ghanaian heritage and identity. By incorporating pieces of fugu cloth into the matryoshka dress, Arthur is acknowledging her Ghanaian ancestry, creating a garment that symbolically asserts both her Russian and Ghanaian parentage . 5 The final motif, an embroidered bumblebee on the back of the garment ( Figure 6 .38 ) . As previously stated, Arthur believes that bees represent her best qualities, particula rly her 5 ed on the runway at the 2009 Ghana Fashion Weekend, the garment did not include any fugu cloth. In less than a year, Arthur adapted the dress to include fugu cloth, which is how the dress remained through 2012. This further indicates eworking of her garments.
324 productivity, thus the inclusion of a large embroidered bee serves as her signature . an allegorical representation of the designer, depicting her Russo Ghanaian heritage and her personality traits through t he juxtaposition of personally meaningful symbols, a clear example of the complexity of . readily expressed during interviews, further indicates that her des igns are steeped in her garments, Arthur responded 2012 : personal interview ). The matryoshka dress is an example of this; a she herself 2012: personal interview ). creative app roach to fashion design is her penchant for reinventing and reworking existing garments, a technique that stems from her Ukranian childhood. Arthur elaborated on the continued revising of her designs : the idea of transformation, I love it. Clothe fun to see if I can give them a different spin. The idea that something can be a skirt and become a hat, or a hat can become a skirt, I like that. It comes purely from the fact that I grew up in a culture wh ere we were taugh 2012: personal interview ). dress from her 2012 Tribal Flair collection. When I first saw the garment in January 2012, it was a knee -
325 length dress sewn from faux snakeskin fabric ( Figure 6 .39 ) . The dress had an exaggerated, triangular collar, which Arthur adorned with pink appliquÃ©d fabrics and paint. The bodice of the dress featured a large segment of pink fabric accented with gold foil, whereas as the low er portion of the dress was decorated with contrasting strips of faux snakeskin applied in a diamond pattern, adorned with additional appliquÃ©s. Within six months, Arthur had transformed this garment into a design for her Tribal Flair collection and subse quent photoshoot , drastically shortening the dress and adding additional embellishments, such as a magenta trim to the hem ( Figure 6 .40 ) . As Arthur gowns t hat were tr I cut out triangles from the sides and they 2012: personal interview ). Arthur related the ons to her self, suggesting that the alterations reflect her constantly developing identity. sometimes you see something and you think, I could give this anothe ). In a second garme nt that was not included in the Tribal Flair photo shoot, Arthur used turquoise metallic Christmas ( Figure 6 .41 ) . She re used scraps of fabric from the original dress to create rosettes of varying sizes, which she added to the bodice and the waistline of the dress. As Arthur stated, she is consistently 2012: personal in terview . ). This partic ular dress disparate materials into a single design; although the
326 dress is visually overwhelming and may be considered by some to be unwearable, Arthur create s an artistically interesting garment that is beautiful in its eccentricities. For her most recent collection, showcased at the 2013 Ouaga Fashion Week, Arthur imbued her garments with social and cultural issues that interest her . Arthur wax print, which features the motif of an open hand with coins, as the inspiration for her 2013 collection (Picton 1995: 27). money and remains a popular print thro ughout West Africa, with one European company producing the pattern in sixteen different color schemes (1995: 27). As Arthur explained d uring an interview, she continues to incorpor ate wax print into her designs because she associates the f abric with her personal history, as well as the history of Ghana : me of my grandmother. I tend to like the traditional, the old patterns. A lot of them are related to saying s and to proverbs 2012: personal interview ). Arthur researched the origins of the textile, referencing The Art of African Textiles on her F acebook page, yet transformed the motif into a visual statement that referenced the po hopes to stop violence against women. suggested give permission ( Arthur 2013 ) . fitting garments featured exposed shoulders while the careful positioning of appliquÃ©d hands and eyes provided the garments with a secondary
327 meaning. Arthur posi tioned the appliquÃ©d hands and eyes to correspond with intimate potentially unwanted sexual adv ances ( Figure 6 .42 , 6 .43 ) . In one particularly suggestive garment, Arthur created the illusion of wax print hands resting on the is the model being caressed by the disembodied wax pr int hands , or is the gesture slightly more sinister ( Figure 6 .44 ) ? bodies. serve as deeply personal expressions of her identity, as well as reflections of cultural and social issues that Arthur finds intellectually stimulating. demonstrated, the majority of her most visually arresting garments are inextricably linked to her heritage and personal history, transforming her garments into a vehicle for her complex artistic expressions. Pe rhaps Arthur explained it best: yards of l inen with some embroidery on it; 2012 : personal interview ). Nonterah and Arthur demonstrate an important modification in Ghanaian fashion, one that maintains the relevance of cosmopolitanism in Ghanaian designer fashions , but drifts from the invocation of a strong and visible nationalism. Although Nonterah and Arthur use materials and motifs that relate directly to their Ghana ian heritage, their
32 8 garments emphasize multiculturalism , incorporating motifs and materials from other African and European nations. The re sulting garments reflect a cosmopolitan identity, with only subtle hints of Ghanaian nationalism embedded in t heir visually complex designs. This shift in Ghanaian fashion influencd the latest generation of fashion designers, although the majority of Accr nationalist ideas, suggesting that Nonterah and Arthur represent a unique and finite generation of designers. Their garments further become a statement of their power as African, and specifically Ghanaian, fashion de signers. By creating garments that appeal to Ghanaians and foreigners alike, particularly African Americans, Nonterah and Arthur are asserting their power as African designers in a Eurocentric fashion system, suggesting that African designers have a place in the global fashion system . Nonterah and Arthur continue to cultivate their own distinct identities for their respective brands, creating designs that reflect their indiv idualized approaches to fashion , although they each retain influences from their initial partnership. Nonterah and Arthur, as the entrepreneur and the artist, exemplify the divergent paths taken by two fashion designers . Their contributions , in the forms of their designs and their brands, have expanded the re ulture. Nonterah and Arthur have opened , continuing the significance of distinctly Ghanaian, cosmopolitan fashions .
329 Figure 6 1. Gar ments created by Okudzeto, with Nonterah as a model (far left), Okudzeto is second from right . Personal collection of Mawuli Okudzeto . Figure 6 2. Personal collection of Ben Nonterah.
330 Fi gure 6 3. ewn from Ivorian printed cloth . Personal collection of Ben Nonterah. Figure 6 4. The Sunday Mirror , The Daily Graphic Archives.
331 Figure 6 5. Nonterah and his mod els at the 1995 Personal collection of Ben Nonterah . Figure 6 6. fashion show. Personal collection of Ben Nonterah.
332 Figure 6 7. s garment featured on the front page of t he Sunday Mirro r , The Daily Graphic Archives. Figure 6 8. the Sunday Mirror , The Daily Graphic Archives.
333 Figure 6 9. blue cotton and bogolan shirt. Personal collection of Ben Nonterah. Figure 6 10. the Sunday Mirror . The Daily Graphic Archives.
334 Figure 6 11. Former President Jerry R collection of Ben Nonterah. Figure 6 12. The label. Photograph by Christopher Richards.
335 Figure 6 13. A garment from the label. Personal collection of Ben Nonterah . Figure 6 14. A garment from the lab el, indicat aesthetic. Personal collection of Ben Nonterah.
336 Figure 6 15. ponsors from the United States. Personal collection of Ben Nonterah. Figure 6 16. Arthur and model in Sun City, South Africa, for 2 001 Arise Fashion. Personal collection of Beatrice Arthur .
337 Figure 6 17. logo, as seen on his Asylum Down boutique sign, 2012. Photograph by Christopher Richards. Figure 6 18. . Pers onal collection of Ben Nonterah.
338 Figure 6 19. The interior of Nonte by Christopher Richards. Figure 6 20. Fashion Week collection (left). Photograph by Chr istopher Richards.
339 Figure 6 21. D ashion Week Collection, Photograph by Christopher Richards. Figure 6 22. n dress from the 2009 Arise Africa Fashion Week, Photogra ph by Simon Deiner , Personal collection of Ben Nonterah.
340 Figure 6 23 . , 2012. Photograph by Christopher Richards Figure 6 24. skirt, 2 012. Photograph by Christopher Richards .
341 Figure 6 25. 2012. Photograph by Christopher Richards. Figure 6 26. Nonterah searching for f abric in Makola market, 2012. Photograph by Christopher Richards.
342 Figure 6 27. , 2012. Photograph by Christopher Richards. Figure 6 28. Embroidered spider web motif, 2012. Photograph by Christopher Richards .
343 Figure 6 29. 2012. Pho tograph by Christopher Richards . Figure 6 30. 2012. Photograph by Christopher Richards .
344 Figure 6 31. 2010. Photograph by Christopher Richards Figure 6 32. 2010. Photograph by Christopher Richards .
345 Figure 6 33. 2010. Photograph by Christopher Richards . Figure 6 34. 2010. Photograp h by Christopher Richards .
346 Figure 6 35. 2010. Photograph by Christopher Richards . Figure 6 36. Detail of decorated matryoshka, 2010. Photograph by Christopher Richards .
347 Figure 6 37. Detail of flounced edge on m atryoshka dress, 2010. Photograph by Christopher Richards . Figure 6 38. Back of matryoshka dress, 2010. Photograph by Christopher Richards .
348 Figure 6 39. s 2012 Tribal Flair collection. Photograph by Christopher Richards . Figure 6 40. On the right, t Tribal Flair collection (right). Photograph by David Kweku Sakyi .
349 Figure 6 41. T ribal Flair collection. Photograph by Christopher Richards. Figure 6 42. 2013 Hands Off : Eyes Only collection. Personal collection of Beatrice Arthur.
350 Figure 6 Hands Off: Eyes Only collection. Personal collection of Beatrice Arthur. Figure 6 44. A design Hands Off: Eyes Only collection. Personal collection of Beatrice Arthur.
351 CHAPTER 7 DESIGNERS AND THE RETURN OF WAX PRINT IN THE 21 ST CENTURY M y exposure to Ghanaian contemporary fashion began in 2009, when I attended the third and final Ghana Fashion Weekend . This fashion show serves as the anchoring point high fashion culture because the event represented the revival of large scale, interna tiona l l y oriented fashion shows and the n culture since 2009 . R eminiscent of Catwalk Extravaganza and , Ghana Fashion Weekend showcased the talent of African designers from across the contintent , while simultaneously attesting to the significance and skill of Ghanaian designers. The fashion event i ncluded collections from Nigerie n designer Alphadi, who unveiled his latest line of ready to wear clothing and a collection of haute coutur e garments, as well as Cameroonian Parfait Behen and Ivorian Patrick Asso. In addition to international talent, n ine Ghanaian fashion designers were included, headlined by Kofi Ansah . The focus on prominent fashion designers is significant, as i t unintentionally reified a separation more estab lished generation of designers and an emerging new generation of designers who established successful fashion brands after 2009 . clear demarcation between the estab lished and emerging designers, coupled with the knowledge that a significant group of designers developed their brands in the years followi ng the event, suggests that the 2009 iteration of Ghana Fashion Weekend was an important event in the history of Ac The event serves as a delineator between two dis tinct factions of designers: an older , more established generation and a younger generation that quickly garnered internationa l att ention in the years following the event .
352 As this cha pter will demonstrate , new generation of designers , represented by Aisha Obuobi, Ajepomaa Mensah, the design team of Kabutey Dzietror and Sumaiya Mohammed, and Aya Morrison are intent on reinvigorating wax print fabric, blending the material with i nternational styles of dress and other imported fabrics to create garments that reflect a youth o r iented, cosmopolitan and nationalist aesthetic , a reimagining of the creative intent that motivated many of As established i n the introduction, although wax print fabric did not originate in diverse textile heritage, with a majority of Ghanaians indicating a personal connection to the fabric. Wax print is often referred to as ; their garments, particularly their use of wax print and European fabrics, they made prints and foreign prints (Dzietror 2012 : personal interview ) . This is not to say that Ghana ians are unaw are of ; Ghanaian fashion designers readily acknowledge its European origins , however they are quick to recognize that wax print has become part of their established dress culture. This widely accepted se ntiment is exemplified by the words of designer Ajepomaa Mensah ; when : personal interview ). Go Wrong with Ch The first emerging fashion designers to establish her brand and to receive consistent international praise for her designs is Aisha Obuobi. Obuobi officially states that her brand, Christie Brown, was established in May 2008 , although Obuo bi was producing clothing before 2008 on an til her first runway collection premiered at the 2009 Aris e Fashion Week in Johannesburg, South Africa,
353 that she became a widely recognized Ghana ian fashion designer, opening her first boutique in February 2012 . Obuobi spent most of her childhood and young adult life in Ghana, punctuated began at an early age . Obuobi recollected that as a child she would watch her grandmother, who worked as a seamstress, sew garments for her clientele. Obuobi would , using scraps of fabric to create garments for her dolls (Obuobi 2012: personal interview) . The formative effect of these early experiences on Obuobi is evident in that her label, Christie Brown, is named after her grandmother. Obuobi began designing garments for herself and her friends, but anything of that 2012 : personal interview ). Upon graduating from secondary school, Obuobi hoped to enroll in a fashion program at a ( 2012: personal interview). Instead, Obuobi attended the University of Ghana, Legon, graduating in 2008 with a degree in psychology. deep end an 2012: personal interview ). Following the introduction of her fashion label , Obuobi recollected ith that, you have so many , and the finishing [of the 2012: personal interview ). In order to improve her skills i n the construction of garments and learn other technical as pects of fashion design , Obuobi
354 enrolled in fashion courses at nths, expanding her knowledge of the technical aspects of fashion while simultaneously continu ing to develop her brand, until she erview ). participation in Arise Fashion Week was a turning point in her career. She was awarded the 2009 Emerging Designer of the Year award for her first runway collection just opened more doors. It catapulted me; it j ust th ). Following her success at Arise Ã Porter, held in conjunction with Paris Fashion Week. Obuobi also attended C olumbia 2010 participating in the Going Global . A gained international exposure, her popuarlity in Accra and abroad grew dramatically ; she and her designs, were featured in a diverse range of European, American , and African fashion magazines, including Bazaar (2011), Vogue Italia (2011), AfroElle (2011), African Report (2012), and OK Nigeria (2013) . noteworthy exposure in the international press was the April/May 2012 issue of Vibe magazine, which included several photographs of American singer ( Figure 7 1 ) . gns; t he American singer and celebrity Michelle Williams wore ive wax
355 print jacket s during an October 19, 2010 interview for the show Strictly Come Dancing, It Takes Two ( 2012: personal interview ) . Since the 2012 open ing of her b outique in Accra , Obuobi has continued to actively participate in local and international fashion shows. In 2013, Obuobi was included in the Vlisco Mawuena Trebarh and sh owcasing six additional designs latest collection of fabrics. Obuobi was also one of four designers to participate in the fashion AltaRoma. The runway show was held in Ro me, with Obuobi creating a collection of garme nts exclusively designers , a n assortment garments and accessories were featured at Biffi Boutique during the Vogue sponsored ev ent Fashion Night Out on September 17, 2013. Concurrently, after spending a year in its original location, Obuobi moved the Christie Brown boutique to an area in Osu known for its high end retail shops and exclusive nightclubs. s use of w ax print fabrics of emerging fashion designers. Obuobi explained that t he impetus for creating the Christie Brown label stemmed from her desire to reimagine wax print : behind it [the Christie Brown label] was to find interesting ways of using African prin t. T here is always some element of the print [in my designs] ( 2012: personal interview ). When asked why wax print fabric was a continued focus of her collections , Obuobi initially stated tha personal interview ). S he further revealed that
356 her friends everyone mus t have done something to me ). Obuobi added that were s upposed to sew a kaba and slit. T prin t more, maybe adding a belt . W e had to wear it, but not because we loved it. When we thought of African pri ). fascination and continued use of wax print extends beyond associations with her g rand mother and her early efforts to reimagine wax print; Obuobi believes that the fabric serves as a symbol of her Ga heritage. Obuobi expressed this sentiment as she discussed the absence of kente cloth in her designs : Ashanti thing. The Ewe and the northerners, the fabric they use for batakari smocks is like kente. on w (2012: personal interview ). Obuobi here, i ). Obuobi considers wax print f abric as a ). designers is her physical m anipulation of materials, particularly wax print fabric . Unlike the majority of Ghanaian designers, who rely on large swaths of wax print fabric to create their African inspired garments, Obuobi blends luxurious Europe an fabrics with wax print in subtle a nd often surprisin g ways ; a colorful wax print as the lining of a
357 peacoat or a sweetheart ne ckline edged in wax print, both serve as exemplars of how Obuobi use s the material to create bold and surprising accents o n her garments ( Figure 7 2) . Obuobi allu d ed to this approach as she explained her preference for creating clothing with eye catching details: most simple thing and just two buttons would make the outfit that much more interesting. My thing is det ). O buobi winning 2009 collection captures the emergence of her detail oriented aesthetic , al though her signature style was not yet realized. A majority of the garments, divergent in color and style, are united by their incorporation of bold flourishes of wax print . A simple black dress, inspired by the silhouettes of 1950s cocktail gowns, features large wax print bows along its hemline ( Figure 7 3 ). An understated trench coat dress of monotone khak i is interrupted by a wax print belt , and a yellow sack dress is accented with a wax print neckline of a complimentary color ( Figure 7 4, Figure 7 5 ). T hese garments , as well as others from her first collecti on, indicate the beginn ethod : to create European inspired designs with hints of textiles that evoke an African, and distinctly Ghanaian identity . forshadows her continued experimentation with wax print fabric w as the final look from her 2009 collection, a coral and turquoise evening gown with an elaborately detailed bodice ( Figure 7 6) . Initially , the garment appears to have a minimal inclusion of wax print, limited to a narrow band of fabric at the waist and a Y shaped neckline, both adorned with coral hued embellishments. However, as the movement of the model reveals, the peach skirt of the garment is merely a chiffon overlay meant to obscure the bold wax
358 print underneath. The veiled, turquoise hued wax prin t, which features a recognizable motif of trees and leaves, can be identified as an iconic and historically significant wax print design known Trees ( Figure 7 7) (Cordwell 1973: 483). Obuobi does not attribute any particular significance to the inclusion of this specific wax print, however since the pattern has been produced for Ga heritage. T his gown subtle incorporation of wax print fabrics. further distinguis hed her first runway collection from the work of her contemporaries . At the time, Obuobi included silhouettes that were not prevalent on Ghanaian runways. century styles: sweetheart nec klines paired with full skirts and sack dresses with cowl necks. Additionally, Obuobi first runway collection emphasized a degree of asymmetry, which added an additional layer of visual interest to her garments. Many of her dresses featured asymmetrica l shoulder lines , while others had large swaths of fabrics layered diagionally or voluminous ruffles placed on one side of the garment ( Figure 7 8 ). Even her most stylistically simple outfit, a white blouse paired with knee length pants, featured a group for asymmetrical flourishes ( Figure 7 9) . in Lagos, Nigeria, saw th e continued refinement of her design aestheti c . Instead of attempting to
359 continually revisit the juxtaposition ing of wax print and European fabrics, Obuobi chose to transform wax print s into objects of adornment . Obuobi challenged the expected form of wa x print fabric by physically manipulating the material into fabric covered buttons and horizontal fringe, which she used to embellish her garments. By festooning her stylistically simple and boldly colored garments with an explosion of dynamic, wax print detailing, Ob embellishments served as the focal point, creating a collection in which her predominantly European silhouettes were transcended by her careful and detailed inclusion of wax print fabric. innovative a dornments are e vident in the majority of her 2010 designs . Obuobi decorated the center of a white lace dress with columns of wax print buttons, increasing in size from mi nute at the neckline, to oversized at the hemline ( Figure 7 10 ) . O n a sleeveless dre ss of fuschia finished with a blue hem, Obuobi applied wax print buttons to the fashioned from wax print buttons ( Figure 7 11 ) . Obuobi incorporated her horizontal fringe in a simila r manner, decorating the front of a chartreuse and turquoise sack dress with wax print fringe, as well as adorning t he sleeves of a black lace jacket , from shoulder to wrist, with a shortened version of her fringe ( Figure 7 12, Figure 7 13 ) . ge is not the conventional type of sartorial decoration; Obuobi creates her fringe by sewing together the vertical edges of long, thin strip s of fabric, constructing tube s of wax print that she applies horizontally to her garments, creating a dynamic ribbi ng of contrasting fabrics. The design s of her
360 fabrics , adding an element of depth to her designs. Movement i s particularly significant shift with the movements of the wearer. This is particularly evident in the case of the sashays of the runway models. By creating embel lishments that are dynamic and visually arresting, Obuobi further e nsures that her use of wax print fabric remains the focal point of her designs . Obuobi also introduced two styles of necklaces that incorporate d her embellishments of wax print buttons and fringe. c r escent shaped piece of fabric, which she covers in an assortment of wax print buttons, varying in size, shape, and print. Pieces of ribbon are attached to the ends of the crescent shape and tied around the n transforms the neckline of ( Figure 7 14) consist of varyi ng lengths of her unique fringe that create the illusion of wearing multiple strands of beads ( Figure 7 15) . T he popularity of her wax print necklaces encouraged Obuobi to continue their production, adding small variations to the fringe and bib necklaces for her subsequent runway collections. For her Spring 2012 collection, Obuobi produced bib necklaces ed ged with feathers, as well as gold c hains. She also experimented with nestling a sequin ed bow amidst the wax print buttons, creating an entirely different visual effect. This was the same year that fringe necklace was worn by Alicia Keys in two photographs for Vibe magazine, further solidifying the significance of her fashion accessorie s in a global market and enhancing the popularity of her accessories ( Figure 7 1) .
361 As Obuobi gained recognition for her garments in Ghana and abroad , a multitude of aspiring designers and seamstresses began copying elements of her designs , As evidenced during my 2012 fieldwork in Ghana buttons began appearing throughout the streets and bouti ques of Accra. Posters created for seamstresses began featuring dresses decorated with fabric covered buttons, while aspiring fashion designers created their own version s s, substituting kente cloth for wax print fabric and altering the size and shape of the necklace ( Figure 7 16 , Figure 7 17 ) . One designer produced exac w i th one minor revision: the bib form of p eter pan collar ( Figure 7 18 ). During my informal partnership with the fashion program at Accra Polytechnic, one student invoked the as part of her garment , a decision for which she was quickly chastised for copying designs ( Figure 7 19 ) . For his graduating collection from Radford University College in Accra , Oppong designed a luxurious range clearly defi ned artistic vision, the neckline of a black evening gown with elaborate gold detailing es ( Figure 7 20 ). Obuobi , it makes our work more difficult because we will come up with a concept and the designer next door decides to knock it o ff personal interview ). Obuobi explained that
362 catching on and people are beginning to use them on their clothes , [so] for my new (2012: personal interview ). Although Obuboi w illingly eliminated wax print buttons from h er runway garments, she also actively combated the imitation of her accessories . Due to the popularity and significance of the bib necklaces to her brand, Obuobi opted to constantly revise the ir design , explaini ng that (2012: personal interview ). By continually changing the style and embellishments of her necklaces, Obuboi ensures that she maintains her originality, challenging imitators to stay abreast of her ever changing designs. Obuobi removed all traces of covered buttons from her Fall 2012 runway collection, opting ins tead for an experime ntation with her iconic fringe. The collection featured large ribbons of wax print fabric that cascaded off shoulders, bodices, and backs of garments , further exploring the importanc e of movement and dynamism ( Figure 7 21) . Obuobi exp lained that the collection, titled Xutra , was inspired by the work of Ghanaia n architect Joel Osei Addo : Joel O sei Addo, so then I G oogled him. H e talked about how his work has to do with layer ing concept from. Xutra with l ). n was sewn from a combination of
363 for her collection, w hich provided the gar ments with an immediate and recognizable cohesiveness 2012 collecti on incorporated iconic European silhouettes, as exemplified by a dress that recalled Yves Sa dress . Obuobi replaced the large blocks of primary colors with wax print s of contrasting patterns, ( Figure 7 22) . This dress further illustrates o take a stylistically simple, globally recognized silhouette , and imbue the garment with local significance by incorporating wax print fabric. wax print in bold and suprising ways. A monochromati c outfit consisting of a black velvet ski rt and see through lace top was interrupted by the addition of a wax print belt ( Figure 7 23) . As with the majority of Ob hint of wax print should be expected, as evidenced by the wax print lining. Only visible as the model paraded down the runwa y, high slit p rovided a glance at the fabric underneath. A second outfit, consisting of a sleeveless silk blouse and black velvet tuxedo pants, featured wax print for th e stripes ( Figure 7 24) limited color palette of black and burgundy for her complementary fabrics, the bold taupes, corals, browns, and creams of her chosen Vlisco pattern ensure d that the wax print serves as as the focal point of the garment. An additional surprise, visible a s the model turned to complete her walk, revealed an exposed back draped with large, horizontal ribbons of wax print. Xutra collection and indicate the
364 honing of her s kills as a fashion designer, as well as the consistency of her design aesthetic. Obuobi has continued to incorporate wax print fabrics into her designs, although their p resence has become less obvious . In her Fall 2013 collection DÃ¼re , Obuobi further e xperimented with layering, masking selected wax print fabrics with a n overla y of complex patterns. This is most evident in a dramatic and revealing c ocktail dress which features a geometric overlay of black fabric on the upper portion of the skirt , simuta neously echoing and complicat ing the wax print pattern underneath ( Figure 7 25 , 7 26 ). For a sleeveless purple shift dress, Obuobi inserted panels of analogous wax print on the sides of the skirt, continuing the subtle emphasis of wax print in her designs ( Figure 7 27 ) . Obuobi has become so adept at discretely alluding to wax print that it is difficult to discern whether several of the garments from her DÃ¼re collection actually incorporate the fabric at all. A selection of her garments did not incorporat e wax print, relying instead on Obu , as well as her continued use of detailed embellishments . Obuobi has produced one collection that incorporated no wax print fabric, although it could be considered the coll ection that most strongly invokes a distinctly Ghanaian heritage. s 2013 Resort collection To Dye For developed from a collaboration with Grace of Grazia Fabrics, a woman Obuobi described as having y built a twenty year old batik/ tie dy e making business, fusing the most ( ) . Resort 2013 garments were lace fabrics in sh ades of white and light blue juxtaposed with armonious batik and tie dye
365 fabrics ( Figure 7 28) . To Dye For collection invoked the silhouettes of earlier collections, emphasizing full skirts with nipped waists, as well as sack dresses and a range of blouses. Several of the t echniques employed in this collection, like the obscuring of batik fabric skirts with a layer of see through organza, originated in earlier collections and have since become ( Figure 7 28 ). The garment that best encapsulates th e continued refinement of length gown of white lace with contrasting piping on the ( Figure 7 29 ) . garments, the dress appears completely Europ ean in silhouette and material. It s incorporation of Ghanaian batik fabric remains hidden u ntil the back of the garment becomes visible, revealing a train of brown and chartreuse striped batik fabric , overlayed with a crosshatching of electric blue. Like her preceding collections , Obu s 2013 R esort garments rely on the purposeful and det ailed incorporation of materials symbolic of a Ghanaian identity , as well as ght the material in surprising ways , to ensure that the distinctly Ghanaian materials are the fo cal point of the garment. ity to incorporate a diverse array of Ghanaian materials into her garments while maintaining a recognizable design aesthetic , her most significant contribution as an emergin g designer has been her reimagination of wax print fabric. is s upported by the reflections of , as exemplified by Sandra Ankobiah, the creator and host of the Ghanaian television program Fashion10 1 . According to Ankobiah , print in a different light. I would never wear African print [before Christie Brown]. See
366 in (Ankobiah 2012 : personal interview opinion is echoed by Accra socialite and creator of Ghana Project Walkway, Bertha Owusu. Without attributing the phenomenon to a particula r designer, Owus u believes that anaians have really accepted : personal interview ). The words of these two active participan fashion culture support that Obuobi gained notoriety as an emerging fashion designer due to her creative and innovative manipulation of wax print fabric. harken back to previous designers; ners have been reworking in d igenous materials for decades. H owever , treatment of wax print fabric, particularly her transformation of wax print into a material for the detailed embellishment of garments, is a novel approach to highlighti ng African and distinctly Ghanaian fabrics. H er unique interpretation of wax print makes garments a clear departure from the creations of earlier designers. : The Designs of Ajepomaa Mensah, Kabutey Dzietror and Suma iya Mohammed, and Aya Morrison Obuobi may be one of the most successful and popular emerging fashion designer s in Accra, reinforced by her iconic and highly recognizable style, but she is not alone in her reimagining of wax print fabric fo r a young Ghanaia n audience. S everal other young Ghanaians began to develop their own fashion brands between 2009 2012 , each with a distinct vision of how to incorporate wax print fabric into their designs . This section will highlight the creative inspirations and design s of four additional emerging fashion designers, attesting to the diversity of wax print fashions, as well as the
367 renewed significance as a means to express both an African, and a specifically Ghanaian identity. : The Designs of Ajepomaa Mensah Like other Ghanaian fashion designers, Ajepomaa Mensah, creator of Ajepomaa Design Gallery, was initially inspired by her mother, who sewed clothing for Ajepomaa and her siblings during their childhood l career in fashion began after her graduation fr om the prestigious Accra Girl s High S chool in 2001, when she enrolled and Design . A fter nine months in the program, family obligations forced Mensah to move t o Singapore, where she attended LaSalle College of Arts. In 2005, Mensah graduated from LaSalle with a degree in fashion design and merchandising . Following the completion of her degree, Mensah traveled to New York City where she interned with fashion de sign companies Jil Stuart and Searle, as well as worked in various fashion retail positions. R eflecting on her international educational experiences, Mensah stated that what I do now. Having my experience in the East , it was a interesting thing about Asians is they add certain elements of practicality and quirkiness. They put a lot of details in the textile treatment and that makes it very inspiring to me, as : persona l interview ). Mensah returned to Ghana in 2009, establishing her label in February 2010 and opening the Ajepomaa Design Gallery boutiq ue in October of the same year . Men former plant and flower shop in East Legon , an elite suburb of Accra . T he building is surrounded by and expansive gardens, including a particularly stunning outdoor orchidarium Mensah has used as a backdrop f o r photograph s of past fashion collections . Since the inception of her label in
368 2010, Mensah has actively partici participate in the runway collections that premiered Delicate Shades collection, as well as their 2012 Parade des Charmes . On March 21, 2012, Mensah event organized by Google to promote their latest product, as well as to facilitate e. In Octobe r 2013, Mensah participated in the second annual Ghana Fashion and Design Week, which featured garments from African, European , and American designers . designs have been featured in several African fashion magazines, including Arise (2012), Dre am Wedding (2012) and Glitz Africa (2012). Additionally, Mensah served as a stylist for the 2012 Ghanaian television show Meet the Girls in the Yellow House , which in creased the exposure of her designs. When she initially returned to Accra, Mensah admit ted that this whole ph enomenon behind wax print but they wore it in the traditional sense of the kaba and sl it. The women wore it as a form of maturity and refinement. Growing up, we were influenced by urban cultures, we wanted to look hip and cool, so we were not really drawn to t (2012: personal interview ). In order to better under stand the popularity of wax print and to develop her own appreciation of the fabric , Mensah took the advice of her forme r instructor and family friend Joyce Ababio , and began visiting Makola market on a regular basis. As Mensah me that when she got here, she literally spent a couple of
369 vendors. So it was a good inspiration for me. went to Makola and scouted where to ). Mensah found her experiences in Makola enlightening : me, you could find on any international catwalk or runway, you can find [in Makola]. And o f course, the wa 2012: personal interview ). Mensah realized that wax print was a resource worth mining for her designs : personal int erview ). An additional catalyst was the work of British fashion d esigner Matthew Williamson, who incorporated wax print fabric into one of his collections. As Mensah stated transform s them of designing, but rather go with the authentic prints. So th (2012: personal interview ). , she decided to make wax print fabric the focal point of her fashion collections. approach is similar to Obuobi wax print with complementary fabrics in the eering from the print itself. When I started with African print, if you have a particular fabric and 2012: person al interview ). Mensah often highlights her use of wax print by restricting the material to specific details of her garments. A sleeveness satin dress may feature a contrasting wax print
370 collar, or Mensah may use wax print as edging along the neckline an d armholes of a dress, with an additional piece of wax print for ( Figure 7 30 ) . Mensah believes that what distinguishes her from other emerging designers is the finishing of her garments, as well as her inclusion of a variety of f oreign fabrics. than I work the African fabric indicating her belief that it requires skill and technical knowledge to mix specific European fab rics with wax prints (2012: personal interview) . Mensa Axim collection, released in Fall 2011, blended wax print fabrics with pastel chiffons, whereas her Spring 2012 Navrongo Pursuit collection saw the addition of lace and satin fabrics to diversify her predominantly chiffon and wax print garments . Mens ah employs two techniques that distinguish her from other designers, both involving the manipulation of wax print. One technique involves the cutting of wax print into one inch strips, which Mensah entwines together to create a material of woven wax print ( Figure 7 31) . Mensah then uses the woven wax print as a material for the bodice s or skirts of cocktail dresses . The process is time consuming, but the resulting garments are visually comple x, transforming the wax print motifs into reduced, rectilinear versions of their original forms . The secon d technique Mensah employs is cutting single motifs from wax print patterns to use as appliquÃ©d embellishments for her garments. A dress from her 2011 Mediterranean Charms collection featured a see thru bodic e of netting, paired with a colbalt blue satin skirt ( Figure 7 32 ) . Mensah decorated the netting with a variety of stragetically placed geometric shapes circles, rectangles, and triangles that she cut from a Vlisco fabric. A second garment from this collection, a high waisted dress with a
371 plunging neckline, featured similar geometric adorn ments cut from a Vlisco fabric which Mensah further adorned with metal grommets ( Figure 7 33 fabric motifs as objects of embellishment i s reminiscent of both Ben Nonterah and Beatrice Arthur, although Mensah relies primarily on geometric patterns, as opposed to figurative motifs. work is her 2012 Fearless Evolution collection, featured at the 2012 Google+ Hangout for Fashion Influencers. Mensah explained that Fearless Evolution was inspired by the time period of The Great Gatsby : waist, and they are quite semi fitted, they are not tight and body 2012: personal interview ). In addition to her artistic inspiration, Mensah considers her Fearless Evolution , she emphasized c tical, yet stylish attire . As Mensah stated: hese are women who are either career women, or career women turned mothers, women who are always on the go. They want something versatile for all functions, something to wear to a formal business meeting to a lunch me eting, to a cock tail hangout at the ). Mensah designed the Fearless Evolution collection around chiffon, using subtle details of wax print to provide a West African flair. This approach is illustrated by Ajeley d ress, a floor length, sleeveless dress of apple green and heather grey chiffon, accented with a bold wax print in shades of red, blue, yellow, and green ( Figure 7 34 ) . Mensah employed the wax print sparingly, using the fabric as edging for the collar and armholes, as well as the plackets. Additionally, Mensah
372 embellished the garment wi th wax print epaulettes. In other garments, such as the Nkechi dress, Mensah incorporated larger swaths of wax print fabric. The Nkechi dress paired a yellow chi ffon bodice with a skirt of pleated wax print that featured a geometric pattern of predominantly red, yellow, and turquoise ( Figure 7 35) . As with the Ajeley dress, the neckline and armholes were edged in a matching wax print fabric. As these two garment s illustrate, by juxta posing bold and colorful wax print with compleme ntary shades of chiffon , Mensah ensures that her chosen wax print fabric serves as the focal point of her designs while maintaining visual affinities with global fashion trends . :The Designs of PISTIS PISTIS is a third design er label that has garnered significant attention in Accra , particularly for its exuberant and bejeweled wax print gowns , as well as their affordable ready to wear. Created by the husband and wife team Kabutey Dzietror and Sumaiya Mohammed , PISTIS began as an informal venture, with Dzietror and Mohammed designing clothes for friends and a small clientele while they were enrolled in fashion courses at the Vogue Style School of Fashion and Design . After graduating in 2008 with their certificates in fashion design, Dzietror and Mohammed continued to develop their skills as fashion designers , formally establishing their brand in July 2011 with the opening of the PISTIS boutique in East Legon . Sinc e then , Dzietror and Mohammed have showcased their designs at the 2011 Vlisco Dazzling Graphics fashion show, a nd provided the wardrobe for all of the 2013 Miss Malaika contestants. 1 They have also 1 Miss Malaika is a Ghanaian beauty pageant and reality television program that first aired in 2003. Since designers, such as Beatrice Arthur, have been featured as past judges.
373 designed garments for a variety of Ghanaian celebrities, including musician Kaakie, film actress Naa Ashorkor , and fashion personality Sandra Ankobiah. The main focus of PISTIS is to create affordable, expertly sewn garments from predominantly wax print fabrics, although as Dzietror acknowledged in an intervi sometimes mix [wax print] with foreign prints, polished cotton, leopard print and other : personal interview ). When asked why wax print was x print was a bit for the mature, older people. Right now, people admire the foreign styles, so we take the wax print and use it ersonal interview ). often feature a blending of wax print with more luxurious fabrics , particularly lace. This is illustrated by a small collection of garments released in April 2012, which featured a range of cocktail d resses sewn predominantly from white eyelet and lace fabrics. Dzietror and Mohammed incorporated wax print fabric into the se garment s by sewing together horizontal strips of blue and white wax print fabric of contrasting patterns , thus creating a vertical column of patchwork fa brics that they used as the central panel for their dresses. The presence of wax print is echoed by the back of the garment, which incorporates two thin edgings of wax print fabric that run the length of the dress ( Figure 7 36 ) . A s a continuation of this collection, Dzietror and Mohamme d produced a range of patchwork wax print skirts, with large border s o f white lace on the waistline and the hem ( Figure 7 37 ). T for patchwork, particularly of wax print. Although large swatches of wax print patchworks are visible in
374 the markets and on the streets of Accra, they are typically viewed as a material that is consumed only by tourists and ( Figure 7 38 the aforementioned skirts, as well as other garments, challenges established preconceptions of dress by indirectly suggesting that patchwork can be used a s materia l for bo th street and designer fashions, a concept previously explored by Ricci Ossei . Their willingness to create garments completely from wax print fabrics fashion designers . In ste ad of relying solely on complementary fabrics to create a neutralized ground that visually emphasizes and comple ments wax print fabrics , Dzietror and Mohammed empl o y wax print s in a limited palette of navy blue and white t o achieve a similar effect. As illustrated by a second collection released in April 2012, Dzietror and Mohammed designed two types of dresses that featured this particular juxtaposition of white and blue wax prints with their more colorful counterparts. One style of dress featured a bodice and sleeves of blue and white wax print, paired with a skirt of boldly patterned and brightly colored wax print, typically in shades of reds, blues, and yellows ( Figure 7 39 ) . A seco nd dress was sewn completely from a variety of blue and prints ( Figure 7 40) . Further visual interest was achieved with the addition of four colorful bands of appliquÃ©d wax print along the bottom of the skirt. Despite the pote ntially overwhelming impact of contrasting prints, the predominant use of blue and white wax print allows for the brighter, more colorful wax prints to co attention .
375 :The Designs of Aya Morrison T he creations of Helena Aya Morris on illustrate that the revitalization of wax print has expanded to include accessories and swimwear. Morrison was born in Ghana, but mobility, allowing her to travel frequentl y between Accra and London. According to Morrison, her penchant for creating accessories began at an early age : somethin (Morrison 2012 : personal interview ). moved to New York City to attend Baruch College. During her un dergraduate years , Morrison channeled her penchant for design into creating her own purses. Morrison recollected that m y second year I started making my own purses out of p lacemats. My so I would go to vintage stores, get some scraps an d put something 2012: personal interview ). with designing handbags coincided with the increasing presence of African textiles, between th e years 2002 and 2007 . it was around the same time as the African print, so I just thought, let me try it wax print was new to the 2012: personal interview ). As her handbags increase d in popularity, selling online and in boutiques like Bebe Noir , Morrison contemplated expanding her label. A s she was making th e pu rses and they were catching on and
376 to make clothes, but what other thing can I do with the p personal interview ) Inspired by her youthful desire to wear revealing swimsuits, which her protective and watchful brothers would not allow, Morrison launched her line of wax print swimwear in 2009. In 2011, Morrison returned Kumasi. At the time, her handbags and swimwear were being produced by a factory in New York City. As Morrison made business connections in Kumasi , she quickly realized her acces sories could be made locally, prompting her to temporarily move to Accra and begi n manufactu ring her handbags in Ghana, while the production of her swimwear remained in New York. Initially, Morrison collaborated with fashion designers like Ben Nonerah and Ajepomaa Mensah, selling her accessories in their boutiques, as well as in several high end hotels. In 2012, Morrison opened her own boutique in t he Dzorwulu neighborhood of Accra attention, particularly her wax print swimwear , which was worn by Miss Ghana 2012 Naa Okailey at the 2013 Miss World pageant. Morrison is regularly feature d in Ghan aian fashion magazines such as Glitz (2013) , and has participated in several fashion events , including a runway show at the 2012 Google+ Hangout for Fashion Influencers. Although Morrison was not the first to create wax print bikinis, she is currently the only Ghanaian fashion designer to focus exclusively on swimwear and acces sories . 2 The majority o blend complementary, solid colors of lycra with wax print fabrics . In addition to offering y oung Ghanaians a novel form of wax print 2 Makeba Boateng, a former Ghanaian fashion designer who returned to Accra in 2012, created her own line of wax print bathing suits during the late 1990s.
377 at tire, t he popularity of swimsuits likel y due to her daring silhouettes, as exemplified by her 2012 Fiji collection. This collection featured an array of two piece bathing suits, with tops ranging from halters that wrapped around the breasts and torso, to strapless tops embellished with wax print bows ( Figure 7 41). necklines and carefully placed cut outs ( Figure 7 42 ). Morrison admi tted that she did not always appr eciate wax print fabric: liked kaba and sl ). Her initial incorporation of wax print print [in New York City], so I stopped using [other materials], it was actually quite exciting, kno (2012: personal interview). Morrison has even begun to wear her mother and kaba tops with the fine. I never would have worn them when I was fifteen, sixteen, seventeen, but look at [my grand interview ).
378 The Power of the Print: The Renewed Significance of Wax Print Fabrics W ax print has, once again, grown in popularity and become a focal point of designers have embraced the current penchant for print. Nelly Aboagye, the designer clothing that looks like clothing in Neiman Marcus and Saks Fifth Avenue, so I use a lot of fabrics that you would find on a designer like Calvin Klein or Armani, and then I add a little bea : personal interview ). In addition to her use of beadwork, Aboagye invoke s her Ghanaian heritage by designing garments that allude to specifically Ghanaian forms, such as the kaba and slit. This can be seen in a garm ent she created for an exhibition on World Fashion, held at the 2012 Perth Fashion Week ( Figure 7 43) . As Aboagye explained, them [and the kaba] is the fundamental outfit for every 2012 : personal interview ) . by the end of the year, wax print began making an appearance in her r unway collections, such as her Spring Summer 2013 collection Preciosa , unveiled at the 2012 Ghana Fashi on and Design Week. In this collecti on, Aboagye combined her iconic, angular beaded bodices with an assortment of complementary wax print fabric s , creating garments that were immediately recognizable as her designs, but simultaneously responded to the gro wing demand for wax print fashions ( Figure 7 44) . a testament to the struggles faced by emerging fashion designers , particularly the difficulty of maintaining a distinct ive voice and artistic v ision in the face of overwhelming trends and demands of
379 clientele. The sudden inclusion of a material she so vehemently rejected further attests illustrating its significance as a materi al that can invoke Ghanaian and West African identities in both local and global fashion contexts. with the material being transformed into everything from evening gowns and cocktail dres ses, to swimsuits , handbags, and even footwear, although the reasons for its dominant presence in contemporary designer fashion s remains unanswered . I turn now to an exploration of several possibilities for the resurgence of wax print, ultimately suggesting that . Wax print fabric has been renewed as a material expression of a distinctly Ghanaian id entity , which when combined with global fashion techniques and silhouettes, indicates a cosmopolitan identity . T his trend is firmly rooted in the past and has been invoked by generations of Ghanaians, creating a cycle of rejection, followed by celebration , resulting in the panoply of wax print fashions current fashion culture. When asked to comment directly on the popularity of wax print as a material for high fashion, the majority of emerging fashion de signers off ered two explanations : the influence of the global fashion industry, which in recent years has seen a flurry of of wax print o n American and European runways, and the 2004 program to promote locally produced textiles, tional Friday Wear . The former explanation is supported by the words of Aya Morrison, who stated
380 that have embraced it, so we feel that everyone is doing it, so let me do 2012 : personal interview ) . Western fashion designers have used the African continent as a source of creative stimulation for decades Tangiers , followed by seminal African inspired col lections from Christian Dior ( Afrique and Jungle 1947), Yves Saint Laurent ( Africaines 1968), and John Galliano for Christian Dior (Masai 1997) ( Richards 2010 ) . Since the start of the 21 st century, African f abrics and motifs have consistently appear ed on the runways of European and Summer collection, which featured dresses, jackets, handbags, an d shoes sewn from iconic wax print fabrics, was actively discussed by Ghanaian fashion designers in 2012, attributed ( Mensah 2012: personal interview, Morrison 2012: personal interview) . Although the col lections of Western fashion designers undoubtedly influence the creations of Ghanaian designers and solely to its prominence on European and American runways is inaccur ate. T his attribution discounts the creativity and ingenuity of Ghanaian fashion designers, reducing them to mere imitators of global trends , as opposed to the originators of their own fashion revisions. The latter explanation, which credits the Ghanaia n government for encouraging f wax print fabric, was invoked by Ka butey Dzietror:
381 Ghanaian government] introduced Friday Wear, people wanted clothes to wear, so we [began to] make wax print in beautiful dresses, skirts, shirts , and ja ckets, so they can wear [wax print] o n a Friday and not feel to o : personal interview ). According to Sandra Ankobiah: print on Friday, really revolutionzed [Ghanaian f 2012 : personal interview ). a collaboration between the Ministry of Trade and Industry and the Presidential Special Initiatives (PSI), was launched in November 2004 to encourage Ghanaians to wear l ocally produced clothing and textiles. As explained in an editorial from the Ghanaian newspaper The Chronicle , the goals of the latent talent in our designers to use local prints and fabrics to project our unique ). There has been a noticable increase in the number of Ghanaians wearing local textiles, particularly wax print fabric s, o n Fridays. Th is change in professional attire is mainly due to the growing number of corporations and businesses that have commissioned Ghanaian wax print companies to design and produce custom wax prints, which employees are required to wear on Friday s conception of professional attire to include local te xtiles, particularly wax print, as more Ghanaians, particularly men, can be seen wearing wax print fabrics on a regular basis . P erhaps the most persu asive evidence for the resur popularity is illuminated by delving into the past, which reveals that the current fixation on wax print is indicative of a cyclical p rocess characteristic of fashion systems that
382 involves the rejection, ada ptation and subsequent celebration of specific elements of fashion . The existence of this cyclical pattern is evidenced by the recollections of Mrs. Akosua Nyantekyi Owusu , the mother of fashion d esigner Ajepomaa Mensah. In a 2012 interview, Mrs. Nyantek i Owusu ad mitted that as a young Ghanaian she wax print . dresses, she would always be in her ntama [wax print] cloth. I used to get annoyed, I ucated, you are supposed to look like an English lady and . By the time I became of age, ntama on special occasions, but as much as possible, during the day, going to work, going to school, we would wear dresses Nyanteki Owusu 2012 : personal interview ). Mrs. Nyanteki Owusu explained that she rejected wax print because my age group, those born in the 50s and 60s, we wanted so much to look Western, t hat we pushed tradition aside 2012: personal interview ). Mrs. Nyanteki Owusu resented that her mother dressed in wax print fabric, wearing the fabric only for Nyanteki Owusu 2012 : personal interview Owusu returned to Accra in 1990, after spending seventeen years in the United States , that her opinions on wax print and indigenous materials chang e d dramatically. As she reco llected, London, but when I came it was Joyce Ababio. And then there was Ricci Ossei when all of a sudden [local textiles] came back, everybody was very excited 2012: personal intervi ew ). Nyanteki Owusu even remembers specific garments made by Kofi Ansah :
383 in law of mine, and it was A ). 3 T he renewed in terest in wax print and indigenous textiles during the 1990s reflected the tastes and dress preferences of Nyanteki phenomenon designers, including Nyanteki own daughter, Ajepomaa Mensah. The opinion of this generation of Ghanaians, who were born in the 1980s, is best summarized by the words of S andra Ankobiah: industry had really changed, some kind of revolution had been going on because back : personal interview ). I t is clear aversion to wax print echoes the opinions of Nyanteki Owu generation sixty years earlier. By comparing Mrs. Nyanteki Owusu own youthful distaste for wax print, followed by her renewed appreciation for the material as an adult, with the opinions expressed by emerging fashion designers, it becomes clear that there is a precedence for the rejection and subsequent reappropriation of wax print fabric . This cyclical process is best summarized by the words of Brigitte Merki, a fashion designer who graduated from t he Vogue Styl e School of Fashion and Design : local [fabrics]. The younger ones used to feel that to be more modern or more 3 Nyanteki ter in collection.
384 somebody t hat is local. Now what has happened is a lot of designers have shifted their (Merki 201 2 : personal interview ). Merki added: and we can be proud of our own culture, so I think that is where the shift has a 2012: personal interview ). tastes, combini ng European silhouettes and a diverse range of fabrics with subtle and innovat ive flourishes of wax print to placed on the wax print. By creating garments that emphasize the presence of wax print, a fabric t hat is permeated with a distinctly local significance despite its complex identities while simutaneously indicating their awareness of and membership in a global fash ion syst em. suggest s ants to identify with something (2012: personal interview). I n this case, it is a form of fashion that resonates with the nationalist cosmopolitanism originally illustrated by Norteye . Th further indicate the burgeoning Not only are they initiating a return to celebrating a collective, nationalist identity through de signer fashions, they are illustrating the economic potential of fashion to the African challenge the status quo of the global fashion system , designers like Christie Brown are showing that they are active participants in fashion centers outside of Africa. The power
385 African countries, a change that is beginning to come to fruition.
386 Figure 7 1. P hotograph of Alicia Keys wearing a Christie Brown necklace , Vibe magazine, April/May 2012. Photograph by Jill Greenberg. Figure 7 2. Ã Porter . Photographer unknown. Courtesy of Aisha Obuobi.
387 Figure 7 3. Christie Brown dress with wax prin t bows, 2009 Arise Fashion Week. Photograph by Simon Deiner . Courtesy of Aisha Obuobi. Figure 7 4. Christie Brown trench coat dress with wax print belt, 2009 Arise Fashio n Week. Photograph by Simon Deiner . Courtesy of Aisha Obuobi.
388 Figure 7 5. Christie Brown sack dress with wax print neckline, 2009 Arise Fashion Week. Photograph by Simon Deiner . Courtesy of Aisha Obuobi. Figure 7 6. Christie Brown evening g own, 2009 Arise Fashion Week. Photograph by Simon Deiner . Courtesy of Aisha Obuobi.
389 Figure 7 7. Wax print fabric kn Figure 7 8. 2009 Arise Fashion Week, Photograph by Simon Deiner . Courtesy of Aisha Obuobi.
390 Figure 7 9. 2009 Arise Fashion Week, Photograph by Simon Deiner . Courtesy of Aisha Obuobi. Figure 7 10. Christie Brown dress with b utton embellishments, 2010 Arise Fashion Week , Photographer unknown. Courtesy of Aisha Obuobi.
391 Figure 7 11. Christie Brown dress with button embellishments, 2010 Arise Fashion Week . Photographer unknown. Courtesy of Aisha Obuobi. Figure 7 12. Christie Brown dress with fringe, 2010 Arise Fashion Week . Photographer unknown. Courtesy of Aisha Obuobi.
392 Figure 7 13. Christie Brown jacket with fringe, 2010 Arise Fashion Week , Photographer unknown. Courtesy of Aisha Obuobi. Figure 7 14. Model wearing a Christie Brown bib necklace, 2010 Arise Fashion Week , Photographer unknown. Courtesy of Aisha Obuobi.
393 Figure 7 15. Model wearing a Christie Brown bib necklace, 2010 Arise Fashion Week , Photographer unknown. Courtesy of Aisha Obuob i. Figure 7 16. A necklace of wax print fabric and kente cloth, derivative o design, 2013. Photograph by Anthonia Fesu .
394 Figure 7 17. A necklace of wax print fabric and kente cloth, deriv design, 2013. Photograph by Se lina Beb Brand . Figure 7 18. Peter pan collar neckl ace of wax print buttons, 2012. Photograph by Roots by Naa .
395 Figure 7 19. Accra Polytechnic student with necklace derivative of 2012. Photograph by Christopher Richards. Figu re 7 20. Fall Winter 2014 collection of Papa Oppong, featuring a neckline derivati
396 Figure 7 21. Xutra collection, 2012 . Photographer unknown. Courtesy of Aisha Obuobi. Figure 7 22. Xutra collection, reminiscent of Yves Saint . Photographer unknown. Courtesy of Aisha Obuobi.
397 Figure 7 23. Xutra collection, 2012 . Ph otographer unknown. Courtesy of Aisha Obuobi. Figure 7 24. Xutra collection, 2012 . Photographer unknown. Courtesy of Aisha Obuobi.
398 Figure 7 25. DÃ¼re collection, 2013 . Photographer unk nown. Courtesy of Aisha Obuobi. Figure 5 26. DÃ¼re collection, 2013 . Photographer unknown. Courtesy of Aisha Obuobi.
399 Figure 7 27. DÃ¼re collection, 2013 . Photographer unknown. Courtes y of Aisha Obuobi. Figure 7 28. To Dye For collection, 2012 2013 . Photographer unknown. Courtesy of Aisha Obuobi.
400 Figure 7 29. To Dye For collection, 2012 2013 . Photographer unknown. Co urtesy of Aisha Obuobi. Figure 7 30. Fearless Evolution collection, 2012 . Photograph by Steven Adusei . Courtesy of Ajepomaa Mensah.
401 Figure 7 31. s woven wax print, 2012. Photograph by Christopher Richards . Figure 7 32 . Mediterranean Charms collection, 2011 2012 . Photograph by Kweku Gyaaba . Courtesy of Ajepomaa Mensah.
402 Figure 7 33. Mediterranean Charms collection, 2011 2012 . Photograph by Kweku Gyaaba . Courtesy of Ajepomaa Mensah. Figure 7 34. Ajeley Fearless Evolution collection, 2012 . Photograph by Steven Adusei. Courtesy of Ajepomaa Mensah.
403 Figure 7 35. Nkechi dress fr Fearless Evolution collection, 2012 . Photograph by Steven Adusei. Courtesy of Ajepomaa Mensah. Figure 7 36. Back of PISTIS cockt ail dress, 2012. Photograph by Christopher Richards.
404 Figure 7 37. An assortment of PISTIS pa tchwork skirts, 2012. Photograph by Christopher Richards . Figure 7 38. Pieces of patchwork wax print hanging in Makola market, 2012. Photograph by Christopher Richards .
405 Figure 7 39. A selection of PISTIS wax print dresses, 2012. Photograph by Ch ristopher Richards . Figure 7 40. A PISTIS wax print dress, 2012. Photograph by Christopher Richards .
406 Figure 7 41. Fiji Collection, 2012 . Courtesy of Aya Morrison. Figure 7 42. A bathing suit from Aya Morri Fiji Collection, 2012 . Courtesy of Aya Morrison.
407 Figure 7 43. far left), 2012 . Courtesy of Nelly Aboagye. Figure 7 44. n, 2013 . Courtesy of Nelly Aboagye.
408 CHAPTER 8 AND CONCLUDING THOUGHTS T he defining feature of fashion is its inherent mutability; fashion is continually being revised, responding to the u npredictable sartorial preferences of its consumers and producers , as well as significant shifts in the social and cultural fabric that i nspire s its physical manifestations. The fashion culture of Acc r a exemplifies this quality, continuing to experience r declining economy . To , I will provide a brief synopsis of the innumerable changes that have occurred since the completion of my field research. I will conclude this dissertatio n by broadly acknowledging the influence hion culture and its designers, demonstrating the significance of fashion as a vehicle for understanding the complexities of a cosmopolitan capital and its inhabitants. Following my departure from Ac cra in June 2012, the country experienced significant political change . In July John Atta Mills died unexpectedly and a new president , John Dramani Mahama, was elected in December . Since this transfer of power a growing economic crisis has developed , resulting in the rising cost of staple goods continues to flourish and adapt, largely driven by the creative energies of entrepreneurs. The most compelling culture was the second iteration of Glitz Africa Fashion Week , a three day event held in November 2013. The event featured forty two fashion designers hailing from a diverse range of countries including South Africa, Nigeria, Zambia and Tanzania; more than half
409 of the participating designers were Ghanaian, suggesting the rapidly expanding presence of fashion designers in Accr a. Even more surprising , and i ndicative of the continuing development of the majority of designers represented at the event established their brands within the last five years . Aisha label Christie Brown , informally intr oduced in 2008, was the oldest and most established Ghanaian fashion brand represented at the event, indicating that a younger generation of designers is currently dominating the fashion culture of Accra . In the last year, several designers have emerged and experienced rapid success, adding their own creative interpretations to the popular and ever present trend of wax print fashions. Some of these designers, like Sheila Garbah ( She B y Bena ) and Kyerewa Atakorah ( April Rust ) , have received recognition fo r their designs. Garbah and Ata korah won first and third place 2013 Sandra Ankobiah, a socialite and host of the popular Ghanaian television program Fashion 101 , regularly wears She By Bena designs and posts images o f her latest garments on the social networking sites facebook and instagram. This conspicuous endorsement by one brand . She By Bena rapidly rivals established br ands like Christie Brown and Ajepomaa Design Gallery . While a select group of designers has continued to develop and advance, other fashion designers have drastically revised their brands or altogether withdrawn from As mentione d in Chapter 5, Beatrice Arthur retired as a fashion designer in the fall of 2013 , focusing instead on developing her career as a television personality. ompletely
410 reimagined her brand, shif ting from designing exuberant garments to creating subdued and restrained clothing exclusively for Islamic women. The revised name of her designer label, Brigitte Merki Hijabi Clothing , reflects her attempts to rebrand her image. Although wax print rem ains a staple of her designs, she has introduced a line of t shirts that boldly celebrate elements of her Islam ic faith , exemplified by a shirt printed with the phrase my hijab, my choice. The daughter of Juliana Norteye , Brigitte Naa Ode KragbÃ© , has r e Chez Julie boutique to sell creations from her own brand Nahode Okai , designs which style and use of local materials. As designer fashions continue to maintain their relevance , enterprising young Ghanaians have begun to capitalize on the fashion culture of Accra. Ob Abenser is the most n oteworthy of these individuals; FashionistaGH has become one of the most prominent companies to document s fashio n culture , producing short films highl ighting the latest fashion shows an d events that are shared via the internet . Through FashionistaGH , Abenser has organized his own events, including a series of lectures to assist aspiring designers and entrepreneurs in navigating the complex network of A Television and magazines have become additional vehicles for promoting and Fashion 101 , introduced in 2012, has experienced unprecedented success, encouraging the development of additional fashion oriented television programs, such as Fashion Ghana TV . Individual shows have realized the importance of incorporating fashions , with programs like Girls in the Yellow House partnering with specific designers
411 to create wardrobes f or their entire cast. A variety of locally published fashion magazines have been established in the last few years, including Glitz and Oh Yes! , further establishing the importance of fashion to the cultural fabric Although the majority of this dissertation is inherently positive, illustrating the successes of specific designers, it is important to recognize that there is another side to struggle or fa ilure. A s successful fashion of fashion design, in hopes of achieving wealth and social status. Unfortunately, success will likely elude the majority of these aspiring designers. This is often due to elite Ghanaians to garner resources and attention in the highly competitive and elite oriented fashion industry of Accra. s fashion culture, like fashion itself, continues to experience constant revisions and fluctuations. As designer fashions maintain their signif making the city one of the most significant and influential African fashion centers of the 21 st century. The conclusions I propose in the following section will highlight the notable co ntributions of this dissertation and offer several broad postulations regarding the importance of fashion to the exploration of African cultures. In November 2013, a colleague and I lectured on the subject of West African dress and textiles at a retir ement community in Gainesville, Florida. Following our presentation, I was approached by several individuals who thanked us for our
412 contributions and shared their own experiences with foreign styles of dress. One gentleman told me that my portion of the presentation, which focused specifically on Ghanaian textiles and contemporary Ghanaian fashion, evoked a remarkable childhood r as a young boy and saw a variety of African s dres s ed in Western apparel , instead of the African attire he presumed they would wear . He insisted that the only people who wore a local form of dress were Ghanaian s , and recalled their distinct pride in dressing themselves in such a colorful and conspicuous manner. woven throughout this dissertation: the paramount importance of dressing to Ghanaians and their distinctive approaches to maintaining the relevance of specific dress forms and practices. is extremely important in Ghana, and throughout West Africa , primarily due to the messages conveyed through the careful worn Akwadzan , a garme nt she treasures as exempl ary originality and talent, wa s more than an innovative form of a wrapped textile. The garment encapsulate s the complex cultural shifts of post independence Accra, visually attesting to the resurge nce in popularity of traditional forms of dress that occurred simutaneously as Ghanaians endeavored to assert their belonging to the existi ng global network of independen t, democratic countries . The majority of the garments explored in this dissertation a re of similar importance , illustrating that designer fashions are far more significant than typically acknowledged. The inherent malleability of fashion allows garments to reflect
413 rapid and often unanticipa ted social and cultural changes, serving as tangi ble and visible expressions of crucial historical and cultural moments. The Akwadzan alludes to the integral role of fashion in maintaining historical forms of dress. The garments of Ghanaian designers discussed throughout this dissertation demonstrate that specific fashions serve as a n accessible and highly visible means to encourage the continued use of historically significant textiles and dres s practices. By bringing historical dress and textiles into fashion, the forms themselves may change, yet th eir significance is maintain ed, encouraging future generations to continue celebrating specific dress practices . An integral part of this preservation through innovation is the acknowledgement that specific textiles, like kente cloth, are not imbued with a reverence that prevents alteration. As this dissertation has documented, kente cloth has been physically manipulated and served as a material for diverse fashions since the 1950s, further supporting my assertion that fashion is key to maintaining notion s of Ghanaian tradition s . This dissertation further establishes that designer fashions in Accra existed prior to the 1980s, the time period attributed with the development of contemporary African fashion . Malian Chris Seydou is repeatedly credited with initiating the production of African fashion; although Seydou was instrumental in directing the attention of the international fashion community to non Western, specifically African designers, he was not the first African to create imaginative designer fas hions. In relation to Ghana, designers like Chez Julie were firmly established by the early 1960s, illustrating that fashion has been an integral part of African capitals for decades, if not centuries. I emphasize this recognition , as the importance of f ashion in colonial and pre colonial
414 settings has yet to be fully explored, particularly in Ghana. I predict research focused in these time periods will elicit important discoveries that will further substantiate the historical significance of fashion to A frican countries and their respective cultures. Ghanaian designer fashions are ultimately indicative of a nationalist, cosmopolitan identity. Beginning with Juliana Norteye and persisting until today, d a nationalism as invoked by the political philosophies and rhetoric of their respective eras, while maintaining strong visual allusions to styles of dress from a variety of global fashion centers. It is this simultaneous promotion of nationalism and the assertion of elite cosmopolitanism that makes Ghanaian designer fashions significant. Ghanaian fashion is more than the it symbolize s key aspects of and illustrate the potency of Ghanaian fashion. T his suggests that in addition to the newspaper and the novel, which Benedict Anderson described as the main vehicles for imagining a national identity, there is an of Ghanaian designer fashions. The previous discussions further demonstrate that fashion serves as a means for asserting power and autonomy, particularly for a population that was formerly colonized. As each chapter has explored , Ghanaian fashion designer s have invoked varying conceptions of power through their garments, indicating the potency of fashion for challenging existing inequalities between Ghanaians and Europeans and championing the role of African designers in a Eurocentric fashion system . Ulti mately, fashion is an intensely visible and ever present means for continually asserting notions of power and
415 The most crucial contribution of this dissertation is recognizing that fashion is a powerful and highly visible form of artistic expression that permeates the social and cultural fabric of Accra , as well as other African cities . The Ghanaians who create designer fashions, whether they define themselves as designers, couturiers, or as in one isolated case, a tailor, are all artists. As artists, employ various local materi als and fabrics as their canvas es to create garments that reflect their own interpretations of local and global cultures , mirroring significant social moment s of their respective eras . Their innovative techniques, the sym bolism of their materials and motifs, and their immediate visuality all support my classification of Ghanaian designers as artists, and their designs as works of art .
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429 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH Christopher Richards earned his Bachelor of Arts degree from Rollins College in Winter Park, Florida in 2005. Richards majored in anth ropology and minored in african/african american s tudies. Following his graduation, Richards attended Arizona State University , where he completed his Master of Ar ts in museum a nthropology in 2007. Richards began his career at the University of Florida in 2008 and will comple te his Ph.D. in art history in s ummer 2014. Throughout his academic career, Richards has worked and interned at a variety of museums, including the Cornell Fine Arts Museum in Winter Park, Florida, the Sameul P. Harn Museum of Art i n Gainesville, Florida, the Arizona State University Art Museum in Tempe, Arizona, the Arizona State Museum of Anthropology in Tempe, Arizona, the Museum for African Art, formerly located on Long Island, New York, and the Smithsonian Museum of Natural Hist ory in Washington, D.C. Richards first exhibition, Kabas and Couture: Contemporary African Fashion will open in spring 2015 .