Joyce Ababio returns home to work with the next generation of designers

World Today

Ghana has long been celebrated for it’s rich textile industry, but it’s less known for its high fashion. Only a handful of Ghanaian designers have made it big internationally. One of them, Joyce Ababio, has returned to Ghana, to work with the next generation of designers. CCTV America’s Katerina Vittozzi reported this story from Accra, Ghana.

Joyce Ababio returns home to work with the next generation of designers

Ghana has long been celebrated for it’s rich textile industry, but it’s less known for its high fashion. Only a handful of Ghanaian designers have made it big internationally. One of them, Joyce Ababio, has returned to Ghana, to work with the next generation of designers. CCTV America’s Katerina Vittozzi reported this story from Accra, Ghana.

Joyce Ababio is one of Ghana’s best known designers. For nearly two decades, she has paved the way for the country’s fashion industry. But now, she is giving something back. Her College of Creative Design is inspiring a whole new generation of fashion talent.

“As a school, we’ve been encouraging them to see inspiration from everywhere, and not just the way people look at it here. It’s more about what we’ve somebody else do, as opposed to getting the inspiration from different things and being able to create your own. So for me, it’s working really hard, opening your mind, stepping out of the box and being able to come up with something that is yours,” Ababio said.

Ghana has historically been known more for its textiles, than its original fashion designs. Although there’s a rich history of dressmaking, high fashion is still in its relative infancy.

“The difference here is it’s a really small scale industry and we are now basically understanding the market and working towards it so we are now growing. So what we are hoping the students will get is seeing the growing markets and us becoming a larger industry,” Ababio added.

Student leaving College of Creative Design are entering a difficult industry. Ghana’s fashion sector isn’t as developed as other countries in Africa like South Africa and Kenya. That’s why a key part of this course to think about business.

“The biggest thing that the students don’t see is how they can become an e-retailer. And the way to become a really good e-retailer is to understand e-business. But also understanding what you can see behind me, pattern drafting, sizing. And it’s not sizing according to west Africa body-type. It’s sizing euro, sizing American and Canadian. And so if they don’t have those skills then they won’t understand that they could be here in Accra and make a living selling,” Florine Demosthene, chief academic officer of Joyce Ababio College of Creative Design said.

The 250 pupils at the school are just at that start of the fashion careers, but freshman student Atimbila Aguri is already dreaming big.

“I hope I will be able to exceed the borders of Ghana and go international because that’s my aim. I am here to build my foundation and build up myself to go international and I hope that I can meet the standards of the international level,” Aguri said.

But she knew climbing to the top of the fashion industry won’t be easy.

“It’s seems that this being Ghana we don’t have a good foundation upon which to push ourselves through the fashion industry. But we believe coming here will give us good opportunities,” Aguri said.