Wednesday, May 19, 2010

The Natural Magician- Anita Quansah

Like the kente weaver goes “ Kro hin kro” so does the designer Anita Quansah put rhythmic tune to her designs. A BA textile design graduate from the Chelsea College of Art and Design London, Anita would set the world on fire ( she won’t burn your house oh)

She has been involved with the fashion industry, collaborating and creating unique embroidered textile pieces for some of the leading textile and fashion design houses such as Christian Lacroix, DKNY, Diane Von Furstenberg, Ischiko, Victoria Secret, Ecko and textiles Weisbrod Zurrer and Sandy Starkman, (the scarier the name the better the designer) just kidding.

In 2004 ,Anita has collaborated with Christian Lacroix, designing and embroidering a jacket featured on the runway for the Haute Couture show. What! wat a list? – (even though I borrowed this from her website)
Her designs are tasty and rich in color; her combination of vintage and modern artistry is amazingly beautiful. In simple words her designs is an eye catcher!
So I tracked her down and sent her a few questions

Q: Anita Quansah that sounds like a Ghanaian name are you?

Yes I am Ghanaian

Q: You seem to be multi tasker and very versatile? Accessories, clothes and interior, how did start?

I love fashion and all things beautiful. I guess this passion for design and creativity stems from my early childhood, watching my grandmother a seamstress teaching and making the most beautiful clothes from very interesting and embroidered textiles. Her Passion for creativity, her energy and her determination is what drove me to start experimenting at a very young age. I guess also being brought up around women and watching their different styles evolve also had an impact on me.
Also after years of selling my Luxury handmade couture fabrics to renowned fashion designers, I wanted to create a fashion line that people could not only learn about the intricate techniques used and see the true value of it, but also fall in love and own a piece of true wearable art. Then in 2004 Anita Quansah London the fashion line was launched. Since then, the line has proven very successful, sold out in the Laden Showroom London which was the first ever boutique that stocked the line, then from then, I went on to sell on Asos online which too was very successful And now I am designing a range of neckpieces to accompany the fashion line.

Q: You have an amazing creative sense and seeing your designs remains me of nature and organic materials, how attached are you these?
I love nature and the ever changing beauty that surrounds it the tone, patterns, placement and proportions. So it's not surprising that this is very much depicted in my work.

Q: I remember the first time I saw your clothes, it reminded me of a painting on a wall, artistically which painter motivates you and how does painting affect your choice of materials you collect for your pieces?.
For nature inspired designs I look to great artist such as Monet, Gustav Klimt and Robert John Thornton. I love how these great artist use colour to convey a message of beauty and making nature come alive in their work. I can spend a very long time looking and analysing the techniques used by these artist. Just like they paint on canvas using paint, I myself paint with fabrics creating textures using vintage and recycled textiles which are dissected and meticulously fused together, using hand and machine embroideries.

Q: How has the industry treated you as an African woman and a creator of amazing modern designs? Has it penetrated the market and made its mark as you envisaged some years ago?

The fashion industry is very competitive. And you must have something very different and well received to be able to make it in this industry. Am coming from a textile background and I create my own luxury handmade fabrics and this makes me very different. Also my work can be perceived as a work of art, which is influenced greatly by my culture. As a designer, I am constantly working on making people more aware my work. From when I first started to now, the brand has been well received and has generated a lot of interest and collaborations

Q: How has it been working with so many popular designers and how has it influenced your designs?
Collaborating and selling my work to many fashion designers have enabled me to broadened my design skills and discover who I really was as a designer. It taught me to appreciate my work a lot more. Their expectations and their style of working allowed me to push my creative level to the extreme, to be freer, yet structured in my design style creating a sumptuous piece that is textural with a contemporary edge.

Q: What are your future plans for your label?

Firstly, I want to continue making people more aware of recycling especially in fashion.
Secondly, I hope to have made the brand more successful, and a house hold name, have designs both fashion, interior and jewellery stocked in African Boutiques, and big department stores worldwide. But most importantly, to maintain the value of my craftsmanship and keep my creative spirit alive

Q: Anita thanks for the chat and we hope to see your pieces in Ghana.

Your welcome. Yes I hope to have my brand known and received well in Ghana. Ghana is full of rich cultures, traditions and fashion. Working on having the pieces stocked over there very soon. Shall keep you posted.

Anita would be in Ghana soon and Divas can purchase fantastic jewellery and clothes. Leave ur order on my face book page. Jay abrafi gyebi