Mercedes-Benz supports five fledgling designers in Ghana
Accra might have had to cancel its fashion season this fall, but a quintet of the Ghanaian capital’s most happening new designers have been able to present their latest creations via a novel photo shoot backed by Mercedes-Benz.
The city had been due to relaunch its catwalk season in October, but like runway weeks worldwide, was forced to call off the event due to the global pandemic. Instead of live shows, the luxury automobile marque selected five promising new talents to showcase their ideas in a series of photographs by photographer Carlos Idun-Tawiah.
Mercedes-Benz has been a highly active supporter of international fashion seasons for a quarter of a century; providing financial support and fleets of their limousines and high performance models for editors, buyers and VIPS to attend literally thousands of shows. This year, the German carmaker turned its focus on African talent – specifically five houses: Larry Jay, Steve French, Hazza, Atto Tetteh and Chloe Asaam.
The shoot captures the energy of Accra, a city of 4.2 million people, using a documentary style to highlight the creators' diverse and eclectic styles. And this being 2020, the year of in-the-box collections, Mercedes Benz sent editors a box containing a toy viewfinder of images of the capital; mini cassettes of local tunes; bottles of Ghanaian cacao and even some dried plants – from Nigella and Phalaris to Setaria and Eucalyptus. The box a classic Ghanaian criss-cross print.
Enamored of the matriarchal figures in Ashanti mythology, designer Chloe Asaam showed delighted local ladies with fantastical Rasta-style-meets-courtesan wigs; colorful flutter-sleeve jabots and a great askew white cotton blouse worn on a beautiful model who sported Mercedes-Benz logo earrings. While menswear designer Atto Tetteh unveiled bold cricket stripe pants paired with leather vests, and a marvelous white cotton tunic with traditional red motifs worn by a veteran gent posed before a classic model Mercedes.
Hassan Alfaziz Iddrisu of Hazza focused on graphic African prints used in party shirts, and tops starring embroidered roosters seen in a family group portrait as seven locals stand around a late model Merc. The Ghanaian love affair with hand-painted graphics was evident in the work of Steve French, a series of white cotton tops hand painted excellently with ancestral motifs. Though the single most striking photo was of a father and son wearing clothes by Larry Jay, with the older gent proudly sporting a '70s glam tie-dye jacket and shirt in mixes of Imperial purple.
“Aspirational design is at the heart of the Mercedes-Benz brand, and our commitment to supporting global talent who push creative conversation forward is more important than ever. The level of talent in Ghana is truly inspiring and we are excited to kick-start planning to re-launch Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Accra, when it is safe to do so,” said Bettina Fetzer, vice president marketing Mercedes-Benz AG.
Over the last 25 years, Mercedes-Benz has worked consistently internationally to aid creative talent in the fashion community. The brand currently supports Mercedes-Benz Fashion Weeks in Australia, Mexico, Madrid, Tbilisi and Berlin as well the International Festival of Fashion, Photography and Fashion Accessories in Hyères.
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