Fatumah Asha - Designing African Fashion




My design process begins with finding a fabric. I am so much inspired by fabrics, they give me visions of what to create. I can look at a fabric and have dreams of what I can do with it, then sketching comes second.





What sparked your interest in Fashion? 



I always knew I wanted to be a fashion designer from childhood. While my friends were playing "mummy and daddy" I was busy playing designer. As a child I would cut small tiny clothes, stitch them together and dress all the dolls of the girls in my village.

 







In high school I redesigned some of my classmates outfits with just a needle and a thread. They would love it. It became their form of self-expression.


I embarked on it as a profession during my second year at the university. In order to make ends meet I would make pieces and force my friends to buy them. After all your friends are supposed to be there to support you. lol.








Are you self taught or did you study fashion design? 



I studied Industrial and Fine Arts with a major in Fashion Design. School was very theoretical as is most universities. It's very important to understand the theories behind certain concepts. After having grasp the theory I taught myself the practicals. Manifesting ideas into physical products is a totally different learning curve.





How has your work evolved since you Began your work?


My work has evolved so much ever since I started which was about 12 years ago. When I first started creating, I had difficulty creating articles of clothing that fit correctly. It's one of those practically learning curve they don't teach you in school. Now, I'm a beast in making fitted clothes. I can make a glove that fits you without ever having to meeting you. As long as I'm given the right measurements of course. I get more and more neat every year.




I have clients from all parts of the world that I've never met. Usually they make their orders and I use Posta or DHL to send their pieces.



Where do you see African fashion heading in the next years?


African Fashion is the future. There are so many different cultures on the continent, there is just so much that has yet to be discovered. I know that a lot of African Designers use Africa as an inspiration to create their work.





What inspires me most about African Fashion is the African peoples themselves. We are beautifully made. God blessed Africans with curves. Curves that the rest of the world envy and even go to great length to create fashion designs that mimic curves that aren't there. Even the most straight African woman somehow has curves.






Has your work been stolen or used by a large brand without your consent?


Yes my work was stolen and used by a large brand once but I didn't take action because I hate wars. I also didn't want it to distract me from creating more designs. They say imitation is the best form of flattery so I used it to push my limits even further.



What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned since starting out? 


The biggest lesson I have learnt since I started designing is you can not impress everyone. Some people will love your work madly and others will not and thats ok. Fashion is a form of art and not everyone understands all sorts of art. What I've discovered is if I love what I have created and my clients love it then that is all that matters. The rest is grey.






 What advice would you give young African designers? 


The advise I can give young African Designers is for them to be themselves. Do not be Afraid to be different. People will love you for who you are. Do Not Copy. Use what you have seen as an inspiration to come up with your own design. Africa has so much to offer. Changing a few things about what you have seen can actually transforms a design into something unique.






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