Alfie Designs’ Hand-Tailored Mission and Prints
Sometimes a success story begins with a woman and her talent for designing dresses for family and friends. Then it becomes something like Alfie Designs, a company known for their elegant African prints, chic accessories, and emboldening a new generation of talented young women.
The secret behind their success may go beyond the brilliant Khut-ap bib and into the company’s willingness to embrace change for the better. It began in 1990 with founder Afi Agbenyega Nyarko, whose creations caught the attention of African fabric producers within three years. By 1994, Alfie Designs began a program teaching the young woman of Ghana, Africa the fine art of textile, design, and sewing. The initial program last five years, overseeing the training of over one-hundred local girls. Over a decade later the program became a fashion school, winning a grant from USADF. This grant provided the equipment and materials needed to induct more young women into an industry increasingly willing to embrace, inspire, and support them.
“There's also our logo, the indigenous Akan Adinkra symbol Kyenkema, which means 'change'. (The Akan are one of Ghana's most prominent tribes),” Tetteh Djangmah told us in an email. “True to our symbol, Alfie has changed over the years, and it has had to. Not because fashion itself changes, but because if Alfie, and Africa as a whole is going to succeed, we're going to have to drop a few tried and tested traditions and venture into the world of full of prospects. We must change.”
Alfie Designs embraces this principle and encourages it in their textiles and accessories as well. Each piece represents the vitality and grace of African culture and fashion- from African prints for adults to contemporary pieces catering to next-generation clientele. “Perhaps deeper than the designs are the materials we use. Genuine African prints speak volumes on their own. Whether the patterns, the colours or the symbols dyed unto them, there's a uniqueness about African print that makes it completely and unequivocally African,” says of their passion to represent a continent they love.
Their exclusive Khut-ap bib best represents the value of the materials they work with. Like the company, these pieces come from humble beginnings- recycled materials. Once reams of fabric are cut for other clothes, the leftover fabric is arranged into strips and a base is created. Working from an established base that can be manipulated, new designs are already emerging. “One such design is the Khut-ap Pan, a Peter Pan collar as a base that has been complemented with a Khut-ap add on,” Djangmah told us. The company has also debuted the Le-Bossom Wrap, which is a more elegant integration of their mesh capes. Alfie Designs has a knack for crossover pieces, proving that creativity is not a straight line. Traditional elements like beads, covered buttons, and beads give the pieces life, texture, and reflects the company’s values and the culture of a beautifully diverse continent.
Alfie Designs will be exhibiting their latest and favorite designs at NY NOW’s Artisan Resource at the Jacob Javits Center in New York City from February 5-8.
For more information or to place orders, please visit http://alfie.design