Much of what the fashion industry reports on is to do with major exhibitions and famous brands. That ignores the vast number of designers that are taking their first steps on the retail runway. We caught up with Meen, a graduate of the University of Arts London, who is creating hand made accessories with a twist from her Ghanaian heritage.
“Growing up, I was surrounded by fashion”, explains Meen. “Mum was always coming around with new fabrics and designs. I was being influenced from a young age, without really noticing it”.
After doing an initial course in Fashion and Textiles, Meen went to the London College of Communications to study Surface Design.
Close to the time she was about to graduate, she began experimenting, “I would take some of the cloths that were lying around at home, cutting intricate patterns and then mounting the prints on a harder material”.
Very much at the learning stage, Meen has already found that it is easier to maintain your existing customer base than expand.
“My designs are quite bold”, she told us. “You need to have a confident character to wear my products. For example, when I sell in the markets around London, I have a lot of young women try them out, tell me how much they love them – but then say, ‘Oh but I’m not sure I could wear that outside'”.
We asked about scaling up her business and Meen told us about the difficulties, “It is a very competitive market. Hard to get into, but I want to keep trying”.
“To be honest, if I really want to take it to the next level, I will need to spend a lot of time in Ghana – building connections with factories and seeing if I can get the right manufacturing partner”, she said. “Manufacturing my products in Ghana is one of my dreams”.
We then asked about the specific challenges to this kind of accessory, “Cutting the shapes is difficult, but really the biggest challenge is the time it takes to get the perfect adhesive contact. It can take more than a day to complete one item. Sure, you can start more than one at a time, but it’s still slow”.
Finally, we wanted to know what a ‘dream collaboration’ would look like.
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