Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Emerging fashion designer, Nina Bakers Wood, Chief Executive of Bakers-Wood, has said it is unfortunate that some Ghanaians continue to look down on fashion designers and hold the perception that it is school dropouts who opt for the fashion designing profession.

“The perception is still there and when people hear you are a fashion designer, they think it is because you cannot become a medical doctor or a lawyer or an astronaut; and this is unfortunate because fashion designing is very big business and not a last resort for school dropouts,” Nina told NEWS-ONE.

Nina Bakers Wood 
She said “fashion designing is a creative sector and it takes people who can think on their feet in a very creative way to enter into it.”

“There is no set of professionals who do not wear clothes. Who would design the clothes if we all decide to become medical doctors or lawyers?” Nina quipped in this interview that touched on her brand and the fact that she has been ranked Among Top 7 Emerging African Designers.


Tell us about your brand
The name is Bakers-Woode. We are into fashion retail. Though we do a few stuffs for men, I like to focus more on women. We have been working for some three years now and we have had some successes and recognition.  For instance in July 2013, the Vogue international magazine did a whole feature on us as a fashion brand from Ghana. We put Ghana out there. We have also been featured on international news channel, CNN, for being among the top 7 emerging African designers in same year. We are a success story so far.

But you are not loud in Ghana.
I have no idea why we are known more internationally than in our home country. I think it is probably because of our styles. Our style resonates better with the international market and most of our clients are international. We are a bit different from the normal Ghanaian designers.

What is the difference?
Most of the Ghanaian designers use the regular African prints. Though I stick to African prints, I use mostly ‘Tribal African prints’ and not the regular prints. Tribal African prints is the type of print that has to do with symbols from tribes all over Africa and not just Ghana. So for example you can have ‘Adrinka’ from Ghana, some Egyptian mummy and Turkana from East Africa all appearing on one fabric.  My prints have symbols that tell a message and we blend them nicely without creating cluster.

You manufacture in Accra here. How do you sell internationally?
We mostly sell online. Most of our purchases are from the internet and our clients buy through all our social media pages.  It has worked perfectly for us within the last three years.  Most of my clients are in the United States, Canada, France and other parts of Europe. We are looking at expanding our frontiers in the near future by opening retail outlets to ensure we get to the market that cannot purchase off the internet.

Where did you learn to do this?
I guess I have had the passion for a while. This sounds cliché but that is the truth. I was doing the designs and taking them to independent tailors. But that had its set of challenges and they were all messing me up. I therefore decided to go to fashion school myself. I enrolled at Joyce Ababio for a year and I learnt a lot. Now I am hands on though I have in-house tailors working for me.

Has the journey been worth it?
It has never been easy but I am happy where I have reached. Sometimes I want to give up. But I also want to see my brand in other countries all over the world; and this keeps me pushing on and on despite the challenges.
What are the challenges?
Finding tailors, finding fabrics, finding quality zippers and all the things that go into production.  There are tailors all around but it is difficult to find a good tailor that is punctual and loyal to the work. And one who has perfect skills for finishing. Finishing is the most important part of fashion. Finding fabrics is not easy for me. That’s why I use custom made Tribal African prints.

Anything you want to add?
Well, people should just buy Bakers-Woode.


By Halifax Ansah-Addo (Twitter: @HalifaxAnsahAdd)

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I am a Creative Arts Writer who is also into Strategic Communications, Public Relations, Photography and IT consultancy. I am also Social media enthusiast and an alumni of the Ghana Institute of Journalism (GIJ).

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