April 17, 2018

Designer Feature: Adjoa Atelier

This week we are featuring Toronto based African fashion designer Adjoa Atelier.

I had the chance to get together with Amanda, the designer behind the Adjoa Atelier brand. She joined me in the spot to shoot a feature on her current fashion collection, as well as chatted with me about her journey as a designer and the Adjoa Atelier brand.

I was first introduced to this brand when I attended an African fashion pop-up shop and was immediately drawn to her unique take on the dashiki top, which was made with a mix of sheer and lace fabrics. I absolutely loved it!

For this feature, we spent a wonderful day shooting dope and unique pieces from the Adjoa Atelier line. In addition, I had the opportunity to chat with Amanda and learn more about her vision behind Adjoa Atelier.

Continue to read our interview...

Tell us a bit about yourself.
My love for my culture and creative expression lead me to create the brand, Adjoa Atelier.
Adjoa (original spelling Adwoa) is a given name used for women born on Monday in Western Africa, particularly Ghana. Atelier means designer in French, and stands for a particular form of artistry; this brand is more than just clothing, it's art. ​My mantra 'Art Is Love' represents the labor and passion that is devoted into this brand. "Art sees Love, Hears Love, and Speaks Love, Art Is Love".

Describe your style journey. When did your love for fashion begin and what inspired you to become a fashion designer?
My love for fashion initially started with me growing up in the 90s. I was inspired by urban music and the culture, especially in the media. Micheal Jackson was my first fashion and music icon. After watching his video 'Remember the Time' for the first time as a kid, I fell in love with art, history, and costume design, which lead to my artistic journey. As I got older, in my teens I decided to channel my creativity in painting and sewing so I enrolled in after school classes and it began from there.

How long have you been designing and what was the first fashion piece you created?
I started designing clothes in college. I enrolled into the Fashion Design program at Seneca College. It was a three year journey which challenged me in ways I couldn't control, however I never gave up. I finally made it to my last year and designed a full collection consisting of three garments from start to finish; this was one of my proudest moment.



Tell us about your fashion line Adjoa Atelier. How long ago did you start it? What style atheistic does it represent?
Adjoa Atelier is a growing independent brand that started in 2012. My design aesthetic can be described as modern with West African influences, which can be seen within every piece that is made.The main objective for this brand is carefully hand-crafted accessories and clothing, made to order and to satisfy each client. I'm a 'seasonal designer', which means that I design based on the season. I particularly enjoy launching a new collection every Spring/Summer.

Tell us about your current collection. 
My current collection which launched summer 17' and can be described as 'AfroChic' Streetwear. I experimented with lace, denim and prints but still kept it simple and 'ready to wear'. It's not about who wears my clothes, or a popularity contest for me. It's about the quality of each piece made and the feeling a person gets wearing a custom piece. I want you to feel 'sexy and powerful'.


What inspires you as a designer?
Life in general inspires me as a designer. My culture, my family, nature. Sometimes just walking through the city gives me life and new ideas everyday. I appreciate and take advantage of the beauty around me.

What role does African fashion play in your fashion designs?
Africa plays a huge role in my designs because it's apart of who I am. I have seen many mainstream designers design with prints or the cultural fabrics but don't have any knowledge of the history, however I do. I have a long history of seamstress and business women in my family, so I always take advice and attain knowledge from my grandmother, aunt's and cousins. People don't know how deep rooted I am. I'm blessed to have a support system with true authentic soul and heritage. Both parents raised me to never forget where I come from. I also read and study a lot about my history as well. Knowledge is Power.

What have been some of the challenges you have faced as you have embarked on your career as a fashion designer?
8. Everyday is a constant challenge for me. What keeps me grounded and motivated is that nothing bad lasts forever and that hard work always pays off. I'm currently working full time while running two small businesses, because I have a vision  and purpose to keep my dream alive.


What have you learned so far in your journey in fashion designing career and what advice would you give to those thinking about becoming a designer as well?
What I have learned: To never give up. Always stay true to yourself

Advice: Always  remember that practice makes perfect. Keep perfecting your craft and always have confidence in what your designing. If you don't believe in yourself, who else will?

Aside from fashion and designing, do you have any other interests?
I am also a freelance writer/journalist and am into photography, creative directing, makeup & beauty. I continue to work as a designer for my second business venture, Revived Clothing, and journalist for an online magazine, Potent Magazine. Ultimately, writing and designing are my true passions and my purpose as an artist.
What are your ultimate goals and aspirations for Adjoa Atelier?
Adjoa Atelier will always be my first love and my baby, so the dreams for this brand are limitless and endless. My short term goal would be to have my own studio space where I can freely work and showcase my designs. My long term goal is to make it on Project Runway, as well as show a collection at New York Fashion Week.

Where can people go to learn more about Adjoa Atelier and view your collection?
Blog - Everything Adjoa
Website - http://adjoaatelier.wixsite.com/
Shop - http://shopadjoaatelier.bigcartel.com
Instagram - @adjoatelier

Thanks so much for stopping by the Spot and sharing your journey as a fashion designer as well as telling us more about the Adjoa Atelier brand.

Y'all definitely check out and shop Adjoa Atelier! Also, make sure to check out her 2nd fashion line Revived Clothing, which just celebrated their 1 year anniversary :)


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