BellaNaija Style presents a monthly exclusive series, The Millennial Designer Spotlight. Here, we discover the new talented designers leading the African fashion scene to enlighten our readers with their stories, as well as celebrate the next generation of game-changers.
Founded in 2014, Ghanaian luxury menswear fashion house Atto Tetteh is one brand with hard-to-miss designs. With a penchant for solid colours, abstract art and striking elements that reference a West African heritage, its unsurprising that the Accra-based brand keeps setting trends season after season.
Thanks to its signature looks and edgy clothing, Atto Tetteh is one of the brands featured on Zerina Akers’ list of Black Owned Businesses on www.beyonce.com.
According to the designer:
Our brand provides men worldwide with quality and trendy clothes which have a touch of African culture. With very carefully selected fabrics and immense attention to details, every piece in our collection is an extension of the African story being told.
For this week’s Millennial Designer Spotlight BellaNaija Style‘s Mary Edoro talks with the designer about his brand and the direction of African fashion post-COVID19.
How it all started
ATTO TETTEH was started officially in October 2014 and this was when I had reached a crossroad. I had to choose between pursuing a career in finance or a passion business…and I chose fashion. I had realized earlier on that I had a deep yearning for fashion and art and I also felt the need to add my distinct voice to the sea of voices telling the African narrative with fashion as a medium.
The inspiration behind your designs
In my immediate environment, it has been my mother who faced great adversities and did not budge. My enterprising mother started out as a seamstress and ventured into Batik production which I joined in and enjoyed greatly. I had also nursed the dream that I will one day revolutionise fashion in Ghana and on the continent. This greatly inspired me to tell the African story with all its modernity.
Every piece in our collection is an extension of the African story being told. So we always seek inspiration which we translate to design/sketches on paper. This is followed by sourcing the necessary materials needed. Then we seek all the artisans and make samples till we perfect the piece. Then we start production for commercial purposes.
As a Designer are you influenced by trends?
As a creative, I am naturally in the habit of following trends in my industry. Everything Imabsorb in my trends analysis phase has an interesting way of later translating into my designs when I create.
Design you are most proud of
Currently, my favourite designs are my latest collection, “S Theorem” and this is because I found it the most challenging. In making the collection in question, I had to find some of the most incredible artisans in Ghana while dealing with this pandemic chaos. Also, it was my first time that I had to make a fashion film.
Thoughts on sustainable fashion in Africa
I believe strongly that sustainable fashion has grown past being an option to being a must. Now more than ever, designers should be interested in producing clothes that minimize any undesirable effects on the environment. Fashion brands should be socio-economically responsible.
Navigating the COVID19 pandemic
When the coronavirus pandemic initially struck, we had to recoil and do some introspection as a brand. Although we had an online presence, we were traded traditionally most of the time so we had to quickly resort to using our eCommerce platforms. We must however admit that the general production rate stalled for a bit.
What’s next for retail fashion and fashion shows in Africa?
Physical fashion shows remain an integral part of the industry as well as the traditional “Brick and Mortar” stores. Humans especially Africans are social beings and we will do everything to avoid isolation. These stores together with the fashion shows afford clients the opportunity to experience the clothes and also commune.
It is because of this very reason that the traditional shows and physical stores trump virtual shows and online stores. I, therefore, believe that the most effective way for a brand to thrive is to seamlessly combine and complement these traditional stores and physical shows with their virtual platforms.
Live life in colour because colours are the medium through which we express our emotions, identity and communicate with the universe.
Connect with Atto Tetteh on Instagram: @attotetteh
Read more inspiring interviews with other young African designers on the Millennial Designer Spotlight.