Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Interview with phyllis Taylor for Sika designs

Sika designs

I have been so vocal about Sika designs and in fact they were one the first designers I did a post on . I just love the dresses. I found this interview with the head designer of Sika Phyllis Taylor. I hope you like it . Remember let s support the African talents . Enjoy your read!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
African prints are hot. The latest, unexpected fashion trend to emerge from the catwalks used to be an underground statement. Whether it be afro twists sheathed in a kente cloth scarf or an ethnic bag hanging from some boho chick’s tattooed shoulder – African prints have always been worn by a conscious few, up until now. Phyllis Taylor, aka Sika, could be described as the pioneer of modern African-inspired clothing. Catch A Vibe caught up her with her for a quick discussion on fashion, heritage and ethical issues.

What inspired you to create Sika?
My Ghanaian roots inspired me to create Sika.I have always loved Kente cloth and Ghanaian materials and I began to realise there was a niche for clothes inspired from African prints. I began designing clothes and it basically took off from there.
What does Ghana mean to you?I
It’s my roots. So much energy and inspiration comes from there! Africa as a source of inspiration often gets overlooked, with all the negativity that goes on – it can affect people’s judgement. I want to begin to change those negative stereotypes of Africa and I think I can make a start by bringing African prints to the forefront of fashion.
How you source materials for your clothes?
I personally choose all the fabrics and materials for the designs in Ghana. The range is vast so I have a lot to pore over. I then have my team start to make the clothes with the chosen cloth based on my designs.
How important is it that your designs are ethical produced?
It’s very important. I source all materials and fabrics from local traders and stockists in Ghana, where my garments are also made. It’s good to buy directly from the people who make the materials. It’s a principle Sika believes in and it also provides work for the locals. I work with this in mind, it’s a top priority in what I do.
Can you envisage Sika going mainstream?
Yes and no. My product is quite niche and unusual – African prints aren’t really used in mainstream fashion. It’s only with the recent interest in exotic prints that African cloth is becoming popular. In a way popularity is good because if Sika becomes more accessible to the fashion buying public, more people will be wearing African prints, but then I’m not too sure how it would take off and if there’ll be enough interest to make it mainstream. I have had a lot of interest from the fashion mags – Vogue and Marie Claire and the shirtdress from my Spellbound collection was recently featured in Grazia.
Any plans to venture into menswear or open a shop?
Yes, definitely, that’s a priority along with maybe a menswear line in the future. I’ve had a lot of men who’ve come into the shop and asked if I stock menswear – so that’s a venture I’d like to explore in the future. (ed – I’m there already!)At the moment, Cherry Picked (a boutique in Greenwich, London) stocks most of the line and pieces from the new collection.
Courtesy of Nii Swaniker

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