He is certainly making a name for himself. However, in a time when many have attached the label of designer to their achievements, he stands out because of his persistent originality and ethical fashion.
Hassan Alfaziz caught our attention with his catchy designs and the depth of his messages like his most recent collection Ashasie SS16. Africa Fashion Weekly explored every bit of this delectable collection and the message each piece conveys; a tribute to a mother’s struggles and her devotion to her children’s’ success. The whimsical and almost unbelievable nature of this love connection is depicted in its structured pieces, strong pockets and hand-painted art.
Let’s not forget what can be termed as battle-ready quality. We dug deep to discover how Hassan Alfaziz has converted even the most skeptical of critics into strong believers.
How would you describe your childhood and what are some of your favorite memories?
Growing up wasn’t rosy because of the dynamics that can come with a broken home. I lived with my paternal grand-mum for most of those years and that hurt be cause I would have given anything to have my mother and father living together. Yet children always seem to find a means of escape into their own world where they make memories of their own. My favorite memories were the days I spent playing soccer with my cousins and friends, playing “cops and robbers” ,Chaskele, Pilolo and other local games.
Would you ascribe your creativity to anyone in your family (creatives, artists, etc)?
Not really. I’ve been crazy about the Arts since I was a child because it was a source of happiness for me but I was influenced by a friend who made us build houses and make footwear with cardboard.
When was your light-bulb moment? That moment you realized that you had a special talent?
My talent became clear after Junior High School when I would purchase plain T-Shirts and customize them with acrylic paints or put my own spin on their style.
What catapulted your desire for design?
In 2014 I attended the Ghanaian art festival known as Chalewote Festival and I was wearing a constructed tattered shirt with safety pins I had designed and tailored myself. It literally turned heads and earned me so many admirers that I actually sold that shirt that very day to some guy. Had no choice. There was a Ghanaian artiste who loved it so much that he ordered one and wore it in his music video. That incident encouraged me to create my own collections.
What’s sets your collection apart from other different collections on the runway?
Well I believe in anything beautiful and artsy and my collection is not just any trendy collection but also tells inspiring stories,capturing old forms of the African culture and keep traditional elements relevant in to the modern world.
Which designer did you look up to growing up (and why)?
Growing up, Kofi Ansah (may he rest in peace) was one of the few I always looked up to. He was unique. Still is, even now that he is dead. Kofi Ansah left a legacy for us all and you can still spot his work a mile away.
Did you study Fashion & Design? Or do you think you were born with this skill?
No,I didn’t get to study fashion and design. I believe it was in me since childhood.
Where did you study?
I’m a graduate of Central University College which is popularly known as the biggest private university in Ghana.
What helped you come this far (resources or classes)?
I will credit lots of online research and practice for this.
What is fashion education like in Ghana? Do you think there needs to be a greater focus on fashion education?
Fashion education in Ghana has come a long way and is definitely on the rise and that’s great. Not really more important but I believe that every designer needs all the education they can get if they intend to succeed in the business of fashion.
How important do you feel fashion education is to a designer’s career?
It is essential, even indispensable, to a designer’s career because it broadens the mind and understanding of the fashion industry, changing trends and also the know hows of fashion especially in the area of fashion entrepreneurship.
What business classes (and or other), would you have wished to have taken?
I read Bsc. Management Studies in school so I studied most business courses but other classes I wish I had taken is fashion and design..Still going to study it though
PRODUCTION AND MANUFACTURING :
Do you prefer to sketch first? What do you do to help push your creativity and create sketches?
Yes I prefer to sketch first..Like I said earlier,I capture the old forms of the African cultures and my everyday life to create looks that fits the modern world..This helps in creating my sketches..
How do you source your materials, locally and globally?
For my SS16 collections I sourced locally but I’m looking forward to source from anywhere in Africa be it Togo,Nigeria,Kenya,as long as they have what I’m looking for.
What challenges do you incur when manufacturing locally and or globally?
I’m based in Accra and my manufacturers are in Kumasi which makes it a big challenge for me because I’ve to be going to and fro..Another challenge is getting the right materials needed for production .at times you just wanna let go everything
How do you select local talent (photographers, models, volunteers, assistants) to help you with your business?
Fortunately I’m built around geniuses in the industry. I’ve got friends who are good in what they do, talk of photographers,models and good friends who are always there to assist me in my business
Are there infrastructural challenges? If so, what are they and how have you been able to overcome them?
Yes there is the lack of capital, low and irregular income,and also importations of cheap clothing and textiles from the other continents are among other challenges we face.I overcome this through the sales I make from my side jobs but I think the government should provide financial assistance in the form of loans to help acquire modern and more efficient machinery and raw materials to improve the fashion business.
SALES / BUSINESS
Have you seen an increase in sales internationally? If so, what has contribute to this (internet or brick/mortar store)
Not intentionally but locally there is an increase in sales through the internet.
How do you sell your items locally and globally?
I sell my items through an online store.
How do you capitalize or live off of your talents?
I also deal in vintage apparels. I capitalize my talent through the savings I make from that.
How do you sharpen and strengthen your talents daily?
I do a lot of practices and I surf the internet almost everyday searching for inspirations around the world..
Three (3) tips on what others should do to identify and apply their talents?
I truly believe that we are all creative souls walking this earth. It’s like a call you know. but in order for one to Identify his/her talents,one has to
- Recognize his/her talent.That is,finding what makes him/her feel strong and happy.
- Nurture and develop this talent
- Be open to change.
MARKETING | BRANDING & PROMOTION
Why is it so important to promote your culture in everything that you do?
Culture is paramount. It defines who we truly are and where we come from.
How are you promoting your brand locally and globally?
I promote my brand with the help of social media..People around the world gets to see my stuff through that means, and some gets interested in purchasing these stuff:) but i believe social media is a great tool to set your business out there to the public,so i don’t joke with my social medias.
How did you come up with the concepts behind Ashasie3 SS16 Collection?
I met this lady with her child some time ago who was actually begging for money just to get food for her crying baby. With the way she talked,I was really sad for her and it was really touching. I started thinking about my mum,the pain and the hustle she goes through just to see happy each day. So I thought it wise to pay homage to them (our mothers) that birthed my Ashasie collection for the love they show us and the struggle and pain they go through just to see us succeed in life.
How helpful are local and global fashion weeks? –Local & Global Fashion Shows can help a designer out there. After participating in Ghana Fashion Week,the feedback i got and still getting is just amazing
Have you heard of Africa Fashion Week in New York (renamed: New York Fashion Week [Africa])? Would you participate and why (not)?
Yes I’ve heard about New York Fashion Week (Africa). It would be a dream come true participating on that show and I would love to participate because it would be a great moment in my career as a fashion designer and a great impact on my brand.
What celebrity would you like to dress (local and global celebrity) ?
Locally and globally I would like to dress Wiyaala and Beyoncé respectively.
Is it more important to be known as an African designer or a designer who is inspired by cultures and traditions (mostly from Africa)?
It is important to be known as an African designer because that’s who I am and what I represent.
How has media helped to elevate your brand?
The media has really helped in elevating my brand through the multiple features I get
How is fashion media, bloggers in Ghana (Africa)? How has it contributed to your brand overall? Feel free to brag where you’ve been featured.
The fashion media in Africa, talk of Ghanaian, Nigerian and South African bloggers are just amazing and I thank them all because they’ve really helped in elevating my brand. With the features,globally I can’t mention all but we have been featured on Vogue Talents, Elle Magazine SA, NotjustALabel, Afropunk, BellaNaija,BraPerrucci, DebonairAfrik,Unartiste.co etc. It feels good & motivates me more to work harder.
Where can one purchase your items? (list your stockist)? Online and Offline?
At the moment our website/webshop is underway but one can purchase our items from our social media platforms (Notjustalabel,Facebook and Instagram).We have more than a few stockists waiting to stock our items though.
How has social media assisted in generating sales? What social platform do you mostly use to promote your collections?
The social media has helped me in many ways. Through social media, I get to interact with my customers. Instagram is my favorite social media tool because it really helps me in promoting and selling my stuff to the world.
What trade shows or conventions have assisted you securing new customers and clients?
I’ve participated in the Fashionista Ghana Shopping Festival and they have also helped me secure clients.
What are some of the challenges you face while trying to sell locally and globally?
Selling locally or globally can be challenging when customers are indecisive. It can get frustrating but I am here for them and it is always my pleasure to fulfill their needs.
Adiree Company is a media, marketing, and marketplace group reaching multicultural consumers. Every month, readers turn to content by Adiree — for impactful conversation, our marketing and it’s marketplace to engage with meaningful products. Focusing on everything from culture, lifestyle to careers, Adiree Company leverages the power of diversity and heritage to engage and empower. Adiree Company was founded in 2009 and is headquartered in New York City, with offices in Lagos Nigeria.