Interviewed by: Rachel Bulley The Ghana's Creative Women series is an opportunity for ReTurn to highlight how women in Ghana are using their love for art and creativity to revive their communities, make themselves financially independent, and discuss what challenges they have faced along the way. In this interview Ms. Bulley talks with Yayra Ahiake. Ms. Ahiakeis a designer from Dzodze.
Do you consider yourself a creative person ? If yes, In your own words, what makes you one?
"I am a creative person because, I realized my creativity when I was growing up back in my primary school where I could use just thread and a needle to make alterations and recreate beautiful designs with the garments my family and friends had. I created most of the garments I wear and also re-made the clothes my parent bought for me. I transformed them into what I imagined and thought was better with African fabrics.
I developed my creativity through practice. I practiced every design I imagine and trendy styles every day. I learn also from online portals and friends who are into dress making. I follow a lot of people who are succeeding in the fashion design and creative art industry where I gather a pool of knowledge."
How have you developed your creativity? How do you seek out opportunities to showcase or sell what you create?
"I seek for opportunities on social media a lot. Usually, I place what I create on my social media platforms especially on my WhatsApp status where people comment, purchase and give me referrals. Also when people see me wear my designs, they fall in love with the style and request that I make one or two for them. Moreover, my biggest opportunities are acquired when I attend fashion forums and creative design programs."
What challenges have you had since you began?
"My main challenge is that, my parents and guardians don’t share in my passion for fashion and because of that I get little or no support from them. They don’t understand why I should go to school just to study fashion design when I can read law or communication studies to be a journalist. - Money is another challenge, I feel so discouraged sometimes especially when I need money to create something that I have imagined and practice something new for perfection. Most of the times I invest the little money I make from my sales back into production or producing more garments so I end up having nothing in hand."
What measures did you take to overcome these challenges?
"I have to always prove to my family that fashion is worth it and I give examples of people who have made it in the creative art industry and I do everything all by myself, I had hope and faith that made me persevere knowing that I will breakthrough someday so I work hard."
What is your motivation for doing what you're doing?
"People give good comments on what I create and that gives me joy to do more. Above all I feel so accomplished when I am able to create things that I visualize or imagine and anything trendy. It’s also rewarding when clients are satisfied."
Do you have a role model who inspires you in your daily work?
"There are people I look up to and follow keenly because of what they do and how they do them, but I don’t really have a specific person that I can say is my role model. I just like almost everybody in the fashion business."
What did you want to be in future when you were a child? Did you end up doing that or it changed, if it changed, what caused it?
"I wanted to be a communication specialist which I did, it didn’t change but my passion grew stronger for fashion, so I decided to do both."
Years from now, how do you see yourself?
"Ten years from now I want to own an international fashion firm with a global brand that is recognize by all with affinity."
What is your advice for people who want to be like you?
"People who wants to be like me should believe in themselves and the passion they have. They should persevere and focus on God’s will for their lives."