Posted by Charlene Dunbar on

We have a Liberian saying that goes “It’s not for small children”, which means it’s not for the faint of heart or little boys and girls need not apply. That saying pretty much sums up the inspiration I discovered in Accra, Ghana; it was bold and a bit out of my comfort zone (that’s saying a lot!). Here are a few of the ideas that I found:

Enjoying the slick merchandising at the Woodin* store in Osu. Woodin is the latest wave of African prints and is being targeted at the 18 – 30 crowd.

Mixed prints – Africans are the masters of mixed print. I might be a little biased, but we do this. Seriously, people wore mixed up prints that looked hot without even trying.

Pants- More than a few young men were wearing these patchwork pants and patchwork is normally not my thing, but these were gorgeous! Some wore it with a solid colored tee and leather sandals and the look just had great swag and confidence. I picked up three pairs as gifts on my last day after haggling with a vendor in Osu. The second picture is inspiration for how it can be styled for the ladies.

Yes dude, your pants are all that and a bag of chips.

Jewelry – Waistbeads were everywhere, but what really caught my eye where these chunky, painted beads that were like miniature works of art on a string. They were interesting, but I didn’t get any because I thought they looked too literal as African jewelry. THEN, on my way to the airport, one of Josephine’s male coworkers come out looking like a freaking GQ model with a crisp white button-down, skinny jeans, dapper glasses and wait for it… two of the beaded bracelets on his wrist. It looked so sharp and was a great juxtaposition of new and old, classic and funky. Yes, I will be placing an order! They are called sand cast or “Krobo” beads and they are a Ghana specialty.

Fabric – What can I say? The wax print fabric choices were beautiful…and overwhelming. I struggled to choose and assign fabrics to each of my Belk silhouettes as impatient vendors looked at me and said, ”You haven’t decided what you want yet?” after about 15 minutes. I’m like, “Uh, it’s only my most important collection so far, can I make sure I’m making the right choice???” Will it match a wide range of complexions? Is this egg print too kooky? Is this color too dark? Does the print say “Africa-chic” or is it too “hip” for it’s own good? Does it speak suakoko betty? Argh!!! In the end, I was happy with my choices and I think you will be too.

My very first store visit, with Naa the proprietor of Makola Market


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