DYNAMIC AFRICANS #9: Nancy Twum-Baah of CUT FROM A DIFFERENT CLOTH
Over the past few years, there’s been an undeniable rise in the attention given to fashion labels and designers from all over Africa and the diaspora. However, despite this rise, keeping track of all these designers isn’t as easily done as opening your favourite fashion magazine or scrolling through your favourite fashion websites and style blogs. That’s where CUT FROM A DIFFERENT CLOTH fits in.
Whether you live on the continent and want to seek out designers based in your locale, or are based in some other part of the world and want to find out more about the next Africa Fashion Week event in a city near you, CFADC conveniently sews up all the various patches into a perfect quilt of a blog that’s easy to navigate and a seriously appetizing visual fashion feast for the style hungry.
For this feature, we talk to the Ghanaian founder of this one-stop fashion blog about the current state of African fashion and the developments that need to take place to ensure a flourishing future for present and future designers.
Hey Nancy! Tell us a little bit about yourself, the face behind CFADC:
My name is Nancy Twum-Baah, and I am the founder of CUT FROM A DIFFERENT CLOTH. I am Ghanaian, but was born and raised in New York. I attended Emory University (Atlanta, GA) for undergraduate school, and now I currently live in California. By day I manage oncology clinical trial studies for a leading biotechnology company, and by night I share with the world the latest in African fashion.
There’s definitely a need for a blog like this but what inspired and/or motivated you to start this tumblr, and how long have you been operating it?
I always had a love for African fashion, and I started my blog as a vehicle to share my passion. Additionally, I always wondered why talented African designers scarcely receive the recognition they deserve for their innovative work.
After pondering for a while, I decided to take matters into my own hands by creating a platform to bring African designers to the forefront of the fashion community. Initially, beginning as a private blog, I released CFDC to the public in September 2011.
Where does the inspiration behind the name of your blog come from?
To be ‘CUT FROM A DIFFERENT CLOTH’ means to be unique; you are different or set apart from the norm. I chose this name because of two reasons.
Firstly, African fashion is unique because it is not confined. Not only is it representative of the culture instilled in 54 sovereign countries that make up the dynamic continent, but it is also representative of the Diaspora and its progression.
Each African designer brings a different style to the fashion community that is both vibrant and bold —be it through the infamous prints, cuts, architecture, or fluidity of garments.
Secondly, I chose the name as a play on the different cloths used in some African clothing that make it so distinct (i.e. – kente, wax prints, ankara, batik cloth, shemma, mud cloth).
What is your personal outlook on the fashion and design industry in Africa/the Diaspora?
The fashion and design industry in Africa/the Diaspora is definitely rising! This is a very exciting time, but it is just the beginning. Many improvements must be made before African designers receive the global recognition they deserve.
These improvements include but are not limited to the following:
- sufficient education and funding for the African artists trying to make it in the industry
- a concrete infrastructure across all African countries so that designers can be reckonable forces in the worldwide fashion arena
- and the formation of a unified voice that globally legitimizes African fashion as not a trend, but a long-lasting lifestyle.
I feel that this is all obtainable with time. The future of African fashion is bright!
Who are some of your favorite African designers/labels?
I don’t know if I can name a few. I have a genuine appreciation of every designer for different reasons.
However, I love designs by Mimi Plange, Duro Olowu, Christie Brown, Adama Paris, Ozwald Boateng, Jewel by Lisa, Washington Roberts, Eskado Bird, Gavin Rajah, David Tlale, Virgos Lounge, Coccolily, Adrien Sauvage, KLUK CGDT, Heel the World (HTW), Black Coffee, Korto Momolu, Lalesso, Anita Quansah, Odio Mimonet, Sunny Rose, Mustafa Hassanali, Peachy Purr, Modahnik, John Kaveke, Lanre Da Silva-Ajayi, Elie Kuame, Ohema Ohene, Soucha.
Was that a few? I can keep going!
Are there any similar blogs you’d recommend:
And any tumblr by an African designer - too many to name!
Where else can you be found on the internet:
CUT FROM A DIFFERENT CLOTH (CFDC) now has a website and Facebook page as of September 2012. Additionally, people can find CFDC on Twitter.
Below are the different avenues to connect with CFDC:
Facebook: CUT FROM A DIFFERENT CLOTH || Twitter: CFADCLOTH