Popular designer shares secret to success in fashion industry
Earlier this week, we caught up with Kenyan Designer Annesofie Achera, founder and head designer at Achera Designs and she talks to us about her secret to succeeding in Kenya’s cut-throat fashion industry.
Where does your artistic influence come from and when did you start making clothing?
I come from a background of both architecture and interior design, so I can say that’s where I get my creative influence.
My passion for design started when I realized I was keen on style and fashion. So I would tag along when my mom would have her clothes custom made.
This was after high school, thereafter I worked closely with my cousin Liz Ogumbo , a Fashion Designer based in South Africa, and I learnt quite a lot from her, the whole design aspect, the styling and how to run the business and the industry at large.
It was after this experience and with the support of family and close friends who encouraged me to follow my passion and tap into my talent I began designing clothes for myself and my friends and family.
I got referrals through them and eventually had my first show in 2011, which was the African fashion fair and the rest is history.
How do you describe your designs in terms of creativity and style?
Sophisticated figure flattering silhouettes. I love designing pieces that exude elegance, sophistication, power and confidence.
Therefore, I am keen on my cuts, fabrics and the prints I use. I am a firm believer of less is more. It goes a long way in my designs and styling.
What’s your area of specialty? Why?
Womenswear is my specialty, but I can create designs for men and women as well as kids.
The reason I specialise in womenswear is that as much as the market may be saturated, it is what I enjoy doing.
Do you try to keep with the trends or create your own?
I create my own most of the times, but I do incorporate trends as well to meet the client’s needs too.
What do you enjoy most about being a fashion designer?
What I love most about being a creative designer is the whole creation process.
From the initial choice of fabric colour, print, and sketching of designs according to ones personality and body shape.
Listening to the client’s needs and seeing how about to achieve what they actually need as opposed to what they want.
At the end of it all, I am happy with the designs and knowing that my client is satisfied by my work.
What are some of the successful projects you have been part of so far?
I have in the participated in FAFA and become third position people’s choice. I have showcased in Swahili fashion week both Kenyan Edition and Zanzibar Edition.
African Fashion Fair which was my very first fashion show in 2011.
Also in Nairobi I have showcased in the Naivasha Fashion Weekend and currently awaiting the Rwanda Cultural Fashion Week. They have all been amazing experiences and I keep learning something new.
Who is your dream client?
I am keen on dressing the first Lady Margaret Kenyatta, Dr Susan Mboya Kidero, Gladys Gachanja, TerryAnne Chebet and I am open to any personalities and individuals who would be willing to get on a personal style journey and have a personal stylist.
Timeless Classics vs. Fashion Statements?
Timeless Classics, all day every day
What advice do you have other aspiring fashion designers?
Be creative, do your own thing, think outside the box. Define your niche from the get go and direct your energies towards serving their needs. Building a business is a matter of taking risks, sometimes things work out, and sometimes they do not.
Celebrate your successes no matter how small and learn what you can from your losses.
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