Anita Quansah London was created in 2006 by self-named UK designer Anita Quansah. After obtaining a textile degree in 2003, from Chelsea College of Art and Design London, Quansahstarteddeveloping and promoting her designs by creating elaborate one of kind statement jewelleries.
Anita Quansahhas worked with the likes of DKNY, Diane Von Furstenberg, Ischiko, Victoria Secret, Ecko and textiles WeisbrodZurrer, Christian Lacroix and Sandy Starkman and has worked on exhibitiions including Indigo and Premier Vision in Paris.
But her flair and passion for creativity stems from her early childhood. Growing up, watching and learning from her now late 82 years old grandmother and muse, a renowned seamstress and designer of her time, teaching and running an all women institute of more than 400 students, making the most beautiful clothes/outfits from very interesting and embroidered textiles for royal kings and some of the king’s cabinet. Teaching local women in the community, how to better themselves by taking up home economics, designing and sewing. Her grandmother believes that every woman needs to make use of what they are blessed with which one of them are their “hands”. I guess this has indeed inspired and motivated the designer to now follow her long loved passion for creativity, by stepping into her grandmothers shoes, which to her is very hard to fill.
This creative instinct and memorable influence has led the designer to successfully obtain her degree and progress into Jewellery making which is self taught by experimenting with many found materials fused with her textile background experience.
Her work speaks originality, eclectic, expressive and yet authentic and can be perceived as works of art, all handmade by the designer using recycled and vintage materials fused with gems from around the world, incorporated with mixed metals, silver, gold, gunmetal and the introduction of colourful elements such as rare African beads sourced from Africa, pearls, beads, rhinestones, ribbons and fringing giving the collection a sense of modernity with a hint of the past
Quansah’s work has gained the attention of many stylists, fashion editors and celebrities alike such as Estelle, Keisha Buchanan, ShingaiShoniwa and Genevieve Nnaji.
p>In 2004 she collaborated with Christian Lacroix, designing and embroidering a jacket that was featured on the runway for his Haute Couture show in Paris.
In April 2010 British Vogue, named her neckpieces as “Best Buy” and also in November 2010, she was nominated for the “Best African Fusion Designer” at the prestigious GUBA awards in London.
Her designs have been featured in editorials such as German Vogue, Elle Germany, British Vogue, Elle UK.com, Dare2magazine, Fab Magazine, Muse, German Tush, Flux, SVA, Pride, Fashizblack, Pref, Sublime and Vision and many online fashion and style blogs.
Quansahwas recently in Lagos for the MTN Lagos Fashion and Design Week 2011 (MTNLFDW) and had a chat with OnoBello.com about her her latest spring/summer 2012 collection.
OB: Tell us about your experience showcasing at MTNLFDW?
AQL:It was an amazing experience and a huge platform for designers as myself to showcase our work, its fantastic. This is actually my third time showcasing on a platform of this size. I love to see people’s reaction to my work after having a show, I want to see if I am making a buzz.
OB: Talk us through your spring/summer 2012 collection you showcased?
AQL: It is a collection that is full of colour and bold pieces that are replicas of African embroidery but made with jewellery so it drapes beautifully on the neckline and extends down. We have used a lot of precious beads, glasses and chains all mixed up and beautifully presented as the finished pieces.
We wanted to create pieces for strong women so the pieces are a lot bolder. AQL is known for bolder pieces but this collection is bolder than our usual ones, more wearable and can be worn any day and can be taken from day to evening.
OB: What sort of woman will you say wears your designs?
AQL: I would say any woman, we don’t discriminate, we have a wide variety of pieces from earrings, neck-pieces, bracelets. We believe our pieces make any woman bold, once she wears them she becomes bold and when she takes them off she returns back to her old maybe even shy self.
OB: You are half Ghanaian and Nigerian andnow in Lagos showing your collection, what does Lagos mean to you in terms of fashion?
AQL:Right now there’s a huge buzz around Africa, for example, take a look at Burberry spring/summer 2012 with the use of African prints. So for me Africa plays a very strong inspiration in my designs as well. Nigerian and Lagos women are very fashionable and its great to be here in Lagos showing our work where we know our pieces fits right in with the whole fashionable setup.
OB: What was your most important essential you packed for your trip to Lagos?
AQL: Loads of colours, this season, colour blocking is essential for me, I love my bright colours and a lot of accessories as well.
OB: How do you relax?
AQL: I haven’t had any sleep for months so the best way for me to relax is to have a nice pampering massage.
OB: What fashion item do you splurge on?
AQL: I love accessories; I spend all my money on shoes. I love fashion and I love all designers but I am a woman of a certain size and its not easy for me to find my size but for shoes I can find and buy my size in any designer label and wear it without any problem, although my credit card or wallet suffers in the end.
OB: Where do you see your label in five years?
AQL: We are taking each day as it comes but who knows. Of course we want to be among the top labels of the world selling in Macy’s, Harrolds and Selfridges and the major outlets in Africa. We hope to open our major store in Nigeria very soon.
OB: Have you had any fashion faux pas?
AQL: A lot I must say. Looking at beauty, in the 80s I used to wear like bright makeup with really bright coloured lipsticks and use a black liner to linen my lips, that was bad and I thought I was beautiful. For clothes, I used to customise what I wear but if I knew what I know now, I wouldn’t have stepped out of the house like that.