I’m pleased to welcome on the blog this week the gorgeous fashion designer, Titi Ademola, whose brand KIKI Clothing has graced the Red Carpet and has been exhibited in various cities around the world including Accra, Lagos, Mauritius, Johannesburg, London and Rome. I caught up with Titi recently to find out what it was like to be an intern with renowned designer Betsey Johnson in New York City, and to find out more about her vibrant designs that are creating waves in the fashion world….Welcome Titi…
Hi, I’m Titi Ademola and the founder and creative director of KIKI Clothing.
What inspired you to set up your fashion brand KIKI Clothing?
My late father was Nigerian and my mother is Ghanaian. Although born in London, I’ve always been passionate about where I’m from and Africa as a whole. 50 plus countries are found on this continent with rich cultures, traditions and a wealth of creativity. It used to really disturb me when observing how the media portrayed Africa as a “dark continent” I so wanted to see both sides shown on television or in magazines. The Africa I know is full of colour, vibrancy, flavour and amazing, contagious energy. In a small humble way, I wanted to show a positive side of where I am from, through fashion.
Have you always had a background in, and a passion for, fashion?
I’ve always had a passion for fashion. The familiar stories of dressing up dolls as a child and playing dress up in my mother’s clothes and accessories, was part of growing up for me. As I got older, in my teens, I wasn’t sure I could actually pursue fashion design as career and be taken seriously. I’m grateful my family and peers were very supportive. I undertook a Bachelors degree in Fashion Design and interned after graduation with Betsy Johnson in New York. It has been very rewarding being able to enjoy my work day to day and earn a living also.
I love the Two Tone Dress – it’s gorgeous! What styles are proving popular already amongst your customers so far this season?
Thank you Linda. Yes,the Two Tone dress appeals to a wide range of clients, along with the Pencil Dress with wing sleeves and the Bell Sleeve Peplum Top.
Out of all the outfits in your collection, do you have a favourite?
I’m very keen on the Kimono Drape. We’ve done different variations of it over the years and it’s extremely flattering on too.
You spent time being an intern for one of my favourite designers, Betsey Johnson, and for Burberry in New York City and now your own brand is exhibited in cities such as Accra, Lagos, Mauritius, Johannesburg, London & Rome – and although your brand is influenced by the West African love of colour/patterns, if you could go anywhere in the world to get inspiration for a new collection, where would you go?
Brazil, definitely Brazil. It reminds me of West Africa. The food, the music…I’m always so happy when I hear Bossa Nova…there’s a lot of joy in their culture and I find it infectious. I was privileged to travel there a few years ago and would love to go back and explore, as it’s such a big country.
The KIKI brand has already had dresses that have graced the Red Carpet – namely actress Nicole Ari Parker & reality star Tiffany Jones. However, which famous lady would you love to see as the “face” of KIKI Clothing?
Yes, it was quite an honour seeing these well-known reputable women wearing our designs on the red carpet. Amazingly enough, they both are the ideal KIKI woman. They’re beautiful inside and out, hard working and ambitious, they have fantastic drive and determination and love to have fun in life. Other famous ladies that comes to mind would be, Lupita Nyong’o or someone quirky like Paloma Faith.
Looking ahead to Autumn/Winter 2016 – will you be adding more styles and/or colours?
Yes, we’re looking forward to introducing new silhouettes and fabrics for the next season, so keep an eye out for updates.
As you are based in Ghana, are your outfits available to purchase overseas?
We found that although we are based in Accra, we have clients coming into our shops from other parts of Africa, North and South America, Europe, Asia and really all over. These are business travellers, expats living and working in Ghana and tourists. This encouraged us to launch an online shop, www.kikiclothing.com/shop because we wanted to make KIKI Clothing more accessible, globally.
When designing outfits to add to your collection, do you take into account your own tastes, your customer base, current fashion trends, requests, or bits of all those?
I try to factor in all the above, but ultimately it really comes down to what the customer wants and listening to them.
Personal now – what outfits and shoes would you normally be found wearing?
I wear a lot of trousers, either loose and long in length or fitted and slightly cropped and I tend to wear pretty sandals and slippers, some with a bit of a heel and usually from KIKI, as we make footwear also.
Do you have any favourite shops or online sites? (Apart from your own!)
I love Zara!
Boots or Shoes?
Because of my location in sunny Accra, it would have to be shoes 🙂
Links you would like to share e.g. website/facebook/twitter etc so that readers can find out more about KIKI Clothing.
www.kikiclothing.com/shop -Online Shop
It was lovely talking to you Titi. I really do love bright colours – wearing bright colours make me feel happy and confident – especially red, yellow, green and turquoise! What colours leave you with a smile on your face? Do tell! 🙂
All photos have been published with kind permission from Titi Ademola/KIKI clothing.