2011 is off to a good start! We had the pleasure of interviewing Sheila Boateng, fashion designer and CEO of N'kya Designs. Originally from Ghana, she currently resides in London, UK. The name N'kya is pronounced Nekaya , and derived from the word 'Nkyia' meaning 'greetings' in the Ghanaian language 'Twi'.

Vakwetu: When did you discover your love for designing? What made you want to become a fashion designer and start N'kya D-Signs?

Sheila Boateng: My story is not as cliche as that of most designers, am afraid. There are no designers in my family and i did not grow up sewing clothes for my dolls...lol
I realised my passion for fashion at university studying for a degree in biomedical sciences. It all started off with me modifying t-shirts using Adinkra symbols cut out of wax prints. This then led to me designing dresses for people I knew, who then encouraged me to start up the label.

Vakwetu: What is the concept behind N'kya D-Signs?

Sheila Boateng: All of our garments are made by our team in Ghana so in a way we are giving back to the community by providing jobs.

Vakwetu: Who is your favourite African designer and your favourite fashion designer overall?
Sheila Boateng: I am currently a big fan of Deola Sagoe! Her designs are amazing and her influences are not just African based which, make the clothes appealing to all. Tom Ford is my favourite designer in general. He knows what women want!

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Vakwetu: What inspires your designs?
Sheila Boateng: I am inspired by my childhood both in Ghana and in London, by the lifestyle of the people and also by general day to day activities.

Vakwetu: What kind of person are you designing for?
Sheila Boateng: Our aim is to produce clothes for the mature confident woman who is daring and not afraid to try things out. Everything with the N'kya label oozes, sexiness, sassiness and style!

Vakwetu: Where can fashionistas purchase your designs?
Sheila Boateng: N'kya is currently only available in the UK but we are working on getting our garments stocked in Ghana and a few other countries. Our website is being revamped and clients will be able to order online and get it posted to them wherever they are.

Vakwetu: What is a fashion designers best accessory?
Sheila Boateng: A muse! Its always a great insight to look at the style efforts and lifestyle of one person to influence a collection.

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Vakwetu: What is your goal in tems of your fashion label. What do you ultimately want to achieve?
Sheila Boateng: We aim on making N'kya an international label with stockists all over the globe! We would love to produce collections that are appealing not just to Africans but to all women regardless of their culture/background.

Vakwetu: What is your view of the current African Fashion Industry?
Sheila Boateng: The African fashion industry has come a long way and is now more internationally recognised than ever! There are a lot more magazines and websites dedicated to making the fashion from the continent accessible and this is just great! Seeing designers such as Marc Jacobs, Stella Mcartney and others using Africa as an inspiration only goes to show how much of a potential they believe the continent has in the international fashion world. Theres still a long way to go in regards to making the clothes accessible to people but I believe we are on the right track.

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Vakwetu: What advice would you give anyone trying to pursue a career as a fashion designer?
Sheila Boateng: I would first of all let them know its a lot of hard work which takes time and dedication but if they are really passionate about this field they whole journey will be nothing but fulfilling! I would say go for what you feel is right and not what the media says should be worn by everyone :-)

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Find out more about N'kya Designs by visiting their website www.nkyadesignsuk.com
or for any enquiries contact Sheila on +447940470323.


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