Story By: Rahamatu-Lahi Zakaria || Sanatu Zambang
Fast rising Tamale based fashion designer, Josephine talks of her journey into the fashion business, her take on the industry, how stereotype is not helping the Tamale fashion ecosystem and what needs to be done for Tamale to become the hub of fashion in the sub Saharan West Africa during Sanatu Zambang Café Experience on Saturday, 3rd April, 2021.
For Josephine, her love for sketching clothes has always been with her since from the beginning. Though she did not realized the gift she had, she still continue to do what she loved. At a young age, while most kids will allow their parents choose their style for them for the seamstress to sew, young Josephine will design her dress herself, how she wants it to be done with the aid of a paper and pencil to be given to the seamstress to sew for her.
Her passion for fashion continued till senior high school, where she started styling herself and some of her friends seeking her help to style them. At this stage, Josephine still did not think of going to fashion school or pursuing it. She saw it as something she like to do, like a hobby.
After senior high school she proceeded to the University for Development studies to pursue Integrated Community Development Studies. During this time she will continue with her sketches. She will sketch the During this time she will try her hands on designing and making Africa Print bags to sell.
I had passion for fashion- Josephine
Fortunately and unfortunately on her part, right when she decided to take her talent to the next level to go to a fashion school, her Mum will tell her to go do her masters, which she did. At graduate school, when she is not having lectures, she will join the fashion class to learn more about fashion design with the help of her aunty who introduce her to the fashion department of her school.
Her journey in the fashion business started by begging people to sew their clothes for them for free to which they decline. That did not stop her. She persisted and after completing her studies, she went right into sew full time. First she was sewing in her room and when it became crowded, she moved into her Mum store to continue her sewing.
When she started sewing full time, her dad told her to create a niche for herself and according to her, she did not see the need. Currently she now see the important of what her dad told her years ago and she is now practicing it.
Josephine is not a fan of people who bring other fashion designers creation for her to recreate. According to her, this phenomenon limits her creativity and she wants task that challenge her as a fashion designer.
She want people to come and give her a scenario and with that scenario, she can create that beautiful outfit for the customer. She is of the view that, a fashion designer is not someone that replicate other people’s creation but rather they create new designs with.
Another thing that she mentions that limit the creativity of fashion designers here is religion. She says that, because Tamale is predominately a Muslim community, fashion designers here are mindful of what they design and sew so as not step on anybody toes.
On customers, Josephine says northerners still do not believe in the fashion designers that we have. They will prefer to pay a high amount of money to Accra-based fashion designers to design something that those back home could have done at a much cheaper price.