Almost a decade down the line and now with distribution in shops all over the United States (US), the KoshieO brand has won its way into American hearts and still managed to maintain its African roots, thanks to its Ghanaian born Founder Nina Baksmaty.
KoshieO has preoccupied itself with appreciating the beauty and uniqueness of Africa. This is evidenced in the colors, stitch, and design of their products that give great aesthetic pleasure. The confidence of wearers and admiration of onlookers have played a huge role in them getting embraced by the international markets. Their latest line is the ‘Royalty Collection’.
Meet KoshieO in all its Afrocentric glory
“KoshieO is a juxtaposition of ancient African inspired designs with modern coolness in an attempt to evolve a new combination appealing to every fashion-conscious and style-informed millennial, irrespective of where they are on the globe today,” Nina explained to TheafricanDream.net in an interview from her Maryland-base in the US.
“Our clothes are a representation of a myriad of symbolism that pays tribute to ethnic aesthetics from my Ghanaian and African roots while appreciating the influence of American culture. Certain things you will quickly notice are the attractive colors, symbols and yet exclusively-trimmed looks that unearths our luxurious style,” Nina said in response to the reason why her line has gained huge acceptance in some of America’s clothing stores.
During a visit by TheAfricanDream.net to Nina in Maryland, we had an opportunity to examine some finished Royalty Collection and noticed the brand quality of the shirts, how they gently hug wearers plus the fact that some of their designs are made from sourced out fabrics from Italian Mills.
According to Nina: “all the cotton we use is Egyptian cotton which explains the feel-good-sensation on your skin. We have engineered the fit to gauge between slim and regular fit to make it flattering to accommodate free-movement for all.”
Multinational: Italian and Ghanaian connection
When we asked the reason behind her preference for Italian Mills fabrics, Nina simply blurted out, “the late Franca Sozanni,” smiled, then explained: “it’s probably due to the influence of Franca Sozanni, one time head of Vogue fashion magazine for Italy, whom I was blessed to meet in person.”
“She’s been a great mentor, exposing me to her treasured network of movers and shakers of this industry, I can’t say enough how blessed I am by this opportunity God chose me to experience. When Franca passed away in 2016, I was so sad because what my relationship with her brought me was hope and the audacity to dream.”
“Another pivotal influence on me is my mom who is herself a designer. She’s always inspired my journey from way back when I was a student in New York and eventually a Westminster College (Missouri) biology degree holder in the US.”
Nina tells that as a student in Missouri, she started trading in goods like knock-off Jordans etc between New York and back and that this was what ignited the flame of entrepreneurship and designing in her. “I realized I wanted to sell my own product and the only thing that came naturally to me was designing clothing growing up in my mom’s sewing room,” she added.
Life in the US particularly influenced young Nina because of “how hard it was at the beginning to shirk a potential career in the pharmaceuticals. I however after deciding to let go of the sciences which my family was passionate. I made the bold decision to follow my dreams as a designer. The result today is KoshieO, which was registered as a business in 2010 here in the US.”
Social media as a needle to stitch into the fabric of Nina’s future
The future promises to be bright for Nina and KoshieO. Even though there is yet to be a physically located store for the brand, it is thriving well online by harnessing the power of social media to meet customer demands and expectations in the production of blazers and shirts for men, dresses for women and accessories for both.
A lot of networking has been done via social media for this fledgling brand that believes in the power of following your dreams genuinely to arrive at realities that invite the world to share or enjoy your talents.
“I must confess though that I am working on taking my brand to Ghana and all of Africa soon,” — for now, KoshieO invites all to immerse themselves into Nina’s Royalty Collection.
Do keep an eye out for their Adinkra symbols that convey traditional African wisdom. Some of our personal favorites at TheAfricanDream.net include the stitched paisley or Kente fabrics. To see them go to www.koshieo.com and check them all out for yourself.
Written by Oral Ofori