WHAT IS YOUR EDUCATIONAL BACKGROUND
I taught myself how to sew when I was eight my mum bought me an arts and crafts do it yourself cuddly toy sewing set. It came with all the fur panels were pre-cut: the body ears, legs it also came with stuffing, plastic eyes, needle & thread so all I needed to do was figure out
which panels to stitch together. It had a colour photo of how it was supposed to look and I remember sewing the panels together to make a cuddly toy, it was a little pink pig, It was like a puzzle. I remember loving the fact that I actually made something that I could use and that looked good. I was amazed and so proud of myself.
Then, when I was around 14, my aunty bought me a domestic sewing machine and I tought myself how to sew. I progressed into making outfits for me and my friends for the Notting Hill carnival.
I would plan a year in advance brainstorming design ideas I would come up with, fashion concepts of what I thought ‘our crew’ should wear. One year we all wore African print I designed and made rara skirts & halter tops. Another year we made shorts, trousers, skirts, dresses and jumpsuits, covered all over in satin frills. We definitely got a lot of attention each year at the carnival and that was the point!
I went into fashion school and studied fashion design and pattern cutting, I then had a successful career in product development and manufacturing working with various corporate fashion companies in England & America such as TopShop, Miss Selfridge, Marks & Spencer, Dorothy Perkins and Cynthia Rowley before starting my own label, MamMaw.
WHEN AND WHY DID YOU START YOUR FASHION BRAND?
When I was a teenager I’ve always wanted my own fashion label, I started MamMaw back in 2012. I was visiting Ghana and I had a chance to see the amazing Ankara prints, the fabric merchants would tell me that some of the prints had meanings and names and were worn for certain events. I was blown away by the rich vast unique history of Ghana and wanted to learn more and more.
I learnt that many Ghanaian people didn’t really buy off the peg from a fashion shop but instead had their clothes made to measure by a tailor or seamstress creating unique and traditional pieces of clothing for everyday wear and for special occasions.
I visited some of these tailors & seamstresses and loved the clothing they were producing and I knew that people back in the UK and beyond would love it too, so when I got back to the UK I started to put together the idea of MamMaw, Modern African Man Modern African Woman. I wanted to produce modern stylish affordable fashion proudly made in Ghana that seamlessly fit into your wardrobe for people that appreciate Africa’s beauty and who also want to represent that via fashion.
WHERE DO YOU GET YOUR INSPIRATION FROM AND WHERE DO YOU OPERATE?
I am inspired by so many things: Africa, Mother Nature, architecture, colours, prints especially Ankara prints, but my number one inspiration is the MamMaw customer. I’m so inspired by her, she is a professional woman who works hard and plays hard and demands fashion that fits into her lifestyle. I operate from my cosy little flat in London selling my designs online at MamMaw.com I also take part in many pop up shops in London too. My team is based in Ghana where 90% of the production is made.
WHAT ARE YOUR PLANS FOR THE FUTURE
I have so many plans: I’ll be starting a men’s wear collection, children’s wear and home wear collection, but one of my biggest goals is to start a Fashion school in Ghana for young people who want to learn a trade.
TELL US SOMETHING ABOUT YOUR LATEST COLLECTION
The main areas I focus on are Work, Day & Play, whether she’s at work in the office or at a business meeting, out & about town doing weekly errands or socialising with friends or family at a BBQ, garden party, wedding or cocktails with friends watching the city sky line, MamMaw has contemporary Key looks for your Work, Day & Play wardrobe.
Thank you Shantel for sharing your story with African Fashion Wear, we love your creations so much and we are very excited to tell our followers that you can get a 20% DISCOUNT on ALL products on www.mammaw.com using the SPECIAL CODE: africafashionwear
MAMMAW CONTACT DETAILS:
Tel: +44 20 3286 2141
WhatsApp: +44 7535 794 379