FASHION has always been a way for people to express their beliefs and show off their personality.
With the constant evolution of fashion, especially on the African continent, more opportunities have opened up for people to express themselves in bold and daring designs and one artist who has not shied away from representing and promoting his indigenous African beliefs is Glenn Samuel Semakor, popularly known as GlennSamm.
GlennSamm describes himself as a ‘walking artist’ because he is not someone you can easily ignore on the streets or during art exhibitions and festivals such as ChaleWote where he can be seen adorned in traditional costumes or with unique facial art that depicts his Ewe beliefs and traditions.
His passion to promote indigenous African culture has seen him establish a contemporary African fashion movement called KvngsOfTheNewSchool, an all-inclusive group of models and what he terms as “Afrocentric /Afro futurist-inspired creatives.”
Already, the group is gaining international recognition since it was featured in a BBC documentary after catching the eyes of many patrons at last year’s Afrochella Festival in December with their unique appearance.
In an interview with the Graphic Showbiz recently where he mentioned his plans for the fashion industry and intention to blend African beliefs and styles with his Afrocentric creative pieces, the old student of Sogakope Senior High School said he would not be swayed by foreign influences.
“Fashion has no style, nobody has the set rules or standard to define what and how fashion should be. For instance, a period of time portrayed in a picture can be identified immediately just by the style of clothes the people are wearing, and this sums up just how powerful and all-encompassing fashion is.
“Also, fashion can change from one second to the next, but what never changes is the hold it has over society, and the role it plays in the modern world and that is why as an African with my own beliefs, I want to project my culture and my beliefs in what I wear.
“In this short time that I formed the KvngsOfTheNewSchool group, we have been featured many times across the world because of our uniqueness and most importantly, because we are projecting what others don’t have and that sets us apart.
“Initially, it was difficult to take this path, particularly when the general term for fashion had been limited to what we see in fashion magazines and on TV but the features my team and I have been getting means the world is thirsty for a taste of the new African fashion,” he stated.
GlennSamm has been featured in the acclaimed Vogue Magazine, has worked with several brands and also made appearances in music videos including Fuse ODG’s New African Girl and Manuel NonBada’s Every Day.
Again, KvngsOfTheNewSchool, which comprises people such as Mohammed Black, Neffew Wayne and Efo Kayleb, has made appearances at various festivals including Kente Party earlier this year in Accra.
With the Year of Return being celebrated, GlennSamm said the team had positioned themselves and would be available for activities that would require their services.
“The commemoration of the Year of Return is not just to bring people of African descent around the world back home but I believe that we need to instill our values, beliefs and traditions in them. They need to come to terms with our African culture and how we portray ourselves,” he stated.
The Year of Return Ghana 2019 is a major landmark campaign targeting the African – American and the Diaspora market to mark 400 years since the first slave vessel docked on our seas and this is what he said about it:
“Fashion is a very important component of society and our brothers and sisters who have lost contact with who they are as a people because of slave trade have a good chance to learn more about themselves.”
Apart from being a fashion artist, GlennSamm, who runs an entertainment blog, eboxafrica, is also a Public Relations specialist and has worked for entertainment personalities including Ice Prince, Eye Judah and Stonebwoy.
He attended Exopa Modelling School and continued his studies in Graphic Designing at IPMC where he completed in 2011. He had his basic education at Celestial School Complex at Ashaiman before proceeding to Sogakofe Senior High School where he studied Visual Arts and completed in 2006.
As a model, the native of Keta in the Volta Region, who is vying for the Fashion Personality of the Year award at the upcoming Youth Excellence Awards said being a fashion model was tough as it required following the industry’s “set standards.”
“If you want to succeed in this industry, you must not only be blessed with the physical qualities/features, you also need to work considerably hard to satisfy the fashion directors with your personality traits. It is not always about how stout, tall or the attractive features you have, it requires more than that.
“I can’t confidently say that Ghana’s fashion industry has arrived but I know there has been a lot of progress and that is the greatest motivation for people like me,” he stated.
By Gifty Owusu-Amoah