American-based Ghanaian creative architect and founder and CEO of Modern Natured, Emma Okyere, has urged creatives to consider partnerships and collaboration for economic transformation.
According to her, creatives should collaborate to enable each other to learn and share ideas to help create sustainable growth and jobs. Consider collaboration over competition because there is room for everyone to grow.
“I feel like there is room for growth, learning, and being innovative when ideas are shared; people can tend to add and push each other a little further when there is collaboration,” she said.
Speaking at the Modern Natured brand’s soft launch in Ghana, she acknowledged that the launch was successful due to the collaboration with Hathora Beauty and Wellness Center, which hosted the event at their premises in East Legon.
Emma added that Modern Natured is open to partnering with local bead makers to help create business opportunities for creatives.
Emma Okyere at the 2022 Paris Fashion Week displayed Modern Natured debut fashion line, ‘The Genesis Collection’. Its display went alongside over forty global fashion powerhouses at the September/October edition. The fashion week is held in Paris twice a year.
Modern Natured began as a beauty business and evolved over time into a luxury fashion label. It combines traditional African beading techniques with futuristic patterns to create “innovative beaded couture.”
The brand’s handmade beaded clothes and jewellery are produced from various jewels and recycled glass beads. For its ready-to-wear hoods, it combines a mix of vibrant kente fabrics.
Modern Natured also retails a curated collection of cosmetics, fragrance, skincare, haircare, and aromatherapy in addition to custom branded luxury collection of couture, skin, body, and hair care products.
The brand has been featured in top fashion magazines like Vanity Fair, Elle, Harper’s Bazaar, Marie Claire, L’Officiel, Amica Italia, Woman Espana and Madama Le Figara.
The Paris dazzle
Emma travelled to Miami Swim Week 2022 as an accessory designer in July and worked with several swimsuit brands to improve their designs by giving their models Modern Natured’s waist beads.
She had her waist bead collection on runway models representing brands like Kanawa, Zoelle BYBS, Meredith Ashley, Cyar, Peach Plie, Audrey Monae, Cordee Cases, Surturban, Michael Bailey, Hott Commodity Eyewear, and Ash Hoffman.
Months later, Modern Nature received a last-minute invitation to Paris Fashion Week 2022 and had only a short time to prepare its spring/summer 2023 couture for unveiling.
“Getting all that done in an incredibly short time was overwhelming,” she admitted, “but who would say no to a Paris runway, so we got to work; it had to be ready in eight days.”
Handmade Modern Natured’s Beaded Couture used recycled glass beads and a variety of Ghanaian jewels to create stunning apparel and jewellery.
To complete the outfits, Modern Natured worked with Material Maya, Desert Jewelry, Hautelifeworld Eyewear, and Dante Shoes.
Made in Ghana
When the chance to exhibit at the Paris Fashion Week 2022 was offered to Modern Natured, Emma took the next flight to Ghana to exploit the milestone. She had a limited time to plan, design, and complete her fashion collection; it made every second precious.
“The first place I thought about was home when we got the opportunity. I wanted to project an African pride through my fashion in a surreal, captivating way, and I couldn’t find any better option than to settle for a made-in Ghana,” Emma disclosed.
To help her realise her designs, Emma employed local bead workers and they collectively went through most of her ideas. She worked with Krobo’s Cedi Beads, Kente weavers, leather suppliers, and tailors. She also embroidered and debossed the company’s logo in collaboration with InkIt Ghana Limited.
The level of imagination and talents that the local Ghanaian artisans possess have always piqued her interest.
“Ghana is very rich in culture and traditions. It’s not a coincidence that I started working with local Ghanaian artisans to fuse culturally traditional beads with my innovative, futuristic beading concepts and methods. It was God’s divine intention. “God exposed and allowed Modern Nature to exist in fashion in order to propel Ghana to the forefront of high fashion,” Emma explained.
In her experience, Emma stated that the “Ghanaian economy has been practising sustainability for years through a variety of projects,” one of which is the creation of exquisite glass beaded jewellery using recycled glass