These Designers Are Adding African Flare to Western Streets

Meet three fashion designers who are bringing their culturally inspired designs to Calgary and beyond.

by Latoya Elle

Photo Illustration by Alex Kidd

No one sets trends like fashion designers. From their unique patterns to their perspectives on classic fabrics, fashion designers are the pioneers of trendsetting. In Calgary, the lack of African designers inspired these creators to fill that gap and unify with platforms such as African Fashion Week Calgary and others alike. 

Here are three of Calgary’s most fashionable trendsetters making the city’s streets more stylish with their unique designs. 

Newman Danso | The Sinners2Saints: 

How did you get into fashion?

I’m originally from Ghana, and we take fashion to a whole different level. We live and breathe fashion. But for me to jump into the business side, it was as if something called me to it.

It all started with the brand name, Sinners to Saints. It just hit me out of nowhere, and I couldn’t shake it off. I had no intention of pursuing fashion to this extent, but once others saw me in some street samples, they all started to rave about it. Then I realized that I had something. 

 What are some challenges you face being a Fashion Designer?

The hardest part is sometimes bringing my vision to life precisely as I see it. Sometimes there’s a slight lag as if it’s not quite there yet. My background is in engineering, so I have a bit of detail syndrome, as I like to say. I like to do things to a level of perfection, and that slows down the process. This is something that the late Virgil Abloh has helped me through. Through his mentorship, I’ve learned that, whatever you create, allow it to flow, even if it’s not all the way you see it. Just have the satisfaction of releasing it to the public. 

What song would you use to describe your collection?  

Justin Bieber’s “This Is Holy,” with Chance the Rapper and “Born Sinner” by J Cole. Because my collection has themes that translate into moving from darkness to light and becoming our best selves. These songs represent that. 

Where do you see yourself in five years?

Getting an opportunity to travel to every continent and have some form of lunch, pop-up or something to plant the brand everywhere to spread our message around the world about thesinners2saints.com.

 

Ladipo Mary Anuoluwapo | Hanupor Apparel


How did you get into fashion?

Fashion was an exciting idea because my mom was a Fashion Designer. I grew up helping her at her workshops. After University, I decided that this was what I wanted to do; because I knew I would be great at it. 

What are some challenges you face being a Fashion Designer?

Here in Canada, it’s tough to source fabrics. But overall, (creating clothing) is my passion, so I wouldn’t say it’s really hard. It’s just complicated.

What song would you use to describe your collection? 

I don’t know what song, but it would be a blend of culture – blending the Canadian style with African culture. 

Where do you see yourself in five years?

In five years, I see my brand going to foreign countries. I also see my brand helping people trying to get into the fashion industry by training, educating, and helping them develop their businesses. Here in Canada, sourcing for fabric has been really tough, so I would also like to figure out how we can bring more options for designers and every last thing that makes life easy for a fashion designer.

 

Toluwase Meduna | Meduna Grey

How did you get into fashion?

I have always loved to look good and help others look good, so right after University, I had a heart-to-heart with my dad, telling him I wanted to follow this passion of mine. Fashion is home for me, and we all love to work from home, don’t we?

What are some challenges you face being a Fashion Designer?  

Satisfying every client while staying true to my purpose. Humans are hard to please, as they say. 

 What song would you use to describe your collection? 

“Odogwu” by Burna boy. Odogwu is a word from Igbo language, a major tribe in Nigeria, where I’m from originally, which means “a bold man,” and every piece in my new collection screams boldness, be it in design or colour. 

Where do you see yourself in five years?

Exhibiting at the same fashion exhibition shows as the biggest brands out of Africa – being a household name in the fashion industry in Canada and Nigeria.

Support each designer by following them across their social media, sharing their content and by making a purchase.

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