How Aisha Ayensu Grew Her Global Brand With No Initial Technical Skills
Award-winning fashion designer Aisha Ayensu is well known for creating the stage costumes and clothing for Sandra “Alexandrina” Don-Arthur, Jackie Appiah, Genevieve Nnaji, and Beyonce. She is the creator and creative director of the Ghanaian fashion business, Christie Brown.
Founded in 2008, Christie Brown is a high-end Ghanaian fashion brand. Traditional handmade skills are reinterpreted by Aisha Ayensu and incorporated with contemporary silhouettes.
A maker and marketer of women’s clothing and accessories, Christie Brown creates stunning custom gowns, wearable yet statement ready-to-wear, and avant-garde accessories predominantly influenced by African culture and art.
Through its look and design, Christie Brown conveys its origins and is proudly Made in Africa.
She has been interviewed by Folu Storms and for the radio show In the Studio on the BBC World Service, and in 2016 she was named one of Forbes’ Most Promising Entrepreneurs.
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Education and Career
Aisha Ayensu has competence in both fashion and psychology. She attended Achimota School for her secondary schooling and Joyce Ababio College of Creative Design for her training in fashion.
Aisha’s grandmother, the original Christie Brown, who was a seamstress but never owned a large fashion business, instilled her passion of fashion in Aisha. She made the decision to give the label her name in her honour.
Aisha decided to begin the company in 2008 despite having no technical knowledge of how to stitch or draw a single pattern.
“I believed in this dream, I knew it was what we needed in this part at the time and I was really inspired to go ahead and pursue my dreams’’.
Aisha Ayensu realised she needed to enroll in a fashion school and fully immerse herself in the technical side of fashion once she founded the company.
She earned the “Emerging Designer of the Year Award” barely over a year after the fashion line was introduced, but she still felt that the world needed to see the side of Africa that she experienced daily.
The impact of social media on Christie Brown
Aisha Ayensu was able to show the world her talent with the help of social media,
“Remember that this is a young brand starting out in Ghana, West Africa, how else will the world see what you’re doing, if there weren’t platforms like Facebook at the time’’ she said.
In Christie Brown’s case, the COVID-19 pandemic, which affected practically every industry, served as a catalyst for breaking through the glass ceiling.
The label was able to host an online show to display its most recent line.
“We did everything on Instagram, we first started with IG live and it was super interactive, the comment section was amazing, we then transitioned to IGTV where the main show was aired’’ she pointed out.
Through that virtual show, the business was able to engage with over 30,000 viewers, which in turn helped their sales.
Using Whastapp the label engages with its clientele locally and globally, especially when there are new pieces.
Christie Brown, a brand that first catered to made-to-order customers before opening its first store, now produces ready-to-wear clothing and has opened an online store where prospective consumers can place orders and have their items delivered to them wherever they may be in the world.
Christie Brown accolades
Aisha Ayensu and Christie Brown have drawn a lot of attention from across the world. From being named one of Forbes’ 30 Most Promising African Entrepreneurs in 2016, Ayensu also won the African Designer of the Year award twice at Ghana’s Glitz Style Awards in 2018 and 2019.
Since its debut, Christie Brown has garnered praise from prestigious international fashion publications like Harpers Bazaar and Vogue Italia and has made waves in the West African fashion industry with its innovative selection of chic and wearable designs.
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