Ophelia Crossland is a Ghanaian fashion entrepreneur front lining the industry in her country and Africa. She developed her passion for the sector from her grandmother, who doubled as a fashion designer and a former Miss Ghana and her mother, who was a fabric seller.
Learning from her, she sewed for herself and her friends. She attended the Vogue Style School of Fashion and Design in a bid to hone her skill.
After graduating as the best in her class in 2004, she launched her brand: Ophelia Crossland Designs, in the same year. With resilience, she built her brand to be one of the reputable and go-to brands in Ghana, Africa and internationally. The milestone was, however, not without hiccups.
At the initial stage of her business, she found it challenging to get well-skilled employees. This, in turn, made the work stressful. Also, when she started her brand, plus-sized customers patronised her the most. This left the wrong impression on prospective customers who thought it was a plus-size brand. With time, she resolved it and reoriented people about her brand.
This has seen the Ghanaian-born and raised fashion designer, in her eighteen years in the industry design wear for prominent people within and outside Ghana. These include people from industries ranging from politicians to celebrities.
Some of these people are Nana Konadu Agyeman-Rawlings (former First Lady of Ghana), Mrs Samira Bawumia (Second Lady of Ghana), Fatima Bio (First Lady of Sierra Leone), Amb. Claire Marie Weah (First Lady of Liberia), Hidna Deby (First Lady of Chad), Georgina Theodora Woods (the First Female Chief Justice), and former Speaker of Parliament, Joyce Bamford-Addo.
She also designed the custom outfits for the cast of the movie ‘Love or Something Like That’ in 2014.
The success of her brand saw its expansion to some African countries, such as Angola and Ivory Coast and collaboration with retail outlets in the United Kingdom. In 2009, she launched a kiddies section called Ohemaa Kids Klub after her first daughter ‘Ohemaa’.
Milestones in the industry
The success of the movie ‘Love or Something Like That’ earned Ophelia Crossland the Ghana Movie Awards for ‘Best Wardrobe and Costume Designer’ in 2014.
Her diverse representation of Africa to the world via her styles earned her the West African Ambassador for Swarovski in 2017. She represented Swarovski at the Fashion Exhibition held in Dubai.
For her, “The Swarovski Exposé was a high point in my career, and the response from Ghana was overwhelming.” During this period, she received the Swarovski Training Workshop Award for being the best designer and brand ambassador.
In 2018, Akpene Diata Hoggar, the Miss Universe Ghana, credited Crossland for the evening gown she wore for the grand finale in Thailand. This earned her the ‘Official National Customer’ award for the Miss Universe 2018 grand finale.
In the same year, she won the GlitzStyle award for the womenswear designer of the year.
The following year, she became the only participant and representative of Africa and Ghana at the Global Qipao Exhibition held at the China National Silk Museum in Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province.
Her exhibition at the event saw the integration of the Kente fabric to express the ‘Wedding’ theme. She believes it is the best fabric to express African creativity and ingenuity.
She said, “For me, Kente represents Ghana best, and so when we applied for the Qipao challenge, I had no option but to use the intricately woven Kente, and it went well, hence our call up into the final 10.”
This made her the first African designer to have her work permanently displayed in the leading fashion gallery that showcases more than 40,000 pieces of Western and Chinese textile production. The success of the Qipao gown she made launched her into international space.
The same year, she received the Ghana industry Chief Executive Officer (CEO) award for ‘Ghana’s Most Respected CEO in Fashion and Lifestyle’.
The happily married mother of three girls and the wife of Ghanaian Broadcaster and fashion designer Kofi Okyere Darko advised aspiring fashion entrepreneurs. She said, “If ‘Ophelia’, a girl from Osu, can do it, then nothing can stop you from achieving your dreams, Go out and create your magic.”