Global Mamas: Women’s Power
Today, GlamJam brings you in Africa, where we’ll meet Global Mamas, an interesting brand made by women for women.
Would you describe Global Mamas project? Which is Global Mamas mission?
Global Mamas is a fair trade organization providing sustainable jobs and income for women throughout Ghana in local trades of bead making, shea butter production, batik, and sewing. We provide the necessary tools and assistance to promote and improve our employees self worth and empowerment. The Global Mamas mission is to improve the quality of life for women and their families in Ghana through the training and production of high quality goods in an international market.
Where do you sell your products? Where is it possible to find Global Mamas?
Locally, our products can be found at the Global Mamas stores in Osu, Accra, Ghana. We also export all over the world to fair trade stores and specialty boutiques. Our products are mostly found throughout the United States but are also exported to places such as Sweden, Germany, and Japan. If you go on our website you will find a list of our largest retail partners selling Global Mamas products around the world.
Would you help us to understand what is changing in fashion? Why nowadays the ethical aspect is so important?
Customers are beginning to dictate what trends are happening in terms of the fashion world. People are becoming more concerned with where their clothing is coming from and how it is being produced. Consumers are starting to shape what and how fashion houses produce their lines. Customizations, exact fit with the help of body scanning, fair trade and eco-friendly clothes, and street style dictating the future trends instead of runway are all bi-products of what consumers are demanding. Average consumers in this day and age have more influence in fashion trends than they might think.
For Global Mamas the ethical aspect is central to our mission because we truly see the difference in the quality of life our women gain through income-generating opportunities. Not only do they make a difference in the lives of their entire families and communities, but they also gain the invaluable trait of self worth through becoming an economic contributor to the family. An independent and empowered woman is a very positive influence to have in any community, especially in shaping and influencing young girls. Because women in Ghana are the main nurtures, this makes the influence they have that much more stronger.
Are you working on new collections/project? If yes, would you describe them and what inspires you?
I’m currently working on product development for our 2013 catalogue. Right now we are entering our batik print development phase by prepping stencils, cutting batik stamps, and starting initial stamping. In terms of prints and colors we’re really inspired by monochrome tie dyes, bold and graphic prints, and washed-out neutrals with pops of unexpected color. Poppy red, buttercup yellow, mint, mustard, turquoise, army green, smoky gray, and olive are our current colors we’re obsessing over. In terms of products this year, we’re loving ideas that include peplums, tailored items, cutouts, print mixing, and simple totes that focus on the detail of the print and color way.
Where do you go in your country to seek inspirations?
The open-air markets in Ghana are always thriving with life, colors, and patterns. Everyday, seemingly average life in Ghana ends up providing me the most inspiration; the coastal hues, small children singing happily on the way to school, and fisherman boats painted with sayings like “disco boys” and Nyame Adom-which means by the grace of God in Fante. One of my favorite photos of red snapper influenced my love for poppy red. The bright and intricate patterns on wax prints throughout Ghana also seem to always inspire me with new and unexpected color combinations. Ghana as a whole is a very inspiring place to live.
Which decade do you prefer in fashion?
The 40s has always been my favorite decade for fashion as well as the mid to late 60’s for the makeup and hair. That 40’s balance of feminine shaping and strong masculinity is my ideal. The sharp and accentuated shoulders, nipped waists, peplums, and snug pencil skirts are the bee’s knees. The blending of the masculine and feminine is perfection in my book and the way it was done in the 40’s was beyond beautiful and pulled together without looking too stuffy.
What is your trademark piece?
This year my trademark piece has become a Global Mamas reversible satchel in a tan, turquoise, and burgundy print. It’s made from batik and recycled flour sack, can be worn four ways, be cross body or a tote, and is the perfect toss around, casual bag to throw all your things you need for running errands or meeting up with friends for a day at the beach. A close second to my satchel is a pair of worn denim cut offs. Especially living in Ghana where it’s constantly hot, a comfy, frayed, and sun bleached pair of denim shorts ends up being the best staple to have.
Which palette of colors could describe you and your brand?
Our colors are very rich, vibrant and bold. We encompass the rainbow through combinations of lime, light blue, green, pale gray and wine, rusts, olives, various shades of blue and purple that range from robin’s egg to denim indigo and lilac to deep plum.
In your opinion, which palette of colors could describe Ghana?
There are too many to name! Whether it’s in the local prints or in the landscape, the list is never ending.
The way the ocean changes from white, to clear blue, to turquoise, back to clear blue, and then to a deep sea foam green that ends up blending into the blue sky scattered with picturesque, so puffy they look like cartoon white clouds.
Every shade of lush green vegetation along the southern half of Ghana and in turn the contrast of this to the red, rusty, and tan stretches of road and land in the northern half. And my favorite, the way the overly bright sun tends to cast a soft and warm honey glow on everything it touches.
Which fabrics/textiles do you prefer?
Personally I love the fluidness, drape, and comfort of jersey knits but like to pair these fabrics with the structure of heavier or woven fabric such as denim, cotton twills, and wool suiting. Besides the type of cloth, since I live in a country abundant of wax print and batik, I am obsessed with prints and dying techniques of every kind. Tie dyes, ombre dip dyes, wax prints, brocades, embroidery, crochet, woven effects. You name a handicraft, I most likely have a crush on it.
Which fabrics/textiles could represent Ghana?
The big three fabrics to represent Ghana would be Kente cloth which is hand-woven cloth mainly done in the Volta region, Batik which Global Mamas is most known for using, and Wax Print which is factory manufactured to create very detailed and colorful prints that most Ghanaian women use to make their gorgeous dresses from.
Which patterns could describe your brand?
Bold, crisp, fun, graphic, and clean. Our top prints that embody this are our fisheye, ornaments, roses, hydrangea, damask, and circle fan batik designs.
Which pattern could describe your Country?
The woven designs made when weaving Kente cloth are very encompassing of Ghana to me. A close second would be Adinkra Cloth stamped using the various Adinkra symbols, each having a specific meaning. My personal favorite is Duafe. This symbol is in the shape of a wooden comb and symbolizes feminine strength and beauty.
In your opinion, which object / shape let you think about Ghana?
The first and favorite shape that comes to my mind when I think of Ghana is the silhouette of a woman carrying a basin on top of her head with absolutely perfect grace all while a baby sleeps peacefully wrapped around her back in wax print.