Let's Talk: Naana B

I always love interview time! Naana of Naana B recently found me on twitter and when I checked out her site, my jaw did a little drop thing that let's me know that I'm in love! Needless to say, I was very excited when she agreed to answer a few questions about herself and her company....

What are the first five words that come to mind when you think about Africa?
Potential, Promise, Survival, Vision for Tomorrow

What is one of your favorite memories from time spent in Africa or around other Africans abroad?

I grew up in Zambia. Spent my childhood there. I have such fond memories of blush gardens, lots of laughter and a greater sense of community. We were always surrounded by a lovely energy. One was never "alone." I think Africa provides a greater platform of togetherness. At home "you are one with many."

If you could go to one place on the continent right now, where would it be and why?

I have traveled all over the continent, but there are many many places I would like to return to. I would love to go back to the Ngorongoro Conservation Park in Tanzania that has some of the most beautiful wildlife in the world. I'd be interested to see how it has progressed or whether the conservation efforts have been compromised.

How did you first get interested in fashion design, and what made you decide to pursue this as a career?
I studied visual arts as an undergrad at Columbia University in NYC. I studied steel sculpture and painting. I created installation art using fabric and that's how I became familiar with sewing and textiles. From there I took supplemental classes at Parsons and FIT to hone my skills and started designing shortly thereafter.

When you are not coming up with amazing designs, what else do you like to do?

I love to sketch and paint whenever I can. I also draw inspiration from visiting the museums in NY and seeing what artists are up to. That influences my work.

Where is your favorite hang out spot?

New York has a lot of options! I love Joe's Pub for live shows - my art haunts are the Metropolitan Museum of Art and Brooklyn Museum.

What is your personal soundtrack right now?

I love South Africa music, so I have a variety in rotation, as well as Brazilian music. But I'm a loyal Miles Davis fan. Jazz is my foundation.

Who or what has been your greatest inspiration?

My mother continues to be a great source of inspiration. The NGO, the Rural Communities Empowerment Center (RCEC), which she founded in Ghana, produces the Naana B line. Its really wonderful to be a part of that project.

What has been your proudest achievement?

I think my proudest achievement is being able to give back in some way. That gives life meaning. I'm doing my part in small ways - and I think the focus should continue to be on Africa and what more we can do.

What is the best lesson you've learned so far?

Life is full of lessons. The fashion business teaches you alot. You must believe in what you're doing and be positive.

What dream do you still want to fulfill?

I'm based in NYC now, but would love to spend time in Africa again on a permanent basis and see where my story may take me - working on it.......to be continued.

{Photos: Naana B}

P.S. for those of you in NYC, you can purchase Naana B's goods at Georgia Boutique in Soho

1 comment:

Uzo said...

Hey Brandie, you know the Let's Talk series is one of my favorites. I see that you can purchase items through Naana B's website but wondering if her items are in any boutiques in NYC.