Belinda Ofori is the winner of the 2017 Vlisco Fashion Fund

Belinda Ofori (middle) with her prize and flanked by the Vlisco team

And once again, textiles manufacturing giant, Vlisco, has affirmed its commitment towards the development of the local fashion industry and its growing players.

At a simple but very entertaining event last week at the Accra Mall shop, Belinda Ofori, the Founder and Creative Director of Turquoise Couture, was adjudged the 2017 winner of the annual Vlisco Fashion Fund.

In walking away with the GH¢20,000 cheque and a spot in Vlisco’s enviable masterclass, the 25 year old joins an elite group of previously unknown fashion designers who became overnight sensations in the country and now globally. They include, April Rust, She By Bena, Alinafe and a few more.

An excited Ms. Ofori, who couldn’t believe her win, assured that she is not going to relent in her efforts to become a global player in the next half decade, since she will be doing things differently.

“Fashion has been my passion for a very long time and I’m willing to follow this dream to make an impact in my country and continent. In the future, the brand would be more than just clothes; it would sell the fashion experience. A brand that delivers in real time and leverages on technological advancements to make the experience even more exciting as well as comfortable for customers,” she said.

“My aim is to create a positive impact in the design industry and wants people to express themselves through my concepts. I have worked in brand strategy and content development, and now is my time to launch ‘Turquoise’,” she added.

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With over fifty applicants submitting their portfolio, CV and business plan between October 23rd and November 3rd, the numbers got whittled down to 43 before a final eight were selected to and asked to make a cocktail outfit using Vlisco fabric.

The outfit was worn by a model and presented to the jury. The four jury members are noted professionals from different areas of the African fashion industry: Araba Akompi, CEO of Stylista_GH; Afua Rida, Stylist & Fashion Blogger; Eugenia Techie-Menson, Educationist & 2014 Vlisco Ambassador; and Stephen Badu, Marketing Director.

The team of judges then settled on Belinda Ofori of the Fashion Fund 2017 for burst in creativity when using the intricate designs of Vlisco to good effect.

A product of Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, and the Joyce Ababio College of Creative Design, Belinda added that every time she sews, she sees her clients as a plain canvas where she is given the chance to splash colors of life and creativity.

“Every process I go through to make a piece fascinates me and every garment I make has a story or concept that transcends time,” she noted.

Having been sewing for three years now, Belinda emerged as the Best Communication Design student in KNUST and just a couple of months ago, she was selected to show her five-piece collection at the Glitz Africa fashion Week fully funded by Busy Internet.

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Her dream is transforming Turquoise into a global brand and that would help her set up a tribe that empowers women and children. This group would be made up of young female visionaries and go-getters who believe in changing the status quo of the society.

“I believe Turquoise couture has something special to offer to Africa and I can’t wait to see the turn out,” she added.

Stephen Badu, Marketing Director of Vlisco Ghana, stated that Vlisco believes in creating a platform that connects Africa’s fashion talent, creativity with the knowledge and activities of the brand in the African and global context.

Mr. Badu pointed out that Vlisco would continue its relationship with the other finalists in supporting them in the journey of fashion design.

The Vlisco heritage is quite unlike any other. Since 1846, Vlisco has been creating unique textiles known as Wax Hollandais, or Dutch Wax. These textiles are cherished for their distinctive designs, colours and wax effects. A special wax process, which originates from elaborate batik techniques, ensures that every centimetre of fabric is truly unique. Vlisco is the only brand still creating authentic Dutch wax today.

“Each of our fabrics stands as an enduring mark of true Dutch craftsmanship,” he added.

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