Recent years in Monrovia have seen a growing and very diversified preference for the use of African prints. This has now become the latest fashion trend in every part of Monrovia.
It is obvious that more and more African designers have emerged in Liberia, taking their works more seriously, thus attracting Western customers to the African style trends as they take on mainstream fashion in and around Liberia.
Indeed there is a wellspring of passion and drive towards the rebranding of African attire by a powerfully positioned generation of youth. Some do it as a hobby, others do it for business.
Hawa Conneh is trying to make a business of hers. She taught herself everything she knows about fashion design, from hand sewing to the making of African necklaces. And for Hawa, it’s not just about being creative but also a form of empowerment.
“Once you’re a hard working lady, you’ll become recognized in the society and people will respect you because of your hard work, your effort and time you put into making whatever it is that you’re doing a success,” she says.
What gives this young designer the satisfaction is the fact that she can transform an already made product into a total different new look, and turn an idea into a beautiful creation like her signature necklace made of African cloth. Promoting her African culture has always been her dream as can be seen in many of her designs.
Born on Sept. 7, 1986 in Gbarnga Bong County Hawa is a graduate of the Cuttington University with a BSc in Sociology. According to Hawa, she always knew she had a creative side to her; remembering how she created her first skirt from and shorts that was too tight for her which her mom had gotten her.
“I remember in my early teens I really wasn’t comfortable wearing tight shorts and my mom had gotten me a pair of tight pants that I wasn’t comfortable with. So because I had the color of the cloth, I told myself I was going to cut it up and turn it into a mini skirt and when I got done with it, I couldn’t believe my very own self. It had turn out quiet lovely” she proudly said.
What makes Hawa’s work unique is the dedication and patience she puts into her works. She explains that it takes a whole day to make up to three pairs of shoes going through a tedious process of having to take the entire pair of shoes apart and giving it a whole new make over in African style. Because of her busy schedule as an insurance professional, Hawa is left with no option but to use her Saturdays and Sundays to work on her designs.
Driven by her passion and desire to succeed, Hawa dreams of owning an African factory in the future. She tells LIB Life that she sees her self as a factory owner in the future producing anything African related where she would be able to cater to more clients all around the world. So far, her only international clients are those in America plus her local clients. Meanwhile her work is mainly advertised by word of mouth and on her facebook page.