Hemma creates fresh, elegant collections using authentic hand-woven Kente, a textile rich in African royal tradition. Kente began to flourish in West Africa in the 17th century and still remains prominent representing social prestige, luxury, and cultural sophistication. Each garment is uniquely handmade from intricately hand-woven Kente imported from Ghana. By incorporating the same techniques used to dress Ghanaian nobility for centuries, Hemma allows each client to exude royalty. By investing in quality pieces that last a lifetime, the lives of Ghanaian school children are also impacted. A percentage of all proceeds will be donated to a West African middle school where the designers instructed classes.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Ghana Flashback: Lets Get Crunk!

I know the term is very outdated, but this is a Ghana Flashback. Edna and I studied hard even while studying abroad. It seemed at times we were the only ones in the program who actually did work! Every weekend we were determined to have fun. Baze was one of our favorite local spots. Somehow we would end up there every weekend with our friends from Ashesi University. One of our close friends always used the term crunk and it just became part of our normal vocabulary. When we came back, we were forced to reject it from our speech, but I still have fond memories of it nonetheless!!!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Countdown to Ghana!

So the countdown has begun! In 4 days I will be in Ghana, West Africa to complete our initial line! This whole week has been so surreal for me. Edna and I have been planning for this trip for so long and it is finally happening. We were just talking about how it just recently hit us that everything we have worked so hard for is finally materializing in front of our eyes. I am very excited, but nervous at the same time, there is so much riding on this trip! So what am I doing now to cope? I'm at work working my butt off.....on Hemma, of course!

Edna: Doin My Thing

I've been interested in fashion since I could remember and from the pic you can tell that it all started with my mom. She is an artist in her own right and not only did she do all of our interior decorating but made me clothes and Halloween costumes. My father also an artist in his own career, you'd never find a sexier car but one that he'd painted, truly a skill. So art has always been in my blood and from a young age I've been in art programs and learned how to sew. If you know me, you know that sewing is the only "home-making" type thing I have any idea about! It goes without saying that I eat out a lot, lol.

As I got older, the fashion industry just seemed more unreachable. It's a tough industry to not only break into but be big in, there's so much competition. But I never let go of my passion and followed that interest by making clothes for myself, taking classes at FIT and modeling at dozens of fashion shows. This pic to the left is a show I did for 1Soul designs, a great company run by great guys who are very dedicated to community change through fashion!

By exploring different sides of fashion, I've gained a great view into the fashion industry and the business of it all- the good and the bad. (That's a whole other post in itself)

Like everybody, we're multi-dimensional and have several interests (hopefully). So I explored a lot of different fields and still was at a loss in college. What was I gonna do with me life!?

I got so frustrated with this question that I just stopped worrying about it and started just living my life. I decided, thinking it to death wasn't getting me anywhere. So I did the opposite, I decided to explore life and see where that took me. How'd I do that...I just left. I left the country through NYU's study abroad program. I went to London for my first semester of my junior year and then went to Ghana in the Spring.

One thing I did always maintain tho was my unbelievably optimistic state of mind and I suggest that people start making that change in them, because that's one of the things that has helped bring me so much success. Everbody explores through different ways, mine was traveling...take the risk to find your way!

Hemma blossomed out of my exploring life and taking a chance to live in Africa. If you too are interested in attaining a high level of performance in any field whether fashion or not, this post might help. It has great tips to live by!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Our Commitment

While studying abroad in Ghana, Edna and I both volunteered as teachers at La Yahoushua Junior Secondary School. While I taught math, Edna was a biology teacher. Before this, I was a teacher's assistant in NYC and for some reason, brought with me the assumption that the experience would be similar. The only thing that was similar was the usual class disruptions due to some students cracking jokes. Other than that, it took me a while to get used to being called madam and children running to the front of the classroom to assist me if I dropped something by mistake. They were so polite!!! Edna and I also were advisors for the after-school photoclub but only another couple of entries can properly describe the crazy wonderful experiences we had during field trips and club meetings after school. We learned so much from these children and they really helped us in discovering what Ghana was really about. We never wanted to leave those experiences behind, and through hemma, we won't. A percentage of all proceeds will be donated to the Ghanaian school system.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

The Origins

The idea for hemma came about when we studied abroad in Ghana. We were there during the our junior year in the Spring of 07. This was a major turning point in both of our lives because we were able to become so detached from our lives in New York and fully immerse ourselves in the Ghanaian lifestyle. We were both worried when we first got there and weren't sure if we could last an entire semester. But by the time we left, we cried our eyes out because we didn't want to leave Ghana behind. Through hemma we've found a way to bring some of Ghana back with us and share it with New York. We fell into the idea of creating a clothing line, it started off unintentionally. While in Ghana we loved the wide array of West African fabrics and garment designs, so we started designing clothes for ourselves. Between Cindy and I we made dozens of pieces, including garments made out of Kente fabric. Everyone in Ghana and the NYU program loved it. When we came back to NY we got the same reception. A lightbulb clicked for us. We decided that we wanted to share the clothing that we loved so much by starting hemma.