Some of us choose a career path when we get older while other people’s careers are influenced by the people around them from childhood. Fashion designer Gracilla Akade-Yeboah popular as Black Girl Akila is in the latter category.
Akade-Yeboah has been a fashion enthusiast from an early age. Growing up, she had an obsession with putting things together. Consequently, she took to bead making as a way of expressing her interest in costumes. However, that fascination grew into fashion designs. Akade-Yeboah’s story is that of passion, dedication, and the impact of society on our personal choices.
A Peek at Gracilla Akade-Yeboah’s Background
Akade-Yeboah was born on March 24, 1998. She is from the Fante tribe of Ghana. She completed her basic education at St. Francis of Assisi School, Takoradi in the Western Region of Ghana. Subsequently, she attended Ghana National College in Ghana’s Central Region. After her college education, she decided to take on fashion design full-time.
Thus, she enrolled at the Fashion Design and Technology School in Takoradi Technical University. She attributes her early interest in fashion to her mother’s subtle admonishes. Akade-Yeboah recalls her mother always telling her “Ahofa” whenever she dresses to step out.
Ahofa is a Fante word that implies a certain way of dressing. Consequently, the constant use of the word by her mother made her more cautious of her dressing. This inspired her work which she dubs “Ahofanism” to serve as a constant reminder for her to produce garments to suit individual personality and identity.
Building a Fashion Brand
Akade-Yeboah’s passion has grown into a brand, BlackParadise_Hub. Her body of work explores the black identity and the constant dynamism in culture. The brand was launched in 2020 in Ghana’s western region. Also, her brand explores the concepts of haute couture.
One of her most iconic designs was released in 2020. It was based on the concept of supremacy which projects the heritage and rulership of the Ghanaian chieftaincy system. In 2020, Black Girl Akila exhibited her costumes at Technique Style, Tarkwa Fashion Awards Week, and Portrait Cycle 3. She is currently preparing for Portrait Cycle 4 scheduled for later this year.
Famous personalities styled by Akade-Yeboah
You know that you are becoming a household name as a fashion designer when famous people embrace your designs. One of the most renowned personalities Akade-Yeboah has styled in Ghana is Moesha Boduong for the short film titled Kplorla. Boduong dressed as a goddess for her role.
Gracilla Akade-Yeboah’s Challenges
Every career has its challenges—especially at the beginning. Akade-Yeboah has had her own share of difficulties to overcome. She believes that the Ghanaian fashion industry is yet to be fully exploited. Also, some of the necessary fashion design tools are either not readily available or too expensive for beginners. In her words,
“One of my biggest challenges in Ghana is that the fashion industry is not being exploited enough which makes it difficult for individuals to understand the concept of avant-garde and costume design. Also, there’s limited access to tools and materials.”
Plans for the future
Akade-Yeboah finds inspiration for her works from objects in her community. By trying to establish a relationship between the objects and individuals, a new design is born. She believes that Africa’s fashion industry is growing rapidly. Therefore, there is a growing number of creatives projecting the continent’s rich culture and heritage.
Akade-Yeboah is open to collaborations that will help her to explore other cultures as well as to learn and exchange ideas. In the nearest future, she wants to be influential in the fashion industry—dictating trends and making artistic statements. According to her,
“People who have interest and passion for the fashion world should undoubtedly follow their dreams and always keep in mind that no matter how turbulent the water may be, would get to your destination.”
See and purchase her designs at I Wear African.