34. Won­der­walls

The Hand of Fashion - - CONTENTS -

Although fash­ion pro­duc­tion is the core business at our pro­duc­tion hubs, art is never very far away. Artists like the tal­ented Ghana­ian Papa Op­pong are com­mis­sioned to paint mu­rals that not only rep­re­sent the work cre­ated, the de­signer part­ner­ships and the in­ter­con­nec­tiv­ity be­tween the hubs but also brighten up the space for the work­ers.

Papa Op­pong Be­di­ako, seen work­ing above on a mu­ral in the Ac­cra hub of ITC Eth­i­cal Fash­ion Ini­tia­tive with fel­low artist Peter Caitoe is a fash­ion de­signer, il­lus­tra­tor and artist from Ghana in West Africa. Born in Ac­cra, Ghana’s sprawl­ing cap­i­tal city, Papa at­tended Al­pha Beta Montes­sori School be­fore at­tend­ing a se­ries of schools where he even­tu­ally dis­cov­ered a pas­sion for visual art and fash­ion. He is cur­rently pur­su­ing a fash­ion de­gree at Rad­ford Univer­sity and de­sign­ing as part of the Rad­ford Col­lec­tive (see fol­low­ing story). The young man from Ac­cra’s tal­ents have not gone un­no­ticed ei­ther; in 2012, Papa Op­pong placed third in an in­ter­na­tional art contest or­a­ganized by twin eyewear de­sign­ers Coco & Breezy. His fab­u­lous il­lus­tra­tions (see fol­low­ing pages) have been fea­tured in the UK-based il­lus­tra­tion mag­a­zine Dash Mag­a­zine. Last year that fa­mous Child of Des­tiny her­self, Kelly Row­land came across a dig­i­tal paint­ing that Papa had made of her and loved it so much she went on to share it with her mil­lions of fans world­wide via her so­cial me­dia net­works. Per­haps it is his at­ti­tude to­ward the cel­e­bra­tion of dif­fer­ence and the odd­i­ties of life that come through in his work. In his art and core cre­ativ­ity he is in­spired by things that wouldn’t nec­es­sar­ily in­spire the av­er­age per­son; death, de­cay and fear for ex­am­ple. Equally, he is in­spired by pop cul­ture, stars like Rhi­anna, Bey­once, Lady Gaga and Lana Del Rey and he cred­its fash­ion de­sign­ers like Stephane Rol­land, Vik­tor & Rolf and Alexan­der McQueen as ma­jor in­flu­ences. In short, Papa Op­pong rep­re­sents a part of our fu­ture, an artist and de­signer with se­ri­ous tal­ent and vi­sion who, like many work­ing in the bur­geon­ing African fash­ion and arts in­dus­tries, is ready to bring his tal­ent to the world.

Op­po­site (above): Not Char­ity, just Papa at work. Op­po­site (be­low) and this page: Papa Op­pong fash­ion il­lus­tra­tions

Above (left): Papa Op­pong and Peter Caitoe work­ing on the mu­ral for the Eth­i­cal Fash­ion Ini­tia­tive’s Hub in Ac­cra, Ghana. Above (right): A de­signer and tal­ented fash­ion il­lus­tra­tor, Papa was the man be­hind the art­work for the ITC EFI mu­ral in Ac­cra. Pho­tos: Papa Op­pong Op­po­site (above right): De­signer Stella Jean, Tal­ent Scout Si­mon­etta Gian­fe­lici and EFI’s Si­mone Cipri­ani pos­ing in front of the ITC EFI Nairobi Hub mu­ral. Photo: Louis Nderi Op­po­site (be­low right): Papa Op­pong work­ing from his desk at the Rad­ford Col­lege of Fash­ion in Ac­cra Photo: Ofoe Amegavie

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