Interview with Ob Abenser
Hello Ob, thank you for agreeing to do this interview. Before we start, it would be great for you to introduce yourself – tell us about your hobbies and it would be interesting to find out a little more about the name Ob Abenser
My name is Ob Abenser, Ob stands for Obadai. I’m an easy going person. I like to travel, watch movies, read and I have recently taken to blogging.
Now you are a big player in the Ghanaian Fashion industry and are the owner of FashionishaGH, Can you tell us a little more about this venture?
Okay, so I started Fashionistagh because I realized there was a lot going on in the Ghanaian fashion industry but there was no one telling the story, so we thought we would fill in the gap.
Now you have achieved a lot in two years what was your journey to success like and what lessons did you learn?
First off I think success is the journey. So we are keeping at it. Lessons have been many and varied. I’ve learnt about the Grace of God, the goodness of the human spirit and keeping the end in mind. There have been challenges but then what is life without them. You pick up the lessons, dust yourself and go on.
What made you go into this industry; what were your influences?
In actual fact I virtually stumbled into it. Like I said, at the time FashionistaGH was supposed to be a hobby that would keep me going because I had plans of starting a career in another country, but then I noticed my work on social media was getting popular and people began to show genuine interest so I decided to take it serious. 2 years down the line and here we are, an award winning company enjoying local and international recognition.
‘Fashion is an expression of a Cultures Journey’ – what do you think of this statement? What story do you feel the African fashion industry is telling?
Yes, fashion is definitely an expression of cultures only I don’t see a particular story we’re telling apart from the fact that there has been a consciousness to be proud of our own products. So now more people wear prints.
A lot of the traditional messages within the prints seem to be lost in favour of ‘colour of the season’ motifis. What role do you think cultural heritage will play in the future of the African, the Ghanaian fashion industry (both in terms of designs, style and manuafacturing)? I think with time we’ll grow to appreciate the names and stories behind the various prints. Then, like it’s done now for funerals and other traditional events the names and stories behind prints will play a more central role.
What do you feel is the future of the African fashion industry as a whole?
It is promising but it is only going to get to a higher level if we all step up our game. For instance, its good to have prints but cant the textile designers make their cloth in silk, chiffon and other fabrics too? Why does everyone use the same base material? We should explore more, that’s how we can grow. Also people should develop confidence in locally manufactured goods and patronize them.
You talk about your Ga culture in your blog, and you seem to be a proud GaDangme, what role do you think cultural heritage played in your success?
I grew up always hearing people say, Ga men are lazy so I have a determination to prove that that is not the case or better still a strong determination not to fall victim to that.
You recently won an award by the ministry of trade and industry, how did that feel?
That was humbling because it made us realise that what we do is recognised and all our work is not in vain. And also being a young company, we are inspired to push further.
What is next for Ob Abenser and FashionistaGH?
Well for FashionistaGH we have our flagship event coming up next March, a TV show and a website as well. We are basically on our way to
building a one stop media portal that has it all as far as Ghanaian fashion is concerned.