Fame in the world, returned to his home country and boosted its industry

The demography of these migrants has changed over the years. Professionals who have graduated in their home country and moved abroad to find employment and stay there permanently. The “brain-drain” is one of Africa’s most important development challenges.

The migration of highly skilled professionals such as doctors, nurses, engineers, and academics from Africa has serious economic, political, and social implications for development.

There is another aspect to the migration of highly-skilled people. There are two types of migration: ” Brain Gain ” – the return migration by professionals, and ” Brain Circulation ” – the temporary migration between countries of professionals. It isn’t easy to document this, particularly in the case of African countries.

We sought to fill this gap by using the case study of the late Ghanaian designer Kofi A. Ansah.

Ansah had a huge impact on Ghanaian style because of the timing of his 1992 return. His career in the UK was successful, and his future appeared bright. The country to which he had returned was going through a profound economic and political transformation. Ghana was in the process of transitioning from a military to a civilian-led government. The economic recession that followed the structural adaptation programs of the 1980s was a major cause of political tension. Ansah decided to move his career to Ghana.

This case shows how knowledge and expertise that migrants gain through career mobility abroad can be turned into assets on an individual, national, and global level. Returning migrants are able to transform traditional industries into global, modern ones.

Fashion industry transformation in Ghana

Researchers in African Studies, Sociology, and Geography have studied how migrations, both internal and external, and the spatial context affect cultural and creative practices in Ghana. In the Kofi-Ansah study, we interviewed 31 Ghanaian designers whose careers were directly or indirectly influenced by Kofi. The interviews are complemented by social media information dedicated to Ansah’s works.

Kofi A. Ansah was born into a family of artists. His older sister, Felicia Abban, was the official photographer for Kwame Nkrumah. Ghana’s first President. His elder brother, Kwaw Awnsah, is a renowned film writer, producer, and director.

Kofi studied fashion design at the Chelsea School of Art in the United Kingdom. His first fashion breakthrough came when he created a beaded gown for Princess Anne. He worked for several British fashion brands, including Gerald Austin and Guy Laroche, and then opened his studio in central London in 1980.

Ansah explained in an interview that despite his success in the UK Fashion Scene, he returned to Ghana to find new inspiration and to “show people that our fabrics can be used for other things… We just need to work on it and commercialize it.”

Locally produced cloth, made with strip-loom, had a limited production. The conventional style of clothing also limited the number of people who bought them. Ansah aimed to improve these features

Ansah has transformed Ghana’s fashion sector in four areas.

Fabrics & Design His modern designs use traditional African clothes, such as bogolanfini. His collaboration with Woodin, a textile producer, and Ghana Textiles Production led to the introduction of single-yard fabric sales instead of the six-yard standard. The cloth became more functional and accessible. This led to the manufacture of casual clothing for both men and women, including skirts, blouses, shirts, shorts, and trousers. He introduced ready-to-wear clothing at Woodin.

Accessories Ansah also had a passion for promoting local fashion accessories. Wood, raffia, and Calabash were among his favorites. His runway designs were always adorned with stunning accessories. African fashion shows now include prominent accessories.

Production Ansah played a key role in introducing the Friday African Wear Policy to Ghana. The aim was to encourage the wearing of locally made bespoke clothing in workplaces every Friday. Ansah used the friendship he had with Alan Kyeremanten (then minister of trade and industry) to promote his idea for democratizing and regularising the use of wax print. Ansah influenced fashion by using international marketing strategies such as fashion shows and exhibitions. He opened the Ghanaian style to a global audience by using techniques that are widely accepted.

Human Capital: Ansah, with his vision of a successful and lasting industry in Ghana, mentored many of the best contemporary designers. He launched mentorship programs with international agencies.

Ansah, the former editor of Vogue Italia, and Franca Szzani coordinated the Web Hub Young Designers Hub. Ansah also spearheaded the Ethical Fashion Initiative, a partnership between the United Nations and the Presidential Special Initiative Programme. These programs, and the exposure they brought with them, positioned contemporary designers for “brain exchange.”

Young designers could travel abroad and gain knowledge about fashion, such as the production of fabric and event organization. The purpose of such travel was to acquire knowledge that could have a positive impact on Ghana’s Fashion Industry.

The engagements allowed young designers to build relationships with designers around the world.

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