Velma Owusu-Bempah from Accra, Ghana certainly knows how to 'turn the dream into reality' and her millinery journey is so inspiring as she convinces her local clients to embrace elegance, glam and sophistication. Discover what drives her exceptional workmanship quality and design-ability.
What do you love most about millinery?
Personally I see millinery as that exclusive aspect of fashion where we transform a good ensemble into a fabulous masterpiece by adding a touch of elegance. I love the fact that this level of depth in styling is free from any limitations or inhibitions. Creating headpieces for me is when my creativity is at its peak!
How did you get into Millinery?
It all started right after my first degree – my creative gene got the best of me and I started playing with fabric and making little bags for family and friends, who encouraged me to also consider making hats and headpieces. That was the beginning of my love affair with millinery – and to solidify the relationship, I decide to study millinery in Central Saint Martin’s School of arts in London. Soon after that I embarked on turning my dream into reality – moved back home to Ghana in 2005 and started my own millinery business! It is a prologue to an amazing journey thus far!
How would you describe your designs?
Headpieces by Velma epitomizes that touch of elegance and glam for today’s woman looking to further enhance her personal style
Who is your ideal customer?
My ideal customer is the woman looking for comfortable headwear with sophistication, who understands the importance of accessories and appreciates how it can enhance her personal style. However my men’s collection also provides pieces for the classic gentleman looking to add a touch of pizzazz to his ensemble as well.
What inspires you?
Nature and all its untamed beauty have always inspired my work. Using plants, flowers, butterflies – natural beauties -to capture the unique style of every woman is what keeps my creative flair alive and represents my style aesthetic.
If you could invite any milliner to tea, who would it be and why?
I would definitely love to have a one on one sit down with Rachel Trevor Morgan. Her material dying technique definitely sparks my interest. Her headpieces provide a soft, simple yet classy silhouette that perfectly complements her clients’ styles. Her work speaks for itself and it is no wonder she is the preferred choice for hats for Queen Elizabeth.
What is your favorite material to work with?
The versatility and appeal of lace in millinery definitely puts it in the lead as my material of choice. I am drawn to its texture and added flair when I am creating a masterpiece. The feel and flow of lace also qualifies it as a great complement to other materials like crystals, beads, handmade flowers and feathers. In making head pieces, the ultimate goal for me is to provide that breath-taking accessory that adds class to one’s style and working with lace provides a stepping stone to achieve just that.
What is your best millinery tip?
I always stay true to the words of Philip Treacy, “Forget your face shapes, keep trying on different hats until you find the perfect one that you feel happy and confident in. Headpieces are all about feeling confident in what you are wearing and that make you look more beautiful, and elegant.”
What has been the largest challenge you face in millinery?
The Ghanaian fashion industry is definitely not new to using headpieces (head wraps) as accessories, however hats and other stylish headpieces are fairly a new concept, so you are sure to encounter that customer who is not entirely certain of what they are looking for in stylish head pieces and how these can complement their styling options. In such cases the onerous lies on me the experts to educate such customers. It is important to reassure the customer I am very good in what I do. Secondly it is always important to keep the customer engaged and aware of the creative process. I do provide styling advice, however in the long run I ensure the customer’s inputs are paramount and they feel comfortable with their purchase. A satisfied customer is the ultimate reward for me!
Famous words to live by.
Believe in yourself don' t let anything distract you in what you enjoy doing and stay focused.
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