BSM alum launches Afia, sustainable African fashion line

Katie Cashman, Opinions Editor

A BSM alum of 2003, Meghan Sebold, voted “best dressed” by her senior class, has discovered a way to merge her interest in clothing and design with an international development project through Afia, her recently launched fashion line that mixes West African prints with American trends. Afia uses fashion as a tool to involve people in social progress in a light-hearted, accessible way.

Sebold was drawn to study abroad in Ghana during college in 2006 because of their vibrant textiles and the complexity of their developing economies. “During a research project on the textile industry, I saw the talent and ambitions of the seamstresses and textiles vendors, but also the limitations on their business growth,” said Sebold.

By translating the textiles into trends that resonate with American pop culture, Afia could open the Ghanaian textile vendors and seamstresses to a much larger consumer market. “From a fashion standpoint, I believe these unbelievable prints and the dignified silhouettes of Ghana deserve more attention on the international stage,” said Sebold.

Afia coined “urban indigenous” with its funky silhouettes and prints; a few of the designs are high-waisted shorts, crop tops, dresses, rompers, and fanny packs. “The Ghanaian fabric makes my job as a designer easy: I choose simple, sheath patterns to pay respect to the animated colors and prints,” said Sebold.

Since returning from Ghana in April, the marketing process of Afia has been a total whirlwind for Sebold in Brooklyn, New York. She launched the online shop, sold at pop-up shows around New York City, and spoke on sustainable production, while showcasing a few pieces of the collection at a gala in San Francisco.

With the success of Afia thus far, Sebold hopes to continue selling through pop-up road shows in American cities and also plan a return to Africa for the next line. “We plan to return to Ghana this month to produce the winter/holiday ’11 collection to be sold in the US, and possibly reproduce the summer ’11 line to sell in Australia next winter,” said Sebold.

To shop at Afia or learn more: http://www.shopafia.bigcartel.com/