After reading this interview rest assured that you’re going to call your friends to go for sneaker shopping and sign up for that French Class. It’s a different Parisian vibe with some Togo and Ghanaian sprinkles on it. This Girl will make you step outside your fashion comfort zone and up your sneaker game. Meet Kimberly Anthony born in Ghana, spent her early childhood in Togo then moved to Paris. Besides her being a ray of light with her stunning style she’s also a Fashion Designer for her brand G.Y.D and just dropped her new collection Métanoïa.
Kim how would you describe your Style?
My style is between masculine and feminine, I tend to wear a lot of masculine items back in the days, now I’m mixing loose shapes with feminine cuts as I’m growing I want to reflect on both sides of my personality in order to represent my vision of the perfect balance, versatile and daring because I’m not afraid to try new and reinvent myself often.
You were born in Ghana, raised between Togo and suburbs of Paris, how did this impact you as a person and your style ?
I think it shaped my whole personality so far. It’s hard to explain you have to experience it to understand. Each of us got our own perception and our own way to respond to what life brings us so personally I would say that it allows me to find my way and to understand that It was okay to feel lost between these different cultures, having an identity crisis!because one day it will all makes sense. If I didn’t spend my early years in Africa I wouldn’t have been this conscious about where I came from and what it represent for my people from there to see someone like me doing what I’m doing now. If I didn’t develop myself in Paris I wouldnt have ever known that what I used to consider as my weaknesses are in fact my strengths and I wouldn’t be aware that I can become what I wanted to be through the trials and tribulations…this goes both for the inside and outside appearences.
Whats your experience like as a woman of colour in the fashion industry?
As a young content creator I had some great opportunities that I’m grateful for I have experienced a lot of things that I would never imagined, I travelled I discovered new places people, doing what I love creating looks, collaborating with brands and being paid for it so the fashion industry showed me a lot of different faces some good, some less good but I learned from each one of them.
What ignited your passion for fashion and what challenges have you faced along the journey as a woman of colour?
It all started when I had the opportunity to assist during the black fashion week and then did an internship as assistant PR for a parisian agency, I discovered more in depth the behind the scenes of the industry and found it fascinating. By being first on the back then on the front I realised that I wanted to build my relationship with the whole universe. Today I enjoy being in front of the camera as much as being behind, wearing brands clothes and creating mine, being the face of a campaign or creating my own stories, it all makes sense to me now.
- I’m known to be an influencer in the streetwear industry because it goes with my lifestyle and I totally assume what I represent, I just wish that this status could have served more into how can we use it to help develop and give hope to our culture and not only for content creation purpose but I think it’s also my responsability to vehicle more than an image.
What do you think should be done to put African Fashion Designers on an international market?
I don’t have the proper answer for it in spite of my deep reflection on the subject…I just wonder how it’s so easy for other continents to be available on mainstream retailers and why the same tools that they’re benefiting from aren’t available for our continent? If you’re not doing it by yourself there’s only an elite of brands available by larger distributors and I don’t know their criteria’s of selection. Now I’m seeing more black people creating marketplaces for black owned businesses all over the world and doing what should have been done earlier. We should stop waiting on others to « come help us » or benefit from the image that comes with it as if it was a trend and figure out a way to do it by ourselves and if we got genuine support from allies that’s fine.
Any people of colour in the fashion industry that inspire you?
I would say Kerby Jean raymonds for his mindset and Thebe Magugu for his sense of style.
What changes do you wish to see in the fashion industry?
I hope to wake up one day and see as much as POC than non POC in high position and taking decisions, not to file up a quota but because the industry has aknowledged that there is the same level of talent and awareness anywhere. So that it won’t bring prejudice to them to have people who can understand the vision because they’re also a part of it, not only for representations but also for the elaboration
Lets talk about your experience in Paris?
It’s all about good memories, I met a lot of cool people, some less lol but at the end I did everything I wanted to do to find myself, I went through different phases but mostly had a lot of fun! I made mistakes like everyone which allowed me to learn my lessons at a young age. By living in the suburbs I first had to exercice my adaptability in any circumstances, when I was considered as a tomboy and it wasn’t a trend (at all) I have learned to not let anybody walk on you and that you have to value and be ready to defend yourself. It’s okay to be you and it’s not even your final form yet so don’t put any pressure on yourself, just embrace the journey of discovering who you are and who you want to be surrounded by! Experiencing the parisian life I found that :
- Having good connections is required, even if you’re very good at what you are doing or simply looking for a job, having someone who knows the right people will always be an asset to evolve in this sphere, but at the same time it won’t guarentee you to be taken seriously once you get here.
- Lack of empathy cannot build bridges.
You can meet people that doesn’t have the same background as you and still have common point or the same way of vewing things, you can laugh at the same jokes, enjoy the same stuff or cry about the same issues. I believe that energy attract energy so even if you can run onto some as*h*les who think that they’re better than you based on where they live or their status on the society you’ll still find genuine people to link up with no matter where you’re or they’re coming from.
Did Lockdown impact your creativity in a certain way, if yes how?
A lot ! I had to redecorate my space and turned my one bedroom studio saturated with clothes and shoes into a creative lab where I could take picture,with a set up, sew my creation and spend the whole day in without feeling like I’m suffocating … It was quite therapeutic because I couldn’t stay without the possibility of creation and expand myself through what I love so this system helped me to keep my sanity, I’ll show you some pictures. But yes, lockdown made me do a lot with less in order to keep my flow of creativity, Sometimes I wasn’t feeling inspired because like everyone it can get on your nerve but I thank God I made it without feeling depressed because I’m kinda used to be by myself at home. Still, one day I just woke up and decided to come back home, I called my brother who lives on another block than mine and convinced him to come with me, we found ourself at the airport few weeks later to spend the month of December in Togo with our family which lives here. We both needed to recharge our batteries at the source and once we were here we told ourselves that in fact, we’re not going to leave by the end of december but stay longer, stay as long as we feel the need to, so I can create, work on my 2nd collection and him create his exhibition about the country. We needed to find a way to keep doing what makes us feel alive and because of lockdown, the journey of coming home is lasting for more than 3 months now, allowing us to fulfill our needs and enjoy the togolese life.
What’s the secret behind those cool Lewks also which sneakers are on your top list at the moment in your closet.
I don’t have any secrets lol I guess it’s just the way of vewing things and the fact that I love oversize shapes as much as my feminine key pieces or details. I’m doing with what I got and thanks to my job I can express my style as I want but it’s still not yet at the level I want it to be to be honest with you.
- Right now I would say the Balmain B Bold low I recently received by Edmonds Sneakers, I love everything about them, the color, the shape and details, everything!
Any fashion tips for someone who is about to hop on a Zoom meeting?
Put a white or black long sleeve shirt on lol, we’re in a pandemic we won’t pay any attention to you if you’re not all suited up! So please be sure to look clean enough and not like you just got out of your bed because the energy you put out matter more than what you wear.
What was the inspiration for your second collection of G.Y.D and what motivated you to start the brand
I was inspired by a word which I chose for the 2nd collection : Métanoïa, spiritually it means to turn into something bigger than ourselves and beginning the journey of changing our mind, way of life and heart . I wanted to create something that looks like another version of me, something that will represent a mix between where I came from and where I’m going..
What motivated me at first was the need to create, as simply as that, after being a visual merchandiser, a content creator and a stylist I realized that as much as I love styling clothes I wanted to see if I was able to bring my own vision of them to life.. I didn’t know where to start but I started anyway, I didn’t know how to draw but I drew them anyway, didn’t know how to sew but I bought a sewing machine and started anyway and here I am. When I was in Lomé during summer 19’ I realized that we got some local tailor who were able to help me realize my project and even if I first thought about producing in Asia or Europe when I saw them I was like why looking so far when I can invest back in my country and give credits to our locals workers as well ? I’ve always wanted to do more in Africa and this was my way to contribute even if it’s a small move compared to some for now, we all need to start somewhere. It’s not the easiest choice it require another level of patience and structure but I’m glad I took this decision because it’s a beautiful fight and showing to my tailors that their pieces have been worn by some famous artists and all is just amazing ! I hope that one day I’ll be able to open a creative lab where I can freely express myself and produce with other countries on the continent as well ..
What advice would you give to Young African People that would like to become content creators?
Know what your real motives are. There is nothing wrong with being a content creator just because you want to, but I personally did not become an influencer for the sake of social media or whatever. What brought me here was my love for fashion and the fact that I wanted to live from my passion, share it and give hope to others. Just ask yourself why are you doing this, then put actions in it try to define your own identity and work on developing it accordingly. You can’t please everybody but you can gain respect for your work if it’s done with the heart. Lastly, don’t do the bare minimum, or if all you have is the bare minimum always find a way to add value to your content, to what you’re trying to vesiculate.
How is Togo treating you right now, any of your favourite tourist places you can suggest to visit?
My country is treating me so well it’s even hard to go back to my parisian life. Your body just feel different when you’re home, can’t explain why but the sensation of peace is reflected on your inside out and the glow hits different lol. I’m grateful because I had the opportunity to spend 4 months here and escape the lockdown in winter. I think that after all this pandemic we will definitely see things another way and appreciate simple things of life more while trying to do the most of it while we can.
- Some touristic places I would recommend are Aneho and Kpalimé, two cities far from the center but they’re pure beauties. We’ve got some private beach where you can enjoy yourself such as Blue Turtle or Pure plage
What’s the mantra you’re living by right now?
Kim: « Never looking back » because I’m a big thinker I tend to get distracted by what did or did not happen in my life and it was throwing me off my path, then one day as I was reflecting on my past and acknowledged that I came from a pretty long way, I decided that it was time to accept and embrace what’s behind you for the last time because it made me who I am today. I won’t let any past actions determine where I’m going, only what I decide to do right now count, so I stopped looking back, to always move forward no matter what because it was the only option. Quitting is not one so I try to remind myself that no matter what I’m experiencing it will allow me to gain knowledge to keep moving towards my destiny.
Besides Fashion, what else are you passionate about ?
Kim: I love everything about music, visuals, story telling art direction and video making, the common point of it all is the sharing of stories, emotions and depth, that’s what I really love about these forms of art. I also love history, watching documentary and listening to speeches ! When it can positively stimulate and impact my mind, I’m here for it !
What’s your Skin Care routine like?
Black soap, fenty cleanser and toner, a good moisturiser for combination to oily skin and a touch of ole henriksen bright serum for that extra glow
What are your Asian favourite brands and how has the Asian culture impacted your style?
I love brands such as Uniqlo, Ambush or Hyien Seo to just mention some. When I was a little girl in Togo I used to watch anime with my brother all the time, he grew up collecting tons of manga and even started to draw some. The asian culture was a part of my youth and later my first job was for a japanese retail brand, I spent 3 years developping my senseof self and style through their garments and vision so it indeed impacted me to the core as It nourished my perception and answered to my need of incorporating, simple yet efficient loose shape into my everyday style thus allowed me to create stronger looks
What else would you like to bring in the fashion industry, what should we expect from you as an African woman of colour breaking down boundaries and paving a way for us ?
Hope is the first word I’m thinking about. This is what the whole journey is about, giving hope and inspiration to my generation by wanting to do more, speak more and create more. I would like to see people from all over the globe wearing more made in Africa items which can still represent urban/ streetwear community but as im used to say, I don’t know what’s God has in store for me but im going to make sure that it’s can benefit others from a way or another.
Im thinking about a post Summer Walker did recently on Instagram
«To all the women who are labeled :
- Agressive : keep being assertive
- Bossy : keep on leading
- Difficult : keep telling the truth
- Too much : keep taking up space
- Complicated : keep asking hard questions »
I see no lies as I see myself in this so you can expect from me to keep being allllll that without feeling an inch of guilt! (laughs)
Three words for Paris Fashion Week?
By Mitchel Tanyaradzwa