Sena Ahohe brings African Fashion to Modern Life
24Fashion TV had a chance to sit down for an interview with a fashion designer, Sena Ahohe, the founder of Kejeo Designs.
24FashionTV: When did you first realize you wanted to pursue a career as a fashion designer?
Sena Ahohe: I actually never thought of doing anything in the Fashion industry until around 2016 when I realized how much positive feedback I was getting from so many people every time I would put on one of my beautiful African print I had designed for myself. It was around 2016 that I decided to turn my passion for African print and designing into a business.
Where do you usually find creative inspiration for your new collection?
My vision is to be able to create modern, contemporary looks that can be adapted in the Western word using vibrant African textiles. Because in the past, many have always thought about African print clothes as something you needed to wear for a special occasion. But that is not true. They can be adapted into any setting. And because of that I am always watching trends, thinking about what I can come up with that can be worn from very casual to formal and also very practical in this part of the world. And also the type of print/pattern will determine what I can do.
How is working in fashion different today than from when you started out?
The industry is constantly changing, and especially with social media being one of the biggest players. Before it was very easy for me to think about styles or designs and I would go to trade shows, different festivals and sell quickly. But now with social media, you really have to watch for what’s trending and go along with it by adding your personal touch.
What role do you think social media plays in fashion today?
A huge role. Not only to reach out to a larger audience, but also to be able to speak directly to your target audience and listen to what they are looking for and adapt to it.
How was your brand affected by the Covid-19 lockdown?
Prior to Covid, my focus was really local. From going to fashion shows to trade shows and festivals. With Covid-19, I had to shift everything online completely and find a new audience.
Did you have to adjust your collection and make some changes to it because of the Covid-19?
Yes. Due to the Covid-19 and people not going out much, I realized that a lot of people being home, not having anywhere to go, started to really dress down. And so my focus has been to shift to more casual but chic designs, styles that are even more versatile and show people how they can use their clothing in different ways.
What do you think about sustainable fashion? Should fashion be more sustainable?
I think fashion is always changing. What may seem sustainable today may not be tomorrow. And we have seen that with Covid. And I personally think we should adapt, especially based on what the audiences are asking and looking for.
What is your favorite part about being a designer?
I love seeing my pieces on my clients and how they truly appreciate the prints, different ways people style the outfits, most importantly hearing feedback on how I can improve.
How do you want women to feel when wearing your clothes?
Very proud of embracing the culture without being judged and looked at in a funny way. They are beautiful printed clothing in the mainstream fashion that are worn, and African print should be regarded just as the same.
Can you shortly describe your brand?
“Kejeo” means “something that looks beautiful on you” in the Mina language from Benin and Togo in West Africa. My brand is all about African fashion, creating pieces that are modern that anyone can feel comfortable wearing or using regardless of their shapes, size or color.
What comes next for Kejeo Designs?
My goal is to keep raising awareness of how beautiful African prints are and how they can be adapted in the western world. I will be expanding on the styles, adding more casual and dressy styles, and also putting an emphasis on plus size women. My other focus will be on accessories, expanding the accessories line, especially for people who would like to wear some African prints, but don't know how to or not so comfortable with a full outfit.
Editor, 24Fashion TV