In the years after receiving the Emerging Designer of the Year Award at the first Arise Africa Fashion Week in Johannesburg, South Africa, Christie Brown has established herself as one of the most important African fashion companies to be reckoned with. Since receiving the prize, the company has catered to worldwide superstars such as Beyonce as well as public personalities, all while demonstrating its distinctive and unconventional design aesthetic.
Aisha Ayensu, the creator and Creative Director of Christie Brown, is the driving force behind the fast-rising African label. She attributes the success of the fashion business to her embracing of the contemporary African lady. As Christie Brown continues to capture the attention of a diverse range of women throughout the world, it is evident that the label’s creator has her sights set on something much greater in the future.
Aisha Brown inherited her passion for fashion from her grandmother, the original Christie Brown, who worked as a seamstress but never established a large fashion company. She chose to name the label after her as a way of paying tribute to her. The desire to be a part of a movement to alter the narrative of Africa was the driving force behind the decision to launch a fashion business. According to her, “in 2008, there was the entire Africa rising movement, and I felt compelled to be a part of it in any way I could, and the only way I knew how was to do it via design.” Aisha chose to begin the company in 2008 despite having no knowledge of how to sew or create a single pattern and with no technological skills. The dream, I realized, was exactly what we needed in this area of the world at the moment, and I was tremendously motivated to go ahead and chase my aspirations. Following the introduction of her line, Aisha understood that she needed to enroll in a fashion school and get more familiar with the technical aspects of the industry.
After winning the ‘Emerging Designer of the Year Award’ little over a year after launching her fashion company, she gained international exposure, but she felt the world needed to see the side of Africa that she was seeing on a daily basis. She was able to share her abilities with the rest of the world because of social media. Keep in mind that this is a fledgling company just getting its feet wet in Ghana and West Africa; how else would the rest of the world know what you’re up to if there weren’t platforms like Facebook at the time?’ she said.
Having a strong social media presence and putting out high-quality images have played a critical role in letting the world know who Christie Brown is and what she stands for. Beyond that, the label is concerned with the fact that the quality of their product corresponds to the images they use. Aisha further confirms that harnessing these social media channels has assisted in the growth of the company’s revenues. “Since we began using social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and Whatsapp to boost sales for the business, we’ve witnessed an enormous increase,” she added. According to Christie Brown, Instagram has played a crucial role in breaching the glass ceiling erected by the COVID-19 epidemic, which affected practically every industry. For the purpose of showcasing their current collection, the label was able to host a virtual show. We began with Instagram Live, which was quite involved, and the comment area was fantastic,” she said. “We then migrated to Instagram TV, where the main program was shown,” she continued. The brand was able to establish a connection with over 30,000 spectators as a result of that virtual show, which in turn had a beneficial impact on their overall sales performance.
The label is able to contact with its clientele both locally and worldwide via the use of Whatsapp, which is particularly useful when there are new items available. In addition, she said that when new product arrives in the store, “we are able to compile a little catalogue and send it to customers who have signed up for our mailing list immediately.”
With the evolution of Christie Brown from a made-to-order company to the establishment of its first retail location, the label now produces ready-to-wear apparels and has created an e-commerce site where prospective consumers can place orders and have their items transported to them anywhere in the globe.