Esther Fame Breaking Barriers In The Global Fashion Industry
Designer and artist Esther Fame is a long way from home living what has now come to be the “American Dream”. In an interview with Freda Sideroff, Garifuna International Indigenous Film Festival (GIIFF) Executive Director, Esther shares her story detailing her vision and purpose.
- What is your name?
My name is Esther Fame
- How long have you been a designer and how would you describe your fashion?
I have been a fashion designer for 4 years now (2012). My fashion is a reflection of my West African background (Cameroon) as well as a reflection of what I perceive as a sophisticated, classy and glamorous style.
- Who wears your fashion what are the most popular reactions that you hear from your clients?
My fashions are worn by very diverse audiences as far as ethnicity (African American, Caucasian, Asian…), age range (20-60+, women mostly). The most popular reaction is admiration, as they love the very modern, fashion forward as well as innovative style of Fantabela.
- I want you to tell me about who you are as a designer?
I am a designer with a passion for fashion of course, but also with a passion to share my African culture in a new light; that of beauty and sophistication. I am also very passionate about fair trade as I only work with Third World countries artisans (so far from Cameroon). I pay the seamstresses and tailors who work with me fairly and at an agreed upon pay.
- Who is Fantabela and what is the origin of the name and culture /language?
Fantabela is a combination of two words: Fantastic and bella, fantastic and beautiful. Meaning the woman who wears a Fantabela outfit is fantastic and beautiful. I wanted a name that is catchy and girly.
- What are the most important features of your work?
The most important features of my work are: attention to details, innovation and sophistication
- What was your childhood dream?
My childhood dream was to help those in need. I’ve always wanted to make a difference, to leave my mark as a philanthropist.
- Did you imagine yourself as a designer?
No, for a long time, I didn’t. I have always had a passion for fashion since childhood. But I didn’t imagine myself as a designer until 4 years ago when I decided to pursue the dream.
- What is the most surprising experience that you have had as a designer?
The most surprising experience is still the fact that people are so enamored by my work. I receive a lot of encouragement from strangers, it baffles me sometimes.
- Why the focus on culture and what does that mean for you to design based on that perspective?
The focus on culture is important to me because, I am a transplant. I am an African woman living her dream in America. I carry the weight of my family, country and culture with me. I want to share who I am as an African woman. I want to show that the African culture is very rich and beautiful. I offer the world what was deposited in me by my ancestors and family.
To learn more about Esther be sure to visit her Website at www.fantabela.com and meet her at GIIFF 2016 where Esther Fame will be vendor and sponsor.