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Ghanaian designers urged to participate in global events

BY: Della Russel Ocloo
Ms Engelmann
Ms Engelmann

The organisers of the international consumer show, the Ambiente Trade Fair, are urging young creative designers of home décor, accessories and contemporary designers to take advantage of the company’s talents programme to expose their creativity to the international market.

The company has also called on universities in Ghana and Africa not to let the designs created by students in their course of study to gather dust on their shelves.

Rather, officials ought to explore the creativity of such products by making them to become commercially viable products that can create enterprises for young people and their communities in a long time to come.

According to the Director of Living and Giving at Messe Frankfurt Exhibitions Limited, organisers of the annual Ambiente fair, Ms Yvonne Engelmann, the company’s talent platform provided opportunity for university graduates, young designers and entrepreneurs with very unique innovative products to benefit from special talent promotion programmes to gain sustained learning experience and market recognition.

She told the Daily Graphic in an interview recently that consumers within the global home décor and handicraft chain often preferred products that had footprint at global fairs since they could trust the quality and market traceability.

That, she said, often informed their decision making on commercial supplies, since “buyers sometimes look for original product ideas sometimes from relatively unknown designers,” Ms Engelmann stated.

“At Ambiente, we are looking more at sustainability of brands, hence the extension of our social responsibility to young people with very creative ideas and products to enable them find their foothold within the global consumer market,” Ms Engelmann said.

The Fair

The 2020 edition of the fair, which was held in February, has run for more than seven decades and had a high number of about 108,000 visitors, as well as over 4,635 exhibitors from 92 countries.

Some 36 young creative designers from Brazil, Germany, Britain, Japan, the Czech Republic and India displayed products ranging from handmade bicycle, garden chairs and home furniture made from bamboo products, contemporary ceramics products.

Specialised flower vases made from terracotta, dining and living products, handmade jewellery among others were also on display by the young talents who were offered free exhibition space by the organisers in a dedicated designed area, allowing them a high-grade platform to network with large quantity buyers, as well as undertaking business to business networking.

The Talents programme, which was launched 20 years ago as a social responsibility programme of the Ambiente show, provides sponsorship support for selected young creative to participate in the trade fair.

The organisers, as part of the package, provides free air ticket, accommodation and free exhibition space to enable such exhibitors to attend the fair and obtain direct feedback on their products, as well as make important contacts with international buyers in the consumer trade space.

Since the launch of the programme, Africa has had only two representatives in 2018 and 2019, where Awa Meite, a young designer of fabrics and bags from indigenous trees in Mali was accepted onto the programme.

Ms Matilda Payne, a co-founder of MH Couture & Upcycle, a Ghanaian company that recycles waste products into home decorative pieces and fashion accessories became the second African and first Ghanaian to have participated in the programme.

Ms Engelmann stressed the event does not only support the presence of these talents at the fair to showcased their innovations and creations but also afforded them advertorial opportunities on all their platforms to enable them to gain international exposure.

“Ambiente would wish to have a lot more talents from the African region since we believe in the need to have more creative people from the continent could use the region’s vast resources and contemporary designs to come up with products that would be highly accepted within the international market,” she said.

“We value direct encounters which we believe is reliable in successful business relationships, and that is what exactly we are exposing these young talented designers to so as to help them affect their communities positively,” Ms Engelmann emphasised.

She expressed the hope that young designers, as well as university students with creative products from Ghana, especially will take advantage of the platform and apply to be accepted onto the 2021 edition of the programme when the application opened in October 2020.

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