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Dee: Fashion is my passion

BY: Enoch Darfah Frimpong

Her name is Dorothy Maathay-Osei (affectionately called Dee) and although she trained as a journalist, writing has been pushed aside for full concentration on her passion, which is how to effectively accessorise clothes and make sparkling statements with them. Fashion is her passion.

Despite growing up with a fashion designer mother, Dee says all the beautiful  fabrics and garments that surrounded her  did not prick her to take up sewing. Her attachment to clothes rather came from a strong desire to accessorise them after they had been sewn.

So, although she trained as a journalist and worked for about three years in Ghana, she relocated to London and worked with a finance company.

“The passion for fashion was still burning inside me and there was never a day that I forgot about that urge for styling, especially accessorising,” she recounted.

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“I finally concluded that in order to truly satisfy that strong inner passion, I had to follow my heart,  and that was how “Style Check by Dee” (stylecheckbydee.com) was born in 2011,”  she said.

After a brief styling course with Faye Marriott, who has many years of experience in the fashion industry, having worked with Vogue, Marie Claire, Stella Magazine, Harper’s Bazaar, among others, Dee came up with Style Check, a styling outfit which seeks to ensure that all ladies, no matter their background, race or size, look fabulous without draining their bank accounts.

“Style is within you. You have to feel good when you dress. You need not necessarily wear expensive or designer clothes to feel good. Your clothes can be second-hand but it is how you accessorise and combine stuff that makes the difference. The way that you look and dress is the first impression that people have of you,” she said.

For Dee, less is more.

“I don’t believe in styling or accessorising with too many things. The less you wear, the more people notice you.”

Everybody loves fashion — loves to look good in whatever he or she wears. The challenge sometimes is how to accessorise what is worn in order to create an ensemble that expresses your style and who you are. This is where Dee comes in to help you look chic and classy.

Dee helps her clients evaluate their lifestyle in order to establish and highlight their own personal style, considering their tastes, preferred colours, body type and budget.

So far, Dee has styled models for  African designers such as Ariike Alden, Benny Bonsu, I am Couture. She was also involved in styling for the recently held “Rhythmz on Da Runway” fashion and music extravaganza in Accra.

Aside being a personal stylist, Dee is also a personal shopper, shopping for clients taking into consideration their different personalities. Locally, she has done this for actress Jackie Appiah and Sandra Ankobia, host of Fashion 101.

If you have an event coming up or a photoshoot, Dee is there to help with what to wear and how to wear it.

Dee says her target is not only famous people  but wants to create an environment where everyone, irrespective of background, can receive fashion advice from her outfit.

For now, Dee is into a lot of partnership talks with people in the fashion industry in Ghana to enable her to impart her knowledge.  A radio and television programme that will give fashion advice and transform ordinary people into fabulous folks is also in the offing.

Giving a few fashion tips, Dee said there are some basic things a woman must have in her wardrobe. These include a black dress, jeans, blazer and statement necklace.

With the black dress, for instance, she said,  one could accessorise it with a nice leopard print shoe. Then on a different day, with the same black dress, accessorise with a red belt. 

On another, day she suggests that if the black dress is tight, you may pull it up a bit and wear a skirt with it.

“You see, it’s the same black dress, but the accessories make the difference and people may not notice it is the same dress,” she said.

Dee, who  constantly speaks fondly of her late mum, Madam Elizabeth Odoley Sowah, is in her 30s.  She had her secondary education at Mfantsiman Girls’ in Saltpond and then enrolled at the Correspondence School of Journalism, Kumasi.

After that, she had the opportunity to work with Vibe FM and also wrote for The Statesman newspaper.

When she moved to London in 2000, she trained as a credit controller and has been in the finance sector ever since.

Aside this, Dee has had courses in personal styling, image consultancy, business management and effective communication.

She is currently enrolled with the London College of Fashion studying fashion concept and history and fashion photography.

“Styling is about showcasing a true reflection of who you are. Although we have different personalities and fashion sense, I believe every woman can be classy and attractive from how we put things together,” she says.

Story by Rebecca Kwei/The Mirror