A fashion show and display of some exquisite designs heralded the sixth edition of the Fashion Forum’s quarterly panel discussion programme at the British Council Auditorium in Accra.
The event, which brought together mostly professionals and beginners in the fashion industry as well as students, saw graduates from the Fashion and Design Departments of the Radford University College, Accra Technical University, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) and the Blue Crest School of Fashion exhibit their latest collections.
The discussion which centered on the topic “Brain Drain”, had five panelists. They were Dr. Ebenezer Kofi Howard, Senior Lecturer, Department of Industrial Art, KNUST; Mrs Vivian Biney-Aidoo, former head of Department of Fashion at Accra Technical University; Mrs Fabiola Opare-Darko from the Joyce Ababio College of Creative Design; Mr Rajesh Pillai, Blue Crest School of Fashion and Design and Mr Kwabena Osei, a representative of the Radford University College.
While some of the panelists concurred that brain drain was not an issue affecting the Ghanaian fashion industry, others disagreed and called for measures such as collaboration, high standards and keeping abreast with new trends to help curb the menace.
“With regard to brain drain, I think most of our fashion designers stay in Ghana after acquiring their education. To me, brain drain in fashion here rather refers to a situation where you train the students and they don’t end up as fashion designers but divert to pursue other professions.
“Perhaps there are better working conditions in those other areas. This is worrisome because it creates a huge gap in the fashion industry,” said Mrs Vivian Biney-Aidoo.
Dr. Ebenezer Kofi Howard noted that the topic was appropriate and worth discussing since most students travel abroad to work at the slightest opportunity.
“We need not train students here for other countries to benefit. They must stay here to help develop our country. When they go, they don’t even work in the areas that they were trained as they mostly do other jobs. Brain Drain is something we need to work hard to prevent,” he said.
Mr Kwabena Osei also noted that there was a huge market for Ghanaian fashion designers in the sub-region and across the continent but there was no standard measurement procedure to produce ‘ready to wear’ designs for export.
“As we saw during the fashion show, it is obvious we have the talents but because we are unable to sell to the outside world, most of our students complete school and travel abroad to work because they have the required standards,” he retorted.
There were special presentations on fashion by Nora Bannerman’s Sleek Fashion Institute, Mhosenu Limited owned by Margaret Ofori-Atta and model Pearl Amoah’s PAF Outlet.
Like previous editions, the Cleavers House Restaurant treated everyone around to a delightful cocktail before and after the discussions moderated by Ms Ivy Prosper.