APiF: Please introduce your business and your designs.
Jacquie Atandji: I was born and still live in Lomé, the capital of Togo, West Africa. I started designing jewellery and fashion accessories in 2002. My creations are inspired by Africa and more precisely by all the countries where I traveled: Mali, Senegal, Mauritania, Ghana, Burkina Faso, South Africa and many more.
I use several materials such as horn, beads, leather, bronze, wax fabrics, bone, etc. I try to present my work abroad as often as I can. I had an exhibition in France and Spain last summer and will go to Mauritania, Senegal and Burkina Faso in October. I’d love to have an opportunity to show my work in the States!
APiF: If your label would be a person, what kind of person would it be?
Jacquie: Angelique Kidjo. She is a great singer from Benin, the country on the eastern border of Togo. She mixes tradition, modernity and various influences from throughout the world. She is deeply inspired by her African origins and culture and was able to represent it abroad.
She also is a generous and engaged person who steps up in several occasions (she is a Good Will Ambassador for UNESCO). She is a proud African personality, internationally renowned whose music is successful. What else could I wish for my label!!?
APiF: How does your heritage inspire you?
Jacquie: In many African families, the heritage was a made of gold, beads and wax and mine was no exception. I also had relatives who started a business trading wax and Kente. My taste for fashion comes from there. Later on, because of my travels and through art exhibitions, I was attracted to design and art.
APiF: What is your favorite item of your collection and why?
Jacquie: The two main products of my label are the scarf necklace and the wax bags. I was the first Togolese designer to use wax in many of my items.
APiF: Which designer would you like to cooperate with?
Jacquie: I would very much like to cooperate with the American designer from Boxing Kitten – Maya Amina Lake. She highlights the wax like no other in her very contemporary creations.
APiF: Any tips for new designers/start-ups in the fashion industry?
Jacquie: In this job, you have to be persistent and use your failures to bounce back up.