APiF: Please introduce your business and your designs.
Serwah Asante: Our motto is: “Great style should be available in all sizes because fabulous, fierce, kick-ass women come in all sizes!” The Rue 114 aesthetic is heavily influenced by Africa and responds to the call of what today’s woman; whether in Laos, Lagos, or Los Angeles; needs to be edgy, unique, powerful, and always feminine.
APiF: How does your heritage influence/inspire your designs?
Serwah: My heritage is definitely a part of everything I do but I do not want to be confined to one vision of Africa. In all truth, I am equal parts Ghanaian and NYer so I am interested in exploring that intersection through fashion.
APiF: If your label would be a person, what kind of person would it be?
Serwah: She would be a lover of life, laughter, travel, art, drag queens, languages, books, dynamic souls, good music, obscure knowledge, men who give up their seats for women on the train, and people who live life courageously.
APiF: Fashion Finds: What is your favorite piece in your closet or of your collection and why?
Akosua Sweetheart DressSerwah: For Fall 2012, that would be the Rue 114 Akosua Sweetheart dress in Gold Dust or limited edition African print! It makes me feel so girly, so bold and it is such a great statement piece! Plus, it has pockets! APiF: How do you market your designs and how do you make them accessible to a global audience?
Serwah: We are constantly fine-tuning our marketing strategy as a new business. We currently use 3 main social media platforms: Facebook, Twitter, & Tumblr. We also encourage our website visitors to sign up for our email lists to receive our newsletters and stay abreast of the latest Rue news. We have recently begun hosting open showrooms to allow our clients to come in and try on different looks. This allows us to get direct customer feedback as well. Readers from around the world can shop our online boutique found at www.rue114.com.
APiF: Any tips for new designers/start-ups in the fashion industry?
Serwah: I think the best advice is to develop a habit of innovative solution-finding. As a new small business owner, you are constantly facing challenges and it is important to cultivate a mind set in which you are not overwhelmed by set backs or trials, but instead see the opportunity for growth and strengthening of your brand.