7 June 2012

Designer Insight: Asha.nti Lou

Wednesday evening, the girls and I met up after work to attend a Pop-Up Boutique at the Sanctum Hotel where different designers such as Blingdeenie, Domino Club and Girls Gang were promoting their new collections.

Walking in, my attention was immediately grabbed by Ashanti Lou's collection which was literally dazzling with all the little details I love such as fur, spikes, African cloth, gems, platforms, etc. It was indeed, shoe heaven.

In 2008 Louisa graduated with a BA in Product and Furniture Design from Kingston University, and later completed two shoe related courses at the London College of Fashion.

She then later launched her shoe brand, Ashanti Lou in 2011.

(The Stunning Ms Osei) 
We were fortunate enough to meet up with the warm and lovely Louisa Osei, designer and founder of Ashanti Lou, and have a little chat.

So, can you introduce yourself.
My name is Louisa Osei, and I am the creator of Ashanti Lou

How Long has Ashanti Lou been active?
Basically, I had the idea in my head about four years ago.when I was at university, but we officially registered in 2011.

What is Ashanti Lou?
Its my baby. Its a brand which is not for all flowers but for the bold women who love shoes, and who loves to make a statement, loves to be seen in public, for those who embodies everything unique.
The idea basically came round when I was at uni, I would spend hours and hours and hours, instead of doing my dissertation, trailing for shoes. My problem was that, when I used to go out, you would find that someone would be wearing the same dress or shoes as you.
So I used to look for a unique pair from places like Australia and New York.I did find some, but they were not as unique as I wanted them to be.
So I thought, I'm in product design, this is what I'm doing now, why don't I utilize what I have and the machinery I have around me and make my own!

So you mean all the shoes on your collection are made by you, by hand?
Yes! They are done all by me by hand, sitting in my room, customizing all day, all night, as well as holding down a full time job.
So when I come home at around 7, 7.30pm, sometimes 10/11pm... I go straight to my desk. Picking and sticking. I don't have a social life no more. So, this is me, this is all I do.

And all the collection are designed by you?
Yes, all from this little brain here (She points to her head). They are a collection of things that excite and  inspire me all the time. I always walk around with my little blue book, all the time, and I literally scribble everything and any idea that may come to mind there and then.
I could be sitting at my desk at work and would be like "oh! Tree! Haribos! Haribo shoes!"
That's literally how it comes mind, any idea that comes to me.
I was trailing for Victorian stuff, because I like the structure if the Eiffel Tower in Paris.That's when I thought, let me research more on the Victorian period and machinery and their style, and that's how I came up with the Victorian shoes.
Literally, anything can inspire me.

Do you also do requested designs?
Yes, definitely, for example, if someone wanted an alien shoot for a music video or so, I would love to do that. I would love the fact that someone could come to me with a brief. That would blow my mind.
If they gave me one word to work on like "purple", my mind will go crazy. I love working like that.
So I am open to ideas.

Do you have anyone in mind that you would love to design for?
I would love to make shoes for artists like Lady Gaga, Niki Minaj, Katy Perry. But there are a few people in the pipelines that people are pushing me towards, however I will keep that hush hush until it happens. So watch this space.

So, how long does each pair take?
(Laughs) Well, the unicorn ones, took two days for ONE shoe! So that's FOUR days in total. It's all about patience. The achievement for me and what gets me through it, how they are going to look like from my head to the actual made product. That's what keeps me going. Oh and the red bull! Its my passion and I love it"
My full time job takes up 90% of my time so, I only have the other 10% to do it. But I am determined.

So where do you see Ashanti Lou going in the Future?
Ashanti Lou is not just shoes. People will not only be buying shoes, but will be buying into a cause as well. Every shoe that sells, a percentage will go to a charity. I haven't decided which charity exactly yet, but I was thinking more of Water Aid, because some people walk for fashion, and some walk for water.
I like to think about other people as well, those in unfortunate situations. So the way I see it, when you buy a pair of my shoes, it would be a gift to you and gift also to some less fortunate.

You seem very passionate about what you do.
I am. I just thought if I don't do this now, I will always be scared, so I literally just trough myself in the deep end.

Finally, your pricing?
You will have to contact me directly for that.

You can view the Ashanti Lou Collection at www.ashantilou.com

All Ashanti Lou's contacts are as follows:

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