When stumbling upon Nana Yaa's photographs on instagram, you'll come across a beautiful young woman who enjoys documenting her experiences of travel, personal life and style through an artistic approach. Her straight-forward demeanor, amazing style and the love she has for art, has proven to Innovative Aesthetics that she is an Innovator of Tomorrow.
As head designer for Jonathan Simkhai, Nana continues to dominate the world of fashion, culture and design. I'm sure with the right pair of Acne boots, Nana Yaa will prove to the world that other than taking breathtaking images of herself, her boots are also made for walking. Recently, I was lucky enough to interrupt the designer for a second to chat about her goals, inspirations, and traveling ventures and more!
Scroll down to read the full interview...
Hi Nana, please tell us who you are?
Hi, my name is Nana Yaa, I'm from London but grew up in Holland and now residing in New York. I am head designer for Jonathan Simkhai Women's Wear.
When did you begin doing fashion design and what inspired you to pursue it?
I studied at Kingston University and after, I did my MA at the Royal College of Art. My first job was for Kenzo in Paris. I'm not sure what inspired me to pursue fashion, I just remember as a kid I loved playing dress up in my mums clothes and watching her and my aunt getting ready for parties. I started drawing (designing) at age 6 of what I wanted woman to wear then in my teen years, a friend told me to enroll at an art school in Holland which had a well known fashion department and I did! I hated it and quit and decided I wasn't sure fashion design was for me. Then being in the real world again, I realized it was the only thing I could do that I really did enjoy, so I went back to school but this time in London. Sometimes it takes time to realize certain things.
How has art influenced you throughout your road to success?
In all ways I think, I couldn't design or think without looking at some form of art. It shapes my present and future. Also, it soothes my brain.
Name 3 things that inspires you to keep going?
Being constantly challenged with new ideas, traveling and I guess clothes!
If there was one artist you could pick to collaborate with, who would it be and why?
Oh, sorry but I have to pick two: Cy Twombly and photographer Francesca Woodman. Can you imagine the combination and the dreamy ideas exploding between us all? I love female nude photography a lot and I have always admired Francesca Woodman's work. Her nude self-portraits and images of other women are slightly awkward and eery but both beautiful and conceptual. I love the shapes she makes with her body, composition, basically everything! I don't really smile in pictures and I feel awkward most times but Francesca Woodman has taught me it's okay to be the odd one in photographs... no need to follow the sheep.
What's next for Nana Yaa?
Well, I'm pretty good where I am right now, meaning I'm in the right place doing exciting things. I never think of what's next, the right thing naturally comes next without planning it.
Do you mind talking about your traveling adventure you're currently doing right now?
I'm in India at the moment but before this, I was in in Shanghai, Hong Kong, and Israel. I love the art of traveling especially when I get to combine it with work. It's my first time in Bombay, India and it's pretty intense how the people stare at me here, to the beautiful old colonial dilapidated buildings, to the shapes and colors of everything, this place is like no other.. Everything is old here, even when it's new it looks old... I kind of like that. I'm also going to a lot of embroidery factories, which I'm loving. The hand work here is incredible and what makes it amazing is that all work is done by men, mostly Muslim men. Some wear black eyeliner around their eyes so when they look at you it's so beautifully piercing. No embroidery is done by women only the finishing of garments are. Even the sewing of garments is done by men! It's such a beautiful learning experience to know the opposite sex doing the work of what woman mostly do.
What is your purpose to the world? What do you plan to achieve?
Forever learning, forever experiencing and forever grateful. I have achieved so much all ready and still achieving, it never seems to end.
What makes you innovative?
Curiosity, being open to new ideas and having an emotional connection to things.
- Innovative Aesthetics would like to give a special thanks to Nana Yaa for chatting with me.
Learn more about Nana by visiting her on instagram @lalanana7.