Heritage London MMXXII: The Lunch Date that Never Was

After the unbelievably sombre post in which I described to you how much I missed my friends: sexy cat aka freshe, alphonse and AmDrag I was supposed to jump immediately to this interview with Danielli Ofori-Atta. I apologize for this. Without further ado, I present to you my account of a most curious incident that happened during the day. Most of you will be alarmed at this, because I am a bit of a night owl. Yes, I am a nocturnal creature; a child of the light that works in the dark. I’ll abandon that tangent for the time being because even though these are my ramblings this post is not about me. The curious incident that occurred during the day was the interview I conducted with Danielli, a founding partner of Heritage London. I can see her in my minds eye, her flowing locks, her sparkly eyes, her womanly figure, even what she was wearing the last time I saw her. I have a thing. Even though I scarcely remember names and faces, I almost never forget an item of clothing that I see on someone else. While this may seem a little odd, it is perfectly alright and on topic as Danielli is a clothing designer.

Danielli of Heritage London
Enter Afam and Danielli… I imagine that this interview is taking place at my favourite restaurant, the three arms hotel in Lagos, Nigeria. In reality I’m lying in bed, and I’m not actually speaking to her. Yes, you guessed it. I’m conducting this interview via facebook.

Afam: Hello Danielli. How are you doing?

Danielli: I’m very well thanks. How are you?

Afam: I’m extraordinarily well. Let’s get cracking. I must be frank with you. I really like your t-shirts and I like you, so I will do my best to do you justice. I promise that you shall not be misrepresented or portrayed in an unfortunate light. I’m rather new at this so bear with me.

Danielli: I’m new at this too but I have full confidence in you.

This makes me blush a little.

Afam: So why clothes?

This is a legitimate question as Danielli is a final year law student at the university of Manchester. She has options.

Danielli: I've been exposed to fashion and art all my life. My mum was a fashion designer when I was younger… so that's pretty much what got me interested.

Afam: Is designing and running your own company harder than you expected?

I started this up with my partner Mellissa Gyasi, about a year ago. So far its been crazy. We had a fair idea of how much work we'd have to put into it, so it wasn't too much of a shock when we started. Since then I have come to the realisation that we definitely underestimated just how much we needed to do.

It helps that we have an efficient team that loves what they do. When you’ve got such a great team the 'work' doesn't really seem like work. We’ve started work with a few artists such as Sam Varnham, Tobias Iriah, and Micheal Tousana, to name a few. We really try to allow room for more of an informal relationship as this promotes greater creativity. We also have a lot of support from friends, and family. I cant stress how grateful we are, they've had to put up with A LOT!! Lol.
We also worked with Ladi Bello and Uche Nneji for our launch party on the 19th of August.

I am familiar with Ladi Bello. I believe that his peers call him Lord L. I can testify that there’s no party like a Lord L party. The word on the street is that his latest party venture is Voyeur II. I RSVP’d last night. The importance of RSVPing cannot be over emphasised.

Afam: How did you and Melissa come up with it, the name, the concept etc.?

Danielli: About 2 years ago, we (Melissa and I) were having one of 'those' "lets change the world" conversations lol and we came up with the idea to start a clothing line.
It was going to be a full blown couture line but since then we decided to scale the idea down, tailor it to what we knew best. For me that was art, and for Mellissa fashion.

Mellissa came up with the name and I came up with the concept for the Art + T-shirt combination.
For the name we wanted something that would represent where we came from, and at the same time be quite diverse and broad.

For the concept we wanted heritage to be something that brings people together in the name of arts fashion and culture.
We hope to create a community consisting of individuals with an appreciation for the arts, bringing like-minded individuals together under one roof to showcase their creative process and love for the arts. Hence why collaborations and working with other designers is such a big part of the brand.

I am quite familiar with the let’s change the world conversation but I most of mine seem to end with me gazing up at the heavens, waiting for the dream to arrive on a silver platter.

In the future we plan to do events and community workshops to help inspire the next generation of artists/ dancers/ musicians / artists /DJs etc. giving them the platform they need to get to the next step to further their careers.
From where we come from not enough attention is given to the arts so, we plan to change that.

I know too well about the African disregard for the arts. Take this conversation between Papa Afam and I...

Papa Afam: Who’s Afam and why does he keep using your pictures?

Afam: Who’s that? I have no idea what you’re talking about!

Papa Afam: He’s some funny character that either looks just like you.

Afam: Really? Was I adopted? I might have a twin somewhere.

Papa Afam: He’s probably just stealing your pictures. You must serve him with a writ of notice.

Afam: Certainly Dad! I’ll get right on it.

Yes, Papa Afam does not know that I blog on the side.

Afam: Did you design any of the shirts yourself?

Danielli: Yes! The ones currently on the website are my designs. We’re working with some extremely talented artists and graphics designers at the moment. I really cant wait till we release their designs.

Afam: What inspires you?

Danielli: My inspirations… that’s going be hard to cut down, I have soo many! My mum, she’s definitely my biggest inspiration, my family, friends, God - those would be the most important.
Artistically, to be honest It changes every other week, but Kanye in so many more ways that one, I love the fact that he’s always experimenting, and developing his interests.
Nina Simone, that woman was a genius! A group called The Strivers row (check them out), Yasin Bey (mos def), Klimt, Corey Barskdale JD Hillberry, Basquiat, Kings of Leon, Coldplay ( I loved them even before yellow), Common, Radiohead…  I could go on forever! Recently, a lot of my work has been inspired by Sango and Ryan Hemsworth.

Afam: What’s your swag? Who’s your ideal customer? Are you targeting the chilled crew, the hipsters or the sexy cats?

Danielli: Haha! A little bit of everything. We are trying cater to as wide a market as possible, but we are focusing on 18-24 age bracket. Because there are so many designers we’re hoping that there'll be something for everyone, even the older cats. lol

I was impressed at the end of it, so I imagine that those of you that reached the end of this saga are just as impressed as I was. Check out Heritage London by clicking on the following link. http://heritagelondon.co.uk/post/24998604480/h-e-r-i-t-a-g-e-l-o-n-d-o-n-m-m-x-i-i

If you want to know what I think about a few of the t-shirts that they have on offer then please head here: http://theramblingsofamadman-afam.blogspot.com/2012/08/heritage-london-mmxxii-spam-is-good-for.html

Happy Days,

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