George Tetteh founded the Ghanian menswear brand Atto Tetteh in 2014 to showcase the warmth and elegance of the African man, making blends of burnished color and subtle, yet striking designs, its signature.
The brand is now taking the same carefully selected fabrics and immense attention to detail and applying them to androgynous wear. Androgynous wear defies stale categorizations of masculine and feminine, and instead, combines features of both to achieve a look that’s neither label.
Pieces like the Organza Print Shirt, with gauzy sheer material accented by a scarf-like tie in dark blues and reds, and the matching Tartan Print Pant stand out as embodying this mix. Additionally, the Checkered Tartan Jacket or the Silk Four Stripes Top — which are closer to traditional menswear — could easily suit a more feminine form.
Androgyny isn’t the only draw for the Atto Tetteh collection. The brand incorporates Ghanaian heritage into many designs working with traditional materials such as Fugu, a cotton material used in traditional hand-woven tunics, and Kente, a textile hand-woven from cotton and silk strips.
The excellent craftsmanship of these materials elevates the quality of each design so that each piece is durable, comfortable, and well-fitted.
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Ahead, you'll find George's conversation with The Folklore about the direction of the brand, his fashion history, and working with none other than Beyoncé.
The Folklore: Why did you shift your focus from menswear to include womenswear?
George: Atto Tetteh started as a menswear brand and over the years, we've constantly been pushing the barriers of what a typical menswear brand can and should be.
It's no secret that globally, women are the the largest consumers of fashion, so we decided to embrace the challenge of entering into that market. Therefore, we started with producing androgynous pieces for our clients and things picked up from there.
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The Folklore: What's your favorite material to work with and why?
George: Fugu and Kente are the brand’s favorite when it comes to fabrics to work with because they're handmade and the display of craftsmanship for each is incredible. These indigenous fabrics have intense colors and are a part of the Ghanaian heritage
The Folklore: Can you share with us what your early beginnings were like, have you always wanted to be a designer?
George: I've always been a creative, but I settled on fashion right after I graduated from the University of Ghana with a Bachelors Degree in Business Administration.
I went into a business of passion, something that allowed me to express my artistic self and that happened to be fashion. Then, I pursued an education in fashion to refine myself.
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The Folklore: How exactly does your Ghanaian heritage influence your designs?
George: My heritage as an African and a Ghanaian continuously plays a pivotal role in my designs. I incorporate traditional Ghanaian dressmaking techniques in producing modern pieces. Atto Tetteh is a storytelling brand and telling the African story is at the brand's core.
The Folklore: You teamed up with Vlisco to create garments, did you learn any new techniques through the collaboration?
George: Working with Vlisco was a very exciting moment for the brand. They had clear-cut structures and even after giving us the scope of the whole project, they gave us room to enable us to express ourselves and create effortlessly. The experience taught me that although art is fluid, it needs organization.
The Folklore: How did it feel to get validation from Beyoncé, and if you could design a complete look for her, what would it be and why?
George: Having The Queen Bee validate our brand was an epic moment for us and if the opportunity ever presents itself, I will dress her in an oversized velvet train trench coat and a sequenced Kente play suit.
The velvet because she's black royalty and the Kente playsuit because she’s a very mobile person and the indigenous fabric is in itself an intricate work of art just like her.
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The Folklore: The future will be here before you know it, what can customers expect from you next?
George: The future all though uncertain holds a lot for the Atto Tetteh brand. We hope to continue telling the African story our way and to break into new markets and territories.
Feature Photo, Courtesy of @attotetteh
Words By Sarah Ann Stager (Additional Reporting By Eman Alami)