April Exude Confidence silk dress | $368
DUBAI — East meets West when Dubai-based womenswear designer Efua Mensah-Brown takes to Skype and virtually joins 12 other designers in the Phoenix Fashion Week boot camp program, where she will have a chance to win the title "Designer of the Year" and $10,000 in goods and services.
During the program, emerging designers will spend four months learning business basics and honing their fashion skills to help build their brand. Efua was selected from a nationwide search says Phoenix Fashion Week Executive Director Brian Hill. “Her collection is relevant, well made, and very marketable” he adds when explaining what sets her apart from many emerging designers.
Efua, pronounced Ef-wa, has been designing since she was five-years-old. Born in Ghana, Efua lived in the UK, South Africa, UAE and the US. She was inspired to become a designer after seeing her stylish aunt in a “beautiful red dress and shoes,” she explains. When most girls her age were playing with Barbies and Easy-Bake ovens, Efua was knitting, crocheting, and hand-sewing her own outfits.
Hope Flower hand-painted cotton scarf | $88
But, it wasn’t until 2011 after she graduated with an MBA from the University of Chicago that Efua’s love for fashion and childhood dream was put into fruition, leading her to create her first collection “Like the Desert Missed the Rain” under the label Proverbs by Efua, a contemporary line of dresses in dark and bright hues with color-blocked themes made from fine silks and cottons.