I’ve always been drawn to the the best. In any endeavor, be it sport, art or music, design, writing, you name it. I’m of the mindset that, if one decides to engage in any field, their primary goal should be to produce the best work they are capable of or refrain from engaging at all. This is illogical from an entrepreneurial perspective because it can hold up revenue and one could miss their place in the market and all the logical reasons that business studies show. I’m still not moved to the contrary. My passion is design. Fashion and design are the two areas that I am absolutely passionate about and confident in my natural ability. I wanted to go to Parsons for the prestige and the recognition, not because I thought my vision was any less excellent. I love the craft and don’t see any reason why I can’t be excellent at it if I had the right capital so I can work with the right manufacturers to bring my vision to life.
I was watching Dede Ayew literally weep off the field in the devastating loss Ghana endured in the African Cup of Nations final in Equatorial Guinea. As an avid patriot, one who has loved and been heartbroken so many times watching the Black Stars take one narrow loss after the other, I can certainly appreciate his pain. Those tears were a manifestation of the young man’s passion. He couldn’t help the weight of the sense of loss and failure. In 1992, Abedi Pele was the greatest soccer player in my eyes. He was a god to me as he was to many football fans from where I’m from. The ponytail, the nimble left foot with which he devastated opposing defenders, shredding them apart with a skill that is only describable as magical. That number ten on his back, the name Pele attached to his, he made me feel like as a Ghanaian, our ability to achieve was real and doable. So imagine how Dede feels. He probably took to the pitch on Sunday with the weight of that loss on his back ten fold. We had to right that wrong because to us Ghanaians, no way would we lose to the Ivorians if Abedi was in the ’92 finals. He had incurred a questionable yellow card in the Semi-Finals against Nigeria. A game in which he scored arguably one of the most skillful and perplexing goals in the history of the sport with that back head-flipper to secure Ghana a spot in the Finals. On that day, we lost because our superman was on the sidelines, reduced to a spectator. Then we lost. I wept so much, my granddad threatened to make me weed the compound if I didn’t stop my hysteria. He was not amused. I did the same tear-shedding when Maradona lost the 1990 World Cup to Germany , only this time my crying was audible and irritating. Everyone in the house looked at me as though I was weak and crazy. Why was I crying over a football loss? I can’t explain it. It is just how my passion is set up I guess.
The respect for excellence in craftsmanship is only validated when we are able to achieve at the highest level of performance. That is when we feel some sort of sanity and sense of accomplishment because our best work won. I draw inspiration from that. As much as I could easily be putting out average looking products on the market and feel happy to have some goods to sell, I refuse to. I have stalled so much that, often times. I start to think that I will never get my shot at showing the world the vision of design we harbor. It is draining. However, this is what I have resolved; If our products are not world-class and competitively just as good as any world-renowned brand and have a realistic chance to compete and best the premier brands of the world, then I’d rather not have any products at all. We want to introduce a brand that is of the highest quality, that gives value and emotional attachment to the consumer but most importantly a sense of pride to Ghanaians and Africans, that a product made by one of their own is just as good if not better than any other brand from the world of fashion that they patronize. The best or nothing.
This is the message: We have the ability and know-how. To be passionate about our crafts and excel at it is what I saw in the tears of Ayew yesterday. It inspired me to see someone care that much about what they do. I hope that same passion drives you in whatever field you are in as a Ghanaian. The passion to excel. Go Stars!