Nyonyo & Yayra
Nyonyo & Yayra- which means ‘Goodness & Blessing’- is a label from Central St Martin’s graduate Pamela Atekpe. The brand embraces Pamela’s Ghanaian cultural heritage and western lifestyle, to combine elements of both cultures into an inspirational womenswear collection. Pamela works closely with weavers in Africa to create wonderful and unique cloth in noble fibres for her collection. These are combined with carefully selected European ‘end of line’ textiles. All the production is UK based.
Nyonyo & Yayra borrows from traditional men’s tailoring techniques, and then layers on top decorative and functional detailing you might expect from couture houses. Pamela uses applications that appear modern yet are of traditional African ilk. Printed wax fabrics contrast with soft draping in natural weaves and luxurious textiles. Strong lines juxtaposed with traditional treatments, create a look that has been described as a classic, modern silhouette.
Fabrics used include milk, organic cotton and bamboo jersey. Pamela is also keen to preserve the production of fabrics such as silk pique and waxed ‘Funeral cloth’- as referred to in Ghana- by finding new ways of using them.
The label was shown on the CSF Stand at London Fashion Week in February 2010. This resulted in a mention from Liz Jones in the Daily Mail. The label has since collaborated with Izzy Lane founder Isobel Davies to produce a Nyonyo & Yayra coat using surplus Izzy Lane fabric.
The Autumn/Winter 2011 ‘What lurks within… (Infinity possibility)’ develops playful and functional details from past collections, with timeless style and versatile layering.
Dark/black waxed fabric appears with 100% wool ‘nun’s veiling’ Challis or an organic cotton/cashmere/milk mix for added warmth.
“In direct response to the CSF Programme the label introduced the use of milk jersey. Another effect of the course has been to consider fabric dyeing and printing processes.
The last effect has been to create an accessories sub-label: Nyonyo & Yayra Openɔlose to highlight the distinctive nature and variety of the Ewe (‘Ev-ay’) Kente. Kente is a unique handmade fabric, produced in Ghana. Narrow woven strips are pieced together to form a full-sized cloth. It was traditionally produced from silk/cotton threads and worn on special occasions or to signify royalty. Each intricate design has its own meaning and is often passed down from generation to generation. The commonly seen version is multi-coloured designs, mainly attributed to the Asante.
Through this label we wish to protect the craft of hand weavers in Ghana in general but more specifically that of people in the Volta Region – mainly the Ewes. Using traditional weaving techniques, we use materials such as cash-silk and cashmere to create scarves and jumpers that are totally contemporary, deceptively simple, yet sophisticated and delightful to wear. Openɔlose is to be treasured and passed down.”
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