What better time to launch the new Day Jobs and the Nightlife than at during Montreal Fashion Week! The glitz, glamour, late night parties, hot locales and all around good times are a big part of what we will be bringing to you!
Fashion design is the ultimate dream day job and it leads into quite the nightlife but, as I learned from Tennachie Yankey, one of the most focused people I’ve ever met in the industry; design also a lot hard work but in the end, definitely worth it.
I met with Tennachie (she insists on being called Naana) during one of the hottest days of the year and while I was close to evaporation, Nana was the epitome of cool. She exuded the calmness of a seasoned professional who isn’t concerned with the stress of a new show, but is enjoying every little moment of the process. Her radiant smile is infectious and she is dressed casually in a cool, white flowing top and simple but elegant black denim jeans. She sips her cold iced tea as we settle in for our interview.
Coccolily was founded back in 2009, have you always been interested in fashion as a career?
I’ve been in love with fashion since I was 8 years old. Growing up in Ghana, I lived to play dress up. For me, it’s been all about fashion from the beginning.
You are originally from Ghana; how did you end up in Montreal?
I grew up in Ghana and then was sent to school in the UK before moving on to the US for university where I began studying biomedical engineering. I might have loved playing dress up, but my family had other dreams for me. My brother is a doctor and I think my family wanted me to follow suit.
There’s a pretty big gap between fashion and medicine, besides the stitching.
I switched from biomedical engineering to business management where I ended up interning at Marc Jacobs; it was an easy segue into fashion after that. From there I came to Montreal and studied at the academy of arts and design. Fashion is what I was born to do.
You launched Coccolily as a Montreal based label, what inspires your creative process?
Well, each collection had an identity and each identity an inspiration. I’ve been inspired by the 60s, by Marie Antoinette, and my last collection was an interesting meeting of vintage vs. metallic. It takes about 6 months to develop a collection all the way from concept to design to fabrication so there’s natural ebb and flow to the creative process as well as the inspiration.
They say you’re only as good as your last show. As a designer, you must feel pressure to create your very own next big thing?
There is pressure but you have to be bigger than the pressure. If I’m designing it’s because I’m inspired to do so, not because there’s pressure to remain in the spotlight or compete with others or what I’ve done in the past.
I know you have a few big things coming up with Coccolily. Would you like to spill a few details?
I can tell you that the new collection will be called Night and Day and it’s an infusion of British prep meets Moda Italia with a slight African flair. We are preparing a shooting schedule in a few weeks and I’m very excited about being back in the ring. I’m doing Vancouver fashion week this year and I have a big show coming up this October when I return to Ghana for their first ever fashion week. It’s going to be huge. Vogue Italy and Porsche are both sponsors for the show and it can be streamed worldwide on Vogue Italia.com
What do you think of Montreal’s fashion scene?
In Montreal, style is very individual and eclectic and it differs from one neighborhood to the next. The plateau is bohemian and laid back while downtown very fashion forward. Montreal is very cosmopolitan and people from all over the world come here and bring their own sense of style. That just makes this city even more fabulous. It also helps that Montrealers have the attitude to pull any look off. You don’t see that everywhere.
How do you fit into all of this?
I love having my label based here but I do think that it’s important to think globally. Canada has a lot of talent already making waves in the UK and Europe and I want to be part of that.
If you’re showing in Vancouver and Ghana, I’d say you’re already part of the global scene!
I am and it’s pretty exciting!!
One last question, being a fashion designer is a pretty cool day job. Tell me about your nightlife?
When I’m not designing, I’m big into going out with friends for dinner when I can. I do love to cook but if we are out, it’s usually out late at restaurants in Old Montreal or the Plateau. I love Gibby’s and mBurger. It’s not a nightlife type of place, but Tomato on St. Denis great for lunch.