By Starria Coppins
Every fashion designer doesn’t start off having a passion for fashion, in fact, junior Rita Benissan started off with having a passion for art. Benissan said that she considers herself more of an artist rather than a fashion designer because she started off drawing and sketching.
“I wanted to become an art teacher, but now I want to design more because I love seeing people wearing my stuff. I decided to change my major to fashion design so I can transfer my work into a more fashion, but art based design,” Benissan said.
At Michigan State University, Benissan started making her mark last year when she asked to be apart of the African Student Union’s annual gala.
“At last years gala, I was able to show my first collection,” Benissan said. “It was really cool because it was a way for people at Michigan State to see what I’m trying to do.”Benissan’s brand is called RMB (her initials). She said that this brand name is just for her to start, but will be called the RMB Collection once she expands it.
Benissan said she would like to intern and network her way to starting her brand. She also said that she is inspired to go expand her brand out of the country, because more African designers are known outside of the United States.
Entering into an american fashion industry is more challenging, considering that Benissan is from Ghana.
“I try to find different ways to make the traditional way that we wear clothing into a modern way. I feel that a lot of people in America and even at school have one view of Africa,” Benissan said.Rita Benissan said that her motivation is to try and bring a new perspective of African culture and African fashion to the United States.
“I’m finding different ways to modernize our fashion so it won’t be as traditional as Ghanian designs,” Benissan said. “I want to add a modern twist.” Wanting to add a modern twist to her Ghanian culture, Benissan said that she wants her designs to be like her, but in a way that her generation would like. With being a fashion designer comes the hope to own your own store one day. Benissan said that her dream store would have an urban feeling, not like a department store or H&M, but more like a boutique.
“It would consist of different things, not just African fabrics, but things that are more urban and have a street style to it,” Benissan said. “Streetwear gives that modern edge that fashion needs.”
Benissan got influenced by streetwear because she said it can express a person individually and can be inspired by the person’s identity.
“I want to be able to be an inspiration to kids,” Benissan said. “I want to have the younger generation know that they can be creative within Fine Arts and still be successful. That’s why I live by ‘Be the inspiration that you want to see.’”