Desree Akorahson: The new designer to watch out for
If you haven’t heard of ASOS’s Fashion Discovery competition, where have you been? 10 new designers have shaken up the fashion industry with their eclectic collections and inspiring pieces. From thousands of entrants, ASOS have whittled down the very best to compete against each other for a coveted £50, 000 prize, a two-season stockist deal with ASOS, and one-on-one mentoring from their industry experts on everything from supply chain questions to how to price their products.
Whilst some of these designers already have huge support from celebs and designers, I was blown away by newbie designer, Desree Akorahson’s colourful collection, full of bold and fun designs which draw inspiration from the 60s. I sat down with the adorably humble designer to ask her how she feels about being shortlisted.
Hi Desree, it’s great to be speaking to you. Congratulations on making the top 10 for ASOS’s Fashion Discovery. Tell us a little bit about yourself!
Hi! My name is Desree Akorahson, and I’m from Enfield, London. I currently work in retail but I am hoping to build my brand and get my designs out there.
How did you get into fashion?
I really didn’t mean to get into fashion. I always loved it, but I didn’t think I would be good at design. My art teacher at the time persuaded me to apply for fashion at universities. I was really scared, I guess it was a confidence thing because fashion is so intimidating. From before I can remember, my grandma always taught me a few tricks about sewing and I just loved it making clothes.
I went to the university for creative arts Rochester. But it wasn’t until my third year I really found out that I wanted to be a designer and that’s when I made my collection.
What is the fashion world like?
The fashion world is VERY intimidating. You have to have a thick skin and be ready for rejection (which I have received a lot of), but I love fashion and I love creating and nothing will make me stop.
What inspired you to create your colourful collection?
My collection was based on the extinction of flowers and plants. I wanted to celebrate them in their beauty. I was inspired by 60s fashion and I used the shapes of flowers to get the shape of some of the pieces. I hand-made all of the pieces and I had drawn all the prints with fine liners and pencils. Believe it or not, all the colours weren’t planned! I just played around on Photoshop and picked what I liked instinctively. For some reason pink is my go to colour.
What do the clothes you make represent?
I wanted my clothes to represent colour and expression, and being yourself and realising your inner crazy (because the amount of colour in this collection is crazy!). My collection is fun and light hearted and I want people to enjoy wearing it .
What does fashion mean to you?
Fashion means everything! It was something I could escape to. Through fashion, you can be who you want to be, and it expresses who you are without using words. I hope one day my clothes get to do that for people.
How did it feel to make the top 10 for ASOS’s Fashion Discovery Competition?
I honestly felt shocked! My friend kept bothering me about this competition and I kept telling myself there was no no way I would even be considered. The last time she sent me the link I applied. I got into the top 50 and I spoke to some of the representatives and asked them how I could apply next year because I really thought I wouldn’t make it that far.
I’m really proud to have made it this far this time and I can’t thank ASOS enough for believing in me especially when I didn’t believe in myself. Winning this competition would really change my life and allow me to set up my business.
Which designers influence you?
Delpozo is my favourite designer. I love their use of colour and I’m blown away every time they bring out something new. Oscar de la Renta is also one. I’m always blown away at Zendaya, and her stylist Law Roach’s style choices.
What are your next steps?
The next step is to make another collection. I’m extremely new to this and learning every step of the way but I want to have my own business, so I can share my designs and the craziness that goes on in my head!
Written By Mireille Harper