‘Fashion has allowed a girl to escape the career her parents had chosen for her’
26-year-old Noëlla Tapasu Koy, a fashion design graduate from Paris École de Condé, draws inspiration from her African heritage and European childhood. Noëlla promotes environmental and ethical work, aspiring for a future of sustainable fashion. You can contact Noëlla at firstname.lastname@example.org or via instagram at @notapasukoy. Check out Noëlla’s portfolio too.
What is the background of the work you submitted?
The work I submitted is from my first complete collection for a fashion contest during International Festival of African Fashion in Niger. It was an amazing moment! This collection is called ‘Les Sapeurs’ in reference to Congolese dandies fans of beautiful outfits, luxury brands and flashy looks. It focuses on proportions, lengths and androgynous silhouettes. I find it interesting to borrow parts of menswear and rearrange it in my style for the female wardrobe. The harem pants, asymmetrical shirts, resized hoodies and other garments were inspired by a boyish style.
What was your inspiration behind this particular idea?
I wanted to recreate this trend based on a Congolese generation that has influenced the world of fashion. A worked with a mixture of wax (an African textile) and other fabrics like cotton or jersey. I used colourful prints, crocodile derbies, big sunglasses, three-piece suits and boubou (unisex African dresses). I focused on the characteristic elements of this movement and added my personal touch.
What inspires you creatively?
I consider myself a bi-continental storyteller. I am an African woman living in France so I grew up between two cultures: an “Afropean” woman. I’m inspired by many stylistic movements, but also topics that range from trachoma (eye disease), egunguns (voodoos wizards) or even albinism in Africa.
Do any designers in particular inspire you?
For their creative humour, sense of detail and technique, I enormously appreciate the work of the designer Manish Arora and designer Walter Van Beirendonck. For their relation to colours, genius vision of fashion and personal careers, I love the talented Haitian/Italian designer Stella Jean or Ivorian/Brazilian designer Loza Maléombho. I particularly appreciate their work because of their bi-continental stories, similar to mine.
What is your favourite film of all time?
Difficult question! I love watching all kinds of films: marvels, romance, comedy, dance, kung fu, etc… However my favourite would be ‘Trouble With The Curve’ with the amazing Clint Eastwood. He plays the role of a grumpy old man; introverted but with a big heart. It is about a baseball talent scout whose life is turned upside down with gradual loss of sight. With his daughter, he takes one last trip in search of a promising talent, hoping to renew their father/daughter relationship. It is beautiful, especially the end.
What is your favourite music track or album right now?
Another difficult question! When I draw, I love listening to Pavarotti singing Nessun Dorma. It is a song from the opera ‘Turandot’ by Giacomo Puccini. But NOW I’m in love with ‘Sausage’ by Lil Mama. It has energy, vibrant colour, rap, good vibes and Jeremy Scott sneakers – perfect!
What is your favourite on-line Video?
‘La Ligne Balmain’ as it shows the remarkable work of 28-year-old Olivier Rousteing, who reinvents the fundamentals of the legendary fashion house Balmain. It is a very interesting documentary.
What is your favourite website for inspiration?
The online health guide ‘Green Queen’! It provides great advice about everything: healthy recipes, wellness trends, sustainable lifestyle tips, DIY ideas, tried and tested recipes, budgeted environmental tips, eco beauty secrets and much more.
What does Fashion mean to you?
“Fashion” is both a clear and complicated concept to me. I have been asked this question before and every time my response is different. Fashion is a way to express repressed feelings. Fashion is a playground; it has the power to turn bad taste into good taste, and vice versa!
Fashion has allowed a girl to escape the career her parents had chosen for her: medicinal studies. Ask me again in six months what fashion means to me and I know the answer will be different. My desire to create evolves depending on where I live. But in the end, fashion is my lifesaver…
What would be your ideal Fashion Project?
During the design process, I manage well with creativity and styling but I must still ask for advice. It’s really important and always good to have different points of view. I would like to collaborate with people within marketing, commerce and communication, with people who have confidence in my project to finance it. I want to understand the financial aspect of fashion and how to sell my clothes to potential investors and the press.
How do you imagine your future?
My brand ‘NORST’ is becoming a name alongside other emerging young designers! For my future, I want to be the head of my little empire that bears my signature: a brand that is fresh, sparkling and afropolitan. I want to travel across Africa and around the world to find the finest fabrics. I especially want to work ethically, creating jobs in the African continent.
Start in the world of fashion is quite difficult for a young designer, especially financially. That’s why I participate in fashion contests such as The EcoChic Design Award or E-Fashion Awards. I have been a finalist of ten and I won Talons Aiguilles. Do you know any organisations or groups that would be ready to finance my project, if my project is good? Could you help me build a file that I could present to investors?
Do you have any information on this? Why not tell us in the comment section below.
Noëlla Tapasu Koy is a finalist for Modeconnect’s #YourView15 fashion competition sponsored by Bloomsbury Publishing. The support of our sponsor extends to all our readers: until the end of July 2015 they can benefit from 20% off ALL Bloomsbury’s fashion and design books! Just use the code YOURVIEW2015 at the checkout on www.bloomsbury.com.
Voting open 11th – 19th July 2015.