Over the past year I have meet some amazing people via Facebook from Accra, Ghana. I developed an instant connection to the country and before I knew it, I was recording a voice-over for the Miss West Africa Ghana pageant and collecting books for the Mentor Orphans Foundation. Because of my new relationships occasionally I would see photos of their friends and eventually I saw an array of bright, bold and exotic designs by fashion designer Beatrice ‘Bee’ Arthur.
Bee Arthur is the visionary behind the label B’Exotiq and she’s on a mission to show the world the fashionable side of Ghana. Her unique designs resonate an eclectic feel with a blend of flamboyant prints and fabrics that make a statement just like her trademark platinum blond tresses. Having recently embarked on a solo career, B’EXOTIQ is poised to continue exploring her African heritage and to synergize it with her Russian roots. It is this ingenious blend of African and European cultures, this expression of love and respect for symbolism and craftsmanship from different parts of the world, this collage of textures and colors that continues to makes Bee’s style particularly distinct.
Beatrice Bee Arthur is the CEO and Fashion Designer of B’Exotiq Fashion and the
Savvy Sistah of the Week!
What inspired you to become a fashion designer and where does your inspiration come from?
Whiles studying Spanish Literature and Sociology at the University of Ghana, I decided to toy with fashion because I yearned for funky and stylish clothes that had a little Ethnic touch to them. Most locally made clothes were very traditional. I wanted something modern and with Afro-cosmopolitan glamour, and since it wasn’t available on the market @ the time, I started customizing my western clothes to give them that slightly “exotic” feel. I painted Adinkra symbols and Cyrillic letters ( am half Russian) on them, added beads and embroidery.
Soon, I realized there was a niche carve out for myself in the Ghanaian fashion industry. After university in 1999 and a year with Ghana Tourist Board, I plunged into fashion professionally. One year later, I won the KORA Fashion Award for my fresh and innovative approach to African Fashion.
What has been the biggest challenge you have faced so far as a business woman?
The biggest challenge was to get skilled and disciplined workers, and also to get Africans to understand that they must be ready to pay good money for quality, just as they easily pay for foreign brands.
Where do you see your brand in 5 years?
In 5 years, I see my clothes on ladies in New York, Paris, London. Italians only wear what they make, so I doubt I will see my clothes in Milan. But then again, one never knows!! )
What advice would you offer to a Savvy Sistah who had a desire to become a fashion designer?
It looks glamorous, but its a lot of hard work coupled with creativity. You need to tell your own story in a distinct way. You will be competing with many other designers, just like in any other field. Hence you must bee on top of your game .
Give me 3 words that describe Bee Arthur…
Friendly. Futuristic/Fierce. Funky.
Beatrice ‘Bee’ Arthur is on a mission to bring her African influenced designs to the masses and that’s why she’s the Savvy Sistah of the Week!
“Its good to BEE funky!”