ROCHESTER, NY – A local fashion designer uses traditional Ghanaian clothing to offer not only style but designs for a purpose. She makes a global impression, one outfit at a time.
Nita Brown has always had a passion for fashion.
“It’s called Seiwa,” said Brown, owner of MansaWear. “All my stuff has pockets and it’s easy to carry and it’s different. And because you can dress it up and down.”
Growing up surrounded by Ghanaian fabrics, she has transformed her mother’s traditional pieces into timeless outfits.
“I really learned what colored fabrics were from my mom,” Brown said. “She always had seamstresses, cloth makers in her house, around the house to help her.”
With the opening of MansaWear, she wanted to create a clothing line that would offer the versatility of classic African and Ghanaian prints combined with modern fabrics.
“So everyone gets to know what Ghana has to offer, right?” Brown said. “So it’s not just what we usually hear about Ghana and Africa, there are different aspects to it. You know, beautiful clothes, beautiful people are like everywhere.”
Dedicated not only to its buyers, but also to giving back to their supporters in the US and Ghana.
“I’ve already received so much, so I want to give something back,” Brown said. “Also, it’s a way of educating people, letting them know about Ghana, West Africa and the continent in general.”
She donates the proceeds to an orphanage in Kenya and also makes local contributions.
“It just feels good to give back to charities in Kenya,” Brown said. “To look after the orphanage and many young women here too.”
She recently partnered with the Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center to develop custom chemocaps.
“If you’re leaving Roswell after chemo, you can pick up a muscle cap,” Brown said. “This style, it’s called Darcy, makes people who already had hair feel like they still have hair because they’re used to it when you do chemo and lose your hair, right?
Happy to receive support for her lineage, she makes sure to give back to both communities.
“Because you know what? They’re succeeding,” Brown said. “And I was successful. Right? It only works if they succeed, then I can too.”
Hoping consumers will continue to support local businesses.
“I really believe that if we don’t support who we are because we live here. So if you don’t stay here and support it, why should anyone else on the outside?” she asked. “I want a Mansawear outfit in every closet. Make it part of your closet. You know, get people to see what it’s like in Ghana.”