Reverse Ghana is one of the promising clothing lines in Ghana. It’s refreshing to see these amazing ideas and style originate from a couple of Students in KNUST. Unfortunately, these students would like to keep their identities private (no photos of them). But, here is a quite lengthy interview with these Kuulpeeps. Get some juice, relax and enjoy the conversation.
Ernest Coleman: Hello Ready?
Idahossa: Wuzz Gucci?
Kuulpeeps: Lol just chilling you know. You good?
Idahossa: LOL, I’m glad you are.
Kuulpeeps: Okay, so Imma start.
Ernest, we’d like to know who started Reverse.
Ernest Coleman: Thank you. I started Reverse with another partner of mine, Emmanuel Essel Cobbinah.
Kuulpeeps: You two were the only brains behind Reverse?
Ernest Coleman: Yes, we were.
Kuulpeeps: How long has this establishment been in existence?
Ernest Coleman: 3 years now. Dating back to December 16, 2014.
Kuulpeeps: That’s precise. Have you debuted your first collection?
Ernest Coleman: Yes, we have. Rather humbly with printed T-shirts and sweatshirts.
Kuulpeeps: How many collections have been released so far?
Ernest Coleman: 4 collections so far.
Kuulpeeps: Could you talk about them briefly?
Ernest Coleman: As said earlier in this interview, we started like any other start-up. Challenges with finances made us settle for just a few products under the “Sankofa” collection. As starters, we were able to produce baseball caps, sweatshirts, seamless running tops, T-shirts and a handful of African printed shirts. Even with these limitations, Reverse was able to send a message to its stakeholders that it could blend the African and western cultures through fashion. I was amazed at the turn of events as we sold each of our 50 products in less than 5 days.
After the Sankofa collection, there came the ”KW” collection which was even better. For the first time, Reverse was able to manufacture its own bracelets here in Ghana. We produced 100 beads and sold them to our customers at relatively cheaper prices.
Reverse re-branded on November 2016 when Idahossa hit my DM one Sunday on Instagram. After a productive conversation, Idahossa agreed to join reverse as the Art/Creative Director. He was the reason why our DS “capsule” collection caught people’s eyes on social media.
The “DS” Collection had 30 shirts in all with 15 male “squared neck” tees and the remaining, turtleneck tees for females. Now my personal favourite!
The DS Sophomore collection is the 4th and latest collection. After months of careful drafting and designing, I can boldly tell you that this collection is the best any Ghanaian fashion brand could come up with.
“The Sophomore” features the “Titan” camouflage crop jacket and the “Titan” camouflage shirt. Due to constraints with production, we could only ship the cotton fabrics into the country for our production team to work on, but I must say, after the blood, sweat and tears, the sophomore collection is delightful.
Idahossa: booyaka booyaka 💥💥💥💥
Kuulpeeps: 👏🏾👏🏾 What does “DS” mean?
Idahossa: Lemme just jump in and out quickly, “DRY SEASON”.
Kuulpeeps: What inspired the name?
Ernest Coleman: DS?
Idahossa: Collections are usually tagged with the season they were released in. Stereotypically, Ghanaian clothing brands had AW (autumn-winter) and SS (summer spring) as their season tags, which is quite absurd if you ask me since we don’t experience their 4 seasonal changes here in Ghana. So we stuck to our own 2 seasons; Dry & Rainy Season. Since the late November to January is one way or the other the dry season, we came up with that tag for this collection.
Kuulpeeps: And what inspired the name Reverse?
Ernest Coleman: The dictionary meaning of reverse is: opposite or contrary to a previous or normal condition. Reverse as the name of our brand simply means we are different thus whatever we do is different from the normal. When you buy a product from us, you’ll understand it. Our clothes are always different from what you see on the market. Another reason why we chose Reverse is a situation we embarrassingly continue to find ourselves in. Idahossa will talk more on that.
Idahossa: Alright, I’ll be brief. We feel our present has been tainted, our culture is being feasted upon. The youth are “ashamed” of their culture. We’re not saying it’s a sin to embrace the western way of doing things, but it’s supposed to be an additive, not a replacement.
We believe the actual way forward is the way backwards, to take back our history. We’d have to strive to go back to what was. How they appreciated their language, their dance, their people. People think it doesn’t affect us now, but it really does. We’ve lost so much, just like our names. That means we’ve lost our identity. We give our children foreign names and they give their children foreign names. Through our names alone, our identities are being slowly taken away. We are trying to preach all these subtle effects to our audience, let them know that we are faced with a really big mental problem.
Kuulpeeps: Alrighty. Earlier you mentioned that you started Reverse with someone. Do you still run this together, or it has turned into a one-man thing?
Ernest Coleman: Essel remains the co-founder and head of productions. I’m the CEO/ General Manager. Essel is still with Reverse.
Kuulpeeps: That’s nice. What motivated the two of you to start Reverse?
Ernest Coleman: We started with the intention of creating a luxurious fashion brand here in Ghana. Personally, Amancio Ortega (founder of Zara) motivated me to start a business of my own. I don’t subscribe to the “study hard and get a good job” mentality. We felt starting our own business was the way forward, and it is indeed the way forward.
Kuulpeeps: So is it safe to say that your motive for creating reverse was to make a Ghanaian based luxury brand?
Ernest Coleman: Yes
Kuulpeeps: And you look up to the founder of Zara. Any other designers you look up to?
Ernest Coleman: That is me personally. Not Reverse as a brand. Reverse is a limited liability company, so the owner’s inspiration isn’t necessarily same as that of the brand. Reverse only looks up to its Art /Creative Director.
Kuulpeeps: And that’s Idahossa.
Ernest Coleman: For designs, we look up to the creative team. Since Idahossa is the head of the Creative team, yes.
Kuulpeeps: Okay. Does the clothing line affect your academics in any way?
Ernest Coleman: Honestly, it does.
Kuulpeeps: How difficult is it to juggle the two?
Ernest Coleman: I just try as much as possible to apply what I learn in class to my business. You know I’m a Business Student
Kuulpeeps: And Essel? What programme is he studying?
Ernest Coleman: Communication design
Kuulpeeps: Do you plan on expanding the business? Maybe doing a magazine?
Ernest Coleman: 😹 for now I won’t answer that but I can guarantee Reverse will not stop here.
We’ll surprise everyone with what we’ll be doing in subsequent months/years.
Ernest Coleman: You see😌
Kuulpeeps: What do you look for when you are choosing models for your collections?
Ernest Coleman: If you don’t suit Idahossa’s requirement then I’m sorry. Idahossa would have to come in on this.
Idahossa: Lol oh it’s awkward if you say it like that. Depends on what the collection is about. If we have a subject we want to address through our clothes, we look for the models who preach on these subjects. For instance, if the subject of our next collection is about riches, people who are known for their affluence are considered. In terms of appearance, let’s say this campaign, for instance, was about basically being a go-getter. So we chose people who have threatening looks, wild people, wild in a positive sense by the way. One thing all our models have in common is that they’re usually well branded, physically and on social media. We fear recruiting anything less than well-respected models would taint our brand. Fittings are considered too, an image of how good the clothes would look on a model also influences the recruitment.
Kuulpeeps: Alrighty😊. We’re done with this interview basically, but we’d like to get pictures of all 6 designs, and pictures of the people in Reverse.
Ernest Coleman: We want to keep the people behind Reverse coded but we can send you pictures of our design
Kuulpeeps: This is so lovely. We hope you go International with these brilliant ideas.
Ernest Coleman: Amen to that.
Kuulpeeps: Thank you guys very much for your time.
Ernest Coleman: Thanks