For a gentleman, a few accessories are used to judge the kind of person one is: Your shoe and definitely your tie or lack of one.
In the western culture and our own borrowed official culture, wearing ties are kind of a big deal. You wear it to important functions, especially when you want to be taken seriously.
However, there has been a new wave of consciousness that has been sweeping the African continent with young people finding ways to infuse African culture with the western culture.
That has become what we now know as contemporary fashion, where Africa meets the West to create the most beautiful fashion pieces ever.
This new sense of contemporary fashion has even won over an unexpected disciple – the British High Commissioner to Ghana, Iain Walker.
Iain Walker, as a High Commissioner, keeps up the official appearances of wearing his suit and tie, however, he goes rogue with one of his accessories.
For some time now, we have been spotting him wearing African print ties at very high profile functions. It doesn’t matter whether he’s meeting regular people, government officials from Ghana or Togo as the British High Commissioner, or when he’s welcoming royalty into his official Ghanaian residence…he always has his tie!
Remember when the Prince of Wales, Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall were visiting Ghana, Iain Walker made sure to rock his African print ties.
— Utama africa Ltd (@utamaafrica) November 8, 2018
Today I visited the brilliant school girls @africangifted. Inspiring to see them aim not for “good” but “excellent”.
— Iain Walker 🇬🇧🇬🇭🇹🇬🇧🇯🇧🇫🚲 (@walkeriain) May 22, 2019
He was in Togo to present his letters of credence to the President since he’s also an ambassador to Togo too.
J’etais heureux de présenter les lettres des créance @FEGnassingbe aujourd’hui.
Notre engagement est amical avec opportunité real. Je souhaite renforcer cette relations, particulièrement dans les domaines diplomatie economique; securité régionale; soutien au secteur social. pic.twitter.com/jjQz0AyMIy
— Iain Walker 🇬🇧🇬🇭🇹🇬🇧🇯🇧🇫🚲 (@walkeriain) May 14, 2019
It’s just very difficult to spot Iain Walker in a suit and tie when the tie isn’t an African print.
But here’s the best part… These beautiful ties are made by Utama Africa Limited, a leading handmade menswear accessories brand, owned by Patrick Adjei Nketia.
After @pizii1 finished these ties, he asked team members , which one of these would @walkeriain love to wear? And is he loving the ones he is wearing? #ties #africanprint #madeinghana pic.twitter.com/hkhgP33YTp
— Utama africa Ltd (@utamaafrica) February 8, 2019
Patrick, 30, is the author of ‘How To Start A Fashion Business With No Money’ and the CEO of @utamaafrica. He launched the book in celebration of his 30th birthday.
Recounting how he got to be the go-to tie guy for the British High Commissioner to Kuulpeeps.com in an interview, Patrick said he got that gig through a friend, Joseph, who worked with the Ghana Fashion Marketing, an innovative platform for commerce, trading, marketing, advertising, promoting and exhibiting current leaders, emerging talents, diversity and creativity in Ghana’s fashion industry.
Joseph had reached out to Patrick to inform him that they had a new client who needed ties. They delivered two ties that very day and since then Iain Walker has been hooked to the Utama ties.
Patrick said he’s been running Utama Africa for 5 years now and he sees a much brighter future ahead.
“Where we’re now, it’s about keeping at it and sustaining the business,” he said.
It’s Patrick’s dream to promote the priceless African culture to the world and he doesn’t shy away from doing that through a little bit of rebellion.
“We create lifestyles, we create fantasies that people dream about and will like to aspire to,” Patrick told Talent Masters in an interview.
Patrick currently employs two people and opens his company to students of Pentecost University who regularly visit his office to learn.
The Opoku Ware alumnus, read Education Management at the University of Cape Coast and he’s been taking a number of Entrepreneurship short courses since he graduated.
Good job, Patrick. All the best!