Easy Conversation: Emeka Alams [GCTC]

For  Emeka Alams,  Africa is more than just a fad. With his clothing line Gold Coast Trading Co, the young Seattle-based designer takes us from the shore of West Africa in 1444 to today's urban landscape. The result a vibrant, colorful and powerful line of tees+short+pants+accessories that has already gotten the T+S seal of approval. We had a chat with him and it went a little something like this...

Tell us a little about yourself, who is Emeka Alams?
Emeka is me. I was born in the Midwest but in my head grew in West Africa. I'm a fair person who tries his best.  Sometimes I'm way too driven and sometimes I love way too much.

How did Gold Coast Trading Co come about & what's the inspiration behind the brand?
It was really my attempt to show Africa in the light that it deserves. Africa is powerful! The whole diaspora is amazing and I feel like, as  an African who has lived there and who's seen what I've seen the other side really I have the responsibility to stand up and counter what western media is trying to fools us with. So, with Gold Coast as my medium, I'm striving to create strong images that show the other side of my home. I want to introduce that reality to the main stream.

Growing up what did you want to be or do?
I wanted to be a chef (still kinda do) or an architect. I think at some point I'll go to cooking school and refine my skills in the kitchen but first things first I've got to make GCTC into the giant that it is. For me the two disciplines are  related anyways. The  feeling of making a good meal and having others enjoy, it's all art to me.

Tell us a bit about your creative process?
I reference to our history and traditional clothing; but music is huge for me! While working on the new collection I listened to artists such as Les Gargistes, Magic System, Blk Jks and Theophilus London. I tend to create the print or pattern first and then work the other imagery or graphics from that and then from there work on the works alright i think.

What's your philosophy?

Work hard and it will pay off. Be a good person and it will pay off but through it all remember what's important and realize that  in life, a lot is temporary so act accordingly.
There is new and hip scene of young emerging Afro designers - and  artists of all crafts that are becoming more and more popular. How do you feel about that

I think it's a great thing! When I stated a few years back Africa wasn't as cool as it is now. So I'm glad everyone is starting to catch up! However, it's also kinda touchy because I just want the African culture to be taken out of its box and really push forward and explored. I'd like to see it taken beyond the Panafrican colors and the babies on tees, the cliche, stuff you know?..  So if we, as young African designer continue to push beyond that  I think the creative future will continue to be amazing!

Who are some of the designers that inspire you?
Va$htie, ROCKERS & GOD'S PREY! They are so good, they kill me! I love Cassette Playa! Alexander McQueen was amazing you can't touch him! Jeremy Scott is dope and really inventive which is why I love him - and hope to show him my work as well soon.

Where do you see the brand in 5 years?
Hopefully all around Africa and worldwide. I just want to support and share with all those who have supported and shared with me. I want the brand to give back to it's muse: Africa. That's my hope, let's make it happen!

What's playing on your Ipod these days?

Nas & Damian Marley
Theophilus London
The Blood brothers
Rocky Votolato

For more on Emeka and GCTC check out the:
online shop 

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