Sinke Keita creator of mode and virtual entrepreneur
Flashmag: Hello Sinke Keita Flashmag and its readership are happy to have you as a guest of the trends page, the time of this interview the gallery is yours so tell us what's your background? How did you manage to get to fashion?
Sinke Keita: I am 31 years old and mother of a girl, I’ve made specialized studies in education at the University Lumieres of Lyon in France, it’s been 3 years that I’m into fashion. I got in with impromptu manner. Even if younger I was already driven by fashion, it’s after losing my job, that I decided to use my time another way, what was a hobby became a job ... I started to customize my own shoes, it has been so much appreciated by my entourage that they encouraged me to take initiatives to make my work known and possibly market it… I started by posting pictures of my creations on social networks and this was a hit with the public, and a few months later I decided to open an online store on a web site selling artistic creation.
Flashmag: You do more a kind of ethnic fashion a term I use not in pejorative meaning, but as a word that represents what you do why did you choose this typically African credo?
Sinke Keita: because, in fact I love the African fabrics I have a great passion for all these perennial color and in addition there are more choices in African fabrics, than in plain fabrics, because the great diversity of colors gives us more options in creating I also wanted to showcase the African fabric that unfortunately some still give a pejorative value. Because the scope of using them, in my creation was a way to honor them.
Flashmag: Having studied in a completely different area how the fashion community looks at you? if someone say that you are not qualified enough for what you do, what would you say?
Sinke Keita: Ah you know, if we were to worry every time about what people say, we will never advance as we want, talent does not need to graduate so to speak, I like what I do, and from the time that many peoples show me that they appreciate what I do the rest does not matter.
Flashmag: You are part of African entrepreneur of the Internet generation in your opinion, what can bring Internet to the African?
Sinke Keita: I think it is a tool to open up to the world, it is important in communication between peoples, I remember a few months ago I did an interview with the magazine Amina, thousands of persons across Africa have read this interview and were able to tell me what they thought of my initiative through internet.
Flashmag: If access to the internet for the western Black Diaspora is comfortable there are still some difficulties for Africans in the continent to access it about what has to be done to popularize this tools in the continent?
Sinke Keita: In fact, I do not think the Internet is so out of reach for Africans, this may be true for those living in the countryside, but in big cities it’s a tool well popularized even if at a certain point when it comes to broadband it’s not always easy, but however it is up to us Africans to create our own networks because we know what are our needs better than Westerners.
Flashmag: You stated earlier that African must invest in technology. Have you thought about joining other African market initiatives on the Internet as the auction site Tosala which I received the promoter a few years ago? What are your relationships with other members of the diaspora who based their work on the internet, we cannot stress enough that Africans evolve too much in dispersed rank?
Sinke Keita: Yes, but I think for now I only frequents small creators like me we help each other trying to participate in the development of the African economy I know there are many Africans sites where you can sell fashion accessories; but the time will come when maybe, I will start to multiply the platforms, where you can find my creations.
Flashmag: Since 2013 you decided to embark on this activity were you not afraid to embark on the unknown what were your motivations?
Sinke Keita: It's true that at first we were afraid the question of whether we will really succeed especially when you are mom you wonder if you will be able to make ends meet but finally when motivation and ambition kick in you end up getting in the venture … as we always say even if it doesn’t work at least you had the merit of trying ... it's not always easy when difficulties arise I try always to fight to stay positive, and I try to take adequate measures to carry my small business.
Flashmag: Do you also have a physical store?
Sinke Keita: I have only a virtual store for now. I hope it will be done later, but you must understand that online store gives me enormous advantages the expensive cost of a physical shop and all the paperwork that goes with would have been heavy to endure for a young company like mine. My collections are in limited supply; I have not yet reached the large-scale industrial production.
Flashmag: When developing your creation do you have any subcontractor who provide materials, how this happens I hope I do not go into your clothing company secrets?
Sinke Keita: No not at all in fact I have suppliers here. I supply myself in African stores like this sister who every time with has new fabrics, I also buy on the internet, I have a large range of suppliers I am very careful in my choice of fabric, in fact I do more footwear customization but the bags are built in my factory from top to bottom.
Flashmag: What are your future prospects three years later?
Sinke Keita: Well I hope my brand will be known worldwide I do not run dry of ideas when I see major brands like Adidas or Nike, I tell myself me too one day, why not. I’m looking for financing options to invest in the domain and launch my brand.
Flashmag: Speaking of your trend and the need of Africanism in African fashion, African people have the tendency to be dressed by designers from other continents do you think you will contribute to reformat consumers of global black diaspora to consume African products?
Sinke Keita: Laughing …I do not pretend to reformat the black diaspora I think we should deal with what is done today. One must follow the current trend to sell, it is also that, the realities of the market but at the same time, we should not forget that we must try to add our cultural identity in our creation, my work honestly do not focus only on the market of the black diaspora I create fashion accessories for everyone.
Flashmag: Don’t you think it's time for African fashion designers to also create trends that are followed by the global populace?
Sinke Keita: Yes, I understand that, it may come, but do not forget that fashion is still fashion and it is often difficult to get out of the trends of an era. it's nice to make new creations but you still have to remain in the trend of the time to sell.
Flashmag: it’s good to make art, but it is also particularly important to sale If I understand. According to you the world market is not yet ready to consume trends coming from Africa?
Sinke Keita: Ah, I would say yes, everything that relates to African fashion is still a bit pejorative but we hope things will change we are working on that… with time African fashion is gaining recognition and I think we are on the track who would have thought that some American stars would wear typically African clothing? I am a positive person I am confident that the African Fashion will invade the planet one day. I do not despair and it is up to our African fashion designers to help that day to come. I do not have the pretension to say that I could do it alone, many of us are doing interesting things
Flashmag: In closing this interview do you have a particular word to the public where are available your creations?
Sinke Keita: My creations are available at Alittlemarket.com a website where you can find designers doing handmade accessories. My website is www.conscientious-creation.alittlemarket.com
I also have a professional blog where you can buy my creations www.conscientious-creation.com
Flashmag: The last word for the public
Sinke Keita: The word of the end? To tell Africans to support African trade I think it's important for us to do like other communities such as Chinese and Indians to support and help each other, it’s easy to see what is the health and wealth of their communities compared to ours.
Flashmag: Quite, a strong community is a strong economy…
Sinke Keita , Flashmag and its readership and thank you for this interview.
Sinke Keita: I thank you too, for this interview.
Video Sinke Keita - Conscientious Creation
Interview by Hubert Marlin