CrazeTalks – Meet Ghanaian Menswear Trendsetter, Stylernest
Ernest Donkor aka Stylernest is an African menswear blogger, featured in WGSN, Trendsmap and many more, who shares his passion for fashion and avant-garde streetwear looks while exposing African lifestyle to his global audience.
Tell us a little about yourself?: I am a Saturday born, which for a male in Ghana you will be known as Kwame. My mom is a Ghanaian and my dad is Mauritian. I was mostly raised by my mom, my dad past in my early age. While schooling, my focus was not fashion as many people might think, but rather technical drawing and architecture. I used to work at an eye clinic to save and have capital for the future. My passion for fashion became stronger over time, which now is a result of me being a full- time fashion blogger. I am still learning and climbing the latter, as this is certainly is a process.
How’s the fashion industry in Ghana?: Unfortunately, the fashion scene is not as big yet and still evolving. NY, or London sounds interesting to me. It would be an honor to experience the fashion industry in these cities and dive into a space that allows competition and challenge. I have been itching to attend several NYFW shows, but ultimately I would love to work with Off-White. Off-White is just so fashion-forward and Virgil Abloh being a Ghanaian and not conforming to the stereotypical rules of its countries fashion is such an inspiration to me. In Ghana, for instance, it is not a thing to wear shorts as male. Also, when I mention to people that I am a fashion blogger they mostly answer with “Ohhh, can you model for me?; what clothes do you design? etc.”
How do you brand yourself on social media?: I want my audience to see that I am someone who is not afraid to use fashion as a bold statement, also it is very important to me to not conform to societies depiction of what fashion should look like. When mentioning to people that I am an African menswear blogger many say that I should mostly wear African prints and suit and tie to represent true Ghanaian fashion. Very sad, right? African menswear has so much more to offer, it goes beyond African print and a couple of Kaftan situations, I urge designers to be more creative and not only focus on the cliché.
It’s all about different shades, your silhouettes and your eye in combining it all in your own way. I believe that makes someone a unique fashion blogger and that is what I would like the world to see on my social channels.
What were some of your hardships when you started blogging?: Consistency! At the beginning I would post 4 times a week, and it would drive me crazy. It is key to be consistent, but I realized over time that it’s more important that my content is good and true to myself rather than big in numbers.
You are the social media manager for Atto Tetteh, right?: Yes
Is there a difference between handling the social media for a fashion house vs. your personal?: Yes, on my Instagram page I am more relatable and very silly, but for Atto Tetteh I am keeping all very professional and in the image that the brand stands for. My social voice now is not my own but that of a cumulative team.
Speaking of African fashion brands, what are some you personally you wear?: Oh I love, Christie Brown, for her high contemporary approach; Atto Tetteh for their modern traditional feel; and Rich Minsi – I just can’t wait to pre-order a couple of staple pieces off their new collection, this brand is everything, so fashion-forward and just so in tune with pop culture.
In light of the heart breaking news of fashion icon Kate Spades passing and mental health month, what are your views on all relating to African fashion?: Mental health is very important regardless of ethnicity and I think most people underestimate its consequences.
I myself have experienced not being at a good state mentally. I always caught myself in the bad habit of comparison, which left me depressed in a lot of self doubt. And with the sense of inability I would constantly question my progress in life and totally felt worthless. I think what is most important, is despite the stigma to have the courage to seek help or speak to someone you trust to receive guidance and encouragement – which I did. I opened up to my mom, which really turned things around for better. Kate’s Spades passing, is tragic and unfortunate, my thoughts are with the family at this sorrowful moment.
What is an advise you would want to share with the AfroCraze community?: Stay true to yourself and always do what you feel you want to do. Also, it is very important to study your market, as much as you want to expose who you are as a blogger, entertainer, artisan etc., note that you are also trying to be influential. And lastly, source inspirational style from anywhere and everywhere.