Prud Style is named after the first tailor in Ghana, known only as "Prudence," who was considered a leader of Africa's hipster culture in the 1940s. Denver entrepreneur Dacia McPherson picked that name for a fashion company that she hopes will go global, she's turned to KickStarter to bring Prud Style to life. We talked with McPherson about how her experience in Africa inspired the effort, and what she hopes to do from Denver for Prud Style. See also: Mona Lucero and Kotomi Yoshida on Fashion
Westword: Prud Style could be viewed as another "help a third world country" gimmick; how is Prude Style different?
Dacia McPherson: Prud Style was created to confront the stereotypical imagery of poor places. The Prud Style label is about job creation, creating a value-added section in developing countries. My experiences though my work as a business consultant out of Washington took me to Africa. I have witnessed the exploitation that occurs there, and after living there I realized the potential for developing countries. We also want to create a lifestyle brand that confronts the stereotyped imagery of "poor places." We hope to deliver unique and beautiful goods to the enlightened consumer by innovating with materials and processes from regions less trekked.
How is Prud Style contributing to the commerce of Africa and other developing countries?
Prud Style is comprised of designers, artisans and tailors who are invested in the label. When purchases are made, the funds are placed back into the company. All the textiles and fabrics we use are from the two largest cotton producers found in Mali and Burkina Faso. We also use hand-woven mud cloth and our artisans create their jewelry from materials found locally; production is done here as well. We hope to deliver unique and beautiful goods to the enlightened consumer.
Kickstarter is a way for us to initially finance the label. There are different investment levels and correlated with the monetary level, the investor can select items from our 2014 summer line. Kickstarter also allows us to receive feedback and ideas from those interested in our designs. We do not have a charity story; we have a strong business model and we are trying to create a strong international brand.
What is the inspiration behind your 2014 Summer Ouagamako Collection?
Our designs represent the street-wise experience, freedom, style and grace, no boundaries. Our look is not considered to be characteristically African, European or American. It comes from experiencing Africa, a different place.
To find out more about Prud Style, go to the Prud Style KickStarter campaign.