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How Bronx-Ghanaian Fashion Expert Jeffrey Ampratwum is changing the way we look at style!!

At the start of the 1980s, the Bronx, NY was overjoyed with the birth of hip-hop. Classic tunes by conscious MCs echoed through the streets to provide a visual understanding of the American experiences of Black people.

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The songs shined a neon light on crime, drugs, and aspirations for a better life. The music served as a soundtrack to the youth that were growing up in the neighborhoods, namely Jeffrey.

Born into a space of creativity – his genetic makeup was entirely crafted by style. The style was infused with hip-hop lyrics, dance, and art.

Born to West African parents from Ghana, as an only child, Jeffrey -also known as “Che” – spent a lot of time trying to decipher the composition of simple items, most notably clothes. Initially, in school to become a dentist – Jeffrey found himself in Paris after graduating from the university to begin a career in fashion design and fashion art curation as a creative director.

How Bronx-Ghanaian Fashion Expert Jeffrey Ampratwum is changing the way we look at style!!
Meet Bronx-Ghanaian Fashion Expert Jeffrey Ampratwum

“He has the uncanny ability to create looks for both men and women that ultimately defines true style” one of his fellow colleagues at the Fashion Institute of Technology notes.

In 2015, Jeffrey began traveling the world in different fashion capitals – namely Paris as a Creative Fashion Director and Fashion Designer in womenswear.

He is now one of the only gentlemen in the fashion industry teaching Menswear Styling at the world-renowned and prestigious Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City. 

Jeffrey Ampratwum has also developed one of the first Fashion Studies Programs for Middle School learners in the Bronx. He is considered to be a style expert and a thought leader in the world of menswear.

We were able to catch up with Jeffrey during a recent trip of his to Ghana to exhibit his fashion designs. We spoke with him about the importance of proper style, fashion education, and his personal style, projects, and influences!

Check out Jeffrey “Che” Ampratwum: https://linktr.ee/chedior

Jeffrey ‘Che’ Ampratwum

Muse: Dior Mens or Louis Vuitton Mens?

Jeff: Haha. You know this is a tough one. Neither Kim Jones nor Virgil Abloh are/were French, however, they both managed to keep the DNA within the fashion house and sprinkle new motifs in the collections. As much as I love Dior, I would say Virgil’s LV was revolutionary because of his message within the culture and of course because he is my Ghanaian brother!

Muse: What was it like growing up in the Bronx?

Jeff: The Bronx provided me with a framework for creativity. A Disney World, if you will. All I was able to do was create scenarios for scenarios. Whether it was playing basketball, constructing a rhyme, or putting an outfit together for the various first days of school. I was in the zone, and rightfully so. I’ve had very long and serious relationships with basketball, music, and fashion. However, the latter has currently grown into a family. 

Muse: In your opinion, how much does music influence fashion and vice versa?

Jeff: It is a marriage, they go hand-in-hand. You really cannot have one without the other. Art imitates life and life imitates art they say, right? Think of how a runway show would feel without music. And in this context, music can be any particular type of noise that complements the current event. But if we are talking more specifically about recorded studio music, then yes – several if not all fashion concepts are heavily influenced by music, particularly the designers. Many heritage brands leaned on the sounds of classical music to express their collections. In modern-day fashion – we see live music in collaboration with fashion. It is a big part of what I do with my brand. My last musical project speaks entirely to the threads and concepts of high fashion as I see it. Parisian influenced with a heavy emphasis on Black culture, it serves ultimately as a soundtrack to my esthetic as a wardrobe stylist and fashion connoisseur.

Muse: Talk to us about your fashion programs and the importance of fashion education

Jeff: We are in a very peculiar space with respect to fashion consumerism. Brands are exhibiting their aesthetics more than ever simply because we live in a more digital era. For that reason, we buy more clothes and are less conscious of the reasons for doing so. Don’t get me wrong, I love my fair share of designer looks – but I am educated in the field so I am able to make purchases with confidence and actually with decency, and respect for the concepts of a brand. In response to this discussion, I started a fashion studies program in the Bronx for middle school students which provide a basic foundation of fashion principles and the importance of creativity with respect to style. We also focus heavily on beauty standards in today’s social market and how to differentiate makeup/beauty as an art as opposed to a cover-up for insecurities. On the adult and collegiate levels, I focus more on style and the quality of performance of fashion artists. I believe students take my course because they are invested and believe in the principles that I share and the uncanny way I am able to deliver my performance.

Muse: Why womens dresses and where does the inspiration come from in your fashion line?

Jeff: I’ve always adored womenswear. I was raised by a single parent and I watched my mother change styles throughout her life. I was extremely cognizant of that. It has a long-lasting effect on how I now dress women. The (Fashion) House of Merlot is a clothing line that I created in 2015 to bring confidence and beauty to different women around the world. Every model who has worn a dress was beautiful in their own right – of course, I am just referring to my added influence which was always coupled with conversation. The stories of these subjects and the cities visited are reflected in the artwork that is represented on the dresses. It still tells the story of young Jeff from the Bronx.

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