Gold Coast Merch is a worldwide streetwear brand that sells African history and stories. The Accra based shop is truly an archive of great moments and people in the African History, captured and preserved in quality shirts. A quick scroll through their Instagram will reveal colorful catalogued shirts on sale.
Yvery Anthony: Good morning. Welcome to YPKI, we’re glad to have you. Why don’t we kickoff with a little information about yourself and the brand?
Darley Ofosu-Dorte: Good morning. It’s an honor to be here. Alright. My name is Darley Ofosu-Dorte. I’m a young Ghanaian woman who loves writing, books, art, music and all things creative. I’m also a lawyer by profession. Gold Coast Merch is an African-inspired streetwear brand that I created in 2019. It’s my first “baby” (i.e. business), so it’s very dear to me.
Our brand makes carefully curated African-inspired designs which seek to empower and connect Africans , the diaspora and people all across the globe. I started to the brand in 2019 (the Year of Return) when I realized there was a need for more quality, relatable and cooler African streetwear for Ghanaians, Africans, Tourists and the African diaspora in general. The goal was to make people who wear the brand feel more connected to Africa & Ghana in particular
Yvery Anthony: You’ve done so much over such a short period of time. What designs and collections have you released so far?
Darley Ofosu-Dorte: In the 2 years we’ve operated, We’ve worked on over 20 designs and about 4 collections. These are the: R-Gold-19 collection R-Gold-20 collection R-Gold-21 collection and the DSCVR collection which was a collaboration with a talented Ghanaian photographer by the name Adotey Lomotey.
Yvery Anthony: I love the story each shirt has to tell, it’s an identity. What are your inspirations? Is there an artist you listen to? Is there a special place you wander to?
Darley Ofosu-Dorte: I’ve always felt a need to play my role in putting Africa on the map in a positive light. I say positive light particularly because there were and are enough negative narratives being told of who we are and what we stand for as a people. I wanted to highlight a different side of Africa- our rich culture, talent, beauty, values and stories- and empowering the African and the world at large while doing so. That has been my inspiration and still is.
When it comes to inspiration for my designs, it takes many forms, but I think primarily meditation and silence gets me the most creative. I also brainstorm with my team, collaborators and close friends who have been very helpful
I’m the creative director of the brand so I come up with the ideas and concepts and communicate same to the graphic designer on the team. That’s my main job. Coming up with design concepts and idea. So I’m not involved in the actual drawing or graphic designing but I do supervise and approve to ensure that it’s in line with my ideas and vision.
Yvery Anthony: We know all this must not have come easy, especially combining your career with this.
Darley Ofosu-Dorte: Like any entrepreneur, I’ve faced a good number of challenges and learned a lot of lessons. I think the most challenging thing I’ve faced and still face is being consistent . As I said, I’m a lawyer by profession so that in itself keeps me extremely busy which sometimes causes delays in meeting certain business targets / goals. But in general I can say I’ve learnt to manage my time better. My team and customers also very helpful and supportive.
Yvery Anthony: this is so inspiring, not everyone can adapt to multi-tasking and make it work long term. What are the most important tools to you as a designer and creative director?
Darley Ofosu-Dorte: For me and the role I play, I would say the mind. The creative process all starts with the mind so peace of mind is very important to me.
Yvery Anthony: a healthy mental space is definitely essential. How would you say growing up and living in Ghana has added or deducted from your creativity process?
Darley Ofosu-Dorte: In terms of coming up with ideas I don’t think my location makes a difference. I’m a creative regardless of where I find myself. However when it comes to the implementation of those ideas, yes, being based in Ghana brings with it certain limitations. For me it’s mostly getting access to a variety of clothing material, suppliers & certain types of production tools. So In such cases I’ve had to rely on foreign suppliers etc.
Yvery Anthony: How can we as young creatives also put ourselves and our work out there as you’ve done?
Darley Ofosu-Dorte: Just do it. Don’t just stay in the mental creative mode, but make sure you’re actually out here implementing your ideas. Don’t stop learning and growing and lastly consistency really does go a long way
Yvery Anthony: You heard her folks. Stay consisted and stay reading YPKI. Once again, thank you for taking time to be here with us Darley.
Darley Ofosu-Dorte: Pleasure is all mine
Rapid Fire Questions.
What do you do on your Sunday ? I like to go the beach on Sundays and watch the sunset or just go for walks in my neighborhood or catch up with friends over FaceTime. It’s all about the simple things in life really.
2. What’s always under your pillow? lol that’s an interesting question. There are always books on my bed my pillow . But for under my pillow specifically i would say my bonnet and scarves . Trying to maintain healthy hair you know.
3. What absolutely kills a mood for you? Negativity. I can’t stand negative people and general bad vibes. I stay away from such energy