Bee Arthur is an adventurous and flamboyant fashion guru whose label B’EXOTIQ has resonated across the African continent and beyond for over a decade. Bee was born in the port city of Odessa in Ukraine – a city famous not only for its melting pot of cultures, but also for Ballet and Operatic singers and Art. Her heritage is a cocktail of diverse cultures: Russian, Polish, German and Ghanaian. Growing up in a Communist Soviet Union was a psychologically and emotionally “violent” experience for a person of mixed heritage, Bee was always reminded that she was “exotic”, “unusual” and “different”.
In this interview with All African Fashion , Bee talks about her new collection, some fashion etiquette and more.
AAF: What inspired you to be a fashion designer and at what point in your life was this?
BEE: I have always been an artist. I only gave in to Fashion after university in the year 2000 when I realized it was my calling. I won the KORA Fashion Award in 2001 in Sun City and I decided to put my ambitions of getting into the UN or Foreign Affairs on hold and dedicate myself to creating fashionable and elegant clothing for a cross-section of people from across the world. I studied marketing and knew where and how I could create a niche for myself. I have no regrets after 16years of designing, ( I designed unofficially between 1995 and 2000). But it’s good to know I have a degree to fall back on should I ever get tired of designing. That’s my Plan B. (smiles)
AAF: How do you describe your work as a fashion designer and what does it entail?
BEE: Primarily, all designers are artists. Our job is to make people look good and/or feel comfortable and confident. So i am an aesthetician and an architect.
AAF: What do you enjoy most about your career as a fashion designer?
BEE: I get endorphins swimming my brain each time I am in the creative process. I always get huge smiles from people when they see or wear my clothes plus, I get paid for that! moreover, I enjoy immense traveling to meet other very creative people from other artistic spheres – dancers, poets, sculptors, painters, actors, designers ,make-up artists. All these wonderful people I meet help broaden my mind and my vision, and through symbiotic exchanges, we inspire and learn from each other.
AAF: What challenges do you encounter in your career as a fashion designer?
BEE: Mostly laziness, indiscipline and unreliability from Ghanaian workers, but now I have a great team. The occasional stress I get from customers comes with the terrain, and that is not peculiar to my domain. I have mastered the art of dealing with ‘unreasonable’ customers. I give every customer preferential treatment and demand same.
AAF: Tell us more about your latest collection?
BEE: My latest collection has pink accents. Pink infuses life into any dull colour. It’s the ultimate colour of femininity.
I took an entirely Pink Collection to Malabo Fashion Week 2012 in April and it got great reviews in International media particularly Brune magazine, Paris . I used a lot of wax prints which are highly trendy currently.
|B'ExotiQ by Bee Arthur in Brune Magazine, Paris|
|B'ExotiQ by Bee Arthur in Brune Magazine,Paris|
See pictures from Bexotiq collection at the Malabo fashion week.
|Bee Arthur and her model|
Credits: All African Fashion, Bee Arthur.