Liberated Strands: Behind the Scenes: Global Couture

IT IS VERY HARD TO MISS THE WORK OF PATRICIA, THE OWNER AND DESIGNER OF GLOBAL COUTURE.  IN THE NATURAL HAIR COMMUNITY, HER DOPE T-SHIRTS ARE A STAPLE, JUST AS MUCH SO AS DEEP CONDITIONERS AND WIDE TOOTH COMBS.  HER CATCHY PHRASES LIKE “BACK TO MY ROOTS,” “KINKY GIRL,” AND “AFRO POP” ARE HARD TO MISS.  GETTING TO KNOW THE CREATIVE BRAIN BEHIND ANY BUSINESS ALLOWS YOU TO HAVE A DEEPER CONNECTION WITH THE BRAND AND WHAT THEY BELIEVE IN.  

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Kiss My Kurls Tee

Fashion is a mixture of creativity, inspiration, and highlight of conversations.  Make your way through the article and at the end be sure to leave a comment.  This week is Global Couture’s 2nd Anniversary–Show some love.

How did you get started with your fashion business?

Hi! My name is Patricia and I am the Owner and Designer of Global Couture and Global Couture Blog.  Not many people know, but I thought about starting my first t-shirt company when I was in college. But like many people, I didn’t have any business role models so I didn’t know where to start.  So I put the sketches away and pursued a safer route–the pursuit of a stable career.

I have worked as a counselor for over ten years and am currently a full-time doctoral candidate completing my dissertation.

I started Global Couture 15 years later to encourage others to embrace the natural beauty in all of us from the inside out. I want Global Couture to create dialogues around challenging stereotypes and unchecked social norms. For me, hair is the beginning of the conversation of self-acceptance. Global Couture designs hair accessories, jewelry, and apparel for the bold and chic who are also culturally curious.

I don’t have any training in fashion! I don’t consider myself a Fashionista. I would say I am influenced by many artists, designers, and cultural scholars. I grew up with original work from Arnie Barnes and Paul Collins in my family home, so I was definitely influenced by their celebration of Black culture. My personal style has been influenced from urban street style, Afro Pop, and modern design.

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Definition of Nappy

I appreciate art and have traveled extensively throughout the world and been inspired by architecture and art ranging from the ancient Mayans to Michelangelo. Surprisingly, I think my women’s and African studies have had the greatest influence on the Global Couture brand.

What inspires you the most about the natural hair community?

I decided to begin Global Couture three years ago, when I noticed I couldn’t find any accessories or natural hair apparel (mainly t-shirts) I wanted to wear that reflected my new consciousness. “Going back to my roots” during this natural hair journey has been truly self-affirming.

Through this journey, I fell in love with the freedom, self-expression, and renewed confidence fostered by a simple ‘hairdo’ change.

I found quickly it was more than a hairstyle change–It became a lifestyle change. I began to take more risks outside of the expected and mainstream forms in beauty, hairstyles, clothing, and accessories.

I believe this ‘mini’ transformation, paired with my travels through South America, Asia, Europe, and the Caribbean, has added to my appreciation for various forms of beauty, personal expression, and cultural expression.

I want my designs to embody my commitment to social justice and cultural edification.

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Stay Calm

There are many women who are aspiring to start their own businesses. What advice could you give?

“Follow you dreams or you will spend the rest of your life working for someone who did.”  I have had a very untraditional start to my business so I am always hesitant to give advice because I don’t really feel qualified. LOL. I would say that if you have a passion for what you want to do, create a plan and just go for it. I didn’t have a written business plan when I started and I am definitely learning as I go. I wish I would have started working for myself years ago. I feel so much fulfillment now. 

 What is the most memorable event that happened to you on your journey with your hair?

I don’t know the exact date I went natural, but I believe my last relaxer was 2009. I decided to ‘go natural’ because I was tired of dealing with breakage and bad hair days from relaxers. I also was really frustrated with my hair because it “wasn’t growing,” which I now understand is more of a retention issue.

I transitioned with Senegalese twist for nearly two years and finally mini chopped my relaxed ends May 21, 2011.

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Global Couture: Patrica Keller

I remember I was finally ready to lose the length and cut the relaxer out, so after a few snips in the bathroom, I decided to hop in the car and go to the salon nearby. I got there and the stylist said, “Honey, we don’t do that kind of hair.” I thought, “Wow, so salons don’t do ‘real hair.’” I ended up convincing her that she could easily identify the relaxed (i.e., straight ends) and I ONLY wanted her to cut them. She did and when she was finished she picked out my hair and patted it down into a perfectly round fro. I liked it! I felt stronger immediately! I am most proud that my sisters went back to natural now too!

Since you are connected to the fashion world, what are some must haves for colder temps?

New Global Couture jackets and sweatshirts that we are offering for the first time. More generally, I am obsessed with African print everything–especially shirts by Rue Rue, signature clutch pursues, caps, and all booties (i.e. boots).

My must have natural hair products and tools are Kinky Curly Stellar strands, Curly Wand, and Hair Chalk. It is all about embracing the versatility of natural hair!

Please tell us your future goals for your business.

We are trying to spread the word about embracing your natural hair and its reflection of our history. “Loving your hair represents loving yourself.” Love your curls, whether they are wavy, curly, kinky or coily. I think the best feedback that I ever received from customers and blog readers is how important the message is that is communicated.

ANYTIME I am told that Global Couture has inspired someone to stay the course on their journey of self-acceptance and cultural appreciation it means so much to me.

I launched the Global Couture Foundation this year. I created the “I am global” tee designed to support local and international philanthropy.

[ORIGINAL feature here at Liberated Strands]


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