By Own Correspondent – Liberia’s leading International designer, Korto Momolu has informed the press that she is very happy to be back in her native Liberia after 23 years of absence, stressing that she is back with help for the women of Liberia.
According to her official website –she worked as an independent fashion designer and continuing her education at the renowned Parsons School of Design, Korto followed her dreams and won a place on the fifth season of Bravo’s hit show Project Runway. Throughout the show, Korto stood out as a designer who embraced colour and diversity and displayed such extraordinary talent that she was awarded the fan favourite prize. During the season finale of Project Runway, Korto presented her spring 2009 collection at Bryant Park during New York Fashion Week and ultimately ended the season as 1st runner up.
“Not only am I able to come back after 23 years, but am able to come back with small fund to help improve our people’s lives and do something positive”.
After settling in Canada as a result of the war she pursued her passion, and studied fashion design at the L’Academies des Couturiers Design Institute in Ottawa, Ontario. After graduation, she moved to Arkansas with her husband to live and raise their daughter. Influenced by her African roots and inspired by rich fabrics, Korto began producing chic womenÕs wear and accessories.
But up to date, she is very unpopular in the sub region, with followership even on facebook and across the African fashion industry, it is recorded that Korto has formed a partnership with Dillard’s Incorporated to design an eye-catching collection of handbags and jewellery that is currently in more than 70 stores nationwide in US not in Africa or her home –Liberia. Additionally, she teamed up with Madera Exotic Woods to design “The Saba Collection”, an exclusive line of fashionable eco-friendly wood jewellery
“I have been away for long, but I have been uplifting Liberia all the time and I am here again and so is the love that was given me, because it’s my country that raised me to be the person I am today” the designer said.
Momolu narrated that she was already filled with artistic experiences during her kindergarten and elementary days in Liberia at the St. Peter Lutheran and J. J. Roberts High Schools.
In an interview monitored by FPAOnline Momolu says “At 15, I really started my real creative art and doing designs like doing drafting T-shirts and other designs and I was only doing that for myself, not knowing it was a great art coming out of my life”.
Continued Momolu: “At that time, I had a very great art teacher who saw me going to that direction and she was the one that said, maybe you can consider fashion design, and she pushed at the right direction and I went to a design school and learned how to sew, and since then I have not looked back”.
The designer plans to bring some new changes in the fashion industry, contemplating on the needs of men and women as far as the fashion industry is concerned and which she think people will like to buy in Liberia, Stressing that her aim is to help create jobs for women who will create their own businesses to help their families.
“This is something I can contribute, I know it’s my field, it’s something that some of these women want, to operate businesses and take what they have, create it into something more, not looking at just what they will have on hands and they may not like to continue doing the same thing, but we want to build a foundation for them” She mentioned.
Amani Liberia’s headquarters are located in Yekepa, Nimba County, where they have built a beautiful school compound with the goal of teaching young women how to work with dignity and respect, and earn an income for themselves and their families.
“Amani is a nonprofits organization that teaches Liberian women how to create market and manage businesses through textiles and sewing. Women grow in value and self respect while living in harmony and working together” added Amani’s Creative Director, Stephanie Myers.
Says Momolu: “My vision is for these women to be self sufficient, and I want them to be independent enough to stand on their own. It makes sense for me to come to them and be part of this show because with these women, they are me and I am them. They can look at me and say it’s possible because she is like us, we’re the same cloth”.
She called on young girls to try their possible best and learn something for a better future. “We have opened a training school in Yekepa, so please try and go there to learn something. I promise you if you learn today you will not be left out tomorrow” Momolu said.
The designer urged other Liberians in the United States of America and other parts of the world that have the finance to come back home and create some level of opportunities for the population.
“I’m urging them to know that we have no other home then Liberia, so let us contribute to the development of our only country and our future generation” the designer advised,
In May 2010, she was appointed as a “Goodwill Ambassador” for the Tigerlily Foundation, a breast cancer organization providing full lifecycle, service-oriented assistance to young women. Not settling on being of service to only one non-profit, Korto is the ultimate humanitarian and uses her God-given talents to support several charitable organizations. Most recently, she generously agreed to design a custom-made handbag to be auctioned for the “Go Orange” Campaign with proceeds to benefit the National Food Bank for New York.
On September 12, 2010, Korto will return to the runways of New York to unveil the highly anticipated “Korto Momolu 2011 Spring Collection” during the fame New York Fashion Week.
My research has also reveal that she has been to and hosted several events in the states ,Korto Momolu, unveiled some selected pieces from her 2011 fall collection for the first L’Africana™ Night at the finale of New York Fashion Week. L’Africana™ Night is a celebration of the fashion, music, culture & cuisine of Africa, with all proceeds to benefit the MacDella Cooper Foundation Academy. Special guests include actor: Matt Dillon; Pop Divas: Zelma Davis & Saycon Sengbloh; and a roster of world-class designers and models including Millen Magese, Georgie Badiel, and Aminat Ayinde to name a few. L’Africana™ Night will be hosted by Mr. Isaiah Washington. Also Korto Momolu will be a guest speaker and panellist at the 6th Annual Women of Power Summit for Black Enterprise magazine. The Women of Power Summit is a professional leadership conference designed especially for executive women of colour. This event will bring together 700 influential business women from around the country. The event will be held from Feb. 23–26, 2011, at the Ritz-Carlton, Orlando, and Grande Lakes in Orlando, Florida. As well as Korto Momolu will travel to Columbus, Ohio to showcase her 2011 fall collection for the “Peace Through Fashion” benefit supporting Amani Liberia. The show will be held at the prestigious Columbus Athletic Club at 136 E. Broad St., Columbus, Ohio 43215 at 7PM. This fundraiser will support a larger mission to mark the return of Ms. Momolu to her homeland after more than 20 years. A 27 piece collection will be specifically design and unveil for the women of Liberia, which will be shown in Monrovia and Yekepa, Liberia in May 2011.
Amani Liberia is a nonprofits organization that teaches Liberian women how to create market and manage projects and businesses through textiles and sewing.