Aseye Agamah is the kind of person you know about even before you meet her. With a huge laugh and an even huger personality, Aseye would hardly need to dress this killer in order for people to notice her—but she does, and they do. Thankfully, I get to call this extraordinary lady both a style crush and a dear friend, which made shooting and interviewing her for this piece twice as fun.
Name: Aseye Agamah
Hometown: Springfield, Illinois
Currently living: Outside Chicago
Occupation: Studying sociology and minoring in psychology
Signature item: Black BDG high rise jeans
Favorite thing in your closet right now: Denim skort from the ’90s or anything made in Ghana
You have a lot of African prints in your outfits. Can you talk a little about that? My dad is from Ghana; I’ve gone there every summer since I was really young. The clothing culture there is so cool. The garments people wear are so colorful and vibrant and alive. A lot of people make their own cloth and clothes.
When we were younger, we would visit our family in the village. We’d go to the market, pick out fabric, then come home back and draw out a design that we wanted. We’d sketch it and our aunties and uncles would make it for us. I loved that part of my Ghana experience and childhood. I think that’s what got me into fashion and thinking about dress. I get something made every single year. It has become tradition—my sisters and I love it.
Has your mom’s side of the family also influenced your style? My mom has killer style. She has photos of herself from the ‘80s and her style was on point! She knew how to look sweet but androgynous and trendy and she had the braids goin’ on and that ‘80s funk—all of it!
She still has a lot of pieces from back in the day. Probably every other day I’m wearing at least one thing of hers. I feel like she would never wear anything that I wear, but the thing I love about sharing clothes is that you can exhibit your take on something someone else owns. The air in which you wear it can say a lot.
Besides your mom’s closet, what are your other favorite clothing sources? Thrift stores. I love the serendipity of stumbling across something and being like, “This is a good find! How could someone want to get rid of it?” I used to shop online a lot, but don’t much anymore. And I use the Corinthian Co-op [a local free clothing exchange] a lot.
Do you have any fashion heroes? My sisters and I have always been obsessed with J.Crew and thought Jenna Lyons was the shit. I was obsessed with button-ups, and so on the same trajectory, I started being obsessed with Lianne La Havas. The way she styles is gorgeous. Like that blue floral cropped button-up—it’s actually a full shirt, but I learned this trick from her where she would button it only partially and then gather it up and tie it in the back and tuck it under. That’s what I did to create that crop top effect.
I get so much inspiration from anything where I can see what other people are wearing and incorporate that into my style. That’s why my style is so eclectic and varied. I think it’s really cool to have a distinct aesthetic that says “This is what I wanna say to the world,” but that’s just not me. My mind is all over the place, so my style reflects that.
I’m also inspired by runway shows. I have a love-hate relationship with high fashion because I’m like, Why is this so expensive? But at the same time I understand everything that goes into making those garments. Still, there’s something about haute couture that’s really fun to translate into everyday wear.
If you could change one thing about the fashion industry, what would it be? Something to do with having our culture and society respond to fashion itself more than to the status and symbols of a label. That and race issues in fashion are probably the biggest things to me. It has gotten better and I have hope for the future of fashion, but that’s something I’d change.
What is your favorite thing about fashion? Fashion is wearable art. Sometimes when I tell people I like their style, they’ll be like, “All I wear is really simple and plain stuff.” But that’s still style! Style is saying something with the combination of garments and your body. Whether it says, “I like to be comfortable” or something else, it’s worth listening to. When fashion speaks to you, you better listen up!
Style is a way of conveying things to other people. It also gives you a better sense of yourself. To dress yourself, you have to analyze yourself. You think about what you want, what you wanna say, what you wanna be, how you wanna carry yourself. People will say “Oh, I just threw this on, I just wanna look cute.” But I think that fashion is a form of communication and it’s a really powerful one. I love that you can hear people talking through the way they dress.♦