On the evening of November 16th, 2021, I began the daunting task of preparing for another workday. Laptop, notes, tablet and the quintessential outfit that can transition from work to happy hour. A hot cup of chai would provide some comfort for this misadventure so I rushed to the kitchen to prepare some while prepping for my phone interview with Adam Sallah, creator of Yeli Bana. Like many women, I'm fashionably exhausted at the thought of, 'what to wear' on a daily basis so Adam provided detailed insight into her new line and why her main objective is to 'inspire through style'.
What was the inspiration behind Yeli Bana?
My mother was a force to be reckoned with who perfected her craft of designing and sewing throughout my young adult life. When I graduated high school, I was working diligently alongside her by assisting in her shop and watching her creative process which led to beautiful garments. That experience sealed my fate and put me on a path to pursue a career in fashion design so I enrolled at Palomar College in San Marcos, California to pursue my passion. Unfortunately, life circumstances temporarily deferred my dream so I moved to Maryland with high hopes and optimism in tow. Before my mother passed away, her dying wish was that her business would continue to thrive, leaving a lasting legacy. The foundation was already laid so I felt compelled to move forward and grab the torch.
What makes this Yeli Bana stand out from other brands?
Adam: I've always observed women in the workplace so I drew the conclusion that clothing can convey how a woman sees herself, internally and externally. Confidence is synonymous with power so I wanted Yeli Bana to embody those qualities. There are lots of amazing African clothing brands but I didn't see that diversity reflected in 'Corporate America' so I thought this would be a 'cultural merging' of some sorts to celebrate style while promoting individuality. Bright colors are rarely seen in the workplace so I found a way to incorporate solids with African/Bold prints to add life to these garments. Another great benefit to Yeli Bana pieces is the convenience of stretchy/ flexible fabrics that makes for less ironing and dry cleaning. Life can be hectic so putting on clothes should be an effortless process.
Are there any brands that you're excited about at the moment?
Adam: There are quite a few, but Hanifa and Autumn Adeigbo are holding my attention at the moment. They're both African women that are shaking up the fashion world. They truly inspire me to keep working hard and focused on Yeli Bana
What are your favorite pieces in the collection?
Adam: When I was in the sketching phase, the Ida dress was by far my favorite piece because of its versatility. My second favorite is the Yeli Bana Pink blazer because it's fun, bright, and can transition from work to a night out on the town. So beautiful!
How do you want the working woman to feel while wearing your clothes?
Adam: Powerful, confident and happy. :)
The garments that we choose to wear tell a story about each and every one of us. Yeli Bana is your pen, so write with confidence.