Phyllis Taylor, Founder of SIKA London

Our little Annandale suburb is oceans away from Ghana, and with recent travel restrictions the African nation has never felt further away. Luckily, the arrival of Sika’s joyful printed designs has brought the spirit of Ghana just that little bit closer to Booth St. Speaking to Sika’s founder Phyllis Taylor this week, we learnt about her life between London and Ghana, her top travel picks, and where where she draws inspiration from for her happiness-inducing prints.

Where do you call home?

Home is both Ghana and the UK. I was born in the UK and have lived here all my life, but my trips to Ghana are so regular that when I arrive, I feel right at home. For me home is where you feel happiest, so I am lucky that both places fill me with happiness.

Why is the brand called Sika? 

The name SIKA derives from the Akan tribe in Ghana, West Africa. Its meaning is money or gold. I called my label SIKA as my brand is gold.

Do you come from a fashion background? Have you always designed?

I completed a dressmaking and pattern cutting course at the London College of Fashion. After completing the course, I started designing the collections for SIKA. Since starting the label in 2005, I’ve designed every piece in the collection.

We live on the opposite side of the world and I imagine very few people who are reading this have travelled to Ghana. Paint a picture in words of what it’s like for us?

Ghana is a tropical paradise of beautiful waterfalls, rolling mountains, white beaches and winding red dirt roads. It’s a country steeped in culture, tradition, warmth and adventure. Ghana is filled with vibrant colours of printed fabrics and the rich patterns of traditional woven Kente cloth. Above all, its people are warm, friendly and welcoming.

What makes Sika Unique?

Our prints are unique to SIKA. We have an in-house printing department, so we are able to design and create our own prints. In addition, we source and work with fabric suppliers who supply distinctive prints to us.

The prints you use are beautiful. Are they classic Ghanaian designs or have you tweaked them?

Ghana is a melting pot of inspiration, so the prints we create are inspired from classic Ghanaian designs with our signature twist. A-lot of our prints are one off designs that are inspired by the world around me.

Who are you inspired by?

My mother, sister, and daughter.

We’d love to have some inspiration for when we can travel again - what are your 3 favourite destinations?

Ghana is like a home away from home, so that would be top of the list. I have also loved travelling around Paris and Milan.

Sika seems to be growing so quickly – congratulations! How do you manage to stay focused and what do you do to relax?

The interest in SIKA has been amazing. We always have orders to fulfill and my focus is to ensure we produce quality ‘made in Africa’ garments. For relaxation, nothing beats a good movie after a busy day.

What’s the last great book you read?

Becoming by Michelle Obama.

Favourite Cocktail? Favourite Fruit?

Strawberry daiquiri and I love raspberries!!

What is a great piece of advice you’ve been given?

Give thanks every day.

Describe Jim & Jane in one word.